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Recently I sat down with Lathe & Chisel founder Brad Melville to ask him some questions. To start off I asked Brad why he chose to work with the medium of timber. The number one reason is that wood has a great feel to it and since there are so many different types of wood with many different patterns, each piece is different even when it comes from the same tree!
Secondly, wood is relatively easy to work with. “Timber seems alive and warm to me, while metal and other materials seem dead - I don’t connect with it.”
I asked Brad about his earliest wood working experience and he told me that his Dad had a shed, where he made abstract musical instruments such as a Hammered Dulcimer, a Bowed Sultry and Gaelic Harp. And though Brad doesn’t remember actually seeing his dad work the wood, he remembers his dad’s pride when he had finished each piece.
Brad first dabbled in woodworking at school, making a simple hand fishing reel, a stool and pencil box with slide out top. He also loved doing pyrography- burning designs into wood, with a magnifying glass however “I didn’t excel but I remember thinking that I wish I could do more with wood and not go onto metalwork.”
Around the time his first child were born, Brad began to create with wood again, hand making a timber swan mobile, a pushchair and a wooden toy giraffe on wheels for his best friends son.
Woodwork was put on hold for 18 years as a Uni degree and then work was allowed to take up all Brad’s spare time. All these years later, a mate Tim invited Brad to his local woodworking club. “That initial visit started a fire in me, a yearning to create. I remember vividly the first pen I ever turned under the careful guidance of a club member named Alan. I was hooked from that first experience. Every bit of spare time I got, I went to the woodworking club”.
Seeing his interest in woodworking, Brad’s wife bought him a fine woodworking course with Stuart Bywater Designs where he learnt to make timber products without using electric tools. Through the course Brad made his first chopping board - “It made me believe that I could make beautiful things out of wood”.
Now Brad spends most of his time and energy growing and promoting his small business Lathe & Chisel and making pieces of fine woodwork, handmade locally to sell online and at the Redcliffe Jetty Markets.
His dream for Lathe & Chisel? “My dream is to make quality bespoke timber pieces available to others. I love going to the markets and chatting to people about wood and what I do. I love watching people get pleasure from what I’ve made and what they have purchased.”