The woodworkers had a busy March. The biggest contract completed was the refurbishing of a large English oak table by Les and Tony. There was a lot of work involved but the owner was generous with payment.
Ken also worked hard to make two portable folding tables for a client who has yet to turn up and collect his order.
The new Gordon Craig annex is proving a great success. The welcoming atmosphere owes much to Ray’s decision to style the shop extension on an America woodwork room theme complete with knotty pine paneling.
After the official opening , performed by Sandy Bolton MP, numerous members have started wood turning and the results are pleasing.See John G if you want a lesson or add your details to the blackboard provided.
Turners are happy with the new Robert Sorby sharpening system. Once correct profiles are achieved, gouge resharpening is quick and effective. We need to train a few more members in the art of tool sharpening. Correctly sharpened gouges make turning so much easier. See Ian or John G if you would like to have a sharpening lesson.
The big bandsaw is now in action for resawing and block breakdown. It is a bit challenging for learners so be on the safe side and ask an experienced leader to assist if you want to use it for the first time.
‘Bob the builder’ and his team no sooner finished the annex than they got busy with the completion of the outdoor work area. This included a master class in paving by Bob. Great to watch a master at work!. When the builders stood back and looked at the results they decided a further improvement was desirable. Accordingly, materials are being sourced for a further section of roof to ensure all new paving is covered.
Michel and David plan to add a couple of additional weatherproof power points to the outdoor area so portable equipment can be used as needed. Once it is commissioned the outdoor area will need a little management control to ensure it remains clean, tidy and useful. Please play a part in this care and maintenance.
The repair of small sail boats for the NYRC can, in future, be conducted in the outdoor area. Transferring the site of this work will take some pressure off the very popular Cobber’s shed.
We should be mindful of the role played by Stefan in our progress. He goes about his tasks quietly and gets results, including ensuring our building efforts are properly authorized by planning authorities. Thanks Stefan.
Enjoy woodwork all and please put a gold coin into the red donations box if you make good use of the free stocks of materials we continue to supply. Note also that some timber stock is not free. Ask if in doubt. IJB.
Quite a few changes are happening in the wood workshop.
This note is to bring you up to date.
The new, more powerful, table saw has been installed and commissioned. We expect some will say they liked the old one better. Nevertheless, we need to adapt to change. The most notable difference is the positioning. In future, cutting wide panels will see the bulk of the material pass the blade to the right. We may add a small table extension to make this easier. The guard system is also different. The saw has an auto rise and fall guard with anti kick back pawls. These ensure stock travels in only one direction. There is no top dust extraction. It is all done from beneath the table. There is a quick release to remove the guard and a secondary riving knife that allows through cuts with the knife in place. Please ask for a demonstration if you do not understand the differences.
The new thicknesser will be installed this week, subject to a 15 amp power outlet being installed by our electricians. This machine is much wider, bigger and more powerful than the unit being retired. With six rows of cutters in action the finish should be exceptional. Please, ask for a demonstration before using the plant.
Within four of five weeks, we expect to move the wood turners out of the main shop into the new annex. The space vacated will be rearranged, probably to include Gordon's carpenter's bench and one or two machines presently on the main floor.
The main floor will also be rearranged to ensure there is more room around certain machines.
The Annex will feature four wood lathes. The three we have at present and a further large, electronically variable speed, H& F unit. There will also be a large bandsaw for breaking down turning wood and general re-sawing.
There will a sharpening centre, including the high speed grinder and a new Robert Sorby sharpening system. It is intended to standardize gouge sharpening as recommended by Sorby. ( If members want gouges with different profiles they will need to provide their own tools. It is too difficult to do otherwise.)
Four benches are being prepared for the annex and two mobiles and tool storage racks are under development. Attention is being given to lighting needs and installation of a further air hose and compressor.
If you would like more information talk to the leadership group.
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.
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.
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.