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How Ullapool teenager (18) became an entrepreneur after teaching himself woodturning


By Iona M.J. MacDonald

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Young entrepreneur from Wester Ross, Daniel Stewart.
Young entrepreneur from Wester Ross, Daniel Stewart.

Meet the Wester Ross teenager (18) who runs his own business after teaching himself woodturning.

Daniel Stewart, a former Ullapool High School pupil, began woodturning when he was just 14 after being gifted a lathe from his granny. Now he runs his own business, Daniel Stewart Woodturning, established in 2020.

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He is completely self-taught, having learnt this traditional skill from online videos and hard work to perfect his abilities.

Unlike other forms of woodworking, woodturning is the process of shaping wood into functional and decorative items using a lathe — where the wood is rotated while a skilled artisan uses hand-held tools to carve and shape it.

Wooden bowls turned by Daniel. Picture: Daniel Stewart Woodturning.
Wooden bowls turned by Daniel. Picture: Daniel Stewart Woodturning.

Daniel sells bowls and platters made from the wood he finds on his estate based in Garve, before he finishes them with food-safe Danish oil and beeswax so that customers can use them however they like. The Wester Ross entrepreneur also takes commissions for custom pieces of work, as well as French polishing and furniture restoration services.

Despite a steady stream of sales, Daniel previously faced limitations due to the equipment he was using, and he was unable to afford an upgrade to better tools to improve his efficiency.

He approached Business Gateway Highland for advice, who helped direct him towards a Highland Council start-up grant — allowing him to buy the upgraded equipment.

Daniel's stall at the Poolewe Market. Picture: Daniel Stewart Woodturning.
Daniel's stall at the Poolewe Market. Picture: Daniel Stewart Woodturning.

Daniel said: “The support I got from Business Gateway Highland allowed me to purchase equipment I wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise.

“This has helped streamline my work and allowed me to create new products, as well as working quicker to produce existing products. The Business Gateway team has been really supportive.”

To find out more about Business Gateway visit https://bgateway.com


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