Born In Maniwaki Québec In 1972, educated entirely in French language.
It was in 1983 that my father exposed me to working with my hands while living way northern Quebec in Lebel Sur Quevillion. He worked at a lumber mill supporting a paper mill called Domtar, we lived in a trailer that shuttered and bounced with the winter winds.
A side porch with 3 walls and a roof was what he made into his first wood workshop. It was 5′ X 16′, just wide enough for a small workbench and shelves that held his hand tools, a skill saw, belt sander and router.
He always wanted to work with his hands with wood, he took all trades while in high school, electrical, plumbing, electronics, and woodworking. Efficient and capable in all, his passion was always working with his hands in wood, so he set out in that small shop(porch) to create furniture for our home, he made a complete bedroom suite, a dining room hutch, a kitchen pedestal table and four dining room chairs, all out of solid oak. All in that small side porch. We still use that furniture today.
My role in this was the, “hold this here”, “pass that tool there”, “sweep up the work space” helper. I remember the wood shaving rolling off the hand plane and wondering if I ever could make them curl like he did!
I remember the disappointment on his face when we forgot to bring in the glue overnight and found it frozen as a block the next day, it became my assignment to bring in the glue. Sadly, we bought quite a many glue bottles before these projects were done!
We moved back to home town Maniwaki, he sold his cleaning business and bought the bare bones tools to start a real furniture shop. Economy soon dictated that furniture craftsmen could not make a living in that town, kitchen cabinets became the main source of work to provide for our family. I finished high school and started working with him more than summers and school breaks. I will never forget when he left me alone in charge of making an entire kitchen and installing it with a helper, and even collecting the cheque, all before he got back from vacation. He was pretty proud and thrilled to have trained me well enough to execute such a task!
I leave home and move to Toronto, try doing a few other jobs since I was “not going to be like Dad.” A few years later, I was looking for work and talking to my Dad on the phone about what to do. He simply said with a supportive but direct tone, “You are very capable with your hands Son, why don’t you look for a wood working position?” It’s from that moment on, I had this desire to work again with my hands, creating and crafting what I consider to be wood art.
I worked for two shops in Toronto, gaining much experience and confidence along the way. A shared shop arrangement for one of those previous employers turned into me taking over the lease, and tools when the owner could no longer make the payments. I had my own wood working shop!
2003 Due to family circumstances we moved out of Toronto to Mono Ontario, found a property that could have a shop built and a house that was suitable for our family members needing care.
My Dad sold his shop in Quebec and joined with me once again to create custom Millwork and one of a kind wood works. We built our shop and worked together until August 20th 2012 when he lost his fight with Cancer.