My first attempt at woodworking was in the 70s in the backyard shed that my old man had turned into a kind of amateur workshop. I was 12 years old and up until then touching Dad’s tools had always been forbidden. Just when I thought I would always be a spectator in the carpentry world, I heard that magical word spill from Dad’s mouth, “Doyawannahaveacrack?”.
Although it was really 7 words, my dad, like most Aussie blokes, spoke by jamming all his words together. It was the best 7-word jam I had ever heard. I jumped at the chance and spent the rest of that week running home from school to peg my school bag through my bedroom door, grab a Passiona from the fridge and then retreat to the shed. I would stay out there building a wonky hinged jewellery box until I was called for dinner.
Since then, I’ve never really downed tools. I spent 35 years as a high-end custom wooden furniture maker in Brisbane, creating some one-of-a-kind pieces from incredible cuts of wood. Now that I’m retired, I still enjoy woodwork each and every day, but now it’s from my own shed in my own backyard, and I make one-of-a-kind pieces for family and friends. I always have a bit of a laugh when I think about how my life has changed from custom bar tops and tipi side tables to cots, chairs, and tables sized to fit the dolls of my granddaughters. Oh, if my old clients could see me now.
The upside is now I have time to write this blog and share my knowledge, experience, tips, and yarns with the world. If you’re a wannabe woodworker, a weekend dabbler, or a full-blown professional woodsman, this blog is for you. 40 years of furniture making experience will be coming at you thick and fast, so buckle in, grab a beer and your level, and let’s talk about woodwork.
If you’re still wondering about that wonky jewellery box, I gave it to my mum for Mother’s day and she still has it to this day!