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.