MIWG Newsletter – June 24, 2020

As the threat of COVID-19 spread waxes and wanes, I think that it is best to assume that the virus is no less dangerous a threat than on March 17 (or 18?) So…the Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild will continue to practice social distancing – perhaps with a slightly less dark cloud over our heads. Meanwhile, the wood in our trees continues to grow, and will eventually reach our hands through continued donations of our many local agencies and businesses: Nanaimo Parks and Recreation, City of Nanaimo, BC Hydro, and a number of local residents who offer fallen logs to us on occasion. In the end, we will continue to support our High School wood-working programs in whatever ways we can – wood donations, and scholarships being the most notable.

Last weekend, we held our June wood sale at Frost Fields. With the sale of $1400 of wood to our members, we have certainly been able to ensure the financial continuation of our programs for this year. In addition, the Executive has decided that our post-summer “get together” will be in September when we have our next wood sale, and members and family barbecue at Frost Fields. 

While on the subject of Frost Fields, many thanks to those members who continue to work to upgrade the property (working safely at distancing, of course) that has been generously made available for our use. The meeting room/library has been wired, and drywalled and painted, and the outdoor coffee area has largely been completed. The wood storage area is being given a facelift with racks for storing wood in vertical layout, as well as on edge. This will allow for individual boards to be examined, and selected for purchase. Plans are also afoot for completing the outdoor toilet, and for redesigning the inside of the barn for the eventual relocation of Peter’s workshop tools. He has generously offered this area to us for possible future training programs. (See below!)

Meanwhile, the tabulated survey results from our meeting in February has tended to indicate some preferences for training sessions. Most requested item was for lathe turning training (12). This was followed by votes for Cabinetry and Joinery (9), Sketchup, Finishing and Pen Turning (8), followed by Hand Carving, Power Tool Maintenance (6) and Musical Instruments (5). Not on the survey, but recently mentioned to me were Box Making, and Epoxy use in woodworking. Without further survey information, we will begin to put together programs for training in each of these specific areas. One problem that we have at the moment for running wood turning training is that the access to the School District workshops (which have multiple lathes) has been curtailed. So, training for turning wood on a lathe will have to be very limited to only one or two people at a time on single lathes in member workshops.

And, speaking of “turning wood”, last week I joined the Island Woodturners Association, and as part of that process I also joined the Association of American Woodturners (AAW). Both organizations are relatively inexpensive, and one of the first benefits that I received was notification of the AAW Online Symposium for wood turning to be held July 10 to July 12 through the medium of Zoom! The cost to participate in this event is only $20.20 (US) or about $27 Canadian. Please follow the link below to the AAW website, and under “Events”, go to “2020 Virtual Symposium”. (Non-members may register.)


I think, for those interested in learning more about turning wood that this is an incredibly good deal! By the way…the Island Woodturners Association is continuing to hold meetings – online!

I hope that you all continue to be safe. (Go TEAM BONNIE!) See you in the Fall, or online!


Tony Dobson, Vice-President – Programs and Events

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