Grown in Tassie, crafted in Queensland: Meet Blackwood Collective
Just north of Brisbane’s CBD, sits Gareth Robertson’s workshop, Blackwood Collective. And it’s not just any workshop.
Blackwood Collective specialises in high-end custom residential and commercial furniture, joinery and carpentry. Every piece coming out of the workshop is expertly handcrafted with an acute sense of detail, made to perfectly fit the space it will call home.
While Robertson is a fan of all Tasmanian timber species, as the name of his business suggests, Tasmanian Blackwood is Robertson’s material of choice, time and time again.
For the love of Blackwood and beyond
Robertson got his start as a craftsman working as an apprentice carpenter. Working with some of Brisbane’s top architects, Robertson noticed Tasmanian Blackwood in solid hardwood and veneers, as a popular specification in custom builds. This is where he fell in love with not only the timber’s character and variation but also its physical properties including its innate durability and smooth workability.
Taking his passion for the timber and his craft out on his own, Blackwood Collective was born. Settling on the name for the love of his favourite timber, Robertson also shares the deeper sentiment behind the name of his workshop.
“The Blackwood Collective name really represents two things. The first being my love for the timber and the second as a tribute to my Aboriginal heritage. Traditionally, wattle [Blackwood] was the timber used to make tools like boomerangs, spears and clap sticks and so the name pays respect to my family history.”
With business taking off since its inception, Robertson has completed custom work for multiple private residences throughout Queensland as well as several hospitality venues – featuring the natural beauty of Tasmanian Blackwood.
With the recent completion of Pipit in Pottsville, NSW, a restaurant supporting sustainable food systems, Blackwood Collective was commissioned to create stools, tables and a custom fit bar top. Robertson says Tasmanian Blackwood was his first choice for this project.
“I was given free rein on the creative decisions for the furniture and fittings at Pipit which was really exciting. I visited the space first to get inspiration for the design of all of the pieces and everything took shape from there. I knew the darker tones and the variation in the grain of Tasmanian Blackwood would be the perfect fit for the warm and natural textures that the restaurant was aiming for.”
Choosing to show off the grain and inherent beauty of Blackwood, Robertson says he prefers to use a natural finish.
“For the bar top at Pipit, I hand-rolled a natural wood finish out of Germany called Osmo to coat the Blackwood. Depending on the traffic a piece might get, I tend to use more natural finishes like this wax coat which allows the figure and the variations of lightness in the timber to be seen.”
A sustainable choice and a bright future
Beauty and aesthetics aside, Robertson says choosing a sustainable timber is a must. Tasmanian Blackwood is sourced from forests that are sustainably managed, independently audited and certified to an internationally acclaimed standard, which fits the sustainability requirement for Blackwood Collective.
“All of the wood I use must be sustainable. It’s a major aspect of design that we all need to consider and to choose sustainable and natural products.”
Using a combination of machine and handcrafting methods, Robertson says he’s excited for what’s next.
“I’ve been lucky with who I’ve been able to work with so far. I’ve worked with some amazing architects on some really cool projects that have been a lot of fun. I also like the smaller commissions where I’m making solid custom furniture and bespoke joinery. Everything that leaves the workshop has been finished by hand which makes it really special.”