The Lower Clarence Arts and Crafts Association held its Clarence River Arts and Crafts Festival (22/23 January) after cancellations and delays. The woodworking section was well supported with a very strong and diverse range of entries.
The Clarence Valley Woodworkers dominated – both in quantity and quality of entries!
The work was judged by Bim Morton, a studio woodworker and educator of more than 30 years experience. Bim is also a co-founder of the Tree-O Gallery in Raleigh, just off the Bellingen Road. In addition to fine woodwork, Tree-O Gallery features other arts and crafts, such as ceramics, painting and sculpture. Next time you find yourselves traveling to Coffs Harbour, take the time to visit!
Neil Cryer won the prize for Best Overall with his tour de force piece ‘Butterfly Fantasy’. Everyone was drawn to this piece, and it was widely admired.
Pat Johnson’s ‘Flower Bowl’ as another wonderful piece, taking out First Prize for the Carved, Sculpted or Joined Section. Although partly turned, the real work was in the detailed carving around the rim and underneath. The piece was made from a stunning piece of curly Mango.
Steve Dodd’s wonderful ‘Musical Bench’ took second place in the Carved, Sculpted or Joined Section. The choice of timbers, the design of the piece and the execution were outstanding.
First Prize in the Turned Section went to Roy Ellery for this beautiful ‘Leafed Bowl’. It was no surprise that this piece sold very quickly. The judge had no problem selecting this piece, and he noted the form and the beautiful finish on the inside of the bowl.
Pat Johnson’s ‘Grinders’ in ebony and jacaranda took second place in the turned section.
The Grafton Jacaranda Festival is normally held during late October and early November. This year the festival has been reduced in scope and postponed until December subject to the continuing Covid 19 health restrictions.
Following some discussions, there was consensus within the CVWA that we would not proceed with our (more or less) annual Jacaranda display – primarily due to uncertainty regarding restrictions and access..
The CVWA instead took the advantage of an empty shopfront in the Grafton Link arcade to have a ‘pop-up’ display of members work.
Steve Dodd, Roy Ellery and Colin Lang set up the display with more than 50 items of members work on show. The display highlighted the quality and diversity of members work – ranging from Steve’s wonderful music bench through Bill Andrew’s model semi-trailer, Bob Holder’s carvings and Roy Ellery’s turned bowls – plus more splendid work by other members.
The display ran for a month, from October 6 through November 3 and was well received, with club fielding many inquiries from the public.
Earlier this year, before lock-downs, the ‘My Clarence’ exhibition was held at the Coldstream Gallery, Ulmarra. Roy entered a beautiful surfboard depicting Iluka and surrounds. Roy’s surfboard went on to win the ‘People’s Choice’ award, and of course it sold quickly! (see a brief video of Roy presenting his surfboard here)
Roy has subsequently made another surfboard (see photos) and those who have seen it think this one is even better!
Roy described his process:
I start by acquiring a second hand surf board from the recycle centre. I then remove the top half of the fibre glass and sand until I have a flat surface. I then layer the top half with 3 ply timber giving myself a flat surface to work on, then using different timbers, start to display a theme. This one is my interpretation of Iluka with a sunset over the Clarence looking through coastal grasses. A walk through the rainforest onto the beach with the rockwall, ocean and river. The timbers are Jacaranda, Mango, Camphor Laurel, Cedar and Huon Pine. Carving and air brushing give the details.
If you are in town and running errands instead of getting out to the shed, drop into your newsagents and get the latest issue of Australian Woodworker magazine. The magazine features an article by CVWA member and Jacaranda festival stalwart Bob Aitken on his adventures in making clocks with poured resin decorations.
I first learned about Beethoven through Peanuts and Huntley/Brinkley. I was awake in the night last night, and thought of this wonderful video – I first saw it 6 years ago, and posted it then at Christmastime. It has nothing to do with Christmas, but that doesn’t matter. We could all use a little joy […]
During this year’s AGM, Long Service Awards were presented to two members for distinguished long service.
Ron Moore joined the club (then the Northern Rivers Woodworkers Association) in 2005 after moving to Grafton from Bowral in the Southern Highlands. In 2012, he stood for President of the Club and was duly elected. He said at the time that he decided to stand because he had gained a lot from the Club, and it was time to pay something back. He was President for 3 years – 2012 through 2015. He was responsible for leading the Club to a sound financial footing. He instigated the CVWA involvement in the Bunnings BBQ program, which greatly increased the Club’s revenue. Further, the Bunnings BBQ served to increase the Club’s exposure to the public, to increase membership, and also to provide an extra social outing for Club members.
Ron’s woodwork covers the broad spectrum of skills, from earrings to tables, both new work and restorations. However, he is best known for his box making – both band-sawn and lidded boxes. His work is distinguished by his original and innovative designs, attention to detail and for superb finishing. Ron’s work has been exhibited and sold though galleries around Australia.
Ron has always found time to help others and to share his knowledge. He has lead many skill building workshops for Club members, and has always been generous with his time and knowledge.
Ron was also instrumental in establishing the Club’s first dedicated workshop at Hoof St, Grafton, and served as Shed Manager and coordinator.
Roy Ellery also joined the Club in 2005, and has achieved the milestone of 15 years service with the Club. Roy settled in Iluka after leaving Victoria. Roy is the current CVWA President, having served as President in 2015-16, and from 2017 to 2020.
Roy is renowned as a turner and carver. His work has been published in National and major US woodworking publications. He is best known for his thin walled vessels in Jacaranda, many of them finely pierced and coloured of textured. His carved ‘Log Books’ are something special and an article featuring his work was published in Fine Woodworking magazine. He has also received numerous awards for his work, within the Club and in open competitions.
Like Ron, Roy is also very generous with his time and knowledge. Roy is always more than happy to explain how a piece was made and to pass on his skills.
Roy’s output is prolific and wide ranging. He has been a major contribution to the Jacaranda Festival, as an exhibitor, a demonstrator and a volunteer.
The CVWA are extremely fortunate to have had the benefit of both Ron and Roy as members – we are all better for their contributions.
CVWA member Dick White has been spending some time in the shed during COVID restrictions. He recently finished a doll’s house for one of his granddaughters – see photos. Now working on a truck for his grandson. Well done Dick – a ripper of a doll’s house by CVWA member Dick White.
This is a proper Australian Dolls House. Does it have a redback?
The Clarence Valley Woodies website has been upgraded. We now have our very own domain – clarencevalleywoodies.com. This does a few things for us – including the ability to add more features, like videos! Update your links now. (By the way, the old address will also continue to work)
Colin Lang, aided and abetted by Roy Ellery, have produced a couple of videos. One is a video tour of our Ulmarra Shed, the other is a brief description and history of the CVWA by Colin.
The videos have now been incorporated into the CVWA website.
Lost Arts Press is a small independent USA based publishing house that specialises in publishing books about woodwork. Some of their titles are new, some are reprints of older books or magazine articles. They are mostly USA based, but many of the books are from other countries – UK, France even Latvia!
The books are stocked in Australia by Lie-Neilson Australia and by Carbatec. I have a couple of Lost Arts Press books – they are well made, usually with cloth bindings and quality paper. They are also well written and well designed.
Lost Arts Press is the brainchild of Christopher Schwartz, woodworker, teacher, journalist, author and former editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine. He is driven by his personal commitment to what he calls ‘Amercian Anarchy’ – and it doesn’t involve bombs and revolution.
Lost Arts Press have released the book ‘The Anarchist’s Workbench’ as a free download in .pdf format – which means that you can read the book on your computer, your tablet device or even your smart phone. Or you can print the book from your computer to your home printer – although at 316 pages, it will chew through a bit of paper and ink!
I haven’t read all of the book yet, but I have enjoyed what I have read so far. Chris Schwartz begins The Anarchist’s Workbench with a bit of history of his experiences with work benches and a bit about his personal approach to woodworking and life in general. He describes the bench that is the distillation of his experience with work benches, and then he describes the process of making the Anarchist’s Workbench. The book also has sections on historical work benches, bench hardware, fixtures and fittings – even using a bench with no vices!
Workbenches are a very personal tool. Some folks are workbench obsessed, and want the best ever workbench – they can turn their benches in to works of art, making them out of exotic timbers, fitted with exotic hardware and costing a mint. Some woodworkers use an old door on trestles as their workbench – I did for years. There are as many different points of view on what makes the ideal workbench as there are opinions on the ideal bench hardware.
The Anarchist’s Workbench is designed to be affordable, practical and highly effective, using construction timber to make the bench top and structure. And I’m sure it works very well. The book is written for readers from the USA, but the information and advice can be applied to Australian woodworkers.
The book also reflects the authors interest in historical benches and woodworking methods – that’s OK too. The reader can take or leave the advice, and make a bench to suit themselves.
For what its worth, my own bench (pictured above and below) was made mostly of oregon that was pulled out of a verandah and deck of our house at the time, as well as other odd timbers – recycled bridge timbers and even some treated pine 190 x 45 that we had lying around. I used low cost vices, and fitted them out with hardwood faces. At the back of my mind was the idea that I could always build another one if my bench disappointed. It may not be perfect, but I’m not disappointed with it, and I have no plans to replace or upgrade it.
If you are interested in workbenches, or you secretly want the coolest workshop, or you desperately need a bench of your own, down load the free book and start reading. Once you have read the book, sketch up the bench you want to work with, and start building. How hard can it be?
To download the book, click here and follow the links…
For some time now, I have wanted to make a chair with a saddled seat. Over time, I bought a few tools that might come in handy. A week or three ago, a friend of a friend asked me to make a couple of bar stools with saddled seats. Of course I could do it – how hard could it be?
It turns out that its not that hard, or time consuming… And it gave me an excuse to put a few tools to work in earnest…
The AEG Super Clamp
I have used the Triton equivalent – borrowed during the Jacaranda show while I was demonstrating. The AEG is probably easier to use, and rock solid. The controls allow unlocking with out the risk of getting clobbered in the shins by the foot pedal.
To hold the seats while I hollowed them out, I screwed a block onto the back of each seat, and clamped the bock in the jaws. Worked well!
This was the first time I used the beast. It works well, removes wood quickly, and only has a few vices. Beware ‘climb cutting’, where the cut is with the cut of the blade – in a split second, the blade can grab, dig in, create a great divot, and, if you aren’t careful, take a divot out of you. That said, cutting against the flow (think of cutting with a router – the work moves on to the teeth), the tool is quite controllable, cuts quickly and quite smoothly on wide flat curves like the chair seat.
On the down side, the thing chucks shavings and dust all over the place – best used outside. Even so, Su complained of shavings all over the vegetables!
This tool was something of a revelation. I bought it a few years ago – I saw it one in Carbatec, and wasn’t expensive, so I bought it to hollow out chair seats and maybe bowls. It sat unused until this week. The edge was pretty basic, especially the inside bevel. Wet and dry around a suitable scrap worked to get the edge of the inside bevel OK, then a lick on the back with the stones, and it was sharp enough.
I had kind of expected it to work like a draw knife, but it is quite different. Instead of slicing off the waste, it shaves the surface – making tightly curled shavings. It worked well, and dressed up the rough cut surface left after the Arbotech. It did a good job of shaping the seat.
The Chairmaker’s Plane
This little HNT Gordon plane has curved bottom – curved in two axis. It is a little tricky to use – the body of the blade has to be held at the correct angle to cut, but it worked really well. One of the seats had some pretty wild grain, but the little plane didn’t care – I got no tear-out to speak of.
Like all Terry Gordon planes, this was good to go straight out of the box. The blade held its edge, and was easy to sharpen as needed.
Two stools, ready for finish… These turned out well – happy with that.