My Dad, also named Harley Dear ( but William as middle name ), passed away today, Sun 22nd July 2012.
Being born in June 1911, that makes him a tad over 101!
At about 88 years old
He was a Chair and Cabinet-Maker by trade.
To complete his apprenticeship in 1930, he had to make something to display his handicraft before he was considered a Journeyman. We still have this item. It is a Marquetry work done as a coffee table. Considering it's 81 years old and the wood and glues would have been had to have been accessed during the start of The Depression, it's in remarkable condition ( after we restored it 3 years ago ). Also given wood shrinkage, there is still remarkable tightness in the joints and his work shows remarkable patience.
The woods are NZ native timbers and...get this... he had to create the veneers himself!
The table ( about 24" x 18" )
Joint details close up.
You can easily see why I chose Engineering ( working with metal ) rather than woodwork for my career. Bringing home my school woodwork projects were trials of fear for me as Dad would often take one look at my very carefully made work, take it in his hands and say as he was heading to the workshop "Don't worry Son, I'll take this out to the shed and fix it for you!"
We didn't have a tight-knit close relationship ( like Leland and his Dad have for example ) as he seemed to get on better with the female members of the family rather than the males and being "Old School", he did not bare his soul at all.
Nevertheless he was a good father to me, tried his best to pass on his woodwork skills whenever I overcame his intimidating teaching methods and he was an accomplished musician ( Euphonium, trumpet and piano ).
Thanks Dad - you'll be missed