Collecting Timber

Did we want some Jacaranda?

Our hard working Secretary, Lyn Roberts, got a phone call – did the CVWA want some timber?

Turns out that Valley Tree Services had been engaged to remove a large Jacaranda from the Grafton High School. Adam, from Valley Tree Services, called Lyn and asked if we would like some timber…

That is a substantial Jacaranda!

So Saturday morning, a team of members turned up with trailers in tow.

Adam helped load the trailers, and the timber was taken to the Ulmarra Shed, where there was a definite struggle to unload the trailers. Then back to Grafton for another load. In all, two trips were made – and Adam was kind enough to drop off a truck load of more billets of Jacaranda on his way home to Coffs Harbour.

The tired but satisfied club members rewarded themselves with a good cup of tea and biscuits before they headed home.

Many thanks to Adam from Valley Tree Services of Coffs Harbour.

And how did he find us? He found our website!

Thanks to Adam from Valley Tree Services of Coffs Harbour

Thanks to Lyn Roberts for the story, and Rob Chesworth for the photos! And thanks to the club members who helped out.

Cyclone Dust Collection for your Vacuum

A couple of years ago, I wanted to upgrade my dust collection system. The Triton dust bucket worked OK, but the filter blocked a fair bit, and a fair bit of dust got through to the vacuum bag. And cleaning the filter was messy.

Carbatec sell the American Oneida system – a cyclone and dust bucket. I’ve no doubt that its a good product, and probably worth the money, but it was more than I was prepared to spend at the time.

So I went on to eBay, or evilBay, as my son calls it – found a bunch of cheaper and similar cyclones – bought one for not much money. (For what its worth, they are are even cheaper now!) When the unit arrived, I started to look for fittings to connect my hoses to the cyclone inlet and outlet.

Finally, after a lot of procrastinating, I turned a couple of fittings out of pine. I re-purposed the old Triton bucket, sealed the cracks in the bottom and hooked up the system to the Trade Tools Industrial vacuum cleaner. It worked.

There was a drawback – the system was cumbersome to move around, and I would regularly tip it over, which didn’t do much for its dust collection. Two years later, I made a dinky cart for the vacuum cleaner and cyclone.

How well does it work? I used the system for all sorts – sanding dust, floor dust, router table, power saw dust, chisel chips, what ever. I swept up the most of the big plane shavings because the neighbour has chooks, and we swap eggs for sawdust. But everything else went into the cyclone. When the Triton bucket was about 2/3 full, I emptied it and weighed the sweepings – around 2kg. I took the vacuum bag out (new bag), weighed it, emptied the dust out and shook it about, weighed it again – 5 gram of dust made it into the vacuum cleaner. That means approximately 99.7% of the dust stayed in the cyclone.

It took a few years, and if I’d bought the Oneida system, I might have been using it form the get go. But all said and done – Happy with that!

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

Launching Day

Rob Chesworth and his strip plank kayak

Each time I edited a page as I put this website together, the WordPress editor would ask me if I wanted to ‘launch’ the website. This begs the question – just how do you ‘launch’ a website -brand new, freshly constructed, and still a bit rough around the edges. I mean, pressing a button on the screen lacks a little something.

Should we have have some sort of ceremony, like launching a ship? Perhaps a bottle of inexpensive champagne, and one of the ladies swinging a mallet to smash the bottle over the computer? Or perhaps like launching a rocket, with a countdown followed by lots of smoke and noise, or perhaps just a big bang?

Anyhow – it has been a long while coming, and for better or worse, it is here. Enjoy, and check in regularly. When the corona virus fades, we will begin to resume normal club activities. The shed will open, sawdust will be made, and wonderful new works come out into the sun. We will have meetings, slabbing days and morning coffee gatherings. There will be plans to make, projects to kick off, stories to tell, and perhaps a small fib or two.

At this stage, the Jacaranda show is still scheduled. After all of the uninterrupted workshop time, we look forward to a bumper crop of new pieces for display or sale.

Until we get back to normal, we will still communicate on the interweb – either this website or our Facebook page (Clarence Valley Woodies). Check it out, and show us your latest work. We would love to put your photos on this website.

Stay calm, stay safe and make sawdust!

PS – Bob Chesworth’s strip plank kayak pictured above has already been launched, possibly with champagne!

Up and Running!

Pat Johnson’s Turned Bowl

Welcome to the website of the Clarence Valley Woodworkers Association Inc.

This web site has been put together using WordPress and the WordPress Website builder. WordPress offers a free plan, so we can see if it works at no cost to the club. However, the free plan has a hidden cost – you may see some advertisements!

If all goes well, the club may upgrade to a Plan which has some small cost to the club. WordPress offers a number of plans – some suited to small business. These plans offer more features and flexibility, including e-commerce. However, that is some distance down the track!

Finally, the disclaimer… I have no professional expertise in creating websites. I have no formal training, and I’ve only made a couple of websites for private use. While I welcome any constructive advice or criticism, please be gentle with me and forgive my inadequacies.

What to expect for the future?

The one factor that makes some websites and social media sites more successful others is regular and fresh new content. That means regular updates, blog pages, and new content. For that, we will depend on you, the club members… So please send photos, stories, items for sale, news and views. I will try to provide regular updates that incorporate your contributions.

The site will hold copies of Chip Chat and the Bulletin. It will have a calendar of sorts (if I can figure out how it’s done), or at least a list of coming events. There will be a list of workshops available. There will be a list of timber for sale. There will be a place where new members can contact us about joining. These may take a little time, but they can be added once the site goes live to air!

Welcome!