Britton Timbers has supported these student designers.

For many years, students at Northern Beaches Secondary College (NBSC) Freshwater Senior Campus have enjoyed a top-class technical education. The 2019 Year 12 students enrolled in ‘Industrial Technology Timber’ had an even more special experience with Britton Timbers sponsoring the use of blackwood and a range of other premium Tasmanian timbers as part of the students’ HSC major projects.

“Students typically only experience working with low grade timber for their major project. The students were very appreciative to work with fine Tasmanian hardwoods,” says teacher and acclaimed furniture designer-maker, Benjamin Percy.

The course builds on skills developed in Year 11, where students learn various forms of technical woodworking and related skills, including creating sketches and digital images, before creating a full-scale prototype to grasp their concept and refine the making process that will inform their Year 12 major project.

“We learn about the properties of timber and selecting and justifying the most appropriate material for the project,” says Percy. “The beauty of blackwood is that it’s such a good timber for furniture and it’s easy for students to justify using it.”

Major projects that showed off their woodworking knowledge and skills included chairs, cabinets, entertainment units, a desk and a guitar. The projects were presented at an exhibition-style ceremony where representatives from Britton Timbers awards.

Katya Caterina won ‘Most Creative Design’ for her Blackwood Pod Chair, which started with a meticulous CAD design, then 3D-printed models of the pieces that later formed the jigs for cutting the timber. Ali Turner won the ‘Best Overall Design and Craftsmanship” award for her Blackwood, Tasmanian Oak and Sassafras cabinet, along with $750 in tool vouchers from Carbatec.

The winning students spent hundreds of hours over 10 months creating their pieces, utilising CAD software, hand sketches and 3D printers, carefully determining calculations, angles and shapes to create their award-winning pieces.

Britton Timbers director Shawn Britton says the company’s involvement is contributing to the development of the next generation of designers. “Giving the Freshwater Campus students the opportunity to use and experience Tasmanian hardwoods was a pleasure. These students are our up-and-coming craftspeople and designers of tomorrow and need to be exposed to various forms of materials. Witnessing the hard work and dedication the students put into each individual project was truly impressive and the finished pieces were an impeccable and really beautiful display of Tasmanian Timber,” says Britton.

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Main Image: from left Teacher and furniture maker Ben Percy, local furniture maker Nick Pedulla, Britton Timbers’ Anthony Long, student prize winners Ali Turner and Katya Caterina, NSBC principal Frank Pikardt and Michael Chadwick from Britton Timbers.