I was introduced to woodworking by my grandfather, Oliver Williams, when I was just 6 years old. I was allowed to “help” my granddad (a CPR steamship Captain) work on a variety of wooden items in his basement workshop. We most often made our projects from lumber salvaged from ships being refitted at the CPR docks so it was years before I realized that not everything was made from teak and mahogany!
Following graduation from high school I trained as a Veterinary Technician and practiced that for several years before deciding to adopt woodworking as a career change around my thirtieth birthday. I enrolled in the Fine Furniture Program at Camosun College and graduated as the top student in 1990. My first job was as a contractor working for BC Transit restoring two electric rail streetcars before setting up shop as a self-employed woodworker. I have now been designing, making, restoring and finishing a variety of wooden items for twenty years and wouldn’t want to do anything else.
I grew up in Victoria doing the usual boy activities of the era, making go-karts, tree forts, and overly detailed model car kits. After taking every available shop course in school, I decided to become a — what else — shop teacher. I completed a Bachelor of Education degree at UVic and UBC in Industrial Education and following a year of teaching high school in Port Hardy, returned to Victoria and began an apprenticeship as a Joiner-Cabinetmaker.
Following that training, I set up a tiny garage workshop and became self-employed in the early 1980’s. Two years later, I was offered a chance to return to teaching (adults this time), which I love doing. Happily, this led to establishing the Fine Furniture Program at Camosun College where I’ve now worked for 30 years and seen nearly 500 students through the 10-month program.