NEWS ARTICLES
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Two-Wheeled Wonder
AGASSIZ HARRISON OBSERVER (17-MAR-2004) Written/Photo by: James Baxter
Local artist Pierre Lachance busily sands his latest creation - a Harley Davidson motorcycle replica made entirely from wood. Mr. Lachance is making te bike as a challenging precursor to a 1:1 scale version he plans to make for daredevil legend Evel Knievel.
Each of the pieces of this amazing oak/maple bike have been made separately and fit together like a giant puzzle. How many pieces have gone into its assembly is unknown - even the artist doesn't know for sure. Mr Lachance, whose stunt driver father was a friend of Knievel's, says he chose to make the smaller bike first as a personal challenge. He's using photos of an XR-750 taken at a Fraser Valley motorcycle shop as his guide. It's the same bike that Knievel used for many of his famous jumps in the 1970s.
In return for making the larger Harley, Lachance says he will get the daredevil's official endorsement for a stunt drivers website he's created.
The only short coming? Mr. Lachance says he has to make new wheels because the present ones are too small.

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Home Made Toys For Kids
AGASSIZ HARRISON OBSERVER (23-DEC-2003) Written/Photo by: James Baxter
Agassiz wood sculptor Pierre Lachance loads up his vehicle with home made toys––including baby doll cribs, a bean bag game and toy cars––for donation to the Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children in Vancouver.

             
             

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Wood Sculptor preparing to reveal his 'Evel' side
AGASSIZ HARRISON OBSERVER (date) Written by: James Baxter

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He's the King of Wooden Automotive Crafts
LANGLEY TIMES (date) Written by: Janis Foster Photo by: John Gordon

HENRY FORD had a vision of functional, basic, transportation for every family in America.

Pierre J. Lachance has an entirely different and aesthetic vision: he transforms the metal sculpted lines of vehicles into the warm radiance of wood.

Lachance, 32, has parlayed his love of conveyances and construction vehicles into an art form that is winning raves–and plenty of sales orders–from automotive enthusiasts. His handcrafted wooden classics were proudly on display at Willowbrook Shopping Centre's "Just for '95" car show two weeks ago.

Lachance started his wood carvings while still an adolescent. The Cloverdale resident explains, "I always had a passion for automotive things and I dreamt of owning a Porsche. I just started creating my own. I thought, if I want it, I'll build whatever I want. I'll fill my hearts desires."

Twenty years later, the father of four continues to work from books and magazines, enhancing his designs into "instant specs" with computer graphics before crafting his vehicles with oak, alder and black walnut.

"I'm using a primitive format and integrating it into a very high tech format. I go with the past and the future and integrate them together for the now," he says.

Whether it's a boxy jalopy, a sleek and aerodynamic sports car. a chrome laden Chevy with outsized fins, Lachance approaches each reproduction with equal enthusiasm.

"I build everything–everything you can think of. You name it, I've got it. No one does what I do at the scale and the speed and with so much variety. I go from a Harley Davidson to a tractor trailer to a Jaguar."

"I spend two to three days on one item and start on another...It's unlimited. It doesn't stop. I like creating, creating, creating and creating with new concepts."

Lachance also hand crafts wooden toys and this Christmas donated 160 of his pieces to the children at Langley Memorial and Sunnyhill Hospitals. He took the remaining packages and gave them away door to door to children in lower-income housing complexes.

Sizes for Lachance's pieces range from miniature cars and trucks to expansive ships to full size motorcycles. Most of the pieces are custom built to order.

His joy comes in experimenting with the sculptural appearance of a vehicle and the challenge of perfecting each piece. His lifelong ambition is to become "The King of Wooden Automotive Crafts" and he believes that goal is well on the way to being realized.

"I do it as an art and I survive off it. I don't do it for the money–if I did I would have been out of it a long time ago. I do what I do because I love what I do."


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Woodworker Shows His Stuff in Harrison
AGASSIZ HARRISON OBSERVER (date) Written by: James Baxter Photo by: James Baxter

"Whoa!" The little girl can barely believe her eyes. She is standing on her tiptoes with arm outstretched, her tiny hand reaching up toward one of the best toys she has ever seen.

Her mom tells her not to touch, but the girl is already edging closer to the repilca sailing ship, running her finger along the wood hull. Her eyes are like saucers as she examines the detailed rigging and follows the row of cannon barrels that peek from tiny windows, ready to unleash an imaginary barrage upon an invisible adversary.

The tall three-master, a work-in-progress, is more than a metre long and getting it's share of attention from kids and grown-ups alike. Visitors to the Harrison festival of the Arts are getting an eyeful of the vessel, which is resting on a work-table beside the beachfront sidewalk.

Craftsman Pierre J. Lachance, 41, is encouraging them to gather round and watch as he brushes the boat with a piece of sandpaper. He leans into the project, scraping away small imperfections while a few more people approach.

For Lachance, this is what it is all about.

"I love it because I like capturing the audience and it brings me a lot of joy to make other people happy," explains Lachance, who lives in Agassiz."It encourages me when they come and study the work.

"And the kids love it"

He has been building scale cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and other items from wood since he was a young boy. He says he used to watch his grandfather build furniture and quickly discovered his own aptitude for wood working when he was 12. His passion for automobiles, and his father's profession as a stunt driver, served him as inspiration.

Working on and off over a 30-year period, Lachance has built about 14,000 vehicles from oak, alder, black walnut and other woods. A one-man assembly line, he has produced replica sports cars, vintage autos, Harleys, Indy racers, monster trucks...just about anything one can think of. He builds everything from scratch, gleaning his ideas from photographs, magazines or simply from his own imagination. "Limousines, Porsches...I build anything and everything you can think of," he says."No one does what I do at the scale and speed and with so much variety."

Depending upon the size and complexity of each project, Lachance says he can spend from one day to several months crafting a vehicle. He displays his finished work at car shows, bike shows, shopping malls and special events.

He says it was appropiate that the ship, which was not modelled on any specific vessel, should be on display in Harrison since he has been building it over several years here in the village.

"It's being christened at the beach."

His primary shop is in Cloverdale, but he also keeps a part-time shop in Agassiz.

Lachance says he has had no formal woodwork training, a fascinating point given the remarkable detail of his products. He does however teach his skills to others.

The father of four has also donated several of his items as Christmas toys, and he is currently planning a line of posters and calendars. He says he does not do it for the money because it can't motivate him the way the public does.

"I am showing people what I do, sharing my knowledge and experience of what I do best and passing it on. That is my main focus."


     
     

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Indy Car Visits Cloverdale
SURREY NOW (19-JUL-2003) Written by: Tom Zytaruk Photo by: Brian Howell

Celebrated Harrison woodworker Pierre J. Lachance is showing some of his handiwork at his old hometown library in Cloverdale from now into August.

Library visitors can see Lachance's Indy car, which was commissioned by Molson Vancouver Indy and displayed at BC Place during the race in 1996.

The car is made of oak and yellow cedar.

"The car itself took me three months to make," Lachance said. "It was made off photographs only, and it was requested by Market Molson at that time."

Lachance also makes motorcycles, cars, ships and assorted toys out of wood.

Pierre Lachance and his
wooden Indy car in front
of the Cloverdale Library.
The car is on display at
the library branch during the
Indy race in Vancouver.

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Hand Crafted
ADVANCE NEWS LANGLEY (date) Written by: ??? Photo by: Tony Landreville
Showing off his own unique brand of bike, Designer Craftsman Pierre J. Lachance held shop at a motorcycle show at Willowbrook Mall on the weekend.

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Rocking Art...
SURREY NOW (date) Written by: Leah S. Briggs Photo by: ???
Cloverdale artist Pierre J. Lachance works on a "Rocking-Harley" which will be raffled off to raise money for charity. Tickets will be sold during Lachances art show from November 23 to 25 at Cloverdale Mall. The raffle will be held December 15, raising money for Sunny Hill Hospital and the children's wards at Surrey and Langley memorial hospitals.

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