When Josh Hayes started high school at Edmund Rice College he built a simple picture frame.
Now in Year 12, he's taken the phrase 'major work' quite literally for his HSC by creating a traditional workbench with a split-top Roubo design.
Josh, who hopes to study civil engineering at the University of Wollongong and work in residential building, spent more than 400 hours on the project, despite the subject only requiring 120.
He described it as "a big commitment", with the workbench - built from American rock maple and Tasmanian blackwood - featuring a soft-close versatile portable cupboard.
He's so pleased with the finished product, he can't bring himself to use it as a workbench just yet.
"[At the moment] it's a display feature when you walk in, but I'd say once I leave home and have children of my own and it gets it scratches and dents on it, then I'll probably finally start using it," Josh said.
"I sort of don't want to touch it for a little bit and just let the dust settle."
Josh is one of hundreds of Illawarra students who spent the past three-and-a-half terms creating an industrial technology HSC major, with the project worth 40 per cent of their mark for the subject.
Many of the Edmund Rice College students were inspired to build something that would be useful for themselves or a loved one.
Rocco Roncato, 17, created a display cabinet for his mum's '70s and '80s-era vinyl collection.
"[My mum] had a specific spot that she wanted in the lounge room, so it awesome finally getting to see that spot filled ... she was stoked," Rocco said.
He hadn't built anything like the coffee table before and felt "very relieved and very tired" once he was finished.
"It was a big learning curve ... it was having to figure out a bunch of new skills," he said.
Austin David built a steel-string acoustic guitar inspired by his late grandfather who made one when he was young.
"It's the best thing that I've ever done," Austin said.
His grandfather, a carpenter, died when Austin had started building the guitar.
"I was like 'I've definitely got to do it now'," Austin said.
"I was just so happy when I played the first string; it was way louder and better quality and the standard's so good, and better than I ever thought it would be."
Head of technology and applied studies teacher Andrew Edmonson said the average person doesn't realise the amount of work that goes into pieces of furniture and other handcrafted works.
He said the students had done exceptionally well and he was very proud.
"They're boutique pieces of furniture that they'll hopefully pass onto their grandkids."
Tayne Ward drove off with his major work, with the electrician apprenticeship making an aluminium ute tray.
"I ended up adding a lot more things than I thought I was going to which increased the workload a fair bit," Tayne said.
"It was worth it because it made it a lot more practical like the toolboxes on the sides."
Tayne has since tested out the ute tray on a few camping and four-wheel driving trips.
"I enjoy going away and motorbike riding ... I've built it to be able to carry two or three motorbikes and some camping gear."
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