• Rupert Eachells

After my apprenticeship

I resigned three days after finishing my apprenticeship, much to the disgust of the owners. They also retracted the carving tools they gave me, which I expected.

I then joined another company, Hieronymus Richter Furniture, where I purchased my first set of carving chisels, which I am still using today! The set consists of 37 chisels, which cost me about $40.00. They allowed me to pay them off over two years, which was deducted from my wages. I worked there for about three years, before Mr Richter sadly gave up the business due to ill health.

Mr Richter continued working, but for another company, Penn and Witelson. I joined him, and worked there for seven years. They specialised in upmarket lounge suites plus chairs, doing everything the  "old way".

This was a good place to test my carving skills. We did a variety of carved legs and rails, and had to finish all the pieces in a given time. I also helped to set the times, and was later encouraged to do a course in leadership, as a future Foreman. I completed the first course, but withdrew after that, mainly because I had no real interest in it.

I was more interested in doing period style furniture with carving, and planed to seek a position at a company called Modellers Of Antique Furniture. Most furniture makers referred to it as the University of Furniture. I was sure to learn a lot there!

This is a lounge suit I purchased from Penn and Witelsen, in 1977, and this is its condition 43 years later, in October 2020! I was allowed to do the carving in my own time, mainly on Saturdays, and the company did the rest of the finishing.

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