Recently graduated Bega High student Scarlett Whitaker has made it into the top 10 of the student category for Australian Wood Review's Maker of the Year for her year 12 HSC major work.
She created an incredible bass guitar while studying industrial design timber products and furniture technologies with teacher Matt Collins, who encouraged her to submit her work to the annual competition.
Scarlett was first introduced to timber in Year 7 and decided to continue it in Year 9 and 10.
"I loved it so much I couldn't not do it for Year 11 and 12," she said.
"I love the creative side, just making stuff and learning the skills that goes into it."
Scarlett said she chose to make a bass guitar as she started playing the instrument when she was around 14 years old thanks to an introduction from her dad who had been playing "my whole life".
She decided she wanted to make something "more complicated" than a coffee table and so set her sights on a bass guitar.
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She had to seek out assistance from a fellow teacher at Lumen Christi Catholic College, Pambula from whom she was also able to source some of the timber.
The timbers used included Sitka spruce for the soundboard, blackwood for the back, and silky oak for the sides of the instrument - timbers she described as "easy to work with".
"I had never done it before so everything was new and exciting," she said.
Scarlett used a range of tools including a block planes, jigs, as well as a laser cutting machine to precisely cut out the sound hole in the middle.
She said the most challenging aspect of the project was the sheer size of it, which amounted to a large number of processes and a lot of time invested - including many lost recesses and lunches.
"Towards the end I was staying back at school to work on it. My teacher would let us stay at school until 6pm some nights," she said.
Scarlett also had to complete a portfolio documenting her design processes and results, with her portfolio being 80 pages long when she was finished.
She said she felt really proud of herself once she was able to stand back and look at the finished product - a feeling she shared with her dad who was "very impressed".
"I was proud of the achievement and amount of work that went into it."
Scarlett said she had played her bass guitar a couple of times, but wanted to make some minor changes to one of the frets that was slightly out of place when she played it.
Although a career in marine biology looked to be on the cards, she said she would love to pursue woodworking as a hobby
"Grandpa's got a bit of a workshop at his place so I could always do it there," she said.
To allow the public to view more incredible major works from students of Bega High, the school is holding an exhibition from 4pm until 6pm on Tuesday, November 15.
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