Philip Marcou Toolworks (New Zealand)


Marcou, began woodworking at age 12 in his native Zimbabwe and became a full-time furniture maker in 1990 – a career that was launched by making 1,000 high-quality wooden coat hangers for a hotel. He eventually settled on making military-style furniture – campaign chests, Davenports and the like – as the centerpiece of his business. Marcou says he never had to look for work while building in Zimbabwe; but as the political situation worsened, he needed to make a change.

He moved to New Zealand and he found the country already flooded with low-cost furniture from Asia, a fact that has put many bespoke furniture shops on the auction block. Despite the dire business prospects however, Marcou tried for two years to make his furniture business in New Zealand work.

One day, Philip purchased a Veritas bevel-up smoothing plane and he was enamored with it, but he began mulling over some changes to the tool that he thought would make it more suited for his work. He put together his own handplane using a variety of metal and woodworking machines, and since January 2006 has been making planes for a living and doing some furniture work whenever he can.