Wednesday, 10 July 2013

A Few local situations

Local media is always a good source of finding out whats happening in your area and thanks to the net we can now do this almost nation wide. I found a couple of articles regarding a couple of turners one from the North Coast of NSW  Lower Clarence area a Men Shed .

Mens Sheds are a fast growing past time world wide check and see if there is one in your area. They even have their own on line discussion section.

This must have been fun for the fellows who pulled together and came up with maybe not the newest machine but suited the purpose.

The story comes from The Daily Examiner a local paper.

Shed mates adapt lathe for wheelie Dave

ADAPTING TO NEED: Dave Hawkings sits at the lathe at the Lower Clarence U3A Men’s Shed. A bracket was made to lower the lathe so Dave could work at it while in his wheelchair. Photo: Adam Hourigan
ADAPTING TO NEED: Dave Hawkings sits at the lathe at the Lower Clarence U3A Men’s Shed. A bracket was made to lower the lathe so Dave could work at it while in his wheelchair. Photo: Adam Hourigan
DAVE Hawkings from Lawrence has always been pretty handy when working with timber.
Keen to learn new skills and tips from other woodworkers, last year he decided to join the Men's Shed in Maclean.
While he enjoys making a variety of timber pieces, Mr Hawkings' wheelchair has meant some projects have been out of reach.
But not any more.
Thanks to the help of his shed mates, Mr Hawkings can now safely use the woodturning lathe which has been lowered and modified so all the controls are within reach and in a safe position.
"I try to keep positive and active and the wood lathe proves that most obstacles can be overcome, with a little ingenuity and some friendly assistance," Mr Hawkings said.
The modern Men's Shed is an updated version of the shed in the backyard.
Members come from all walks of life. They are men with time on their hands and they would like something meaningful to do with that time.
A Men's Shed has a co-ordinator who has both the technical and social skills to develop a safe and happy environment where men are welcome to work a project of their choice.
The shed can also help ease the transition from full-time employment to retirement.
The Men's Shed supports local groups and charities through a variety of projects.

Then on the opposite side of Australia the The Weekend Courier and a story of one of the members Alan of Wandi Wood Turners. This became interesting due to the nature of Alan's situation and needs and how the group, Alan's  Occupational Therapist are all working together.

Lathe a positive turn for disabled


making woodworking accessible making woodworking accessible
THE pleasure of crafting something from wood can now be shared by people with a disability at Wandi Woodturners.
A community development grant from the City of Kwinana helped the club purchase a $5500 lathe that can be adjusted to accommodate people with wheelchairs or limited mobility.
Group member Rod Cocks said the machine was purpose-built in Queensland, had variable speeds, and was designed for use while the operator was sitting rather than standing.
Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams presented the lathe to the group during Wandi’s recent 25th anniversary celebrations.

A big difference between these two stories, the groups involved and the machines, one built the other bought. I emailed the Wandi group and had quite a few replies from Robin Campbell regarding Alan (photo and story above).

Hi Ray

Yes that photo shows Allan looking uncomfortable, his teacher and the lathe for disabled turners.

Firstly about the lathe. It is a Vicmarc and is suitable for those in a wheelchair or people who just need to sit and turn. It is not ideal for a one handed person in a motorised wheelchair. We are currently looking at modifying a Woodfast of getting a MC900 or Sherwood that we can modify to accomodate the size of the chair. We have worked out how to make a set of tools for him that will allow him a fair degree of independence. We have contacted his OT team and they re-assessed him yesterday. We hope that they will be able to help us develop our ideas for Allan.

Allan can stand long enough to get his wheelchair on and off the car. He has use of his right hand only. Today he finished turning a mortar and pestle for his wife. We have to help him with the difficult bits at present but hopefully with his new tools he will need less and less help. Allan has taken about 6 years to get this stage and it is through his guts and determination that he is there. He just wants to be useful. I personally have the greatest admiration for him. We have just sourced a second hand lathe and that is being modified for him to use at his home.

I am hopeful that we will be able to progress him to the stage where he can embellish his turnings by the use of pyrography and Dremel. He may also be able to use some paints on his work. These outlets will give him a sense of purpose and I see no reason why he can not be very successful at it.

Happy to keep you informed of how we go with Allan and hopefully we will have his tools ready for him soon enough.

Kind regards
Robin Campbell 

In the second email Robin went on to say :-

Hi Ray.

Just looked at your blog and tried to post a comment to the Vicmarc, great lathe but really has severe restrictions on who can use it. I said this in my comment but unsure where it went. . So if it didn't make it let me know and I can send direct to you and you can use it.


A third email was quit in depth but I have just added the last statement as the people assisting in rectifying the situation for Alan are still active this includes Vicmarc and Alan's OT.
As well as the fellows from the group making tools to Suit Alan's needs.

Allan and Graham are OK with you using the article and any information we can share we will be happy to do so.

We are still working on the tools, what I am suggesting for Alan is the Easy Wood Tools tips. Hopefully we can make a handle that can be attached to Allans arm with a wing nut in the end that he can turn with his fingers. The tips will be put onto square steel shafts and he can push them into the handle and tighten the wing nut and then use them in a slotted tool rest. This will give him the control that he would normally have with his left hand. I discovered that these people have also made a new self centering chuck with pushin and clip jaws. This I imagine would allow a disabled person to change jaws more easily.

Will keep in touch


I haven't heard from Robin as to the progress but I will if I receive an updates gladly put the information in a post.

 A Mens Shed Narrellan posted a video on their Facebook page (who said old blokes can't handle technology, besides we invented it).

This short film (Published on Jun 16, 2013) is about a program in the Hunter region of NSW for men in the early stages of dementia and male carers of people with dementia. The program, run by Alzheimer's Australia NSW, in conjunction with the Australian Men's Shed Association, looks at reducing the social isolation often felt by men who are either caring for someone with dementia or have been given a diagnosis themselves.

Thanks to Sarah from Alzheimer's Australia  who granted permission to link to the video

Hi Ray,

Apologies for not getting back to you sooner. I've been on leave.

Happy for you to link to our new short film from your blog. As long as the video is not amended and we receive appropriate credit, that is fine.

Thank you,


Video Link

 Having seen one of my father in-law's friends when he was placed in a nursing home as we had a couple of visits taking Matt to see his old mate, it opened our eyes to what can happen. The fellow Peter remembered Sue and I but even though Matt (father in-law) handed Peter a bag of fresh fruit Peter had to ask who he was. Peter could recall our wedding but looked blank faced at Matt. Matt  took all this very hard, little did we notice that years later the fast way Matt went himself. Driving to the local shops he called in to our home we realised all to late he had forgotten his way home. One of my old mates dad visited him from Perth never to return as he went down while visiting. One of Sue's friends from spinners is a concern at present 84 years still active and full of life but some little things keep popping up when the group meets.

Keep safe and well. Stay active as your body will allow you.

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