Master craftsmen are a dying breed.
Ashwin Singh is a carpenter with great finesse for someone at the relatively young age of 40.
Singh squints sizing up jobs with meticulous care, giving him the look of a mad professor (which fits his thing for science – he can recite the periodic table).
He’s a whizz with wood and owes his passion for carpentry to his dad who taught him invaluable skills when he was boy.
He didn’t go into the craft immediately: he spent 10 years in the casino business, some of it as a dealer.
He ditched ungodly hours to pursue his passion and since then has been consumed by the gentle craft of carpentry.
It is a careful business of patience and precision, of seamless joints and fine materials.
“I have an affinity for wood. The pleasure keeps me going, if it is hanging doors or doing exclusive offices and expensive houses.
“The trend now is for clean finishes and green building to lessen the carbon footprint.
“I have done so many different jobs. I helped fit out a yacht. There aren’t too many guys in Durban with my skills. Most of them have retired. So I have steady work, all by referrals. I have an intricate knowledge of tools and materials. Everybody wants value for money, but people who want top end work will pay a fair price for it because they know the value of time and skill.”
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