I am largely a self taught woodworker, like most I started out building larger structures such as decks and fences. As my skills developed I started making outdoor furniture such as, picnic tables, Muskoka chairs and side tables. As my skills developed and my workshop expanded with bench tools, I built kitchen and bathroom cabinets, bookcases, toys, sheet music stands, cheese and bread boards and serving trays.
I also teach part time at a high school leading the students through plans to build octagonal picnic tables. 2014-2015 I worked with a class of special needs students designing and building first a scale model then a full size cedar playhouse for the kindergarten play area. The kids learned how to square a large structure using the 3-4-5 rule (also known as Pythagorean Theorem). They learned ratios, structural construction, roof angles, as well as how to safely use hand, portable power and bench tools (the pneumatic nail gun was their favourite!). The plan for the playhouse I created, used a technique called corner post construction using plank infill" and according to Wikipedia... “earliest building types of French-Canada used extensively by the Hudson’s Bay Company for trading posts across Canada”
Most of my projects are built from my own plans. I like to retain as much character of the wood as possible, filling knot holes with resin as opposed to excluding them and favour natural wood oils over varnish. All the bread/cheese boards are finished with a food safe oil.
I try to use scraps and upcycled wood as much as possible, not because I am cheap but because I believe in preserving our natural resources. Old wood tends to be more stable and often you can get widths of boards that are unheard of in modern lumberyards. I have 20" wide 2" thick planks of cedar rescued from local heritage building that are waiting to be turned into something beautiful again.