Category Archives: Blog Newsletter

A Visit to a Unique Wood Lot

What happened? It seems that a couple of years went by while I dozed, or hid from the pandemic! And now…, I am older and a lot has changed!

My last entry on December 23, 2019 spoke of a “Squirrel”-type of behaviour. Basically, I guess that I got “squirrelled” for 2 1/2 years!

Anyway, it is time to share a new tale! 

Several weeks ago, I was contacted by my brother-in-law, Lars, who, along with his brother, Steve, both work in the forest industry. They had encountered an interesting individual who had developed a fascination with Arbutus wood. I was sent a picture of what appeared to be a bunch of logs in a swamp. When I asked for more details, I was told that the individual, named Lisle Babcock, had Arbutus wood in a swamp. I pointed out that Arbutus won’t grow in swampy areas, but was told…”No, he stores arbutus logs underwater!” This, I had to see! 

A few days later Lars picked me up and we headed out towards Nanoose to meet up with Lisle and Steve. We drove a kilometre or so off the highway and turned off into Lisle’s driveway onto his 75 acre property. Skid roads headed off into various portions of the property, and after a quick stop at his house to meet his wife, Mary Lou, we headed down one of the roads to search for Lisle. We soon found Lisle at a Wood Mizer portable sawmill where he was cutting and sorting some wood. (I should point out that there are 4 Wood Mizers on his property!)

Lisle is short and powerfully built with a bit of a limp. He was very welcoming and friendly, and offered to give me a lift in his ATV to the various “ponds” on his property while the two brothers hiked on ahead. (BTW…at the first Wood Mizer he also had a “lathe” attachment which could probably accommodate a 10’ log for turning!) He grabbed an arbutus board that he had rough cut on the Wood Mizer and threw it on the back of the ATV and we headed to the first of about 4 ponds that we visited. 

Three of the 4 ponds were “full” of arbutus – forced underwater by alder and spruce logs piled on top of them. The fourth pond was in the process of being “stocked”. The arbutus for most of the stock piles came from logging operations on the Malahat, but some came from Mosaic operations which is how he came to meet Steve and Lars. He had popped into a Mosaic office one Saturday to ask about acquiring Arbutus firewood. He was told by Steve that Mosaic doesn’t have any, but a contractor had some piled up as part of his contract work with the company. Negotiations took place with the contractor, and Lisle acquired the logs.

Lisle had heard that wood stored underwater could be preserved for years, and since Arbutus is notorious for checking, twisting and splitting in the drying process, he decided to dig some holes on his property and fill them with water. Luckily, upon digging he discovered two things:

  1. A high water table.
  2. A blue clay base which would keep water in the holes.

These holes became the storage ponds for his newly acquired arbutus logs. 

Now…, to back up a bit, we need to know a bit more about Lisle. Lisle is a farmer who is mostly known for his development and farming of “Buck Brand” oranges which are sold mainly to Thrifty Foods in BC. ( After he sold the orange groves in California, he bought a chunk of property southeast of Kanab, UT where he raises premium beef. However, his search for new ventures brought him to Vancouver Island where he looked specifically for a wooded property with streams. He found it and began the latest venture.

Back to my visit…

After seeing the 25’ deep ponds and the amazing underwater storage, we headed for the second Wood Mizer site where we viewed the first lot of previously cut, stickered, stacked AND strapped bundles of rough-cut Arbutus boards. (BTW2…Lisle goes around to the strapped bundles every few weeks and tightens the straps to ensure that drying is controlled evenly throughout the bundle.) A 24” planer nearby was turned on and Lisle ran several pieces of the dry, but long-soaked Arbutus boards through the planer to show us the quality of the grain. He pointed out that the wood was “cured” almost to the point of no twisting, checking or cracking, and that the rough cut boards were virtually stable AFTER cutting! The planed surfaces of the arbutus board showed some wonderful grain, and amazing colours with reds, oranges and blues which Lisle feels come from the alkali chemicals in the clay soil water. (Alkali in forest soils?? That was new to me!).

Further explorations took us to a third Wood Mizer site with 4 long storage containers almost full of rough-cut boards – stickered, stacked and strapped! He also had the most amazing burl I had ever seen – about 8 feet in diameter and 4’ thick! Many of the stacks contain live-edge slabs that are 2” to 4” thick. 

After I got home from this tour, I discovered that I had left my special earbuds in Lisle’s vehicle during my visit. However there was good news… Lisle invited me out again for a second visit to pick up the earbuds. So I asked Steve Neil to join me and I had a second look at the woodlot. I think that Steve Neil was as profoundly impressed as I had been on the first visit.

Lisle is now looking for ways to market and sell this wood, and his hopes may lie overseas. Time will tell. He has wonderful stories to tell of his business and life experiences, and I am hoping that one day soon, we will be able to have him as a presenter at one of our meetings. He has also expressed a positive interest in having our members out to visit his property for a “Shop Tour”. We’ll begin to look into planning that soon. Meanwhile, if you are interested in more about this story, Lisle’s contact information is:

E-Mail Address:

Cell Phone: 559-333-8226

I also look forward to hearing more of Lisle’s ventures. Meanwhile, I wish you all a very safe and enjoyable summer! Take care!


Tony Dobson, President

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

MIWG Newsletter – March 9, 2020

Hi again, fellow woodworkers!

As Daylight Savings Time takes over, and springtime warmth begins to appear more frequently, I am guessing that we are all looking forward to opening the doors of our shops and moving some of the winter dust out! I certainly am! And…as I visited my shop yesterday, my “squirrel” spirit pointed me towards an unfinished slab that I was flattening, and then immediately turned my attention to a Senegal parrot that I am carving, but that article was quickly forgotten when I remembered to re-roof a bird-house that also needed cleaning. C’est la guerre! (The birdhouse actually got finished – after I cleaned out last year’s dirty bedding.)

Activities in Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild continue to increase and demands grow for more hands-on-deck as we improve our wood storage area at Frost Fields, pick-up donated logs from various sites, mill those logs, and begin the processes for turning the provided facilities of Frost Fields into usable Guild areas for meetings. 

Wood drying decks almost ready

This completion of the meeting room/office will include wiring, insulation, and cabinetry for dishes and cutlery as we turn one room of the Frost Fields barn into a meeting-room with rudimentary kitchen facilities for coffee and supplies. We will be relocating our library from Felder Equipment on Mostar Road to this same office area.

Just outside the meeting-room, a patio area has been designated with flooring and benches already installed. Plans for a nearby outdoor toilet are proceeding, and our next wood sale on March 21 will feature a demonstration of CNC routing by Tyler Green from Felder Equipment. The project he will be completing is to be a MIWG sign that will go on the wall above the patio.

The wood supply that we have been receiving has come from several sources, but one private source should be mentioned. The cherry logs came from a homeowner in the Hammond Bay area and were located behind his home on a beautifully manicured property. The instructions were to remove the logs without damaging the lawns or concrete stonework. Unfortunately, the logs had to be maneuvered across the bottom end of the property, up a shallow hill, and across the higher front end of the property to be able to load them into the trailer on the driveway. With Peter Hentze’s trailer equipment, winch and expertise, and the assistance of our trucker, Rick Rotar and several other Guild members, as well as a visitor from Alberta, we were able to finally load these onto the trailer without damaging any landscaping. 

Dave and Peter can handle 2 logs at a time

Last Saturday, more members showed up at Frost Fields to mill these logs, and to move them into the kiln for rapid drying. The boards should be available for use in about 6 to 8 weeks.

Pricing of boards and priority of purchasing has become a concern as we get more and more beautiful wood, and the number of interested buyers grows. Our Wood Recovery Chairperson, Ed Tremblay is working on a plan that may incorporate some of the features used by Vancouver Island Woodworkers’ Guild such as priority purchase draw tickets for those who assist in the collection, milling and storage of wood.

Plans are to continue to offer demonstrations, and planning for offering woodworking “courses” at Frost Fields are in discussions.

Our membership continues to grow with 82 members now on the books but this number includes a few who have not renewed their membership fees yet for 2020. We encourage all current members to keep their membership current so as to have access to our wood supply, to support our High School programs, and to avoid having to pay an initiation fee again at some point in the future.)

We hope to see most/many of you this coming Wednesday night as our featured presentation will be Phil Makin who is a long-time member of Vancouver Island Woodworkers’ Guild, as he presents his pictures and ideas on chair-making.

Best wishes, and continue with your safe woodworking! 


MIWG Newsletter – February 10, 2020

Hello fellow woodworkers,

Despite the very wet and frequently very cold January and February, members of Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild have managed to find opportunities to make considerable improvements to the portion of Frost Fields that has so generously been provided for our use. 

The wood storage area has been doubled with a loading ramp added, vertical storage racks built, and safety rails installed. In addition, a small alcove area has been designated and almost completed with flooring and benches, and will be useful as “coffee area”. This is adjacent to a portion of the barn that will eventually become a meeting area – complete with small kitchen appliances and our growing library. Outhouse facilities are in the planning, and tank equipment to handle this is on-site.

Wood sales are planned for each month and a steady supply of alder, maple, cherry and walnut are being added to our inventories. Air-drying has been on-going and is now being augmented with kiln-drying to enable faster turn-around on suitably dry wood.

Our General Meetings continue to be well-attended, and while we are losing a few members this year, we have gained many new ones. We welcome all of these newcomers and look forward to their participation and contributions to the on-going activities of MIWG. At our January meeting we had François Lavigne show us how he has built a successful business of carving Scotch broom – an invasive species on Vancouver Island and subject to annual attempts to eradicate it. He showed us some of his beautiful work, and we anticipate that the presentation will encourage a few more woodworkers to consider using this dramatically coloured wood in carving and turning creations.

Our meeting on this coming Wednesday, February 12 will feature Richard Brown from Saanich who will show us how he took dimensioned lumber from a local supplier to build a home-made boat which he called “Moonfleet” (one of my favourite novels from my high school days long years ago!) We hope that you will join us for this presentation and, if you are not already a member – JOIN us! We always welcome visitors and guests.

Our wood challenge contest for this month was to create something that fits the theme of what your New Year’s resolution might be. And, if you haven’t had a chance yet, please don’t forget to bring your $50 annual dues as we are approaching the critical deadline which may result in cancellation of membership.

Looking forward to seeing all of you,

Tony Dobson, Vice-President – Programs and Events

p.s. We are sad to announce that our past Librarian, Peter Clement, who also built our library cabinet, recently passed away quite suddenly. Our condolences to the family members and to all who knew Peter.

MIWG Newsletter – January 6, 2020

Happy New Year to all – from the Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild!

Looking forward, 2020 will be a year of growth and expansion for MIWG as we make use of our expanded wood storage facility, a soon to be constructed gathering patio and toilet facility at Frost Field. Our wood sales have been successful this past year thanks to Peter Hentze’s continuous contribution of his time, equipment and facilities for our wood recovery program, which is currently under the direction of Chair, Ed Tremblay, and his crew.

With new members and reassigned veterans of the MIWG Executive we can look forward to a steady stream of interesting presenters and activities at our monthly meetings, some new workshop offerings and participation in the April Brant Festival. The activity has already begun with a full crew of volunteers showing up at Frost Fields this past Saturday to help Peter with milling and stacking the maple, alder and cherry woods for our stock. The crew also cleared away bricks and other items from the side of the barn to make way for the construction of a path and ramp to access the wood shed at the back.

Our first meeting of this year is this coming Wednesday, January 8th at NDSS beginning at 6:30 pm. Our guest speaker is François Lavigne who will introduce us to the art of carving Scotch Broome. We will also take some time to talk about upcoming activities and how members can get involved. If anyone has a 10-15 minute presentation that we might enjoy we should be able to fit you in to the agenda. Until then, keep your fingers away from the blade.

As always, we welcome guests and anyone interested in woodworking, as well as family and friends.

Dave Workman, President, MIWG

MIWG Newsletter – December 23, 2019

‘Twas the Night Before…

’Twas the night before Christmas and all through the shop,
The unfinished projects lay on the bench top:
The unsanded carving lay alone by itself
Awaiting attention by pre-occupied elf.
The dust on the floor from incomplete work,
Lay thick and untended by the unfocused jerk.
It was home to the spiders who lay in wait
For rare winter-time flies to soon take the bait.
Behold, the door opened, and on came the light
The fat elf himself had entered the site! 
He gazed at the workshop’s array in distress
And resolved to immediately clean up the mess.
He planned his attack, and rubbed hands with glee,
But the unfinished reindeer he soon did see.
He headed for switches to turn on the fan.
(For that is where sanding always began.)
But then he remembered the new downdraft table,
Its unfinished condition would not enable,
Efficient collection of dust from the sanding.
And so he moved on to tasks more demanding…
Of his rapid attention... like the glue without lid,
And the many lost tools that somewhere he hid
Within the realm of this confusing clutter.
When suddenly it seemed right to mutter…


He circled the shop and espied something big…
The incomplete bits of a router-based jig.
“Oh yeah! I needed that too!”
He declared as he took in the view.
He reached for the jig but fell hard to his knee,
For he’d tripped on a box that he’d just failed to see.
He rolled on the floor, and sprawled in the dust
As he opened his mouth and loudly he cussed…


And then he recalled what earlier he'd planned -
A cabinet support for new drill-press stand.
He’d downloaded the plan and changed it a tad,
But somehow "I've lost it", he cried — "How sad!"
So on now to more of those important chores
Like clean-up, and tidying, and sweeping the floors
But wait! There’s the drill that he needed to find.
To finish a project that lagged far behind.
He reached for the drill with his calloused paw, 
But in that moment with horror he saw
That the battery was dead and he wouldn't be screwing,
Or joining, or fitting, or finishing gluing!
And so with a sigh he reached the light switch
And keyed the alarm with nary a hitch.
As stepped out the door with a dancer-like twirl
He shouted, “Hey spiders! Enjoy that Squirrel!”

Dear fellow woodworkers,

As you can see, I am easily sidetracked by suddenly more important/interesting things, and the lame poetic effort above was just one more sideshow that encouraged the “Squirrel!” effect in me. As usual though, I had fun and I guess that is what counts. (It may be a long time before our Shop Tour Chair ever decides that my workshop should be seen by anyone else!) 

Meanwhile, others, like my wife, our President and our Wood-recovery Chair help to keep me focussed on time-sensitive events such as yard-work, Presentation agendas for the upcoming year, and completion of Frost Field projects such as our newly expanded wood storage area.

  1. On the issue of upcoming presentations, I have asked François Lavigne to show us some of his work with Scotch Broom carving. He will be at our January General Meeting;
  2. For February, we will most likely have Richard Brown from Saanich who will show us how he built his boat “Moonfleet” from dimensioned lumber;
  3. And as for Frost Fields, there will be many exciting projects to work on in the new year, and I am looking forward to working side by side with many of you as we expand our activities including workshops and presentations at the mill site. Plans are also afoot for a platformed seating/coffee area, construction of a biffy, and the addition of drying racks for the expanded wood storage.

My best wishes to all of you for a wonderfully happy and safe Christmas holiday season – shared with family and friends! Enjoy the successes of your woodworking endeavours, even as you learn to cope with distractions!


Tony Dobson, Vice-President – Programs and Events

MIWG Newsletter – November 10, 2019

Hello Fellow Woodworkers,

The MIWG has been very busy since we last met, with the construction of the wood shelter extension, wood sales and board flattening demonstration and a shop tour. Pictures have been taken and our leaders have lots to show.

Demex Supplies – Coombs
Barkley Sound Oar and Paddle
Saunas and bedrooms – Dave Byers
Len Barne’s Shop

It looks like Mother Nature has decided that it’s time for winter weather which means time for Christmas present making. I have been pondering my choice of projects to make and send off to family and friends and I’m stumped. Cutting boards, bowls and pepper grinders are done and so now what? Any suggestions are welcome. If I wait until our December meeting when most of you will bring your work for the “Challenge” it will be too late.

November’s meeting is our annual AGM where we elect our Executive and seek members to chair important positions for our Guild. I strongly encourage all of you to consider letting your name stand for a position on the Executive or at least offer to Chair in another capacity. Consider any of the following director positions:

President, Vice President of Programs and Events, Vice President of Membership, Secretary, Treasurer

Chair positions of:

Wood Recovery Chair, Librarian,

Following elections we will hear from our guest speaker John Noble who will show us the construction photos of the new Rod and Gun club and talk about some of the projects his students are working on (maybe that will give me some ideas). Our VP of Membership wants me to remind you that he will be accepting next year’s dues ($50) and he will have waiver forms for paid members to sign.

As always, we welcome new members, and I’m looking forward to seeing you all at Wednesday’s meeting.

David Workman, President MIWG

MIWG Newsletter – October 8, 2019

Greetings friends and woodworkers!

Much has transpired since the last newsletter! We are now well into the Fall, and there were a couple of changes to events that were posted in the last newsletter. 

The members had a wood sale, tool sale and barbecue on September 21. The weather co-operated and although not much wood was sold, some members were able to acquire more tools to add to their inventories. (This is a requirement for woodworkers! More tools!! I heartily endorse that, though I must sometimes sneak my new acquisitions into my shop after paying cash! Forgiveness comes later, I hope.) Our President handled the cooking chores, and did a great job of grilling the burgers and hotdogs. About twenty members and their partners and family members participated in the day’s events.

Our next major event (after tomorrow’s General Meeting) is on Saturday, October 19 when we hold our October wood sale. These monthly wood sales are now scheduled for the second Saturday after our regular General Meetings. The Wood Recovery Committee, led by Ed Tremblay has been very busy this past weekend extending the floor space and overhead cover for our wood storage. 

Work Crew on deck of extension of wood storage
Extension of wood storage shed

With the help of Steve Neil, our Webmaster, we now have a calendar of our upcoming events on our website: Please check it out! If you hover your mouse over an event, it will give you a brief synopsis. More details can be seen by clicking on the link. In addition to the upcoming wood sale, Gord Shoquist has organized our Fall Shop Tour on October 26 for workshops north of Nanaimo. Some small details still have to be planned, but please make a note of it, and make your travel and participation arrangements known to Gord.

Plans are in the formation stage for planning a winter showcase like last year’s show at Nanaimo Arts Council. Unfortunately, we do not have a venue for this yet, and NAC is restricting their November show to “2-dimensional” works. If we are unable to locate a suitable site for this show, we may have to wait until the Brant Woodcarving show in April in Parksville.

With our membership growing, and participation very active in all of our meetings, workshops, work-parties, and social events, members need to be reminded that all organization takes man-power, and with our Annual General Meeting coming up in November, it is important that everyone considers the possibility of taking an active role in MIWG. This can be simply volunteering for work activities, or it could mean a higher commitment to stand for an Executive position. The Executive members meet once per month in the week before each meeting to clarify events and make decisions on behalf of the Guild. This is not an onerous commitment, but having a committed Executive is essential to the well-being of MIWG. We would ask all members to consider standing for election. Please contact me directly if you would be prepared to stand for a position for the upcoming year or would like information about the duties of each position. The Executive positions are:

  1. President
  2. Past President (or Member-at-Large)
  3. Vice-President – Membership
  4. VIce-President – Programs and Events
  5. Wood Recovery Chairperson
  6. Secretary
  7. Treasurer
  8. Librarian
  9. Shop Tour Chairperson

Best wishes to all, and safe woodworking


MIWG Newsletter – June 10, 2019

Hello again, fellow Woodworkers!

How do you fit in woodworking time with planning for summer travel time, or home renovations, or landscaping needs – or, for that matter – writing a Newsletter Blog? It isn’t easy!

Since I am a bit short on news, here are some highlights of upcoming events:

  • Arnim Rodeck will be presenting on Wednesday evening’s General Meeting (see Some of you will have seen the wooden leaf picture cover on a recent Lee Valley catalogue. That is an example of Arnim’s amazing work!
  • In keeping with our evolving plans, MIWG will hold wood sales on the Saturday following each General Meeting – beginning in September.
  • This week’s “Challenge” is the 2 board foot challenge. Make something of 2 bd ft or less of wood, and try to do as much of it as you can without power tools. (Or…bring another box, …or a tool!)
  • The Wood Recovery Committee will be looking for volunteers to assist in several upcoming projects:
    1. extend our wood recovery shelter roof to almost double its current size. 
    2. have work crews cut and stack firewood available from Peter’s fields – firewood to be donated to work crews.
    3. September meeting – Wednesday, September 11, 6:30 pm at Meeting Room A – Nanaimo District Secondary School.
    4. Next wood sale – the Saturday following the September meeting – Saturday, September 14. 
  • Annual Fall Barbecue and social – at Frost Fields following the Wood Sale in #4.

I look forward to seeing many of you this coming Wednesday at 6:30. We welcome family and friends and remind newcomers that if you pay the initiation fee of $25, the balance of the year’s membership is pro-rated at 1/2 i.e. an additional $25. Join us! If you can’t be there…I hope you have a wonderful and safe summer.

Here’s to accident-free woodworking!


MIWG Newsletter – May 19, 2019

Hello fellow Woodworkers!

With apologies, this Newsletter is way past due! I will try to summarize events of the past 6 weeks – without tying up too much of your reading time!

Our May meeting was, once again, well-attended with over half of our membership present to see the latest “challenge” – a box. However, since I was unaware of the “challenge” stipulations, I brought a “tool” – one month out of date! Oh well, apparently we could do a box or a tool.

Our presenters for the evening were three members who were given 1/2 hour each to show off  projects that they had worked on. Ed Tremblay had a slide presentation and brought equipment as well as the results for his pen-turning skills. (See last Newsletter for a picture of an award he made.) 

Next, Mike Donnelly showed slides of the evolution of the Roubo workbench, and showed us the results of the building of his own Roubo workbench. 

This was followed by Tom Hedekar’s slide show which walked us through his techniques for roughing out a bowl and turning green wood into bowls. 

As usual, the presentations by home-grown talent were extremely well-received and much enjoyed. This meeting was another valuable demonstration of having a Woodworkers’ Guild for folks to enjoy each other’s successes and to learn from their experiences.

Gord Shoquist organized another shop tour which was held on May 4. Here is his report of that day’s events:

“The spring shop tour was a great success based on participation and our shop destinations. Twenty-one members joined in for stops at:

  • Paul McCuish’s shop in Yellow Point. In addition to an excellent tour the gang was greeted with fresh coffee and cookies. Our next stop was;
  • “Yonderwood”, Bill Thompson’s beautiful shop. Along with a shop tour outlining all the items that Bill creates, we enjoyed two tool demonstrations of Bill’s pin router/ copier and his spindle lathe machine that can duplicate spindles very quickly. Before the lunch break we stopped at;
  • the Ladysmith Maritime Museum where Brian McLaurin gave us a tour of the projects they are putting new life into. The membership of the Museum have two boats that are receiving the love and care to bring them back to life and a new purpose. All the members tip their hats to those who work so hard on these old and treasured boats;
  • Lunch at the Fox and Hounds was very nice with traditional English fare and lots of pleasant conversations. After our lunch we headed to;
  • Brian McLaurin’s shop south of Ladysmith and were wowed by the way he set up his shop and some of the projects he’s done in his home. Next stop; 
  • Steve Neil’s shop in Saltair. It was fantastic to see where Steve creates all his fantastic projects along with descriptions on how some features were actually done. Very interesting. The day was coming to an end but before we finished up, we stopped at;
  • Terry Robinson’s new shop that is currently being built. Terry is going to have a marvellous space to play when he gets it complete. 

Sincere thanks to all the fellows that allowed us into their shops and were so generous with their knowledge, and thanks to all the members who joined in to make this a fun day. I’ll be organizing another shop tour in the fall so stay tuned.”

Paul McCuish’s Workshop:

Bill Thompson’s Yonderwood Workshop:

Ladysmith Marine Museum:

Brian McLaurin’s Workshop:

Steve Neil’s Workshop:

On Saturday, May 11, I participated with 6 lucky members who had their names drawn for attending Steve Neil’s workshop on hand-cutting dovetails. Gord Shoquist hosted this session at his workshop. Steve did an excellent job of providing instruction for cutting both dovetails, and half-blind dovetails, using a jig for which he provided plans. (And speaking of “half-blind” I guess that I was half-blind myself when I read the plan for constructing the jig prior to the class! I glued one of the ends on the wrong way!)

Ed Tremblay’s Wood Recovery crew has been very busy recently with the collections of a walnut log and a cedar log from Parksville. Yesterday, the volunteers assisted in cutting the wood out at Frost Fields. The need for a larger drying shed has increased, and so plans are now afoot for doubling the length of our drying space as well as adding a bit to the expanse of the roof. We have lots of available wood – including some alder and maple that are fully dry and ready for use. Ed has asked me to remind everyone that our next wood sale will be on Saturday May, 26 commencing at 10 a.m. There will also be a garage sale whereby members can sell and/or exchange equipment or hardware with others. (Ed will be sending out an email to members requesting assistance with the wood sale.)

Glen Smith has received confirmation from Arnim Rodeck of Shamawood that he will be our guest speaker for June 12th. It would be great if we can get a good turn out for him. Please have a look at his website at: Also Glen reminds us that our challenge for this coming month is:

  • 2 board foot maximum – any species. Challenge yourselves to incorporate two concepts while making it:
    1. do it inexpensively;
    2. try using hand tools where you may typically do a process with power tools.

All in all, this has been a busy Spring Time, and I will trust that woodworking keeps us all very busy and happy, if not rich! I hope that you all enjoy the holiday tomorrow!

p.s. Try getting to visit others’ workshops on your own. I just had a wonderful visit to Chris Mannall’s shop last week and was able to see some of the beautiful pieces of work that he has created.