In a little corner of the Liverpool Professional Building, the sounds and smells of cut wood fill the air. In amongst the doctors, financial consultants and barbers is Bill’s Woodshop, owned by Bill Rhyno. Rhyno’s shop is home to his crafts and creations, which come out of his passion for working with wood.
Rhyno is the superintendant two of Ken Anthony’s properties, the apartment building on Main Street and the Liverpool Professional Building on the waterfront. He started in that role about six years ago, with his workshop in the utility room in the apartment building.
To say it was small might be an understatement. The first workshop, located in the utility room of the apartment building was eight feet by five and a half feet. However it served his needs for the most part when it came to maintenance of the building. At least in the beginning. A large cabinet he built prompted the need for a move.
“I had to use the hall to build it, and (Anthony) said ‘we can’t do this anymore.’ So he moved me down here,” he says.
Rhyno is a bit of a jack of all trades, something he picked up from his father. For years he, and most of his family and wife’s family, worked at the Canadian Vickers shipyard in Montreal. He worked as a sheet metal worker and pipe fitter for many years, before moving to Liverpool 30 years ago with his family.
A few years after the family moved here, his father were building cabinets for an apartment in the home they owned. His father passed away before the project was completed, and Rhyno decided to finish the cabinets himself.
“One way or another, they needed to be finished, and I had to figure it out myself. That’s how I got started with wood.”
Of course building cabinets and making crafts are a little different. That came after he picked up a woodworking magazine at the store one day about six years ago.
“I bought a magazine one day, and I said to my wife ‘I think I can enjoy that,’” he says.
Rhyno picked up the tools he needed and built the crafts and toys from the magazines. That was the start of his hobby
At first building the crafty items was just for fun. Most of the things he built were given to friends and family as gifts, and selling them didn’t really enter into his mind. Rhyno doesn’t remember who it was, but one day someone saw one of his pieces and offered him $20 for the item.
“I asked if he was serious, and he was,” he said. That was his first sale.
One the advice of the person, he went to a few craft shows to get an idea of pricing. After that he opened up shop in his little space in the professional building.
Rhyno enjoys creating the projects he does, but it’s the reaction he gets from others that keeps him going. Especially when he sees children’s faces light up from the unique toys he builds.
“I just get the greatest enjoyment out of that.”
In addition to his own projects, Rhyno builds things on request and does repair work. One of the unique items he creates is portraits on the scroll saw. Though Elvis Presley is a popular subject among buyers, he can also take photos and convert them into stencils with special software on his computer.
Recently he got into making pens as well, with a small lathe he purchased. Rhyno says he saw the pens in a Lee Valley catalogue, and decided it looked like it would make an interesting project.
Another popular item is a set of hockey sticks, with the Toronto Maple Leafs logo cut and painted to match the current logo. The sticks themselves have the history of the Leafs on them, such as when they won the Stanley Cup, their original names and starting date of the team.
Rhyno’s shop is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. The phone number for the shop is 356-2608.