I often get the questions of "How did you start?", "What got you into woodworking?", or "How did you learn to do all that?" and my answer has always been this:
When I moved to Kitchener-Waterloo area at the end of 2004, I rented an apartment which didn't have any closet space in the bedroom or kitchen counter space. The apartment used the old fashioned radiators and this also limited the usable space. I looked around at furniture stores for anything that would fit my needs, but everything I saw was either too big or too expensive. It was then that I decided to build my own IKEA style furniture.
I purchased a few tools from Home Hardware and Walmart (yes, Walmart - they had a bag of 3 tools for $50 back in the day) and I set off to create a wardrobe. Cutting the huge sheets of melamine was fun for the store - I was brought up using centimetres and milimetres, but the store preferred inches and feet even though they had measuring tapes for both scales. With a little patience all was done and I used the living room of the apartment as a workshop. I must say the wardrobe turned out quite well and I still use it to this day.
After the wardrobe, I did my kitchen counter top; and the left over material was used to make a small corner bookcase, end tables, and a shelf. It wasn't too long before I bought real woodworking machinery and did my first custom order for a chest of drawers followed by a bathroom vanity. However, doing big projects from a living room of an apartment building was not quite comfortable - for me or for the neighbours. I needed a dedicated space and spent four months looking for a house with a good-sized garage which I could use as my workshop.
I found that house and spent an entire year renovating the workshop space: insulation, drywall, electrical, heat, ventilation, and flooring. I had the chance to build the shop according to my specifications, and I did. This workshop has been my headquarters ever since.
As far as how I learned how to do things, a quote by Albert Einstein comes to mind:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand."
I was never formally trained in woodworking. Aside from a few one-day seminars, all that I've come to know has been through trial and "terror"! It is my belief that the knowledge I have gained from experimentation has made me better at what I do. After all, you can't improve or grow if you can't push a few boundaries. I am handy with tools so everything came naturally to me.
One of my crowning achievements has been being accepted as a vendor with a booth at the St. Jacob's Farmers market. This has given me exposure to a wider market. Despite the losses in the fire in 2013, I rebuilt, and business is bigger and better than ever. To compliment my physical store, I have embarked on a journey to bring you this website. Thank you for visiting!