This month, our fellow WoodworkingWeb member, RobsCastle, has graciously shared his story with us.
Robert has been a member of our community since November of last year and has shared nine beautiful creations with us, thus far. As I scan through his showcase, I am drawn to his "Organic Stool", over and over again. I love the natural lines he has been able to create in the legs and the seat. (Check out the description to learn more the design and creation.)
When I asked about the origins of his interest in woodworking, like many others Robert thought of his father.
"My inspiration would have come originally from my late father, as we grew up on a farm in western NSW Australia and he was, amongst other things, in my eyes a very capable carpenter, building items for the home from a variety of materials. It was possibly only later in life I realized this, after doing woodwork at high school.
After leaving school, I wanted to be a carpenter but obtaining an apprenticeship in the area was never to be. I always had woodworking tools and I guess I repeated some of my fathers inherited skills during my lifetime."
With his father as his first Mentor, Robert shares that the internet has opened to doors to gathering many mentors and teachers online.
"[...] having the internet, some well known names like Sam Maloof would have been recognized [as mentors], however as a mentor is somebody living and providing inspiration and advice, it covers a range of very talented fellow members of woodworking forums, of which I usually recognize when inspired to build projects. "
When interviewing woodworkers, I always like to know their preference in regards to tools. Robert likes POWER: "air driven, electrical power driven, petrol driven, and finally muscle driven", as they all have a place in assisting with the build.
Robert's favourite part of woodworking is "the completion stage of a project and the acknowledgement aspects received as well". The most challenging part is "the striving for continual improvement in excellence in results, then in practice making items never before attempted and being successful. A physical example would be the curved front box and organic stool I have recently posted. The strange part is, however, now they do not seem anywhere near as challenging if done again."
From challenges to dreams - and what is Robert's dream project?
"My dream project is a bit abstract but would be along the lines of producing a community-based project that lived on long after me and signatured my skills for ongoing generations to see and become also inspired, to allow woodworking to continue for years to come."
When asked what the greatest gift is that woodworking has brought to him, Robert replied, "A very easy question to answer: Knowledge, Skills and Attitude. Simply put, the KSA allows you work away, sometimes on your own enjoying yourself, a bit like a stress reliever from other life’s situations."
Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude - and what other "words of wisdom" does he have to pass along to beginning woodworkers?
"This question is a little more complex to answer, I don’t really have an answer either, apart from "as with everything we do in life it will always have its ups and downs and with woodwork expect to produce lots of sawdust and scraps before you produce satisfactory results". Maybe I could add don’t forget to look back on you previous projects and conduct a self assessment on you present skills. Not really sure of a WOW answer, I think that’s just life."
Yes, Robert, that is life. Well put.
Thank-you, RobsCastle, for taking the time to do this interview with us and share your story.