I started woodworking around the age of ten, in middle school. I remember doing little projects like building balsa wood (and plastic) models before that as well. Some time in middle school, I started to build my shop. In high school, I landed a job (my first aside from delivering newspapers for holiday relief) at a little family run store called Lee Valley Tools.
I graduated from high school and decided to take a year off to ponder which trade school I’d go to for post-secondary. I was considering British Columbia Instutute of Technology (BCIT), Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), and Inside Passage. One year went by, then two. I had spent so much time reading and practicing woodworking, I wasn’t sure that the money invested in school would be worth it. So I didn’t go back and I’ve yet to regret that.
I continued to work at Lee Valley while practicing woodworking in my shop. I keep an open mind and continue to practice many fields of woodworking including furniture making, box making, shop-grade cabinet making, hand carving, power carving pyrography, and turning. Through Lee Valley, I met some very valuable contacts, most notably Dave K., who mills wood as a hobby. We barter – I make him stuff and he mills wood for me. It’s a pretty sweet deal. Through LV, I also got a couple small jobs for extra cash. My first commission was for a staff member. I underpriced it at $800, but I was grateful for the experience. I continued to make furniture for friends.
In November 2008, I officially opened my company Flair Woodworks. I have a woodworking background, not a business background. I told myself that I would take it one step at a time, and that has worked so far. Tax time is coming though… Under Flair Woodworks, I’ve been quite productive, turning out work on a regular basis. I learned early on that working with a budget in mind is not the way to do good work. Some might argue that building without a budget in mind is not good business, but I’d much rather provide too-expensive work of excellent quality than low-priced, flawed work. I could not live with that.
I am proud of everything that comes out of my shop. Some of it is quite regular other quite spectacular, some controversial, and my recent work is even a little quirky. All of my work is built as I am inspired to do so. Inspiration is everywhere, as I like to say.
I would categorize my turned pens and carved tulips as “regular”. Sure, I’ve added my flair to them, but they are still quite traditional in appearance.
Two of the more spectacular (in detail as well as sheer size) are my recent butternut Vined Headboard requiring over a hundred hours to carve the panel or the waterfall bubinga table I’ve dubbed “Flow” which was a joint project with Morgan (AZMO).
My most recent piece, “A Classic with a Twist” has stirred up quite a controversy. Most people appreciate the reuse of the walnut, but I’ve gotten a lot of frowners who compared the top to a wood floor.
“Green Man Chris” (my self-portrait) would definitely fall under quirky.
At 22 years of age, I definitely still have a lot to learn. The day I die will be the day I stop learning. I am always trying new things and pushing the limits of what can be done because you’ll never know where the line is until you cross it.
Woodworkers know that plugs are useful for covering screw holes. Here’s another type of plug: If you visit http://www.flairwoodworks.com, you can see all my aforementioned projects in the gallery!