Quality Furniture at WorldSkills

Rolf Barfoed is a cabinetmaker, competing in WorldSkills 2008, at Darling Harbour. He shares what's been made in the competition, and how to create quality projects.

He shares the tools he used in carpentry - from mallets to cutting gauges.

Rolf shows us the static machinery - such as the disc sander.

He shares his goals in the fine furniture industry.

About Cabinet Makers:

While sometimes called artistic carpenters, cabinetmakers belong to a specialised field of wood workers. Cabinetmakers use hand and machine skill in the manufacture and installation of custom built-in-commercial and traditional furniture.

Competitors will be making an artistic hall table made out of Tasmanian Oak and Silky Oak.

Competitors are marked on machinery usage; they must manage their time by grouping tasks to avoid excess running time. Emphasis is on a hand finish, with no electric sanders for finish.

About Rolf:

Rolf was born and raised in Canberra by his parents Kenneth and Elizabeth. He has an older sister Sonja (25) and younger brother Jahn (23). He has been interested in woodwork since he was very young.

Rolf had a little workbench set up out the back and his parents used to bring home scrap timber for him to punch nails in to and cut up. He was always helping his dad doing ‘handy-man’ jobs around the house and his dad’s love of building things rubbed off on him.

Rolf always thought he would do carpentry until a Year 11 excursion took him to see different types of trades being done at TAFE. He saw the cabinet making room and what they were making and decided that was what he wanted to do. He studied building and design tech at school and his teacher suggested a local cabinetmaker to start his apprenticeship.

Rolf competed at WorldSkills in 2006 and came third. AB French Polisher was the company Rolf did his apprenticeship with. Here is did restoration, repairs and custom furniture. When he finished his apprenticeship he moved to a company called DesignCraft where he works on high-end museum fit outs and commercial joinery.

For his final project at TAFE, Rolf made an antique style-sewing table and won the cabinetmakers award at the end of the course for it. He says when it comes to woodwork he is very independent and stubborn and a perfectionist.

He hopes to win a scholarship with the Australian overseas foundation next year and think winning WorldSkills will help him achieve this goal. He would like to own his own business in the future and be a part time teacher to pass his knowledge and skills onto future cabinetmakers.

Rolf thinks Australians don’t appreciate good quality furniture and would like to change how they look, think and feel about it. He hopes to do this by going to schools and youth forums and teaching the kids at a young age.

VJ Geoff Charters