Friday, May 28, 2010

Eco-Woodworking at "the Great Re-Skilling".

I recently spent a whole Sunday doing woodwork with both kids and adults concurrently at "The Great Re-skilling" which was held at CityFarm in Perth Western Australia. It was a big day, and heaps of fun.
Organised jointly by Permaculture WA, Transition Towns WA and Perth City Farm, the Great Re-Skilling was a day dedicated to reclaiming sustainable lifestyles, creating resourcefulness for a low carbon future, building community and shared vision and celebrating 30-plus years of Permaculture in WA.

Why “Eco-woodwork”? (not my term, but it fitted pretty well.) I guess it relates to the fact that all of the timber we used was waste – recycled and pre-used, offcuts from building sites (the pine), plywood from old drawer bottoms and packing boxes, jarrah from old pergolas and wall framing, etc. Also most of my benches are made from recycled materials (mostly jarrah), and all of the work at the event was done using hand tools and good old fashioned hand skills. No electricity, just muscle combined with a few tool techniques I passed on to the participants. It was a real hit. I had all my benches there and one volunteer helper. Thanks Liam!We were flat out, with 12 kids vices and 12 adult vices, but often more than 12 kids on the go at any one time. A very popular corner of the gathering...


Most adults made wooden spoons, while learning to use a range of traditional hand tools including gouges, spokeshaves, rasps, english bowsaws, coping saws, scrapers, mallet, panel saws and saw stools. The kids mostly used hammers and nails, though many also used tenon saws, and some even  used hand drills and a brace and bit.

I love these pics of a couple of kids using tenon saws with bench hooks. Great technique!
While the adults made wooden spoons at their benches, and the kids made whatever took their fancy from the pieces of wood available to them. I had a mountain of bits of timber for them to chose from... Pieces of pine, pieces of ply, bits of broom handles, etc. Fortunately I managed to take a few pics with my mobile phone amid the chaos.
There were so many wonderful parent/children moments throughout the day. It was delightful. Some parents held stuff for their kids, others succumbed to the temptation to take over!
It was the first time my new small kids benches have been road tested (other than by my grandkids Ronnie and Katana), and these proved to be a real winner from my perspective. It was also the first time I had used my short legs on my normal benches. They went very well too. It was a good opportunity to learn a few more things about doing this stuff with young kids - which is something I am hoping to do a lot more.

There seemed to be a theme of airplanes and spaceships amongst the creations made my the kids.

The smile tells it all...

1 comment:

  1. Nice guide thank you!/ I love it! very creative! That's actually really cool Thanks.

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