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As a retired teacher with a love for the bush and making things out of wood, Dave Speakman decided it was time for Another Turn.

For about two years, Speakman had been making kitchenware and vases out of spruce, pine and tamarack logs harvested from the Ingraham Trail. He was giving them away as gifts and then around September he began selling them under the name Another Turn, relying on word of mouth to spread news about his creations.

“The turning is literal for turning wood on a lathe. It’s also turning another chapter, another opportunity at this stage in my life,” he said.

Dave Speakman makes cutting boards with end-grain tamarack harvested from the Ingraham Trail.
Blair McBride/NNSL photo

“I started doing some work at the seniors woodworking shop at Northern United Place. There’s a lathe there. As I continued to make things, I built up a collection of crafts, bowls and cutting boards.”

Around five years ago, he would venture out to a spot on the Ingraham Trail to tap birch trees for syrup. His interest later turned to using the trees to make things and he secured a permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources allowing him to harvest for personal use.

“I go out there in the winter with my snow machine and harvest it. I leave it there until the spring to let it dry. Right now I can start to collect the wood I harvested last winter for the turning and for the cutting boards. The wood I use now is basically a year old,” he said.

Giving the wood enough time to dry helps ensure it doesn’t split once it’s inside the wood shop, since wood is sensitive to ambient humidity.

Speakman publicly displayed his wares for the first time on Saturday at a craft sale downtown, where he sold “some of everything” and all of the cutting boards.

“I made about $300 and then the next day I sold more boards after people emailed me – in total, about $450 worth of sales.”

He sees a lot of opportunity to grow the business, but as an independent craftsman who works without industrial-grade technology, his output is limited due to the one-year gap between harvesting and production.

For now, Speakman is happy to work at his own pace, doing his own thing.

“It keeps me busy. It draws on a lot of things I enjoy doing like going out into the bush, working with wood and it keeps me involved with the community.”

Speakman takes inquiries for his products at dspeakman@northwestel.net.

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Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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