After the shoot, they began talking. Tomas, a musician and producer, had always been interested in woodworking. Adriano was looking for an apprentice. Tired of the grind of the music industry and constant touring, Tomas began apprenticing under Adriano.
He spent a year in Adriano’s Loures Lisbon shop, working from 4:30 am to 7 pm every day except Sunday, learning the craft. Out on his own, he decided to set up shop in Lisbon’s Marvila neighborhood in October 2018 and named it Tiny Room Woodworks. The workshop began in a tiny room, hence the name, but since then he’s moved to a slightly roomier space.
A scroll through his Facebook page makes his passion for woodworking obvious. In addition to his desire to explore other types of woodworking not related to music—leading him to create artisan, one-of-a-kind custom furniture, jewellery boxes, and cutting/bread boards—he’s also fascinated by vintage tools of the trade. These chisels, mallets, and planes are part of creating modern-day heirlooms.
For the kitchen (as well as all of his projects), his construction process is organic. He typically makes three cutting boards at a time mostly using hand tools. “This is hard work, but the results achieved are worth it. Many of the tools I use are over 100 years old. Each board is unique, I like that no two are the same,” Tomas told Relish Portugal.
It takes between 2-4 days to complete a board, allowing the wood to suggest how he should handle it. No two pieces of wood are the same and that’s part of the magic. He’s careful to use responsibly sourced woods. “If I’m using exotics, I make sure these were cut before any bans to avoid contributing to poaching,” he added.
Tomas also makes his own finish, it’s the only way to be certain of what goes into it, and uses the best raw materials available. The finish is beeswax-based, food-safe, cosmetic-grade, and organic.
Explore the beauty, art, and craftsmanship that is Tiny Room Woodworks on Facebook at @tinyroomwoodworks. Orders are taken by email and Tomas carefully selects a few wood options for each client to choose from. This takes time and effort but it’s worth it in the satisfaction and enjoyment of a custom handcrafted product, often resulting in friendships through the mutual love of a finely crafted piece of functional art.
Tiny Room Woodworks’ Sunny Day Shrimp Salad
A meat-loving Argentinian, since moving to Portugal, Tomas has adjusted his tastes to the climate and the wonderful availability of fresh seafood. This no-fuss, light dish is perfect for those hot sunny days that summer brings.
- 500 grams cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
- few tomatoes, wedged
- shallot, julienne sliced
- avocado, sliced
- freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- Portuguese olive oil
- Algarvian flor de sal
Combine shrimp and vegetables. Dress with lemon juice and olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and serve in a beautiful bowl with a hunk of freshly-sliced bread to soak up the juices or make an open-faced sandwich.
Learn more about Portugal’s thriving food and culture scene in the award-winning, English-language Relish Portugal magazine. It’s a free, online, quarterly publication for Portugal lovers everywhere. New issue comes out on 19 July. Sign up now to receive your copy in your inbox plus get access to all past issues at relishportugal.com.