Woodfest Brings Makers and Growers Together in Federal

Over 500 people attended the very popular Woodfest on Sunday 15 April at Federal.

Tree growers, woodworkers and timber lovers happily mingled under a blue sky with a BBQ and live music by Luke Bennett.

The biggest buzz was from all of the different people taking part in conversations about all things local native timber.

“We were so happy to see all of the makers and growers coming together,” said Kate Love, Woodfest event organiser. “People came for many reasons and this sparked conversations between those who plant seeds, through to fine furniture lovers.”


Quality Timber Traders created Woodfest to build a network of trust from “seed to tree to product” so that growers can find trusted contractors, makers can source high quality timber and everybody can gain an insight into how the bespoke table in their living room got there.

The showcase featured a treasure trove of woodwork by local makers such as the Lotus Table by Alby Johnston and handcrafted chairs by Tony Kenway.

The competition winners showcased the versatility of native timbers, from Grant Vaughan’s sinuously carved objects of beauty to Max Den Exter’s art studio chair that showed a high level of engineering expertise.

“It was exciting to see what can be created from the timber that grows on our hinterland farms,” said Martin Novak, QTT Project Manager. “There was a Queensland maple dining table, a writing desk and even silky oak wedding rings.”

The joint winners of the $2000 Best Use of Sustainable Native Timber were Max Den Exter English and Anthony Star.

“Max created the chair for his HSC project,” said judge David Jacobson. “I was surprised by just how comfortable the chair was. I think he could turn this cold-bent chair into a furniture line.”

Anthony Star’s finely crafted surfboard was a showstopper. “I’ve only taken it out in the water once but it works a treat,” he said.

The Innovation prize went to a mirror by Alby Johnston, of Bayspoke Studio, and receiving Best in Showcase was renowned woodworker Grant Vaughan’s sculptures. The winner of the Concept Award went to Nathan Walker for his timber collapsible basket.


A highlight of Woodfest was the informative talks by experts at the “Meet the Growers and Makers” sessions that filled up early. Also well attended was the farm tour and milling demonstration and woodcarving with Stan Ceglinski.

The Bangalow Men’s Shed pulled on their aprons and served up a crowd-pleasing BBQ lunch that raised over $1,000 for their project.

“It was such a surprising success,” said Dr Joe Harvey-Jones, tree farmer and QTT Manager. “We’ve decided to go ahead with Woodfest in the Byron hinterland again in 2019 and membership is now open for the Quality Timber Network. Science shows that trees ‘talk’’ to each other so we should too.”