Nigel - Making something with man glitter.

Nigel have been doing woodworking as a hobby for 2 years and decided to start doing it professionally for almost a year now. All of his skills was self taught and Nigel holds a Degree in Hospitality graduated in 2013. He did not limit himself in doing woodworking and also being a blacksmith.

TE: How did it all started?

N: At the beginning of my career, i was jumping around the cafe industry and was working in the kitchen and coffee bar. I was doing part-time for a year and half before I applied for a full-time position. Then I was asked to build a table, after a few months I finally worked on it and finished the table with great satisfaction.

It was a 3ft x 2ft table and it was so much fun doing it. I was quite ambitious so I did another table, a folding table. I did it for my girlfriend who wanted to get one but none suitable at that time. A friend of mine saw the table and was impressed with my workmanship. So he asked me if I wanted to do woodworking for full time. I agreed because I was getting bored with my day job and feeling stagnant there. I took the opportunity to try and went full time. It was where my decision to pursue this career.

TE: As a self-employed, how do you manage your own schedule?

N: I used to work 12 hours a day, from 10am to 10pm. With my previous partner, we were a little slacking back then and we eventually lost interest in what we were doing. After we dismissed from our partnership, my girlfriend was the one who took over the managing part where she was well disciplined, resulting a change in my work pattern and time management. She was really strict about my timing.

TE : How do you get daily motivation even after doing this for 2 years?

N: My initial motivation was because of my first table. I really put so much effort into it. The woods need to be really smooth so that all of the pieces are equal. In order to do that, I went to a local lumberyard who offered this kind of service because I do not have the equipment at that time. To my disappointment, I was told that the wood I brought was cheap woods. I was also mocked for doing woodworking. I was confused. How was it different from any other woods? That really motivated me to change their mentality. I want to prove to the older generations that woodworking is actually a real job, it does not discriminate. Secondly, I saw my competitors and I feel like I need to provide better service.

"If you want to venture into woodworking, it is better if you expand your skills not only to one particular skills." Photo of Nigel in his blacksmith mode.

TE: How did you learn woodworking?

N: In term of woodworking, it was entirely self taught. I learn from online forum and Youtube videos. For westerners, they have all types of woods, colours and species. Here we only have 5 species that is offered to the market, quite limited.

TE: Any advice for the younger generations?

N: If you want to venture into woodworking, it is better if you expand your skills not only to one particular skills. I would advise to do other things, like working in cafes or expanding your skills to doing leather, combined both woodworking and leather making into something else.

"Because if you don't have much fun at work, it is going to be difficult."

Image: Felicity (Left), Nigel and Partner (Right).

Interview | Felicity Eku

Photo and Video | Ho VH

Editing | Khin Chong

#Learning #Sabah

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