WoodworkingWeb Interview: Thorreain

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This interview, with Thorreain, is from February, 2015

1. What is your “inspiration story” — where did your interest in woodworking all begin?
My interest in woodworking began at 6 years of age, when I would find scraps of wood in my fathers garage and make airplanes from them. But my true love of woodworking began at 11. My best friends father owned the local ship building yard on the east coast of Nova Scotia, Brenton Greys Boat Building. We would spend our summers building a camp in the woods about a mile back from the road. We worked for the boatyard by selecting trees that had knees in them for the building process. We also got to help build punts in exchange for a punt of our own each. As well we got first pick on any salvage or demolition in the area. Sometimes it would take over a week just to haul a piece of painted nailed inch thick piece of marine grade plywood back thru the path to our camp site. Together we built a wonderful camp on the lake. After we moved away when I was a teen, I found out that my friend eventually tore it down to build a real house for himself and his bride where they live to this day. But we both still reminisce over every stick and every nail that we scrounged for and used to create our own paradise.

2. Who is your woodworking mentor and why?
My mentor would have to be my first boss after leaving the military. I was a paratrooper in the airborne regiment of Canada and a pathfinder. George was an old paratrooper as well from WWII. He taught me that everything that could be done with any other tool could be done with a table saw. Together we built a ton of props for the convention center we worked for. Most of which are still in use. Like a 12 foot tall rendition of a gazebo that is still used indoors for weddings.

3. Power or hand tools? … and why
For tools, my professional life as a woodworker was spent under some type of time frame or goal so power tools were a must. Once owning my own business, Chris Lockert Woodworking Ltd., I progressively started to buy more and more hand tools, trying to recapture some of the skills I had as a young lad building boats and a camp. Now I pick the tool based on how I feel when working the wood.

4. What is your dream project and when do you think you will tackle the challenge?
My dream Job will be to replace the kitchen table and chair set in my house. Every other piece of furniture I own I have built in my house and my children’s houses. The dining room set was built by my great grandfather from red oak that he felled and milled and then crafted by hand tools back in the day. I hope to build a newer version, but an heirloom just the same. My wifey has the design wood and colours picked and has given me the go ahead to start. Right now all that I am doing is collecting the wood, next winter will be the beginning of the project.

5. What is the greatest gift that this craft gives you?
This craft has been through the years my bedrock for my working life. From small projects to complete houses I have done it all and thought it was a love of working with my hands and creating things from wood that allowed me to see clearly. Today it is like physio therapy and psycho therapy both allowing me to have a reason to get up every day and go to the shop to work with wood and my hands.

6. What are your “words of wisdom” that you want to pass on to others, especially to beginners?
Some words, not necessarily wisdom, but here they are, treat everyone you ever meet as if they were your grandmother asking for help. Never pass an opportunity to learn from a crafts person, as they have discovered through the years more than you may ever stumble upon your self.

~CHRIS, Charlottetown PEI Canada. Anytime you can repurpose, reuse, or recycle, everyone wins!

-- Toxins Out, Nature In - body/mind/spirit

Jeff- I can usually make a batch of 3 or 4 in a week, about 20 hours shop time. I have not used a template yet, but if I get another order I have said that I will finally make a template from Lexan. I seem to get orders for these in spurts, it’s nice to have a break in between making them as it gets boring boring all those holes, lol.

-- CHRIS, Charlottetown PEI Canada. Anytime you can repurpose, reuse, or recycle, everyone wins!

The epoxy top coat was an inspiration from this site actually. One of the posts made me want to try it, I thought it would be a fitting finishing finish to a wonderful build. I love the decision, it challenged me to try something new. A lot of what I have learned recently is because of you all on this site. I continue to learn new things everyday in what ever I do but comming to this site has more than doubled my learning curve since being here. Thanks to all that take the time to post their projects and those who make suggestions or ask questions.

-- CHRIS, Charlottetown PEI Canada. Anytime you can repurpose, reuse, or recycle, everyone wins!

Thanks again all for the comments. Jeff, I truly live by the grandmother theory, I guess it is my morals. Thanks L/W I try to spill my guts as well as my pictures. Yes lanwater the bench was a fun project, did you expect it to turn out that way in the end? Yes mike we do all seem to care about others more than usual here, thanks to Martin and MsDebbie for allowing us like minded people to get together.

-- CHRIS, Charlottetown PEI Canada. Anytime you can repurpose, reuse, or recycle, everyone wins!

I enjoyed this interview with Chris as it is always interesting getting to know our fellow woodworkers better. As usual I envy anyone who was lucky enough to get such an early start with woodworking and even managed to earn money at it, but the red thread that seems to run through all these interviews is a love of woodworking and deep-seated respect for other people. It all makes me glad to be a small part of this little world.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway

This is a great interview MsDebbie.

You got some great word of wisdom Chris. This fine interview has allowed me to get an insight of what drives you.
You got my admiration very early on when you started building your bench.

It’s great having you on this site.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

Thorreain i believe if everyone in this world would treat others as if they would treat there grandmother it would be a much more friendly world. However, in my opinion it all comes down to morals. Great getting to know you at a deeper level. Thank you.

-- Jeff Vandenberg aka "Woodsconsin"

Thanks for the comments guys. Brian, my old mentor George had a hick kind of twang accent, including calling a notch a “Natch”. Jack, I have done a lot of different types of artwork over the years starting at a young age drawing, painting sculpture logo design and most recently wood carving. Paul, yes we do have a lot in common, you have built quite a lot more boats than I, but I have built 7 small craft including 2 canoes, but the most we think the same way is using push Stix, I use the same technique with a finger over the fence and only trust my shoe style that my son made me some 20 years ago. As far as boats go, my first attempt was a broken dorey that I cut the front 8’ off with a chainsaw then put a transome on that and rowed into history as the locals laughed their asses of, that was when I was 11.

-- CHRIS, Charlottetown PEI Canada. Anytime you can repurpose, reuse, or recycle, everyone wins!

What a great interview! It’s good to get to know more about our friend and the lifetime of experience that made you the artist and person you are today.

-- Jack

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