Born and brought up in the oldest house, a smallholding in Burniston, North Yorkshire, from a very early age I was always helping my father repair something from animal pens to cars! Surrounded by tools, by the age of six I had my very own tool box comprising of a saw, hammer, plane, chisels and a square. I vividly remember using a back saw for the first time.
Grandpa Skelton, was a chicken farmer, but he too shared my passion for woodwork, I still use some of his old hand tools in the production of my saws. One of his favourite sayings was ‘Buy cheap, buy twice’ This has always stayed with me and through the course of my work, I’ve always strived to buy the best quality tools for the job, even if this has meant saving up for a while! Quality, I do believe does always pay and I’m pleased to say that I’m sure that a Skelton Saw certainly lives up to Grandpa Skelton’s old expectations.
At secondary school whilst most boys were doing a paper round, I was working part-time at the neighbouring village Blacksmiths where one of my commissions was to singlehandedly forge some wrought iron gates for the local church. These are still in situ today. My skills and abilities soon became noticeable to others and at the age of just twelve, I was given a side by side English shotgun to restock and again by the age of 16, I had successfully restocked a Purdey, one of the finest English shotguns available. Unsurprisingly my growing passion for working with both wood and metal then led me into a career in gunsmithing. Had the gun shop not closed down then I would probably have continued down this path. However, change has been good and since then I have had both an interesting and varied career. I was very privileged for example to have worked in a small team on the building of the prototype for the two-seater ‘Liberty’ Aircraft which eventually went into production in America. Furthermore, I have worked as a furniture maker and bespoke restorer for a prestigious antique company. Here I was swiftly promoted to specialising in the restoration of 18th century furniture and found great self-satisfaction and pride in returning pieces to their former glory.
Many of my years however, have been spent on inventing, developing and creating new materials and products for the oil and gas industry. Whilst I have had a stimulating career so far, I still maintain that my true passion is for working creatively with fine woods and metals. I have a great respect for both fine furniture makers and toolmakers including the likes of ‘Robert (Mouseman) Thompson’ and ‘Ashley Iles’, whose chisels I’ve used throughout my working life for both cabinetmaking and woodcarving. I suppose one could argue that inventing and making is in the blood as my great grandfather on my mother’s side so too was a blacksmith and eventually invented one of the first modern bicycles. I probably could’ve had a go at making most tools, but I have always liked saws. There’s just something about the look and the feel of a good saw and how it cuts into the hardest of woods with ease that both intrigues and excites me. Beginning with the dovetail saw, I am continuing with my designs and looking at expanding the Skelton saw range in the future. A family man, I run the business with my wife Jacqueline and together we have two girls. Whist we are a small family business, you can always expect a friendly, personal and quality service.