His company, J.A. Carpentry, runs out of a workshop in Wynberg, Johannesburg.
The business offers clients bespoke built-in-cupboards, kitchens and furniture made out of solid timber or board materials.
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J.A. Carpentry strives to provide clients with quality-customized furniture that is functional.
“I was first inspired to enter the carpentry trade after working on a wooden ship when I finished school,” says John.
Sanding and treating the teak rails of the deck and the wooden mast in England before the charter to the Canary Islands was John’s first interaction with raw timber.
Since then he’s been hooked.
“With the solid timber, when its on the bench in your workshop you know in your mind it was from a live tree. This gives you the sense of being connected somehow, with the raw material itself,” he says.
After sailing around the world for three years when John finished school in the late 90s, he returned to Johannesburg and completed a three-month cabinet making course with the Furniture Industry Training Board.
He worked at various small workshops for a few years where he learnt about machining solid timber and then joined the team at Squara Woodcraft in Kew for more than eight years.
At this large workshop John perfected his trade through building a number of different projects from a classic Italian Rosewood bar, to modern coffee tables for Melrose arch offices, to display units for diamonds in Cullinan, north of Johannesburg.
The next step in the trade for him was to start his own business, which he did with partner Rob Allcock in 2012. The first workshop for J.A. Carpentry was in Rob’s garage when John began with designing, manufacturing and installing custom kitchens for clients in Johannesburg.
“The feeling of excitement when raw timber arrives in the workshop and you start putting the pieces of the puzzle together, this is when the cutting list becomes a real item – this is where the most creativity is,” says John.
The business has grown and the company now operates from a larger space in Wynberg where a vast range of carpentry projects are undertaken with precision and skill.