Design Brief

WE WERE ASKED to design furniture for the new tasting room in Glengoyne Distillery, utilizing the three natural elements synonymous with Scottish Distilleries; Copper, Oak and slate.

The furniture was to include a large glazed cabinet to display and store various whiskys, a table to seat 16 people, 16 stools and a small kitchen with a glass storage cabinet for 200 whiskey glasses. We were also asked to design and build 2 oak tables to house 3 sink and tap sets for their public toilets as well as the ladies & gents oak signs.

The Process

Taking the curves of a whisky barrel as a theme to the overall deign we applied this to the door sets and vertical table supports. Oak was obviously the timber of choice in this case, we collected enough to complete the contract from our usual source and from a local tree we dried in our own kiln.

We selected the wild bury stock for the insert panels of the twelve solid doors and table centre panel and filled the pit holes around the burrs with copper dust suspended in resin. When these panels were polished and oiled they sparkled when the sun caught them.

Display Cabinet

This was a particularly challenging piece, not least because of its size. It was designed to look like a single cabinet although in practice it had to be built in 4 pieces with a full-length top for the base cabinets and a full-length cornice for the upper cabinets. This made transportation a little easier. The upper cabinet was fully glazed with 12 x 35w low voltage lights fitted to illuminate its contents. We used pivot hinges for all the doors, which allowed us to overlay them in front of the framework, giving the impression of a single cabinet. We used 12mm glass for all the shelves and 4mm for the doors & side panels.

Due to the length of the doors and the fact that they were fully glazed we deigned a locking bar, which would stop any possible buckling. This was a simple wooden mechanism consisting of a wooden handle with a spigot turned to fit a 50mm hole, which we cut into the door. Two vertical oak bars were connected onto the handle using turned pins with a little clearance to allow the bar to rotate freely. A second pin was fitted at the top & bottom of each bar as a guide. When the handle was rotated it drew the bottom bar up and the top bar down. The tip of each bar was tapered allowing it to draw any slight twist in the door out when closed and locked. For security purposes we also fitted a push lock on all 8 doors, which basically stopped the handle from being turned and therefore acted as a very efficient and strong locking system.

The backs of both the upper and lower cabinet were finished with oak V lining. The top of the base cabinets we left with a natural edge and on the cornice we sandblasted the Glengoyne logo.


The table, due to its size and the weight it would be carrying was constructed from 2 x 75mm thick laminated oak slabs, cut in the shape of a barrel. These were fitted onto large curved footings giving it a wide bearing area equal to the width of the tabletop. The two vertical frames were connected together with a long 75mm curved bar and the whole frame was locked together using arched braces. We sandblasted the bottom rail of the table with ‘GLENGOYNE SINGLE HIGHLAND MALT WHISKY’ and the vertical panels with the Glengoyne logo.

The top framework was constructed from a base of plywood overlaid and glued onto an oak veneered blockboard, providing a 3.2m x 1.2m base onto which we could lay the polished silver green slate. This was trimmed with an oak edging in the workshop and then transported in pieces to Glengoyne. When the main framework was securely glued together the slate top was laid in position around the outside edge of the top, grouted and sealed. We then fitted a burr oak insert panel, which was slightly raised above the slate and lipped over its edge giving it room for movement if it required. The burrs were filled with copper dust to match the doors and the whole table then got a final two coats of Danish oil.


We made the stools from 50mm laminated oak panels with the sides and seat shaped like barrels. The centre support was left with a natural edge making each stool completely unique. This was linked to the side frames with a sliding dovetail and the top had 10mm slots routed on its base to match the framework, which slotted over and locked the frame together. We cut plug wholes in the top of the seat and screwed the tops down, carefully levelling them with washers before finally fitting oak plugs, sanding and oiling. Padded cushions were then specially made to fit the seats.

Whisky Glass Storage Cabinet

As a whisky tasting room a large number of whisky glasses are required at any one time, these had to be quickly and easily accessible. We designed this unit with the capacity to hold 200 glasses. It also had an area for trays onto which the glasses could be stacked before being carried to the table or restacked after washing. The framework was made form laminated oak boards, which we shaped with an internal curve. The back was V lined and the base was fitted with slate to match the table and kitchen worktops. The glasses were hung upside down on pairs of turned oak dowels giving a capacity of 40 glasses per row. We also made a couple of drying rails in the same design, which were fitted above the sink.

Kitchen & Window Seat

The kitchen, despite being small was extremely practical. The double Belfast sink is perfect for washing glasses, the first sink for washing the second for rinsing and then hung up to drip dry. We also supplied a try flow tap set with a ceramic filter for drinking water. The tops were all Silver Green slate trimmed with oak to match the table, with oak upstands along the outside edge of both units.

The door set under the sink caused a little bit of controversy at the time due to the hole in the insert panel.

Despite or indeed because of the hole in the panel, it has a really wild and interesting pattern to it, which is why it was selected in the first place. I’m pleased to say that after a little time the general consensus has been positive and it will be staying. The cabinet to the left of the room was designed to hold a selection of chopping blocks and provide a well needed work surface and storage area below.

Between both cabinets we build a seat with a tapered back and vented top and bottom panels, which allowed free convection from the radiator below. A padded cushion was also made for this seat to finish it off.

Oak Sink Tables

These were to be simple in construction with wide support framework to cover the plumbing mortised & tennoned to the 4 legs. An oak shelve was laid across the bottom framework giving a large open storage area on each unit. The sandblasted the Glengoyne logo onto each unit and cut the holes for the sinks at the workshop, before delivering them for installation by the plumbers.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. — Randolf Waldo Emerson (1928)