A passion for native timbers and the skill to transform them into something both beautiful and practical has seen Ross Fyfe carve out a new career for himself during the past six years. The former Civil Engineer and Project Manager has been running Wood-U-Like for more than half a decade, crafting bespoke pieces of timber furniture for his clients, and handmade homewares to sell at the markets.
Now operating as a full-time business, the former Lane Cove man moved Wood-U-Like to Belmont South at the beginning of 2018 and has been showing his wares at the Handmade in the Hunter Market since August.
Ross said his love of working with wood began a long time before he took up the tools on a professional basis.
“I remember doing woodworking in primary school and ever since then I have had an interest in wood,” he said.
“I started making furniture professionally approximately seven years ago but had made a few pieces for our home prior to that.
“The best aspect of woodworking is bringing the beauty of the timber out for all to see. Australian timbers have some of the most interesting grain patterns and colours of any timbers and bringing that out in a sympathetic design, and finishing treatment is very satisfying.
“I try to use Australian native timbers the most or recycled and/or plantation timbers. I am conscious of the impact of using exotic timbers from overseas where sometimes the governments are less interested in environmental issues than the money.”
With a preference for using traditional techniques, each product can take Ross a fair length of time to create, but he believes the result is worth all the effort.
“Dining tables can take anywhere up to a couple of weeks to make depending on the complexity of the design,” he said.
“I have recently completed a couple of blanket boxes for a client, and they take longer due to the number of hand-cut joints that need to be made. I try not to use nails or screws in the framing of the furniture preferring instead traditional wood jointing and connecting techniques.
“A burl bowl may take a day, and chopping boards are generally a couple of hours or so.
“Most of the products I make are bespoke pieces of furniture which I design in consultation with the client. Frequently the client has seen a product and would like something similar, so my task is extracting that information and providing a design suitable for fabrication.
“The other pieces I make to sell at the market are generally made from pieces of interesting timbers I have picked up along the way.
“I try to create a design that highlights the beauty of the timber I am using. Wood-U-Like has a motto ‘nature provides the beauty, we provide the design’, and I like to think that that is what we do.”
You can check out some of Ross’s handiwork at this month’s Handmade in the Hunter Market, which will be held at Kevin Sobels Wines on December 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 27, 28 and 29. The markets operate from 9am–3pm on Saturday dates and 9am–2pm on Sundays.
For more information and tickets please visit: http://hunterartsnetwork.org/artists/wood-u-like/
Images from top to bottom; Boards and Platters, Ross Fyfe, & Black Wattle and Black Heart Sassafras Hall Table