Louis Kwok pursued a craft that many consider a “sunset industry” – even local wood suppliers advised that there was no future in woodworking. This is his story.
It started out as a hobby, but with a deep love for wood as a material woodworking quickly became Louis Kwok’s passion and calling. Although he pursued a career as a photographer for 12 years, woodworking was never far from his mind.
When he went in search of proper training, Louis found it difficult to track down experts who could pass on their skills. He was often ridiculed; told that the craft had no future and that his pursuit of a woodworking career was foolhardy. Louis remained steadfast in his conviction though and eventually found the mentors who could steer him closer to his dream.
It was under the tutelage a Japanese teacher that Louis realised his journey to becoming a skillful woodworker would be a long one. During his three days with the teacher at Tokorozawa, in Japan’s Saitama Prefecture, all Louis learnt was how to sharpen chisels and make basic joints.
“The soul of a woodworker is in his tools and how he maintains them… The quality of the tools reflects how he is.”
Later, award-winning master furniture makers Peter Sefton and Sean Feeney encouraged Louis to push the envelope further; to take a simple idea and develop it into a sophisticated piece of work.
The ethos these teachers instilled in him means Louis places a higher priority on honing his woodworking skills than expanding his business, Kjung Woodwork.
“Patience is not just about time… You have to be patient with yourself, and know where you are at every stage of woodworking.”