WoodworkingWeb Interview: Whitacrebespoke

This interview with Whitacrebespoke is from December, 2015

1. What is your “inspiration story” — where did your interest in woodworking all begin?

I have been interested in wood working for a long time, since I was a boy. My dad was a carpenter/joiner and I wanted to be just like him I suppose. I also for a short time had an excellent wood/metal work teacher called Mr King who actually looked a lot like my dad and inspired those who were keen to learn and had raw talent to nurture.

2. Who is your woodworking mentor and why?

My Dad was my mentor for many years he became terminally ill at Christmas 1993 and never returned to work properly but he was fit enough to help me and show me how to do jobs when I was working for myself he also helped me with my GCSE wood working course work.

3. Power or hand tools?

I run a hybrid system. I make gates commercially and cannot afford to do that with out some mechinisation. There are time however that working by hand can be quicker. When I started my dad would only let me use a machine if I could do a job by hand first.

4. What is your dream project and when do you think you will tackle the challenge?

I have three challenges on the bucket list. First is to make a piece of furniture with Marquetry panels. The second is to master 3d carving. The final one is to build my own timber framed house that is both traditional in its construction and has as few chemicals, man made materials and as low an impact on the environment as possible.

When I will do these projects well who knows. The first one I will attempt in the next 5 years. The second is only a matter of more practise. As for number 3 I’m not sure I will ever be able to afford to do it.

5. What is the greatest gift that this craft gives you?

an amazing sense of achievement. I have suffered with depression since losing my father at Christmas 2013 and losing a business 4 months later; my craft gives me the power to deal with it. I can go to the shop put on some music or a talking book and just get lost in what I am trying to achieve. It is always testing my mental capacity to as there’s always things to think about and more complex projects to undertake. I will never be done learning.

6. What are your “words of wisdom” that you want to pass on to others, especially to beginners?

assumption is the mother of all mistakes. Keep your tools and pencil sharp. It’s not your mistakes that are the problem but how you deal with your mistakes. Do not let your perceived ability hold you back; we can all be guilty of beginners syndrome early in our careers but you will never be a master woodworker unless you try and we all have to start somewhere.

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Kepy ...

Very inspiring interview.

Mike40 ...

Nice story, one that is easy to relate to and a good reminder that we cannot expect life to always be an upward trajectory.

a1jim ...

Very good interview,it’s always interesting to learn more about individuals and how they got involved in woodworking.your story is very interesting ,I’ve always admired your great looking gates but was unaware that you made them for a living.Keep the good work.

Wolf (& Rabbit!) ...

I liked what you were saying about goals. Having them is important and having challenging ones probably just as important. When you said that number three might not ever happen I didn’t hear any regret, you still have it as a goal and that’s the important part. You just never know.

Wheaties - Bruce A Wheatcroft ( BAW Woodworking) ...

Very interesting , your talent shows in your work, and woodworking is definitely good way to deal with stress . I get 3 hrs a day in my shop and like you I turn on the radio and forget about everything else for awhile . You were blessed to have your Dad be part of your training .

Jack ...

I really enjoyed reading your responses in the interview. I always look forward to your posts and seeing you talents. I admit I had to google it to find out what the heck hedge laying involves. Thank you.

lanwater ...

“I will never be done learning”
I fully agree.

Great interview.

Whitacrebespoke ...

Thanks guys, Jack hedgelaying is cutting a living stem part way through so you can bend it over. These cut stems are then placed around a series of stakes in order to keep the growth together to form the new hedgerow. It is a skill that takes a very short time to Learn the basics but many years to master.

Whitacrebespoke ...

Bruce I will never rule it out I assure you I did a timber framed barn project with a guy in his 70s who was doing it to learn timber framing it was his second barn he had built with this particular lead carpenter. I got talking to him over a beer one night he was a time served joiner who had taught wood work for 20 years. He had built his own house and now wanted to build his own timber framed barn that I really admired. So even if I have to do it in my old age I shall never stop thinking, Dreaming, designing a house of my own. Maybe just maybe I will get to build it or maybe I can just use the techniques to build a hand tool shop.

Wheaties - Bruce A Wheatcroft ( BAW Woodworking) ...

I built a 75’ X 150’ by 18’ high pole barn , a 40’ X 40’ two story pole type garage , and in 1979 I drew up the plans for my house and built it . bad news , in 1985 a very bitter divorce left me with no house and 6 acres of land . But I loved every minute of construction .

Whitacrebespoke ...

Bruce, my house plans evolve in my head on a regular basis so does my ideal hand tool/ wood turning shop.

That would be two stories with lathes up stairs along with carving benches. Then down stairs an 8-9ft ceiling height and a big long most likely 12-14ft long heavy work bench in the middle then a smaller assembly bench with several tool cabinets around the outside. Log burner at one end down stairs with a flat top to boil kettle. That would be traditional timber frame with hazel wattle and daub wall panels insulated with sheep fleece lime rendered inside. Hey I could sleep in there when I fall out with the mrs too. To have a shop like that is all but a dream as I struggle to scrape a living while building the business rapidly.

Bo Peep ...

Inspiring story

Whitacrebespoke ...


Wheaties - Bruce A Wheatcroft ( BAW Woodworking) ...

That would be a an excellent work shop . Hope you are able to build it someday .