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Joinery is Winston’s calling


DONNA SEALY

Joinery is Winston’s calling

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FOR THE LAST 14 YEARS, Winston Leacock has been doing what he loves every day. But that was not always the case, though.

There was a time when he did not know what he wanted to do and tried different jobs before opting to start EW Joiners.

Sitting on a pile of wood which he said would be made into a bed, he spoke about how he got involved in woodwork and joinery after leaving Grantley Adams Memorial School and before heading to the Barbados Vocational Training Board (BVTB) where he learnt the trade.

“I started in 2002. I was in construction and did like concept of doing things on my own.

“After I left skills training, I spent two, three years working for companies but I started doing agriculture first.

“I left school doing farming and one day I heard that water meters would get put on and I decided I should opt out of farming and try something different.

“I went to sign up for tailoring and went to ’town and see that clothes were reasonable, so I said nobody won’t buy my clothes at that price. So I went to Skills Training and reapplied for carpentry. Since then, this is what I’ve been doing,” he said.

Leacock said woodwork comes easily to him and recalled he first tried his hands at it when he built a house in his mother’s backyard at 16 or 17 years old.

The realisation that he loved woodwork even to continue doing it to make a living came during a previous relationship.

He said when he got home from working in construction he would find something to build or work on.

He builds kitchen cupboards, wardrobes, TV stands, chest of drawers, beds, including four poster beds, chairs and this is what he prefers to stick to.

Making the various items for customers keeps him busy year round. Leacock also undertakes furniture repairs.

“All of my business comes from single customers.

“Most of the time I advertise in different areas and there’s word of mouth,” the businessmen stated.

He noted he does not take more orders that he can handle and he “spaces out his work”.

He does not have a favourite item to make, “once it’s woodwork” and he can “make noise” and “use my tools” he is happy.

His assistant, Christian Cumberbatch, whom he praised for her attitude to work and her eye for detail, did the carpentry programme at the BVTB, where he trained.

She helps to lighten his load when they get going at 8 a.m. until the close of business at 4:30 p.m.

Walking comfortably through the sawdust strewn floor in his St John workshop, Leacock had four posts completed for a bed on one table and was working on a cupboard for another customer.

He said that setting up the shop was not difficult financially.

“Somehow, everything fell into place when I wanted it.

“I wouldn’t say it was difficult to start as I got a loan from Fund Access which helped me a lot,” he said, adding, that he bought material from various hardware and lumber companies.

His hope is that the EW Joiners will get the “merchandise to customers at the cheapest price possible”.

“This here is sufficient for me now. I just have to tidy up one or two things and be done with that, I don’t want nothing else to make me walk around the workshop more,” he said with a chuckle when asked about expansion of the business.

Leacock described his workspace as an open workshop, one where people came to do what they wanted, to talk and noted it was not unusual for children to come and play under his watchful eye.

“At this point in time, I’m settled with what I have,” he added.

Leacock’s advice to youngsters who just left secondary school and were unsure of what they want to pursue or where they want to go, is simple.

“Just follow the voice in your inner self. I never really had a plan for my life but everything just fell into place. I didn’t get up one morning, snap my fingers and say I got to be a woodworker.

“It just happened and I decided to stick with it no matter what happened, what challenges it had. I said I was willing to put in my fair share of work,” Leacock said.

He added: “I will continue to do woodwork as long as I have breath, as long as I am alive.” (GBM)

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