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.
July has been a busy month in the workshop with many members participating. One hundred and sixteen members have now been accredited in the general woodwork area and about twenty have had lessons on the wood lathes.
The new dust plant, acquired with the assistance of Bendigo Community Bank, is installed and working well. It is no longer necessary to close blast gates to get enough air to exhaust any one machine. In September, Michele will make some wiring changes to relocate the new plant starter box from the dust room to the workshop proper. Until then, remember to visit the dust room and restart the motor after all shutdowns. We will install a plaque shorty to recognise the bank’s generous donation.
In August I will be away on holidays and the Workshop Coordinator role will be filled by Tony Sievers. Tony is our “go to” man for many things so please direct queries to other leaders, when you can, to ensure he is not overloaded. Tony will also handle accreditations.
The August schedule for leaders will be Monday afternoons- Ian Dell and Geoff Platt, Tuesdays and Thursdays-Tony and Les Arthur, supported on Thursdays, by John Gygar in wood turning, Wednesdays- David Heckendorf and Ken Dodt. They may arrange substitutes and several other leaders will be around to lend a hand.
Small contract work keeps bubbling along and most months, brings in enough funds to offset the operating budget provided by management committee. Most contracts are completed by leaders but if you are at a loose end and have the skill to do these jobs, please volunteer your services. It is quite rewarding to be able to fix old stuff and make small items for members of the public.
The new timber sales system has started well. It is our intention to always have some free wood but sales do enable “ex- mill” pine stocks to be replenished. Several members have recently made small financial donations for which we say thanks. The cabinet quality wood is now stored in the stand-up racks in the big container. Each piece of timber is marked with a price so feel free to check through the stock and buy what you need for those special jobs.
There is one special piece of wood we have been guarding for the past 18 months. It is a beautiful, large, round of, valuable, Huon pine that was donated by a Noosa resident. Deciding what to do with it has been a challenge. The answer has been provided by our resident wood carver and leader, ‘ Lucky’ Phil Gibson who has volunteered to carve it into a special clock for the Long shed. The design Phil plans sounds like a real winner so wait and see. Great idea Phil!
John Gygar has been absent with a health issue lately but he is now better than ever and will be back soon. John and Les do most of the wood turning training. If you are one of the members sharing the joys of ‘making the shavings fly’ please take the time to learn how to use our three lathes. Participants need to avoid dominating one machine for long periods to ensure that friction does not arise.
There were a few chuckles at the doorway of the hobby building the other day. Stephan provided a drawing of the work bench needed for leatherwork and Les excelled himself making just what was required in double quick time. He showed his dexterity by quickly dismantling it again when it proved too big to fit through the door. All were happy in the end!
It is great news that Rotary has sponsored a new trailer for joint use with NMS. It will be so much easier now to make trips to suppliers for awkward items such as sheets of ply. The wood shed had some input and we will now have access to a trailer able to haul 1.5 tonnes. Previously, we have hauled timber on a car carry trailer kindly lent by Grahame Brown. Thanks Graham and thanks Rotary.
It is always an issue deciding who to thank for contributions. So many members lend a willing hand and do good things to help others. A couple of recent stand outs come to mind. The first is the gift of a wood lathe by our oldest member Keith Egan. It was raffled last week and raised quite a few dollars for the general fund. The winner was Len Batty who quietly goes about doing good things for NMS and the Sea Scouts. Good outcome and thanks Keith. The second standout is the new brake on the big bandsaw. It was conceived, designed, built and fitted by David Heckendorf. The outcome is a safer and easier to use machine. Safety improvements are always welcome and this one is great.
There were no reported accidents or incidents this month in the shop. It is easy enough to accept the former but not the latter. One unreported incident involved someone cutting part way through the adjustable aluminium fence on the compound saw. This incident clearly did not result in personal injury but should have led to an incident report. The whole idea of having an incident reporting log is to flag happenings that in other circumstances, could have led to personal injury. We should keep trying our best. Making mistakes is not a big problem- if we learn from them!
Cheers and enjoy woodwork.
The wood workshop leadership group has conducted a review of shop operations with the following outcomes:-
To minimize the risk of personal injury and financial loss arising from improper procedures or use of defective equipment, it has been agreed to implement a woodshed Incident Reporting System. Modern businesses have found that managing incidents is key to accident prevention. Incidents are simply events that in less favorable circumstances, may have resulted in injury or damage. Starting this month, a book will be available in the workshop for members who are involved in or just witness, an incident to record the event. If patterns become evident remedial action will follow. Please support this initiative.
One already identified risk is the use of defective tools. Major items of equipment are already inspected weekly. In future, all portable power tools will be subject of a formal quarterly inspection. When an inspection is scheduled members will be requested to place all power tools on the bench tops at close of work on the last session of the week. Leaders will inspect tools for defects before the next session.
Participation in clean-ups has been improving. Just remember, 'clean as you go' if your activity is making a mess, clean your work area if you are departing early, do not leave off cuts on benches, either bin them or if they are a useful size, place them back with the free wood stock, help empty waste bins at the end of sessions and keep an eye on levels of waste in the dust room. Last, put tools back in the correct place after use.
One matter that raises its head from time to time is members leaving work in progress on bench tops. If you plan to be present at the commencement of the next session and your large job is glued and clamped leaving it may be ok. Small jobs should be moved to temporary storage or taken home. Keep leaders in the picture as they are trying to provide bench space for all participants. Also, consider using the outside bench.
Shortly, our large end section pine stocks will be increased by a new purchase ex mill. The container storage is being reorganized in preparation. This reorganization will include construction of storage bays for our furniture grade species. It is intended to attempt a clearer distinction between wood that is free issue and wood that has to be purchased ( including turning blocks). To this end, there will be some new signage and payment arrangements.
Timber payments will no longer be made to the treasurer. Instead, the leader of the day will agree a price and write each sale up in a book kept at the shed. Members will be given an envelope to mark with their name and amount of the sale. When they have the correct money, they can place cash in the envelope, seal it and drop it in the locked box located near the main workshop entry door. Each month, the sales book and the envelopes will be reconciled and the money given to the treasurer for issue of receipts. This change is an important mechanism allowing us to justify our requests to Management Committee for new stock funding.
Tuesday morning continues to be our most popular session. Sometimes overcrowding happens. We do not want to discriminate between members over access. The long term solution is more sessions. The Monday experiment with Stephen and Geoff is still underway but may well become permanent. The leaders group has no 'in principle' objection to opening even more sessions. The issue is availability of leaders. We have just welcomed Ian Dell and Phil Gibson to our ranks. Both are experienced and have skills they are willing to share. We are keen to have other leaders join our group. High level timber skills are not as important as an eye for safety, a willingness to help others and commonsense in personal dealings. If you feel you can help please see Ian or Tony.
The thanks department. Sincere thanks are due to David Hekendorf for his initiative in designing a system for sharpening our planer blades. This system will save us quite bit of money and inconvenience. John Berghauser and his merry band have almost completed our steam bending apparatus. Good job! We are gradually getting on top of turning training with help from John Gygar on most Thursdays and Les at other times. Remember, try your hand at each lathe as each has different characteristics. Last, the red gum coffee table made by Les now has pride of place in the library. Check it out.
New contracts. Tony has a community service project to build some possum boxes and we have the opportunity to make 60 trophys for the Noosa Classic Car Club so there are things you can help with if you are at a loose end.
Following is an update on recent happenings in the wood workshop.
Monday afternoon opening has been sufficiently supported during the trial period to warrant it continuing. Stephen will remain in charge, assisted from time to time by Geoff Platt and Ian Dell.
It is good news that Ian Dell and John Hordyk have agreed to join the leaders group and help share the responsibility of keeping the shop operating smoothly. Leadership is not an exclusive provence. Any member who is safety aware, has a reasonable understanding of the equipment, is willing to assist others and is moderately diplomatic, can step into the role.
Phil Gibson has been busy the past couple of weeks making improvements to our timber storage system in the large container. It is intended to keep cabinet quality wood, ply etc in the new racks.
Members will have noticed that we have acquired new stocks of, large end section, hoop and radiata pine from a mill. Thanks to Ken Dodt who arranged the purchase and transport and all who helped stack the wood to dry. There is a little more to come. Additional turning wood is also being obtained through John Gygar’s connections with Cooroy woodworkers. The Cooroy group is happy to assist us where it can. Donations of free wood and ply offcuts arrive from the public from time to time but we can’t always count on this generosity to keep us supplied.
There is a new payment system now in place for timber. Those wanting to buy from NMS stock , including turning blanks, should make arrangements with the leader of the session. The leader will negotiate a price, record the sale in the book located at the entrance window and give the buyer an envelope. The buyer should write his name and the amount on the envelope and place the money in the red locked box as soon as practicable. At the end of each month Tony and Ian will reconcile the book and the envelopes. If you use a significant amount of ‘free’ timber and feel moved to make a small donation, as some do, please place your voluntary offering in the locked box. All Funds raised from sales are returned to the treasurer and enable the Management Committee to finance future timber purchases.
The dust plant is frequently a nuisance inasmuch as blockages occur when more than one blast gate is open. Management Committee has agreed to the acquisition of a new, 5 hp, 3,200cfm extraction unit that is expected to remedy the situation. The cost of about $1,300 may be partly met by a grant sought from Bendigo Bank with the balance coming from shed funds. Installation in July is anticipated.
To encourage those wood turners interested in making small objects accurately, we have organised to use our monthly operational funding for July to purchase a second hand but modern, Jet mini-lathe equipped with a Vicmark chuck. We are willing to sell our smallest lathe for a modest sum to make way for the upgrade. If you want to start wood turning at home, please discuss a price with Ian. We also have a lathe donated by Keith, to raffle when time permits.
One idea leaders are promoting at the moment is continuous improvement. Most will recognise that although we are well equipped, much of our larger plant was acquired second hand and requires regular attention to keep it in working order. Some is less powerful or less accurate than we would like. Accordingly, we have asked the grant’s group and Management Committee, to assist us upgrade over time. Our wish list includes a more modern and accurate table saw, a 450mm spiral cutter head planer and an industrial bandsaw with electronic brake. We do not expect instant success or to get all our wishes granted but if we embrace the continuous improvement concept good things will happen eventually.
Some of you assisted make the trophy frames for the Noosa Classic Car Club. You will be pleased to know that this project brought $800 into shed coffers while the bird box effort for Bunnings rewarded us with $200 in vouchers and a generous amount of plywood. Possum boxes are now being made for an environmental group. This is a goodwill effort. Offers of assistance with all small contracts like these is very welcome. Don’t be backward in volunteering because leaders need your help if they are to remain committed.
Safety continues to be a priority focus in the workshop. To this end we have placed an incident report book in the shop. If you are involved in an unplanned event that in other circumstances, could have led to an injury or equipment damage, please jot it in the book. Action on incident reports can reduce frequency of accidents. We want everyone to go home intact and happy, every day!
Enjoy wood working.
In order to provide additional opportunities for wood workers it has been decided to trial Monday afternoon opening. The initial leader in charge will be Stephen Carruth. The trial will run for six weeks commencing on Monday 24th April. The gate will open at 12.30 pm but the session will be cancelled at 1pm if there are insufficient attendees to guarantee safe operation. The trial will be considered a success if there is an average of five attendees, including the workshop leader. The trial will be reviewed in its final week and may become permanent if qualified leaders remain available.
Please consider participating in this opportunity to extend the opening hours of the shed.
Thanks are due to members who made items for the open day sale, gave their time to show visitors around the workshop and helped with marketing. Our net contribution to the financial success of the open day was about $450. Well done.