At Grampians Furniture (Halls Gap, Australia) a second chance...
Halls Gap is an Australian town, the capital of the Grampians National Park. A lake, Lake Bellfield, a river, Fyans Creek, surrounded by a splendid natural environment. This is the landscape where Tim Butler lives, a carpenter seduced by the landscape and by the wood of the River Red Gum (Eucalyptus Camaldulensis), a tree which finds its ideal habitat along the edge of rivers and water courses.
In his workshop, Grampians Furniture, he breathes life into pieces of furniture which are a physical expression of this land: solid wood, worked with passion using traditional methods, and finishes which highlight the beautiful colour of the material, along with a style which communicates nature, simplicity and warmth.
Butler’s mastery is widely appreciated - his reputation has surpassed the boundaries of the Grampians National Park region, and his work is known in neighbouring provinces and other states throughout Australia.
But a few years ago, Tim Butler was the victim of a serious accident: during one of his rides into the magnifi cent natural landscape of Australia, along the Grampians National Road, the passionate motorcyclist came across a kangaroo.
The fall was very serious: he suffered a cerebral haemorrhage, a skull fracture, as well as a broken clavicle, scapula, four ribs, and hand, and a punctured lung... the doctors saved him, and he emerged from his coma.
But they couldn’t hide the facts from him - he would never be able to work again: the part of his brain that was damaged regulates coordination and the organisation of actions in a precise sequence - without even taking into consideration the limits imposed on his arm movement by the fracture of his clavicle and hand.
For a carpenter, this news was enough to snuff out any remaining hope.
“The news hit me really hard”, commented Butler.
“But I wouldn’t let myself be beaten: I decided to fight, to continue to live my life, and to do the things I loved, the things I knew how to do”.
And so began a long period of treatment and rehabilitation.
Little by little, the situation began to improve, and Tim Butler was able to return to his workshop, among his tools and sheets of River Red Gum wood.
However, everything was more difficult than before, until the day where a much-anticipated new piece of equipment arrived at Grampians Furniture - a cutting-edge Minimax “Cu 410 Elite S” universal combined woodworking machine, the first of its kind ever made in this product range.
“An Italian dream machine”, as Butler defined it “A combined machine which is so powerful and intelligent that it has allowed me to do many of the things I once did again”.
It arrived on the 23 December, the day before Christmas Eve and Butler’s birthday - perhaps not by chance...
“The absolute precision and the automatic functions that this machine boasts have helped me enormously”, he adds.
“All I need to do is press the correct buttons to get exactly what I want, with some stunning results.
I remember that one of the first pieces I worked on with this universal combined machine was a table leg. It was like it had already been smoothed off, such was the quality of the cut.
I decided to varnish it and keep it as an example of what I could achieve with my new Minimax!”.