Beautiful timber can be turned into functional, practical pieces furniture – or sublime works of art. Rod Hoare, local woodworker, can lend his skill to both! A member of the Hastings Woodworkers Guild, Rod is a true craftsman …
Hi Rod. What’s your background in the local area – which part of the region do you call home?
I have lived in Wauchope for eight years now. After meeting Helen, my second wife, we spent four years sailing the Queensland coast and then travelled another four years all over Australia in our caravan. We collected weather reports to find a place where the weather was mild most of the year – no more cold winters huddled in front of the fire for us. We chose Wauchope – finding a great block of land, designing and physically building our own home. We are really glad that we chose Wauchope – love the weather, the home town feel, and friendly people – and that we are close to beaches and the sea.
Where did your interest in woodwork begin?
My brother and I were always building things at home – billycarts, of course – then I made items at school like match box holders and trivets.
I started my working life as an apprentice carpenter in our small country town in Victoria – Terang.
This is where I learned my trade. Back then, the ‘60s, we did everything from building the frame, building windows, even the kitchen cupboards. It is a lot easier, and quicker these days, but we did build the frames for our house – much to the amazement of local tradies.
During my apprenticeship I built surfboards, and a Quick Cat catamaran. From then on, I have worked all over Australia on hospitals, schools, shop fitting and more – from Darwin to Perth, Brisbane to Geelong, and Alice Springs. Now I enjoy making the finer things that I haven’t had the time or opportunity to make in the past.
What are some of the items you most like to create – and why do you like to make them?
I enjoy making wooden tulips, because I use a range of different woods for them and create attractive wall decorations. I often make pieces of furniture, picture frames, and any other items for our home – whatever we need – as it adds that “personal touch” to our home. I am also enjoying making a series of document boxes to hold important family history items, because these will be passed on to future generations.
It is satisfying to feel that a lot of my work, such as the wide range of chopping boards and serving platters, is being used and appreciated.
My intarsia kangaroos are now spread far and wide – from Cornwall, UK to the USA. I prefer to create new things, rather than making a lot of the same thing, so I am always thinking about new designs, and trying out new ideas.
What are your favourite timbers to work with (and why)?
My favourite timber would have to be Huon Pine. It comes from Tasmania, can be around 1,000 years old, and is increasingly difficult to find. I brought some back from Tassie some years ago and have used this for our towel rails, as well as jewellery boxes, and other items. It is a beautiful soft gold in colour, with a fine grain – very nice to handle. Blackwood is another favourite – a hard wood – that I have used with Huon Pine for our furniture.
I have also had great delight in using recycled timber – from the Terang bank for instance – to make wine holders for friends as Christmas gifts, complete with name plate stating its origin.
What’s one of your favourite pieces you’ve created so far, and how long did it take to finish?
One of the biggest jobs, and I think the most beautiful, was the set of 12 Stations of the Cross that are in the Anglican Church here. They took over three months to complete, using a variety of local timbers.
What pieces of workshop equipment could you simply not be without?
I only have a small workshop at home in the back yard, but my favourite would have to be the thicknesser. It is amazing when you run a rough piece of timber through this, to expose the beautiful grain and colour of the wood that wasn’t visible before, and to make it into something special.
What skills do you think are necessary to be a good craftsman?
With woodworking, patience, accuracy, and attention to detail are needed – but I think you also need a love and appreciation for the wood itself, from tree to finished article, so you feel satisfaction in creating the finished product – whether that be practical furniture or piece of art.
You’re involved with the Hastings Woodworkers Guild. What’s your role with the organisation – and how does the Guild help woodworkers locally?
I am currently the Membership Coordinator, and Special Events Coordinator.
The Guild is a great meeting place for local woodies, as members can attend as often as they want, to learn or share skills and ideas. The Guild not only has a wide range of machinery available for members to use, but also a wide range of wood to buy as members’ slab and dry logs on site.
What upcoming activities/event does the Woodworkers’ Guild have planned for the next few months?
The Hastings Woodworkers Guild has just had a very successful Annual Exhibition at Laurieton United Services Club, with the support of FOCUS, but there are no events coming up – being the end of the year. We work together with community organisations to assist where possible, and club items made by members are displayed and for sale at our workshop.
Where can we find out more about what you do?
Our meeting place is at Timbertown Heritage Park in Wauchope, and we are open to the public from Thursday to Monday all year; seven days a week during school holidays. New members are always welcome, including those new to woodworking.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the Guild, can give me a call on 0408 684 802 or email firstname.lastname@example.org