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Thread: Hi from WA

  1. #1
    Timeless Timber Guest

    Default Hi from WA

    Hello from the Wild West.

    My background in timber started when I was born I guess, My father was born 1931 and became a qualified Carpenter Joiner in 1952 after a 5 year apprenticeship, during which time he also passed his master builders registration exams at night school & who worked all his adult life as a master builder starting out on war service settlement housing and shearing shed construction at Wundowie and then Perrilup near Rockie Gully for a total of 2 years (You had to get 2 years experience after your 5 year apprenticeship) in the industry before you could work as a master builder in those days. He worked in Perth as a master builder (Apex home Builders) from about 1952 - until about 1987 roughly, when he "semi retired" too pursue his love of fine furniture work in Nannup in the States southwest until he passed away in 2005 at age 74. He was trained as a kid by his grandfather, who got his trade certificate in Carpentry and Joinery in Dundee Scotland in 1888.

    As a kid i grew up with dad (and other tradesmen) all building moulded bondwood boats in our back shed, the smell of nightingale glue and later fiberglasss resin, still too this day brings back fond memories.

    I spent about 19 years in partnership with my old dad from 1987 until he passed on new years day Jan 2005, 9 days before his 75th birthday.

    For the first 8 years of the total 19 years I worked full time as a Forester with the local Conservation & Land Management Department (CALM) and part time with my dad in our timber business. From 1995 - 2006 I worked with and later alone in our joint business.

    I never bothered to get any sort of trade certificate, my old man taught me far more in those 19 years than any govt sanctioned night school was going too teach me!.

    I ran and operated our sawmill, cutting specialty timber logs from our log contract, and then kiln drying them in our evaporative dehumidifying kiln.

    We then took the timber once dried down to 12% EMC (Equilibrium Moisture Content) and manufactured on a seasonal basis - cabinets joinery but mostly our first love, solid timber hand crafted furniture.

    The furniture was all made with stopped mortise and tenon-ed joints and these were all epoxy glued and hidden dowel pinned.

    My old man was fastidious about making the joint more mechanically strong than the parent timber it was made from as they used too on the old days and NOT just relying on the strength of the glue. His mantra was that the furniture had too be capable of lasting hundreds of years and out lasting multiples of generations or it was a waste of materials and time making it.

    No finger joints, biscuit joints, and electronically cured glue joints for us!

    Of course - it ended up we made some great heirloom type furniture from trees that we took from the forest floor too the showroom floor completely ourselves.....but I worked it out one day and we worked for about $3 an hour, when all was said and done.

    Our favored local timbers were Jarrah, Marri, Blackbutt, & West Australian coastal sheoke!.

    We supplied many tonnes of sheoke into WA's boat building industry over the years - quite a few of the WA Naval Architect Gavin Mair designed luxury charter boats plying the Kimberly's with a helicopter on board and wealthy American tourists are all trimmed out with sheoke that I milled and kiln dried myself.

    This was some of the sort of furniture work we did.

    It was a pretty basic workshop that we built ourselves weekends etc in the early days.

    When my old dad died in 2005 - I sold it all up, walk in - walk out, - all the tools etc even some hand tools that the old great grandfather from Dundee In Scotland had owned...and semi - retired from wood working....

    Occasionally I still get the urge to make something outta wood myself these days - but find that if I slap myself upside the head hard enough and long enough eventually the mood passes and some sanity returns, and I go back too fishing!

    I still have all 10 fingers and toes and it seems like an awful waste to get back into the timber work and maybe spoil a perfect record.

    I seem to recall a few occasions when my old dad would put his onkaparingas (fingers) into machines where they were never meant too go - involving a trip yet again too the emergency room of the Hospital in Bunbury.

    One time he cut the top off his right index finger, and that made picking up the panel pins for glazing 10 light Jarrah doors a real PIA for him...he would swear and curse a lot at the little pins - eventually he would use a magnet too pick them up.

    Then a few years later he trimmed his thumb down too the first knuckle on a drop saw...

    When it healed up he could pick up panel pins again because now his short thumb and short index finger met again. He always said if he'd know'd that would happen he would have trimmed the thumb down to match years earlier.!

    When his daughter (my sister) came to visit - while he was in hospital after cutting off his thumb... he held up his hand for her too take a look - and quick as a wink she quipped - "looks like your too tight to pay for a funeral and trying to bury yourself one piece at a time!". They both shared the same sort of sense of humor.

    Nice to meet you all!


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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Perth Hills


    Welcome Timeless Timber, I'm from WA and new here also, I'm sure you'll get as much out of this community as I have so far.

    Thanks for the story about your background, many would be envious of such an education in our art and to have had those materials and tools on hand, I for one am!!

    Don't let the memories of the past stop you doing what's in your blood, even if it means maybe spilling some, it's great fertilizer . Look towards the future and make your own history, as it sounds like you had a pretty decent mentor to build your foundations upon so you could go on and create your own style.

    Why not fish on the incoming tide and make dust on the outgoing .......and now it's time to wake up

    Hope to see you around again


  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011


    G'Day and welcome aboard. I'm only new myself but enjoying my time and the community here, I'm sure you will too

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Munruben, Qld


    Welcome aboard and nice to meet you too. Great introduction.
    Reality is no background music.
    Cheers John

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Albury Well Just Outside


    Welcome to the forum.

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