MEET THE MAKER: NOBUYUKI OHASHI (THOR’S HAMMER)

Nobuyuki (Nobby) has come to Thor’s Hammer from the Aichi Prefecture in Japan. A fortuitous meeting and subsequent friendship with a former staff member of Thor’s Hammer eventually led him to Australia and to join our workshop team. Nobby studied his craft with a traditional Japanese woodturner, Master Izaki who specialises in chairs, stools and small boxes, but also made houses, wood prints and sculptures.

I learned lots of techniques and ideas from Master Izaki . He wanted us to build up our own ideas about design and philosophy. He is very practical and he always wanted us to think for ourselves.

At work in the joinery

At work in the joinery

Tell us what you love about timber...

I like that it is an organic material. I feel like the tree is reading things and it feels close to me. I want to keep thinking about why I like timber during my life.

What are you most proud of making?

I feel most proud about my ability to make things with wood. The skills that have been given to me by people in my life and I am part of the process and I will pass my skills on. I am between the past and the future.

Rustic or Clean Dressed (timber of course)? 

I like clean timber. Clean dressed timber is more stable when both faces and edges have been dressed evenly and equally –rather than if it is clean on one side and rustic on the other. Treating all sides equally reduces the risk of the timber bowing and cupping.

If you had to work with just one timber…

I would be sad if I could only choose one timber. In Australia I like Tallowwood. Tallowwood has a tight grain with few gum veins so it good for carving. Each species of timber is special so I would still be sad if I didn’t get to use them all.

When I make spoons I use chestnut timber because it is soft and easy to carve. Also the nuts are yummy.

One of Nobby’s favourite timbers to carve with is Chestnut.

One of Nobby’s favourite timbers to carve with is Chestnut.

Nobby’s spoons and forks

Nobby’s spoons and forks

Downtime is best spent…

For now I like to study English, but I also like having rest, reading books and collecting antiques. I collect spoons. I started with wooden ones but now I collect metal ones, as well as forks and knives. I think that I have 60 spoons now.

Recommend us your best source of inspiration 

Different things can bring me nice feelings. Like small stones or buildings. Things that make me feel some relation to the world gives me a nice feeling and it makes me want to make things.

In Japan I like to ride my bicycle to Takeshima Gamugori, which is an island in my prefecture. It is only connected to the mainland at low tide, and you can walk on the sand to get to the other side. It is somewhere that I go when I am worried or I need to think, and it makes me feel calm.

Photo by mouraoimagens/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by mouraoimagens/iStock / Getty Images

What do you love about your job?

I should love the job which came to me. I feel very lucky that I am living in this time.

I see my job at Thor’s Hammer as a chapter in my life. Leading up to now there have been a number of experiences that have lead up to this moment from the time I spent working with Master Izaki. It was when I was working with Master Izaki in Japan that I met Harry - an Australian woodworker who had come to Japan from Thor’s Hammer. I got interested in Australia and I was starting to think I want to see the country that manufactures people like him. I think all of these events play a significant role placing myself in this present moment.