MY DAD, Brian, used to be a tree faller in the bush and one day he picked up a piece of wood and he could see different formations emerging from it. This motivated him to try his hand at carving the things he could visualise — carvings of dolphins, birds, snakes, lizards, and a range of other things. No two things that he has made are the same as it depends on the type of wood he uses.
Being a motorbike enthusiast and Harley-Davidson fan, he then made miniature motorbikes, as well as trophies for bike shows.
Then one day a mate of his who was admiring his work suggested he build a full size motorbike as he had heard that there was one in the USA. They both thought it would be great to have one in Australia, made out of Australian timbers.
Not wanting to knock back a challenge, dad then spent many hours designing and planning. His knowledge of the wonderful designs and tones which the grain produces in various timber species has been used to carefully select the correct piece of timber to give warmth and depth to the finished product. The bike isn’t just carved out of one piece of wood; it has been built from the wheels up. And they have all the details of a real motorbike.
Each individual part has been cut and shaped, either by turning, machining, or hand carved, then assembled which has taken hundreds of hours. So became Woodstock One, a custom made Harley.
Dad entered Woodstock One into a woodworking exhibition in NSW and received 1st prize. There was another exhibition in Victoria, but dad was told that if he has won any prizes for the bike, then he couldn’t enter it. He thought, ‘Well, if it’s like that, then I’ll build another one!’
He then set about and created Woodstock Two, a custom made chopper. It took longer to build as he put more detail into it. For instance, the chains links were all individually carved which took two days to make. It’s even got its own oil leak!
The bikes were on display in dad’s gallery which closed due to the high cost of public liability insurance. One comment that sticks in my mind from a bike rider who came into the gallery, and was admiring the full size bike, was, “It looks so real, like you could get on it and start it up!”
One thing we do know is that dad’s bikes are the only ones like them in the world. And no two bikes are exactly the same due to the wood — blackwood, alpine ash, redgum, birdseye stringy — that is used to make them.
Words & pics by Sarah