Tony, Ian Dell, Mark and Les have been busy lately with some lucrative contract work that helps the shed maintain financial viability. If you would like to assist with these efforts, have a chat to Tony.
We have just replaced a broken guard system on the Bosch compound saw. Thanks are due to Lyndsay Robinson for manufacturing a missing part and ensuring that the saw is back in good working order. Please report breakages as the happen.
David Nevala has been kept busy lately sharpening band saw blades. It is an unfortunate fact that no sooner is a blade sharp someone comes along and cuts stock so hard the sharp edge is lost. The only band saw that has a bi-metal blade for hardwood is the one in the outdoor area. Please remember this!
Since the fire ban, we have had a problem getting rid of the shed’s offcuts and waste. In future, when a sessions draws to a close, the material in the small bins around the shop is to be sorted. Clean timber goes to a rubbish bin outside the main access door. General waste to a bin next to where the brooms are kept and sawdust is to be placed in a marked bin in the wood turning annex. The sawdust will eventually be composted by the garden group, the general waste will go to the shed’s wheelie bin and the timber will be given to any member willing to take firewood. We need to get this right. Ahhhh!
Members sometimes complain that the Laguna table saw mechanism is hard to operate. That is, the raise, lower and tilt functions. The issue is that dust builds up inside the cabinet because the extraction mechanism is inefficient. The answer is to make sure that the sawdust in the cabinet is completely removed regularly. This is not easily achieved by blowing air around. It is better to get a piece of timber and scrape under the cabinet. Give it a try please.
We have been in the habit of sharpening every wood turning gouge every week. This is time consuming and unnecessary. In future, blunt tools are to be placed in the rack under the notice board. These will be sharpened by either Doug or Ian and returned to the sharp racks. Anyone wanting a lesson on use of the Robert Sorby sharpening system should see Ian.
The new circular saw blade sharpening system works well for most blades. We will sharpen private blades for a donation to defray the cost of replacing the diamond sharpening disc. A couple of dollars is all that we need. See Ian or Tony.
Most members, but not all, are playing the game when it comes to donation/paying for wood stocks. This is an important issue as every 18 months or so we ask the shed management committee to fund a bulk stock buy of around $700.00 . We plan to acquire new hoop pine boards in early 2021 so that they have time to air dry before the current pine stocks are depleted. The committee needs to see that we generate sufficient income to justify the outlay. We are probably in front at the moment but treasurer, Stewart, will no doubt be checking.
There have been very few safety issues lately although we could do better with personal protection which is recommended but not obligatory.
We certainly need to sit up and take notice about the need for face shield wearing and caution in the wood turning area, as a local woodwork group had a very serious, related, accident in their premises recently.
Guard removal is an area for caution. There are circumstances where operations with guard removed is necessary, however, in this shop, it is the obligation of the member using the equipment to return it to guarded condition before moving away from the machine. If in doubt about the validity of what you plan to do, ASK the leader of the day.
As we go through this hot period remember to drink plenty of water. Also remember hygiene issues that surround Covid-19. The problem is suppressed but not entirely gone.
Ian and Tony
The wood workshop went into recess for a period earlier this year due to concerns about the potential spread of the Covid-19 virus. Operations recommenced in June with stringent controls on hygiene and physical distancing. To lessen risk, it was agreed to open the shop for five morning sessions each week instead of the previous three. This change has reduced session numbers to what is believed to be a level that diminishes the prospect of person to person transmission. Hand sanitizing, outdoor smokos and closer attention to attendance recording are expected to offer further protection.
A wood shop regular, Doug Barnes, recently made a generous donation of materials and equipment that can be used in pen making. We now have two experienced wood turners able to teach pen making in Doug and David Nevala. Anyone wanting a new turning challenge is encouraged to talk to Doug or David.
The outdoor wood working area is looking a bit bare at the moment. Some of our equipment has been lent to the Cobber’s shed to replace unsafe equipment in that area. This arrangement is intended to be short term. Cobber’s members are now looking for ways to acquire new some new, safer, equipment. Once that has been achieved we will get our gear back.
Our record with breakages and injuries continues to be fairly good. A recent exception was an injury sustained by an experienced member while using a bandsaw. Lack of concentration rather than lack of knowledge was the primary issue. Although all of our members participate in induction and accreditation, it is easy to become distracted. All we can do is remind you to take care and if you are in doubt about a safe way of doing a job please ask a leader to assist.
Most equipment breakages we have experienced have simple causes. Overtightening adjustments is a common error. Careless handling of portable tools is another. In the wood turning area we still have the occasional incorrect sharpening of gouges. We have adopted the Robert Sorbey system using a Pro-edge machine and members are encouraged to learn how to use it correctly.
We have retired our aging Tormek wet grinder, used for sharpening chisels and plane blades and replaced it with a Scheppach wet grinder. Instruction in its correct use is important. Most leaders are conversant with the proper procedures. If you do use it please remember to empty the water tray on completion.
Income from small contract work has fallen away since the Covid-19 pandemic arrived as fewer members of the public make their way to the shed seeking help with repairs. We are not too concerned about this because fewer visitors minimises exposure risk. To keep within our monthly budget, we are reliant on members making small payments and donations for the use of shed owned timber in their projects. The management committee has ensured our basic needs are still being met but we need to be mindful of our obligation to avoid waste.
Things have been running smoothly in the shop for several months. Breakages are minimal and most members who use the facilities have been pulling their weight during cleanups. One area for improvement is more regular emptying of dust bags. It is just easier when they are less than half full.
It has been interesting to watch the members attempt a wider range of production as skills improve. John Ward is always challenging himself with his creations and Ian Dell and Phil are worth watching for ideas that are a bit off the beaten track. Wood turning is increasing in popularity with many new comers having a go and being happy with the results.
Tony, Les and Ken are often to be found doing the small contracts that help keep the money flowing and reduce the financial burden of the shop on the shed. While they are happy to do these jobs there is nothing stopping other members helping and giving them a break. Thanks guys.
One of the things we need in the near future is more clamps. We will move on this need as soon as a local supplier has them on sale. In the mean-time, if there are unused ones in your shed please bring them in as it is not possible to have too many. It is also likely that two of our original 18v drills will require replacement later in the year as they have done five years of fairly solid work. (Lots of small portable tools continue to be donated from deceased estates but very few are suitable for long term use).
The number of people who have been accredited to work in the shop is now about two hundred and roughly, three quarters of them are current members. Fortunately, they do not all turn up looking for space as there are so many other shed activities on offer.
Timber supplies will soon be augmented with a new batch of radiata and hoop pine planks from the Imbil pine sawmill. When this timber arrives it will be racked, in the container, for drying. The drying process takes time but the wood can be used green for many projects where shrinkage is not a concern. Funding for the stock will come from the shed which underscores the need for members to contribute appropriately whenever they should. Generally, compliance with payments is OK. One of our major timbers supply supporters continues to be the Stair Company of Maroochydore. Rory Morgan from Mast Furniture, Virginnia, also provides specialty offcuts of American oak and wallnut . Rory and Kate welcomed their first baby earlier this year. Congratulations from the shed!
Thanks to the honey group who are now supplying bees wax for our home made wood paste polish. Give it a try and if you wish, we will show you how to make a batch for use at home. We also thank Neville from the metal shed for his keen support in making hard to replace parts for our equipment.
News is a bit light on this month because of my absence on holiday. I’d like to thank Tony and the leadership group for their efforts in making sure the shop ran smoothly during that period.
There are a few small contract jobs available for anyone wishing to become more involved. One is making breadboards. Have a chat to Tony if you are interested.
Because there is not too much else to say I am taking the opportunity to communicate a few ideas about risk management and dust extraction. Some of you may be aware of the destructive power unleashed when dust explodes while others may never have turned their minds to the subject. Coming from the grain industry I have a reasonable knowledge of the matter.
All sorts of dust can explode. Particle size, product source and moisture content are just some of the elements that have an influence. However, the three fundamentals for an explosion are containment, density of dust in the air and a source of ignition. The rule of thumb in the grain industry is that if a dust cloud is such that would be hard to see a 60 watt light bulb held at arm’s length then enough fuel is available. If that fuel load is in a contained space a spark can set off a devastating explosion.
After I retired, my former employer had a major explosion at a facility I’d had a hand in building. I was invited back to assist evaluate what had gone wrong. Put simply, the external dust extraction plant was operating sub optimally while the dust load in the product was excessive and ultra low in moisture content. As the product flowed into a 6,000 tonne capacity silo, the density of dust in the bin exceeded reasonable limits and a piece of loose metal, probably from a machine in the handling stream , struck the man safety metal grate of the silo opening causing a spark. The resulting explosion lifted the 40 tonne concrete roof off the silo, it went at least 100 feet in the air, rolled over like a tossed coin and fell back into the silo. Repairs cost was $2.7m. Because of good facility design, automation ( inherently low manning levels) and luck, no one was killed.
Others have not been so fortunate. If you Google 'grain silo explosions in USA' you will find, in the past, there have been massive explosions, many lives lost and huge damage bills. Major concrete grain export facilities, holding hundreds of thousands of tonnes, have been reduced to rubble in a second. Other industries have had failures as well.
Why raise this? The answer is to minimise risk. We have almost nil risk of a dust explosion in the workshop while ever we keep the facilities reasonably clean. What we do have is a low level risk of fire in the dust room if we fail to regularly check and empty the dust bags. The mode of failure goes something like this. No one checks the bags, they fill, then shavings fill the upper filter sock until continued running of the machine causes particles to lodge in the fan, these overheat and start to smoulder especially once the plant is turned off. Over a day or so, the smouldering spreads and fire consumes the dust plant. In our situation, the placement and construction of the dust room would probably contain the damage. It would still be inconvenient and unnecessary!
The above scenario can be avoided by regularly monitoring the state of fill of the collection bags. If they are half full it is time to stop the plant and empty the bags. Don’t leave this checking to the leader of the day. He is not your mother! If you have been using the planer or jointer for more than a few minutes go and check. Before removing a dust bag turn off the relevant extractor at the isolation switch in the room. Tell others you are doing it. You will have the plant up and running again in a few minutes and cleaning will enhance suction at the pick up points. If in doubt, ask.
Members will have noticed that a few changes are underway in the workshop. The container section is being revamped to make way for two additional work benches made by, bench expert, Les. To ensure these benches are used, additional windows will be cut into the container to improve airflow. With help from Ray and Frank, the changes should be completed around the end of January. Two large shelf units that were in this location have been removed as they were gathering places for seldom used items and dust.
In December, the shed provided nearly $500 for the purchase of a new, 3hp, Hare and Forbes dust extractor . This will be used to minimise emissions from the compound mitre saw and the bandsaw housed in the Gordon Craig annex. Capturing dust for safe disposal is highly desirable. Before this project can be completed, Ray, Bob and the building crew will make a weather proof cupboard to house the extractor and David and Michele will attend to the wiring.
Tony ,Phil and Ian Dell worked on several substantial benches for the Peregian State School during the period and other leaders including Ken and Les, have been busy with small contracts and repair jobs that generate revenue for the shed. We try to limit this work to sensible levels as there needs to be time for personal projects and helping other members extend their skills. When the Cobber’s shed arranged an end of year bits and pieces sale the contribution of turned items made by Geoff and Ian sold out quickly and raised $150. This was a surprise and points to the prospect that it can be done again. Thanks to Rod for creating the opportunity.
Revenue from timber sales continues to lag behind the desirable level. Very few members have taken advantage of the availability of the stocks of Kauri pine. This is valuable, quality wood and is reasonably priced. If Kauri or Hoop pine planks, are used payment must be made as the stock was financed by the shed. The quality dressed timber offcuts, provided by Graeme Atkin’s friend at the Stair Company, are in great demand. We ask a small price, $2.00 a piece, to prevent waste and offset some general costs. The real value of this stock is high and the generosity of the donor is sincerely appreciated.
People sometimes ask what materials we accept as donations. The answer is new and used, metal free, clean softwood, cabinet species timbers and plywood. There is little demand for chip board or MDF and we lack storage space to house materials that are not in regular use. If you have a source of good useful timber, please tell us as we do attempt to have stocks of low cost and ‘free issue’ wood available.
The outdoor area has been getting regular use during the hot weather. This is a great place for messy sanding and grinding jobs. We encourage those working with hardwoods and heavy recycled timbers to use the equipment in this area. The logic being it is easier to maintain a few pieces of plant that get tough use rather than risk damage to equipment in the main workshop.
As members have gained in experience, it is pleasing to see that equipment damage is now infrequent and the task of keeping machines performing is taking less time. One area for constant attention is emptying dust bags. This is a task to be shared by everyone. It is good practice to empty bags well before they are full as this can improve extraction performance and will minimize hazards.
Our senior member, Davo Wilson, celebrated his 90th birthday with a cake at the shed. The cake was surrounded by hundreds of wooden toys he’d made during the year for local children. Well done Davo and keep on enjoying life with woodwork.
Ian and Tony