After a quiet start to the year, activity around the wood workshop is picking up. The construction teams, under leaders Ray and Bob, are busy are well advanced with the building extension to house the wood lathes and an additional covered work area. The committee has funding for these developments well in hand.
The extension, named in memory of our late foundation member Gordon Craig, is intended to house the existing three wood lathes and provide space for a further large lathe. Work looks to be on track for completion well before the garage sale day, scheduled for May. The space will also house an additional large work bench, two smaller work benches, sharpening equipment, a large bandsaw and two tool mobiles. The bandsaw was sourced by metal shed leader, John Berghauser, and restored to good condition by the metal shop specialists. This unit will be employed to break down large blocks to make turning blanks and will also be useful to all woodworkers as a means of re-sawing planks.
Anyone who would like to start work on making the tool mobiles, small benches and minor fittings for the annex should see Ian.
Wood turning instructor, John Gygar, has donated an air compressor for the extension. Thanks John. This will be housed outside the building on a small weather proof plinth. A new ceiling mounted air hose reel will be installed. Our electrical specialist, Michele, is now busy working on plans for the wiring and lighting.
The new external work area offers potential to be used by the boat restorers who work on the small sailing craft for the Noosa Yacht and Rowing club and our own sailing boat. The space will also be a further location for those dusty grinding and sanding jobs encountered from time to time. We are grateful to Peter Lavin, of Wimmers soft drink factory, for the donation of sufficient bricks to pave this area. A big team of members assisted in the bricks collection. The cover structure for the space will be the recycled roof that was previously between the workshop and the storage container.
Members who have run out of private jobs in the wood shop are invited to make items for the garage sale day planned for May. Items that sell well include bread boards, cutting boards, bowls and toys. Last year, the woodworkers raised about $450 at the open day stall. If we can improve on that it will assist the shed’s general finances. Speak to Tony, Les or other leaders if you want to participate. You should also speak to Tony if you would like to assist with the small contracts that keep coming in our door.
Leaders have indicated that breakages in the shop are trending down as members become more familiar with the equipment. This is a good direction and needs to be supported with even more attention to use of personal safety protection and incident reporting. Because noise levels are generally higher now that we have more powerful dust extraction units, members would do well to reconsider their approach to hearing protection. Most men can’t afford to lose any more hearing capacity. Ask your family. Eh, what did you say?
Recently, we purchase a quantity of NG rosewood in small cross section. This and stocks of hoop pine and radiata pine are available for sale at mates rates. Free wood is a bit light on. If you wish to work with recycled wood, please remember it is your responsibility to ensure there is no embedded metal. A missed nail recently did significant damage to cutters on the jointer. Wand and clean everything that is not new wood.
Participation in end of session clean ups has been ok lately. Please get used to emptying the dust bags. Everyone needs to know how to do this task as always leaving it to others is not good form. Don’t wait for bags to fill as they get hard to manage once they are one third full. It is best if you work in pairs to service the big dust plants. Isolate motors in the dust room before removing bags or you could have an uncomfortable moment or two if they are started by someone inside the workshop.
Over 130 members have been accredited to use the shop. Good times to attend, to avoid crowds, are Monday afternoons and Wednesday mornings. If you need to be accredited, place your name on the white board provided and attend, on time, once a session is organized.
Enjoy participation in woodwork.
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.
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.
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.
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.