Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published December 15th 2013
What does woodturning and mango have in common?
Woodturners Society of Qld Inc.
Tucked away in Pine Street, Greenslopes and what was once the old scout hall, you will come across the Woodturners Society of Queensland.
A group of men and women passionate about their craft meet regularly. The group was originally called the Brisbane Woodturners Society, however changed their name in 1986 when they became incorporated. Core objects of the Society are to promote awareness and appreciation of the woodturning, provide training and to work with other groups.
The Society runs two main woodturning functions annually both at Mt Coo-tha. These are held in August and November/December. In August, Woodturners compete in various categories viz: plate, platter, turned bowl, lidded container, identical pair etc. An expanded list can be located on their website along with conditions of entry.
In the latter part of the year, members hold an exhibition to show their craft. Both exhibitions are open to the public and run all weekend. Items are for sale and many a Christmas present is purchased, some also being sent overseas on a regular basis.
Rob McKee, the Society's current President also runs many courses at the Society's clubhouse. These courses are run on week days, evening and weekends and include a variety of subjects; furniture making, specialised router courses, woodturning courses, grinding and sharpening, use of hand and power tools plus many more. A comprehensive list and dates can be viewed on his website.
I have been attending the Sunday morning session at the Society for over a year now with my main object of wanting to know how to use tools my father had left me after his passing. From what may have been a small idea certainly grew into a large project that is teaching me the fundamentals of woodworking and giving me much pleasure as well. After weeks of learning the technique of honing my chisels, hand dressing old timber by scraping shellac from years' old table legs and table tops, I found beautiful silky oak with a variety of grains. The decision evolved to build a display table with 3 drawers across the top, a glass insert in the middle drawer and utilise the turned legs already cleaned.
I soon learnt "that'll be okay" will "never be okay" if you wish line up drawers to fit or square your job. Measuring and re-measuring is the way to go, as you cannot easily put back what you have just sawn off. Next year I look forward to learning how to make the drawers, dovetail style. None of this "flat pack" stuff for me!
The beauty of this art, the craft of working with wood, whether turning, spindling or doing as I am, is that it captures the passion of people from all walks of life and age groups.
My masterpiece is far from complete however I finish 2013 with a vision that has taken place from individual pieces of wood to a partial structure growing into a solid piece of furniture that will last far into the generations to come.