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Finding some time to be creative with wood

Breslau’s Derrick Stryker with some of his handiwork. [Sean Heeger]

Derrick Stryker has always had a passion for working with his hands and learning to do things on his own, but it wasn’t until he and his family moved to their new home in Breslau that he really had the chance to develop his skills as a woodworker.

He started off small by building things for the home that he knew his family would be living in for many years to come. From there he decided to make a coffee table out of scrap wood left over from a bed frame, and when someone wanted to buy it, his hobby turned itself into a business. The inspiration that spurred him to continue this side-business for more than four years came from moving into his new home, but what keeps him going is his love to create things that can bring people together.

“I love to create pieces that people can surround themselves with,” said Stryker. “Whether it’s a harvest table like a dining room table… where everyone is sitting around it having a good time enjoying their friends and family. Or a charcuterie board to bring people together because they get to share food together. Those types of items, I love making them.”

Stryker does both custom orders for pieces and also makes items from materials he has on hand, which he then posts on social media so people who may be interested can purchase them. Some of the more popular items he makes includes charcuterie boards and wooden bowties – an item that he says is especially popular around the holiday season – and even cheese knives.

“It’s a lot of tinkering in the garage. I also started making wooden cheese knives, I did like a small batch a couple weeks ago and those are pretty well sold out. So, I just started a larger batch which I’ll finish up in the next couple weeks,” said Stryker.

He also says he goes down to auctions and finds vintage items that he can “turn into something awesome.”

It started with the bed frame he turned into a coffee table, but after he started posting things people asked if he could make custom items and do different things: “My stuff is 50 per cent custom and 50 per cent me just making things up,” he said.

Because this is just a side hobby from his job at the school board, Stryker says he tries to get as much time in doing woodwork as he can. The pandemic has given him the ability to have some extra time, but he says work is still keeping him busy and there’s always “lots to do.”

While his skillset has grown, Stryker says there are things people ask him for that he just don’t feel comfortable making. He says he is always willing to learn new skills when it comes to woodworking and is even working on building his own shed.

Those interested in the things he makes can contact him through Facebook and Instagram.

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