Does Simon Thomas Pirie love a bit of wood? Does Banksy love a wall? The man is obsessed.

Within five minutes of my arriving at his showroom in deepest Briantspuddle I have got him to admit that he loves sniffing wood and, within a very short space of time we are in his workshop, inhaling the scent of freshly-sliced sycamore and walnut.

“Every tree smells differently,” he says. “I think my favourite is sycamore; it’s like gently-cooking butter, really lovely.”

Oak is apparently ‘vinegary’. Walnut smells ‘like pepper, almost’.

And elm is ‘revolting’. “Well, perhaps not as bad as that but it’s an acquired taste, I think, a rich, pungent smell,” he says.

Having inhaled a lung-full of chopped sycamore and then walnut, I have to admit he’s right – the fragrance is quite extraordinary.

“I like coming in when we’re just cutting into a big project,” he says, indicating the workshop where his team of four are busy creating everything from diminutive end-grain side-tables, to leviathan kitchens for houses in Sandbanks, or public art created from the limbs of scorched oak for Persimmon Homes in East Shaftesbury.

He loves timber with a passion.

He studied fine art at university but; “Even then I tended to do stuff in wood. I think I have a natural affinity to it.”

Following the pull he joined the course at Dorset’s Parnham House, run by the legendary John Makepeace. “I moved here because of Parnham.”

He approved of the course’s environmental credentials and the way it looked at how to use British forestry in a more creative way.

“That theme and use of native timbers has stuck with me as a key principle of what we do,” he says. He avoids tropical hardwoods because of the eco-arguments against them and 80 per cent of the time guides clients towards UK timber which he adores and supports despite holding the view that British forestry is in a ‘pretty sad and sorry state, frankly’.

“We’re good at protecting strips of green between towns and villages but our woodland cover is much less than other European countries and it’s to do with the world wars,” he says, explaining that our timber stocks were severely depleted by the two conflicts.

Did I know the Forestry Commission was set up as a response to World War I? I did not, but it shows how important the provision of useable timber is to our nation. “That need goes right back to Henry VIII using oak timbers for warships,” says Simon.

He is fussy about where he buys his raw material: “You need to have yards with lots of choice so you can almost select the log,” he says. He’s developed his own strand for finding suitable timber, connecting with foresters and tree-surgeons. “They’ll tell us about possible trees which have come down or will be felled,” he says.

He needs huge limbs and long trunks in order to provide the expanse of wood necessary, for instance, to construct the beautiful round table that sits like a vast, brown eye, in his showroom.

It was made out of walnut with veneers hand-cut on site and is exquisite but practical too – the centre is an inset Lazy Susan, to assist with moving food around the surface. It took 180 hours to make and on top would be the price of the timber – it’s easy to see why you have to have a certain income bracket to engage him although his elegant side table sells for a mere £350.

He shows me some signature pieces; the dresser that appears to be leaning back against the wall, the lozenge-shaped dining table, redolent of his inspiration which is the British Arts and Crafts movement although, he says, he is extremely fond of the work of the late designer and furniture-maker Ronald Carter.

He’s designed ceremonial chairs and a mace for Bournemouth University and enjoyed tackling a brief in which he was asked to turn a ceremonial drum into a piece of furniture for its owner. He’s currently working on a kitchen with two unfeasibly large islands and enjoys bringing his designer’s eye to these challenges. He shows me pictures of a cocktail bar he’s made for a home in North Dorset as well as a library and several desks.

Watching him run his hands over the walnut veneer, seeing his eyes light up as he talks about his public art commission I already know the answer to my last question as to if he has any hobbies outside his work.

“My living is my hobby,” he says.