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Ted cuts through the competition

Retirement Living Connectedness Lifestyle Stories
  • IRT Harbourside resident Ted Hawkins has been creating fretwork for over 20 years
  • Ted won first place in the fretwork category at the national competition in May 2021
  • He is one of the original members of the Australian Scroll Saw Network
25 February 2022
IRT Harbourside resident Ted Hawkins with his intricately designed sun clock which took out first prize in the fretwork category at the national competition.
“It took me completely by surprise that at 87 my work is still at a prize-winning level...”
Ted Hawkins
IRT Harbourside resident

Ted Hawkins has continued to impress with his intricate fretwork, taking home three prizes and a lifetime membership from the Australian Scroll Saw Network Biennial Exhibition in May last year.

Ted, who lives at IRT Harbourside Retirement Village attended the exhibition in Goulburn with a number of his decorative wood pieces, which are machined from a thin piece of timber using a scroll saw. The 87-year-old won first prize in the fretwork category for his intricately designed sun clock, second prize in the silhouette category for his depiction of Uluru, and second prize in the ‘Other’ category for an impressive ‘love bug’ and dragon design which he cut from one solid piece of wood. Ted picked up the hobby some 20 years ago after seeing a 12-year-old girl doing fretwork at a woodworking demonstration in Albury/Wodonga.

Ted is one of the original members of the Australian Scroll Saw Network, and was honoured to receive life membership at the national titles. “The best part of the weekend was being awarded the life membership. To me that was the highlight. It took me completely by surprise that at 87 my work is still at a prize-winning level,” says Ted.

Ted has many of his fretwork pieces on display in his home at IRT Harbourside.

Ted describes his saw like a sewing machine but with a blade instead of a needle. The timber is overlaid with a design, which he runs through the saw. After cutting the timber he punches it out. Then he assembles the pieces and finishes it off. He can also dye the timber to create different effects. The end result is extremely intricate and detailed.

When looking for inspiration for his projects, Ted scours magazines, websites and international fretwork plans. “If I see one that really attracts me, that’s when I’ll make it. If it doesn’t attract me, I don’t bother making it!” says Ted.

When The Good Life last spoke to Ted, he was working on a dragon clock for his grandson’s 21st birthday. “When each of my grandsons and granddaughters have reached 21 years old, I make them either a clock or a jewellery box. This will be my last grandchild to turn 21,” says Ted.

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