I make furniture to bring people together
Hi, I'm Dave. Maker at The Wattle Road.
I specialise in designing and making custom furniture out of reclaimed Australian hardwood. I source reclaimed timber from houses and old buildings across NSW and make a selection of limited run and bespoke furniture to complement ones lifestyle.
Making furniture out of reclaimed timber feels like an obvious choice for me. I grew up salvaging scrap timbers from around the regional towns that I lived in to make skateboard ramps, billy carts and tree houses, and I majored in woodwork in Year 11 and 12. I then pursued a business / marketing degree before spending 25 years in the digital world (designing websites and mobile apps).
Woodwork has always played an important role in my life. It has been a side hustle, the escape from the daily corporate grind, the common thread that recharges my batteries and a promise to myself to one day take myself seriously in it. I’ve done the house build, built most of the furniture in it and worked part-time furniture and joinery roles along the way.
(Made by The Wattle Road)
In April of 2022, I rode a motorbike 16,000kms around Australia in 50 days with some friends. When one of the riders said he was going to make a coffee table book, I knew I needed to make the coffee table. I started collecting a piece of old reclaimed hardwood from every state and territory we rode through on our loop so that I could make the table.
That ride wasn’t about the coffee table albeit an incredible memory and a great coffee table, it was about leaning into my discomfort and pursuing a road less travelled.
Since returning, I started The Wattle Road.
The Wattle Road is an exciting brand that blends the love of adventure, reclaimed timber and sustainability with beautiful limited run creations that are designed to complement your lifestyle.
As a furniture maker I will make bespoke timber furniture that brings people together. I will repurpose materials that others may perceive as waste to make beautiful, character filled items that can go the test of time. Find out why in this blog post.
Beneath the often dirty exterior layer that most people see lies vibrant, beautiful, rich timber that has more natural charm and character than most new timber could ever dream of. Learn more in this blog post.
Australia has some of the most incredible hardwoods with such beautiful character that improves significantly with age. Add to this the unique stories of their past life and you can begin to understand why I find these timbers so extraordinary.
The timber is often more challenging to work with than new timber (ie: extracting old rusty nails from them, working around bolt holes, etc) and more time can be needed to craft them than new timber, but each piece of finished furniture is not only very rewarding to complete but extends the lifetime of that piece of timber.
My design thinking philosophy
Many of my current products are inspired by designing items to make my wife’s life better.
With a background in design thinking, I use these processes to design products that make the end users experience even better. My designs are heavily influenced by watching how people interact with a space or item. I look at an environment, talk to the end user and think about what could be improved to enhance the experience. I then apply design thinking processes to ensure what I'm designing is relevant to the right context. I’ve found that simplicity, sturdiness and aesthetics are important.
Simplicity - I don’t need to over engineer a design to make it work. Often very little is needed because the timber does it for me.
Sturdiness - People need to be able to enjoy their environment with my creations enhancing the experience rather than hindering it.
Aesthetics - reclaimed timber has all sorts of natural features that come from its existing story. Bringing these features to the front and letting the timber be the hero is enough for people to fall in love with it.
When I work with customers on a custom furniture project they can expect strong communication, collaboration, and ideation to identify problems and inform solutions. They'll be involved as much or as little as they choose because I'm happy when they're happy. Find out more about my process in this blog post.
In my short time of being in The Wattle Road I have been able to make some really useful and beautiful furniture for both home owners and commercial businesses alike. These include tables (for the bath, for a beer, and an assortment of living room and dining room sizes), side cabinets, chairs, benches and picture frames. All of these items continue to shape my style, expand my skillset and provide me with the opportunity to make things I may never have considered designing myself.
Custom office desk
I'm continuously focused on improvement. In 2022 I did some collaborative work with another furniture maker in Orange and I completed a furniture making business course. In 2023, it was all about skills and resources - new tools, new processes, new techniques and several new collaborations. 2024 aims to be even more exciting.
The Wattle Road is the beginning of something completely refreshing in a market that is saturated with 'new'. I look forward to creating more unique memories that will last a lifetime.