Long Service Awards

Ron Moore (right) receives his Long Service Award from Colin Lang.

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 (Left) is presented with his long service award by Lyn and Tony Roberts.

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.

Jacaranda Festival Woodwork Display

Bob Aitken has contributed these photos and story regarding the CVWA Jacaranda Festival display.

A major event each year for the Clarence Valley Woodworkers Association is the Jacaranda woodwork display and competition held in conjunction with the Grafton Jacaranda Festival.

The club started Jacaranda Festival woodwork displays in the late 1980’s and, in these early years, may have had only two or three members displaying work.   The event has grown steadily since that time and in recent years around 25 to 30 members have participated in the display with over 2000 items listed for display/sale each year.  Most participating members display items and offer them for sale.  A few members choose to display only.  The display is open for nine days incorporating the first week of November. 

The competition section has also grown with eight woodwork classes ranging from furniture to toys and puzzles to a novice section thereby catering for all types of woodwork.  The competition is open to both CVWA members and the public with a small entry fee for non-members.  There are typically over 50 entries for the open competition each year.

The display and the competition sections serve to encourage members to produce high quality woodwork. 

There is a separate High School Student’s competition section that has expanded markedly in recent years.  This section now receives around 60 to 120 entries from up to 6 high schools in the area.  Entries in the open competition are assessed by experienced woodwork identities from outside the club while school student entries are judged by a panel of club members.

Demonstrations of woodwork activities such as carving, turning, scroll saw work, pyrography and texturing are given by members on most days during the display.

During the display woodwork donated by members is raffled and the proceeds donated to local community appeals (eg. Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service). 

For many years the display has been held in the upstairs auditorium of the South Grafton Ex-Services Club, Wharf Street, South Grafton.  This is a great venue overlooking the Clarence River with dining and refreshment facilities available.  Come and visit us during Jacaranda and see a great display with a large variety of woodwork items.


100th Anniversary for Iconic Australian Alvey Fishing Reel Manufacturer

Alvey (late 1920s – early 1930s) with a spring loaded (Gem) centre pivot and Silky Oak reel. Restored by Bob Aitken.

Bob Aitken has provided this story on anniversary of the remarkable Alvey fishing reels.

This year (2020) is the 100th anniversary for iconic Australian fishing reel manufacturer Charles Alvey & Sons. Over the 100 years, Alvey have used a range of materials for their reels (eg. Bakelite spools were introduced in 1936; graphite backing plates in the 1990’s) but here I will mainly describe their wooden reels.

The company began production in 1920 when Charles Alvey used a treadle lathe (no electricity at the factory) to turn spools and backing plates from Silky oak. By the mid 1920’s powered lathes enabled the backing plates to be machined from gunmetal and the spindles made from brass. Rosewood and Red Bean (Miva Mahogany) timbers were used to turn spools.

For a brief period after World War II, post war material shortages lead to the use of Camphor Laurel for spools. For the larger diameter spools it was necessary to replace Camphor Laurel (which had inconsistent grain) with finer grained cedar.  By the 1950’s Australian Red Cedar was used almost exclusively for the spools.

Alvey reels are known for their quality and longevity so pre-production treatment of the timber was important. Selected cedar was slabbed and seasoned for two years. Spools were rough turned and then set aside for a further two months before final turning. I have restored a number of wooden Alvey reels from the 1950’s and have been impressed by the general soundness of the old spools and fittings.

In 1974 Alvey stopped using cedar and the spools were made from a polyester and fibreglass mix.  However, the company has marked anniversary milestones by producing limited editions of reels with Cedar spools.

Restored 1960s era Alvey reel with a Red Cedar spool.
Old Alvey spools used to make Reel Clocks