It is already November and much has happened since our last issue of Woodwork News. After the shed office bearer elections I moved on to become Vice President and Tony Sievers and David Heckendorf took on the co-ordinators role. Tony is very hands on in the shop and can assist with all manner of projects while David turns his skills with machinery to good advantage when needed. It is important that other leaders make themselves available to lighten the workload.
Operating days are unchanged. Stephen and Geoff still look after the Monday afternoon session. Tony and Les take care of things on Tuesdays and Thursdays when John Gygar is also on deck teaching wood turning. Ken, Ian and David are usually around to share Wednesday mornings. A number of other leaders help out on an ad hoc basis and their contributions are important. Accreditations in the future will be offered only on Wednesday mornings, unless Tony decides otherwise.
An observation worth making is that we all need to be sensitive to the need not to overwork the willing horses. There are quite a few small contracts coming our way. In most months the execution of these jobs delivers more money to the shed than the $300 a month it costs to maintain the equipment and provide consumables. Surpluses go toward the running of the entire organization. If you want to lighten the burden on leaders, feel free to ask Tony how you can help with small contracts.
Recently, Michele completed several improvements including an additional power point to run the wet grinder, a three phase point to run an improved dust extraction unit attached to the big band saw, and relocation of the on off switch for the 5hp dust plant. Make sure you become familiar with the new switching system so that the dust plants are properly used. Ask if in doubt. The improvement to performance of the big dust plant is very noticeable but has come with a higher level of noise. For this reason we ask that members pay more attention to the use of hearing protection.
Numerous factors contribute to high noise levels. These include more members using more equipment. However, if you hear the jointer or planer making a lot of noise it could be that the blades require sharpening or the work is too hard for the machine or the cut being attempted is too deep. It is possible to learn a lot about the shop from noise levels. Constant exposure to high levels of noise is not a satisfactory situation.
Recently we purchased a drum sander. We have found it to be useful but sensitive to operator error. For this reason we have followed in the footsteps of other sheds and limited the use of the machine to trained leaders. When you have a job that will benefit from drum sanding see the duty leader. Do not have a go yourself as the cost of a replacement sanding strip is $25.00 and they are easily damaged.
The other day one of our least experienced wood workers pointed out that the table saw was not cutting accurately. He was right. There were two major issues. The saw was out of vertical adjustment and the blade was blunt. (Probably cut a nail.) Both problems were easily fixed but we are looking forward to the outcome of the next Community gambling Fund round of grants in the hope we will be able to acquire a new Jet table saw and a bigger spiral cutter head thickness planer. A more powerful planer is needed if we want to work more with hardwoods.
The management committee recently gave the go ahead to build a wood lathe room as an addition to the shed. This is sorely needed because of cramped, sometimes unsafe, conditions around the lathes in the current building. Often, we rely on grants to do these improvements but just now, prospects for early success are limited so we have decided to take a different approach. The estimated cost of ten thousand dollars may be met through our own efforts and with local business and organization assistance. It is important we not over spend or starve other activity areas, so work on the extension will follow availability of funds.
Our voluntary contribution drive that started two weeks back has already brought in $2,000 which is enough to lay the floor and start work on the timber structure. Hopefully, member’s generosity will lift the outcome a little further. We have also contacted some suppliers seeking discounted materials and have confidence that we will be helped. Overtures have been made to other local bodies that have a track record of supporting good causes.
I am not given to relying on the allmighty, however there is something that rings true about the phrase that “the Lord helps those that help themselves”. Members can help in a number of ways, cash if you have spare, labor on the job if you have skills, helping with a wood shed contract, making something we can sell, such as for open day, or performing a service. Stephen showed how that could be done when he sharpened knives last week and Ollie has offered to make trellis frames and contribute from sales proceeds. By all pulling in the same direction, we will get an outcome and quite soon. Good work all.
Safety remains a concern for the shed. We implemented an incident reporting system early this year. It is not used as much as it could be but has been useful just the same. Recent incidents recorded were loose grinding wheels on the high speed grinder, (make sure you always use a shield) and a router bit coming out of the router table. Follow up actions were taken and recorded. If you see something that could have caused an accident please write about it in the book kept on the shelf inside the front door. Tony and David will do any necessary follow up to improve shop safety.
The other system introduced for timber payments is working out pretty well although I have noticed that some are pretty casual about use of turning blanks. If we don’t make small contributions from time to time, there will, eventually, be a drought of suitable turning wood.
I’d better get back to the mowing or Gavin will ban me from the tractor.