Fred Miller might say I am simply carrying on a family tradition. In Grey County, Ontario where I was born and raised, the name “Miller” has been synonymous with fine craftsmanship for generations.
Both of my grandfathers worked with wood their entire lives; James Miller was a respected lumberman and lathe turner, while Frederick Wilder, my namesake was a skilled finisher. Together, they represent the kind of men responsible for this regions historic reputation as a center for Canadian furniture making.
My Grandfathers tradition of excellence continued in the next generation. My father was a precision small motor mechanic and very much a craftsman in his own right. As a small boy, playing in my fathers shop, I learned the importance of taking pride in your workmanship…and standing behind it.
It’s a legacy that continues to affect my whole approach to fine woodworking. Fine workmanship comes from respecting yourself and honoring the values of those who nourished the trade throughout the years…and that includes our forests. If it’s not part of who you are, no amount of success will suddenly bring it out of you.
1971 – As a 13 year old my passion started humbly enough, with a shop in the back of an old delivery truck body.
1981 – I graduated from Humber College Cabinet Makers Program and established my current shop. In 1986 I was a key player in bringing back the Great Victorian Designs seen in my Wooden Screen Doors & Gingerbread.
1992 – my partner Donna and I created the Craftsman’s Gallery. The Gallery display’s Skylark Trellis & Arbour as well as Custom Entrance Doors, Gingerbread, Heirloom Furniture and Custom Kitchen Cabinets. Ironically 34 years later, I am working out of the same well-equipped two and a half thousand square foot shop. It sits in the exact location as that old truck body in 1971.
My work on one-of-a-kind furniture commissions reflects many of the Early Canadian Styles from the late 1800’s. I employ many time-honored construction methods in my pieces. Mortise and tenons, frame and panel construction and dovetailing all ensure that the solid wood creations I make today, become the heirlooms of tomorrow.
The words of William A. Foster say it well for Fred Miller.
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives”– William A. Foster