About us

Ever since he can remember, Mark Foale has wanted to make beautiful things. After graduating from UCT's Michaelis School of Fine Art, Mark spent several years painting and exhibiting, before a chance opportunity helped turn his attentions to furniture-making. From this fortuitous opportunity a business developed, and Benchmark Wood Classics was officially founded in 1993.

Over the years, Benchmark has grown from strength to strength. While the focus of the business has always been top-of-the-range custom-made timber outdoor furniture, Benchmark has also worked on numerous projects involving beautifully handcrafted interior items – both contemporary and reproduction.

While Mark concentrates on running the workshop and producing the furniture, Sarah Foale - his "partner in all things" - handles the sales, administration and financial side of the business. This complementary relationship means that each of them gets to do what they really enjoy, making for very happy teamwork.

Mark and Sarah are supported in the business by a long-standing team of loyal and dedicated staff, most of whom arrived at the workshop with minimal carpentry skills and have been trained by Mark in everything from delicate hand-sanding and intricate joinery to operating the machines. They make a point of ensuring that all employees take pride in the work they do as individuals, and in the beautiful items of furniture that they produce together as a team.

Benchmark takes great pleasure in offering a true personalised service to its clients, and in producing items specifically created to fulfill both aesthetic and practical purposes for years to come.