Registrar furnishes convocation ambience 

By Barbara Black

Associate Registrar Terry Too has made a set of beautiful furniture for Concordia’s convocation ceremonies with his own hands.

In his home workshop, he has made five tables and three throne chairs, all of his own design. The university paid for the material, but he supplied all of the labour — about 400 hours’ worth.

Terry Too in his basement workshop, creating the furniture that graced the convocation stage (above) for the first time this fall. Magnifying glass

Terry Too in his basement workshop, creating the furniture that graced the convocation stage (above) for the first time this fall.

“It was really nice to see all of the pieces on the stage at Place des Arts,” Terry said modestly. “Everything now matches, and it gives the stage a nice appearance. It’s a lot better than the mishmash of things we used to have.”

There are two side tables for the use of the people in the throne chairs for such things as glasses of water, papers and spectacles; a table for the honorary doctorate material, e.g., pen, diploma, signature book; a table for the mace (the ceremonial staff of office, carried at the head of the procession); and a table for the PhD hoods that are placed on each new doctoral graduate.

The chairs, which are large, with beautifully molded backs and legs, are for the Chancellor, the President and Vice-Chancellor, and the Chair of the Board of Governors.

A great deal of thought and labour went into this extraordinary gift. First Terry had to design the furniture based on his own research. Then he had to make a detailed list of materials, including the wood, stain, glue, screws, nails, sandpaper and upholstery fabric.

He had to make a plan of action, planning the sequence in which the components had to be made and how the components had to be assembled. Next he had to buy the materials, make the components, assemble them, apply stain, paint or varnish, upholster the chairs, and deliver them. Quite an undertaking while you’re also holding down a responsible day job!

“I started woodworking as a teenager in high school,” Terry told the Journal. I was quite actively making things for about four or five years. Then there was then a break of about 20 years.

“My interests were rekindled when I bought an old house about 25 years ago which required some renovation. The fact that I was able to have a nice workroom in my basement was an additional incentive. For the past 25 years I have been very active and have completed quite a few projects.”

Terry said he doesn’t pursue his hobby continuously. “When I do have a project on the go, I usually spend time each night and a good part of the weekend on it as well.”

Like anything, it has its frustrations. “The low points are when you make a mistake — cut something too short, or damage a piece or section of the work.

“The high points can come from learning new techniques, seeing how the technologies are changing, buying new tools, finding an ingenious way of overcoming mistakes, seeing the finished piece, and getting compliments if the project turns out well.

Magnifying glass

“For me, woodworking is a very satisfying hobby because it is so different from my day job at a desk. It requires a combination of mental and physical skills — design, planning and manufacturing. In addition, the precision requirements teach one to be patient and calm — mistakes are always made when things are rushed. The physical aspects are quite considerable and help to keep one in shape.

“Unlike my day job, which does not give concrete physical results, woodworking has a clear start and finish with a visible, touchable object as the end result.”


Concordia University