Using recycled timbers to turn old wool tables into beautiful dining tables is helping grazier Will Munsie survive the drought.

Story + Photos Lauren Marer 

On Willunga, a grazing property near the small village of Warialda in north-western NSW, a grand old woolshed sits like an island surrounded by red dirt. The sheep have gone, but remnants of their history remain, in the lingering smell of lanolin. 

Inside, grazier Will Munsie, headphones on, is unaware of anything but the wooden bathroom vanity he’s been putting together. He has the volume up so loud it drowns out the sound of the westerly wind whipping up outside and it takes a while to get his attention.  

“The woodwork is a great distraction – it keeps me busy, keeps my brain busy,” Will says, when he finally stops for a break. 

The 33-year-old restored a wool table for a family member last Christmas, which kickstarted his idea to use recycled timber to make furniture. Since his first project, he has become especially renowned for his work reviving wool tables using timber from old homes in the area.   

Will’s work is all freehand, yet he transitions seamlessly through each step as if it were meticulously planned – sanding, measuring and cutting, before putting everything together like a jigsaw. He doesn’t always get it right first go, but there’s rarely anything he can’t get to work. 

“Some of it takes a lot of trial and error. It is slow, but when you see the final product, it’s worth it,” he says. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #129

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2020