Get­ting to grips with wood­work

DAILY GRIND Mas­ter crafts­man David Mead has carved a ca­reer out of wood­work. Re­porter Jess Lee stopped by his work­shop to find out why he thinks more peo­ple should get to grips with the trade.

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Pa­tience, some sharp tools and a can-do at­ti­tude are all you need in the world of wood­work, David Mead says.

‘‘If you don’t have ra­zor­sharp tools in wood­work for­get it, it’s as sim­ple as that. Wood is com­pletely un­for­giv­ing.’’

The 69-year-old has been play­ing with tim­ber since the age of three and by the age of 15 had learned how to build a state house from the ground up.

To­day Mr Mead cre­ates oneof-a-kind hand-crafted pieces of fur­ni­ture in his One­hunga work­shop.

He still uses one of the first pieces he made, a steplad­der cre­ated 58 years ago.

But things in the in­dus­try aren’t up to scratch any­more, he says.

‘‘We’ve lost so much. It was Wil­liam Mor­ris, a co-founder of the arts and crafts move­ment, who said the ma­chine will de­stroy the soul of man and I be­lieve it’s hap­pen­ing.’’

The best ed­u­ca­tion for young­sters look­ing to learn a trade was in the 1960s, he says.

He trained as an ar­chi­tec­tural draughts­man and un­der- took a cabi­net-mak­ing ap­pren­tice­ship in 1963 be­fore work­ing as a wood­work and tech­ni­cal draw­ing teacher for al­most two decades.

A knack for craft runs in his fam­ily with a pic­ture-fram­ing fa­ther, a wood­work­ing grand­fa­ther and now his son and daugh­ter who are also handy with a chisel.

‘‘I’m not an artist,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s all about be­ing hand­son and craft­ing use­ful arte­facts rather than mak­ing things just to look at.’’

Soon his work­shop will host up to 10 novice wood­work­ers for short cour­ses to pass on his skills, from ba­sic main­te­nance to cre­at­ing pieces us­ing only hand tools.

‘‘I can lit­er­ally turn my hand to any­thing.’’

That is what’s unique about learn­ing a trade, he says.

‘‘If you learn one trade thor­oughly you can take those skills across most medi­ums.’’

He says there is no greater sense of achieve­ment than mak­ing some­thing with your own two hands.

‘‘There’s a lot of peo­ple who are dis­sat­is­fied with their jobs who end up in wood­work.’’


Hands-on: David Mead is hop­ing bud­ding car­pen­ters will try their hand at his wood­work­ing course.

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