We have recently re-branded from our former name QDS Carpentry. Same people, same quality and service, just a new name that better represents us. You will also find our services advertised at sheffieldalcovestorage.com, emphasising our particular expertise in fitted alcove storage solutions.What We Do
We don't start with the woodwork, we start with you. Our passion is to understand your real needs, then work alongside you to create the best fitted furniture solution. After getting to know you and surveying the space, we can create a 3D design on our first visit, before preparing your free no-obligation quote (sent by email with JPEG drawings attached.)
We have our own workshop where we work in hand-painted boards and natural timbers. For fitted bedrooms we use the latest factory-finished components made to our designs by trusted suppliers. We have a wide knowledge of hardware and source from a number of different suppliers to provide you with the best solution for your specific needs.Who We Are
We offer a personal service: no sales people, just me the director, Alastair Johnson, as your point of contact from design through to installation, assisted by our office administrator Camilla, my wife and co-director Alison, our bench joiner and assistant installer Brady and Graeme our production supervisor. We also call on a small team of trusted part-time and subcontract workers when necessary, and we are currently looking for another apprentice.Why We Do It
The mission statement of Freebird is: 'To improve quality of life for all involved.'
We have a long term dream of reinvesting profit into the lives of those who need it most. By serving our customers we can train those just starting out with apprenticeships, as well as one day benefiting the community we live and work in.Why Choose Us?
With our emphasis on integrity, quality and service we do not expect to be the cheapest option. However we believe we offer you the best value, and by choosing us you are supporting something meaningful.Alastair's Story
I have discovered that some of my customers are interested in more of the backstory. Perhaps it's because this helps to build trust, to give confidence in the working relationship. If this applies to you, here is some more information.
I originally trained in Architecture at Sheffield University before realising I would be most satisfied working with my hands.
For 2 years I worked as a volunteer in Romania at Networks,
with street children and impoverished Roma communities, helping them to help themselves through assisted building projects and micro-enterprise, among other things. While there I was inspired to teach some of the Roma children woodwork.
On returning to the UK I retrained as a joiner. Finding the opportunity to learn a trade in my late 20s was very difficult, and this experience gave me a desire to help others who are keen to learn, of any age or background.
My ambition when I set up my own woodworking business in 2009 was to one day make it a place of training, providing the freedom of skills and self confidence to young people through apprenticeship.
At this stage I called it 'QDS', which originated from 'Quality Drawing Services' - a small side-project I had set up to offer plan drawings, to supplement my wage as an apprenticing joiner.
Once I had committed to woodworking, I was determined to build a profit-making enterprise and not a charity, and I knew it would take a while to grow the business to the stage of training people. Sooner than expected I found myself apprenticing a keen young lad from my neighbourhood who was studying joinery at college and looking for a work placement. I noticed in him a work ethic and willingness to learn that impressed me, and he soon proved his value to the business. This led to a friendship and working relationship that included me campaigning at one point for his right to remain in the country (you can see us both pictured in this Sheffield Star article
Mo has since left the business, and I took on a second apprentice, Brady Hall. He too models the importance of character over competence, that I look for in any potential employee. Where the character is good, competence can be learned, but it's not so easy the other way round.
We have grown slowly, but I believe we now have a strong foundation and something unique to offer. The hard work so far has resulted in the testimonials you can read below.