Stephen BillsCabinet Making Apprenticeship (1986)

Partner and CEO of Lignum Fine Furniture

Partner and CEO of Lignum Fine Furniture, ex-student Stephen Bills is an inspiration for all budding craftsman of the success that could await them. Tucked away in the foothills of the Yarra Valley, Steve and his business partner Adrian Binkert set up a business manufacturing fine furniture, architectural fittings, fixtures and other custom creations, combining their highly sought after talents with the skills Steve has acquired at Box Hill Institute.

Steve’s passion for working with wood flourished after completing an apprenticeship at Box Hill Institute. His work showcased in some of the most prestigious households around the country.

Steve a former student of Carey Baptist Grammar School excelled in sport but soon found that an academic career was less exciting due to his hands on approach. So in his final years of school he made the move to complete a Vocational Orientation Program (VOP) in cabinet making at Box Hill Institute. Steve says that in that one year he learnt more and found it far more rewarding than any of his schooling years. Steve is sure that one of the major contributing factors in finding employment as an apprentice is having completed the VOP course at Box Hill Institute.

After his time at Box Hill Institute, Steve undertook an apprenticeship with a small company specialising in antique reproduction and restoration. With Steve’s keen interest in carving, formed at a very young age, and attention to detail this opportunity allowed him the invaluable chance to work with exotic timbers, fine handwork and intricate carving.

Steve then decided to stretch his talents and began working for Danish organ builder Knud Smenge in building and restoring organs. This enabled Steve to express his skills while contributing to design. The design and construction of pipe organs can present a number of challenges both artistically and mechanically however the knowledge gained was invaluable.

It was during this time that he met Adrian and a friendship was formed. 24 years later their company is thriving with two other employees (a cabinet maker and apprentice).

Steve is passionate about ensuring both he and his employees have up to date training, knowledge and experience to guarantee the highest quality of work is produced. He is now about to commence a business course with Steve’s vision to work more on developing the company and establishing a more complete and rounded service to their clients. Through this he hopes to have more time to travel Europe with his wife and spend time with his family.