It all started with popsicle sticks. Now, 16 year-old Cam Beckett makes top-of-the-line reclaimed wood furniture with his business, Creative Woodworks Co. Cam started his business as part of the Summer Company program, funded by the Province of Ontario. Cam says he’s always wanted to build. When he was too young to use tools, he used popsicle sticks and lego to build anything and everything. When he was 10, he made his grandma a side table, and then at 13, Cam made an adirondack chair. That was his first big project, and it fueled his interest in woodworking.
The best part? Cam is self-taught. He watches hours upon hours of YouTube videos to learn quality woodworking techniques, and it works. He’s had his own tools for just over a year and has already experimented with wood cutting boards and serving trays, coasters, cooler stands, chairs, and reclaimed wood and iron tables and benches. His favourite project, though, was the desk he designed himself and made in woodworking class at school. The desk was a challenge because it was the first time he built dovetailed drawers, but it turned out great. Each time he makes something, he learns something new and revises his techniques. Cam’s favourite tip? “Don’t put your finger too close to the blade,” he says with a laugh. Fair enough.
Cam heard about the Summer Company program from a teacher at school and was excited about the idea of running his own business, doing something that he already loves. His goal is to continue running Creative Woodworks Co. throughout high school and then work for a construction company for a while to learn new things. He says he’d also like to go to business school to round out his skills. Interestingly, neither of his parents are into woodworking. However, the entrepreneurial spirit does run in the family with his father running a franchise, and his grandfather running his own business.
Now, with the Summer Company mentorship and business training, Cam can get a head-start on finessing his business skills. He certainly knows a lot about woodworking. During a recent visit to his shop, he showed me how to make a wooden key/bowtie to stop wood from splitting, and explained how he makes his cutting boards. It’s intricate work, and it’s simply awesome to see him in his element. Demonstrating his expertise, Cam explained the difference between various types of wood: “I like walnut the best– “it’s great to work with and it has a nice colour.” He says oak is too golden for his personal taste, and pine is too soft (great to work with, but not the most durable for some things).
Cam’s knowledge in his field is inspiring. He loves a challenge and is keen to try new designs. He says he enjoys when clients give him custom projects because it allows him to try new things. Check out his awesome designs on his Facebook page, and contact (226) 237-5179 for custom orders!