1963 Fordson Super Dexta Tractor Wood Turning May 12, 2022 Free

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I grew up on a farm in County Wexford. It’s a small place called Arachmon, near Campile and New Ross. My brothers and nephews are still working on it.

My great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather were coopers. [wooden barrel makers]. Perhaps that’s where my interest in woodworking came from.

I didn’t have a chance to do woodworking at school. When I left school and went to university, I built my first lathe, but at that time I couldn’t afford a lathe. It was pretty rough, but it was perfect for getting started.

early period

I began studying Engineering at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) or Waterford Regional Technical College as it was then called. So after two years he got a job at Merck Sharpe & Domhe (MSD).

1962 Fordson Super Dexter built by Tom Larkin.

For the next two years I worked for them and also completed an engineering degree in Cork. They promoted it. I have been there for his 37 years based in Clonmel.

I married a girl from nearby Carrick-on-Suir so I’ve lived here for 35 years. It’s a nice place, I’m here in the countryside.


I bought a lathe when I got a job. A long time ago, I took one set of lessons. They were taking night courses at a technical school in New Ross. I did that and it became the basis for everything I’ve done since then.

I got the chance to retire early. The only reason I retired early was because I thought there were so many things I could spend my time on. I was able to concentrate on woodworking. It wasn’t about making a living from it. It was a social thing to keep my mind in the right place.

A rocking horse created by Tom Larkin.

I’m in my workshop most days. I call it a workshop, but it’s actually a converted garage. All of the machines I have in my workshop are second-hand items that I got for free. I immediately set it up and repaired it.

The lathe I use every day is a 1955 machine that has been modernized. This drill was made in 1962 and he bought it for 50 euros. I readjusted it and brought it up to standard myself. This is something I enjoy doing.

great group

There is a website called Shop in Ireland. amazing. The items on display are mainly Irish crafts. There’s stuff there.

I am a member of the South East branch of the Irish Woodworkers’ Guild (IWG). We are based in Bennettsbridge, Kilkenny. We hold a big show every year at Ormond College in Kilkenny. 10 or 12 of us are exhibiting materials there. This is an exhibition and sale event.

Another group I have been involved with for the past 30 years is Waterford Craft. These were established 30-40 years ago when his two local tanneries in Portlaw and Carrick-on-Suir closed. There were many highly skilled leather craftsmen in this area.

Gloria Collins organized the Waterford Craft Group to promote crafts in the area. We hold a Christmas craft fair every December.

team effort

Our local IWG chapter, Southeast Woodturners, participates in the IWG Chapter Challenge each year. The competition started 15 years ago and was intended to be an All-Ireland competition. Our group won 6 out of 7 times.

They give a topic or theme. Then, the group creates items based on that. For example, the steam engine, the theme that year was to create a steam-propelled vehicle.

If you like, I’ve got the job to lead it. I made a plan. At that time, seven of us or his eight people worked together to create and assemble this piece. We also made things like a cement mixer and a life-sized bicycle.

The group owns them. They were basically in people’s attics, taking up space, but no one had ever seen them. We decided to donate them as a fundraiser for charity. We presented them to the public at St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny.

Cement mixer manufactured by Southeast Woodturner.

One of our members was a maintenance man at a hospital. Through him, we obtained permission to install an alcove with sliding glass doors and donated all items to a local hospice group/home care group. We have a donation box, so donations are always coming in little by little from our products.

I myself make various things. I love getting unusual requests like darning discs, mushrooms, and tailor’s clapboards. I had no idea what some of these were, but most were traditional items that had been used since ancient times.

I built a rocking horse and a tractor. When the lockdown started, I said, “I’ve got plenty of time, so I’m not going anywhere.” So I decided to make a tractor. This is an actual replica of his 1962 Fordson Super Dexter.

Getting the right proportions requires planning. The tractor is 10 scale, so it’s about a foot long.

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