Donnie grew up in Braeside Ontario, a small lumber town 10 minutes west of Arnprior.
His father worked at Gillies Lumber and knew everything mechanical while his closest neighbours were both woodworkers. To Donnie, the mechanical side seemed more like work, but woodworking caught his interest and imagination.
Coupled with that, as a youngster, Donnie spent many summers with the Grandfather in Temagami Ontario, where he would stay until the start of the school year and return home in time for the hockey season. His Grandfather was the founder and owner of the Temagami Canoe Company and Donnie spent his time working in the shop, helping create cedar strip canvas covered canoes. His Grandfather was a master at turning the wood pile into a variety of hand crafted creations, draw him a picture and it could be built.
Donnie continues to use the more traditional practices of the trade while incorporating new methodologies into his work where practical. Still a believer in using one’s hands to create pieces, he has traded in his old coping saw for a motorized scroll saw, but the cuts are still guided by his hand.
While still maintaining his career, in his spare time, Donnie makes handcrafted furniture, jewelry boxes, bowls and a host of other items whether for inventory or custom projects. For custom pieces, most people don’t draw pictures anymore, so they just show Donnie pictures from Pinterest, the internet, or their phone and the process remains the same. See the picture, go to the woodpile and create!
My favourite maple memory:
The pancake breakfast at the Braeside RA. A great plate of pancakes and sausage smothered in real maple syrup.