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Woodwork King heads to auction

A range of tools on display in the King Woodworking museum. PHOTOS/GIANINA SCHWANECKE

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After for more than 130 years of operation in Carterton by the same family, King’s Wordworking Company is going under the hammer.

Fourth-generation woodworker Pete King closed the business late last year, and today the remainder of his work and supplies is being auctioned on-site.

King’s great-grandfather Daniel ‘DT’ Thomas started the business in 1887, after moving over the hill from Tawa.

“He came over because the town was developing,” he said.

Pete King dressed in his home-made wooden suit, made over many years, with a new piece added each time as part of his trade presentation.

King took over the business in 1978, after his father announced plans to sell it.

In 1988, he stopped doing kitchens and started focusing on timber benchtops.

“We’ve developed a finish which was desirable. I think some of the stuff we made is well thought of.

“The benchtops are beautiful and solid timber has a real appeal.”

It’s difficult for him to choose a favourite piece or project, though restoring Wellington’s oldest homes probably comes close.

“There are so many.
“At that time there wasn’t a lot of work in the trade, so I started restoring old Wellington housing stock.

“We built kitchens and cabinets to match the old items which they were knocking down.”

His work has sold across the country and overseas.

“Sustainability has always been at the forefront of my mind.

“I’ve always promoted sustainable species.”

In December last year, he announced he would be closing the business as his children did not want to carry it on and it had become more difficult as the industry changed.

“The suppliers are no longer reliable and that’s part of the reason we are finishing,” he said.

“The cost of doing what I do now is much higher than when I started.”

It’s also hard to compete with cheaper pine and imported granite benchtops from China.

He said many designers were removed from the process and not as interested in the sustainable species.

“It’s much harder to educate them.”

More stringent health and safety requirements had also made the job more difficult.

“Occupational health and safety requirements are just about killing small businesses,” he said.

He will miss most of all the “wonderful staff” and the skills they had.

But he was upbeat and looking forward to the auction today.

He wasn’t sure who would turn up for the auction or which piece would be most in demand.

There’s a solid range of items for sale, from benchtops and cabinetry, to quality timber, tools and machinery – including a CNC milling machine worth about $60,000.

The auction will be held on-site at 76 Broadway in Carterton.

Viewing will take place from 9am with the auction set to start at 11am.


  1. Sad to see yet another old but good
    company closing its doors for good.
    I’m hoping new businesses begin to
    sprout from the ashes of old shops
    and factories moving forward. ?

  2. Yes, I worked a few school holidays there , was like the spare everything, I ate Denny Chews sandwich after smoko and he turned up, so I shot down the shop for more sandwiches, when i got back all hell was breaking loose as the sink I was filling before was overflowing through the kitchen top floor all over the newly sanded coffin pieces

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