Jack Gillen

After his retirement, Jack moved from the Vancouver area to the Qualicum Beach area, and retirement life has been busy busy! Along with woodworking, I do enjoy fly fishing, managing four beehives with a friend, gardening and helping with the Nile Creek Hatchery.

Having very little woodworking experience, Jack began by helping his very skilled woodworking neighbour. I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with a skilled craftsman and excellent teacher. After five years or so his friend decided to leave woodworking to spend time on other hobbies and Jack started making end grain chopping blocks and serving boards for friends and relatives.

I purchase rough hard wood boards of different colours. The boards are put through a jointer then a planer to achieve correct thickness. The boards are cut to the length required, then cut into strips. I then place the strips to make the design I want. The strips are glued and clamped together to make solid board. The board is put through the planer again to ensure a flat surface. I use a router to round over the edges. I hand sand each board with three different grades of sandpaper. When I have the finish the way I want it, I pour food safe mineral oil over the board and let it soak into the wood. I do this twice. I apply a mixture of mineral oil and bees wax for a final coat.

Jack says his most creative influences are: Art shows where he can see just how simple or complicated works can be made, and his friends and fellow woodworkers, who are always there giving encouragement and sharing new ideas.

The biggest surprise for me is how well my boards and other woodworking pieces have been appreciated.