All posts by Tony Dobson

About Tony Dobson

After a quarter century, I retired from teaching - high school English, Math and Science. After retirement, I took on software sales and training of computer-based education for a few years. That was followed by teaching sailing - as a charter sailboat skipper. Now, I am be a woodworker! The whole range of woodworking appeals to me - the artistry, cabinet and furniture making, carving, and turning! I hope to still be a 10-fingered woodworker when I finally withdraw from this marvellous hobby!

MIWG Newsletter November 3, 2017

Greetings woodworkers!

I hope that you have prepared for winter with snow tires, shovels, and salt! It is time to get out of the nasty weather and into our workshops after such a beautiful Fall.

Our next Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild meeting is on Wednesday, November 8, and the scheduled presentations will be Ed Tremblay on flattening boards with a router, and Brian Rigby – Vice-Chair of Jonanco.

After the presentations are finished at our next meeting, we will hold our Annual General Meeting with the election of our Directors who become the Executive of the Guild.

Several of us had a meeting with Paul Mottershead, Associate Dean – Trades and Applied Technology, and MLA Leonard Krog a couple of weeks ago to explore the potential joint efforts of MIWG and VIU to provide some woodworking instructional options to the community in the future. The most likely early outcome of this would be that VIU would provide a classroom venue for instructional activities. Paul also conducted us on a tour of the Carpentry Program shop, and the Heavy Duty Mechanics shop next door.

We have purchased a gallon of “End Seal” which should be painted onto any ends of any green wood that has just been cut. If you are a member, please contact me directly if you are planning on cutting or acquiring freshly cut wood and would like to add this End Seal.

Stay tuned here for the first of many woodworking courses that we hope to offer to our members on in the future. We hope to begin very soon with a Safety course and a First Aid course. There will be public announcements here when we have details on instructors, dates, times, locations and costs. Our Guild insurance will cover all members who take these courses! (If you are not already a member, see our Membership page if these courses are of interest to you.)

Anyway, as usual, I extend an invitation to any and all to attend our next General Meeting on Wednesday, November 8 at Meeting Room A, 355 Wakesiah Road, at 6:30 pm. Put it on your calendar, and we welcome all visitors!

Meanwhile, …while you are on your computer, we would appreciate it if you “Like” us on Facebook at

Hopefully, I’ll see you all soon!

Best wishes,


Blog Newsletter: Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Greetings to all you woodworkers!

We are now into the glorious days of Fall, and it is a toss-up as to whether I head down to my workshop, cast off for a few days of sailing, or head off down the road with our camper to look for some cycling, kayaking and fishing. What marvellous choices we have on Vancouver Island! (Of course, I am ignoring calls of duty to the yard, but I have a wonderfully energetic wife who loves landscaping as an alternative to sailing, and as a break from quilting.)

Our first Guild barbecue at the property of Peter and Doris Hentze in Cassidy was a wonderful time on Saturday September 23. The day began mid-morning with a wood sale. (Members of Vancouver Island Woodworkers’ Guild also visited to purchase some wood.) Then, almost 30 members and their wives and families showed up in the mid-afternoon for burgers, bratwurst and salads and desserts. It turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day on this lovely farm. After the meal, Peter gave us a demonstration of the operation of the Wood Mizer. This is always an impressive show!

Our next Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild meeting is on Wednesday, October 11, and the scheduled presenter will be Christine Fagan from Live Edge Design to speak on the upcoming LiveEdge display at The Robert Bateman Gallery in Victoria. Steve Neil, who has a product in that display will assist with the presentation.

The Executive is working on plans for offering some woodworking instructional opportunities. These activities seem to be strongly supported by the membership, and the intention is to soon offer both mentoring and course instruction opportunities. Details are being finalized.

An email questionnaire from (using Survey Monkey) has been sent to the membership requesting input on MIWG future activities. Please respond to it with your input if you have received it.

Vancouver Island University has offered us an opportunity to meet with educational officials and one of our MLAs – Leonard Krog, on October 20 to discuss possible parameters, obstacles and opportunities for fine woodworking education in the mid-island area. Hopefully, we will be able to see a way forward to offering Fine Woodworking in our vicinity at some future point in time.

Anyway, once again, I extend an invitation to any and all to attend our next General Meeting on Wednesday, October 11 at Meeting Room A, 355 Wakesiah Road, at 6:30 pm (one week from today). Put it on your calendar, and we welcome all visitors!

Hopefully, I’ll see you all soon!

Best wishes,


Man Cave Musings

It is very gratifying to finally have an organization underway – Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild – which can represent woodworkers of all skills and crafts in the mid-Vancouver Island region! I must admit that the process to get here had very personal and selfish motivations.

After I retired from teaching in a classroom, teaching educational technology, and later…teaching on the water as a sailing instructor, I decided it was time to learn – a new hobby. I had always yearned to know more about woodworking. This probably came, partly from a much-admired uncle who had a successful woodworking business in the Okanagan, and partly from a very limited woodworking course when I was in Grade 7 in the military camp at Griesbach – in Edmonton. (We were bussed into a local high school for one afternoon a week.)

So, about 4 years ago, I began to accumulate tools for some small projects that I had in mind, but as my interest grew, so did my investments – in more, and better tools. With increasing purchases, I had an increasing awareness of personal dangers, I definitely needed mentoring, coaching and/or access to woodworking instruction. Internet searches provided almost the only instruction that I could find in the mid-Island region. Fine woodworking courses were only offered from Camosun College in Victoria, and from North Island College in Comox. Nanaimo had (and still has) NO fine woodworking courses – either through our local Vancouver Island University and its trade programs, nor through adult education in the Community Recreation programs.

Fortunately for me, I was able to meet and gain some insights from the woodworking instructor at a local High School – John Noble. He, and a retired colleague Ieuan Williamson, have helped me over some hurdles of safety and usage, and thus I am still able to type this letter and play my guitar with all ten fingers. (My father and my woodworking uncle had both lost fingers to machines. When I was very little, I am sure that I thought that it was normal for a man to have only 7 fingers.) This has been a goal from the beginning – to be a 10 fingered woodworker.

Still, I longed to get to know others locally who practise and love woodworking and who would be willing to provide mentorship on occasion, and to share their experiences. Also, I love seeing the craftsmanship involved in a wide range of woodworking products. Luckily, my wife has encouraged my hobby, and introduced me to a model of an organization that could provide the fellowship that I was looking for.  She belongs to the Nanaimo Quilters’ Guild – a very successful group of quilters with several hundred members who are highly productive, highly social, and very socially responsible in their generosity to charitable activities. I began to dream of belonging to a woodworkers’ guild parallel to that organization.

In the Spring of 2015, with a brand new 500 square foot woodworking shop (another story), and almost a full collection (never happen!) of tools, I decided to contact the Vancouver Island Woodworkers’ Guild to explore the concept of a local chapter of that organization. The Executive welcomed me and was very positive in its support of what I was proposing. I joined! As a member of VIWG, I kept in contact with Rick Lloyd, and Wayne Holmes, Brian McLaurin, Steve Neil and others, and over a number of months of musings, we finally agreed that the best model might be a separate entity for the mid-Island region. In September, I began the process of registering and incorporating a new society – the Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild. As I worked my way through the processes, I spoke with other interested folks, who spoke with others, and so on. With a couple of posters in strategic places, an ad on Craigslist and word of mouth, the numbers of interested folks grew. As of the date of the first meeting on January 27, 2016, there were 49 people on my growing interest email list – with more unofficially following the process.

So…here we are! Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild exists! We are ONE!

See you soon!