The wood Turning Man
Pierre Chayer is an avid wood craftsman. Forever in search of exceptional raw material for various woodworking projects, he promotes clean lines that highlight the pieces of wood he uses.
Among his creations are objects for the table and kitchen; pepper or spice mills, salad bowls, salad utensils.
Pierre was kind enough to receive us into his workshop and answer some few of our questions.
Can you tell us a little about your old job: years, position held, etc.
In most cases, I remained near the field of wood and processing. I have mainly been in supply management for major international companies. Through my job, I traveled a lot in Asia but also in Africa, South America and Europe.
From a young age, I am learning woodworking with my father who had a wood working shop. Wood turning is a passion he passed me.
As a teenager, I was interested in drawing, charcoal and oil painting. During the summer holidays I am learning the cabinet making and wood products.
I studied in the École du meuble et bois ouvré de Victoriaville and I graduated in 1975 as a technician. My father, who died in 1975, bequeathed me his tools and I devoted myself to making furniture as a hobby for a few years. My career was taking more and more space and the family had grown. So I put this hobby aside for several years.
I resumed working with wood in the early 2000s with my wood turner to turn pens with wood species most sought after. I made other wood turned items and that rekindled the flame of my passion for woodworking.
I followed carving lessons with Jocelyn Carignan for four consecutive years. Full of talent Jocelyn was engaged in the manufacture and restoration of organs.
Tell us about your workspace.
I started with a few pieces of equipment in the basement but the space was quickly becoming too small. In 2013, my wife Christiane encouraged me to build my studio. She was actively involved in the project.My studio is small but very functional, facilities and tools are new except for a few that I have kept from my father. They are adapted to perform the majority of cabinet work. I particularly focused on the woodturning, with a modern wood turner that gives me a turning capacity of twenty inches in diameter, with the tools to make the wood turning.
What is your favorite type of wood, and how do you choose the materials with which you work?
I prefer spalted maple and local species.
I designed pepper mills and spices with local species of wood by seeking the special features of our woods. To highlight their uniqueness, find unusual items that find themselves downgraded for commercial applications. Whether spalted maple on which some mushrooms have their works, of birch or curly soft maple, I try to bring out their features with simple, clean lines.
What are the steps necessary to achieve a finished object?
In most cases all begins with the search of wood.
Subsequently there is the breakdown step and then drying for several months. When wood is at the required humidity percentage, it is then done rendering, the steps of cutting and preparation for the lwood turner. I first turn a cylinder, then come the stages of drilling and turning the desired shape. Sanding and finishing are also done on the lathe. Then there is the assembly of the grinding mechanism (in the case of pepper mills), labeling, photographing and delivery.
Where do you get your inspirations? Are you inspired by any particular style?
I try to focus on the features of the wood piece by getting a clean, modern design, no sticking or external elements added for decoration. If the piece is suitable, I can even leave a node, bark or other types of natural peculiarities.
What fascinates you most about your work?
To be able to create beautiful objects, useful and durable.
In your opinion, what is the essential quality for a cabinetmaker?
A little cliché: love shaping wood, creating and being creative with the products and how you make them.
New creative projects for this year?
Some kitchen accessories and other items, but it is too early at this point to talk about it. Recently I made some jewelry and decorative bowls, fruit bowls and salad bowls.
Photo credits: © Chic & Basta.