December 2020 Newsletter

President's Report

December 2020

This year has been a little out of the ordinary. I believe we have come through it with flying colours. We never know what tomorrow brings, nor should we. It is how we handle the situations dealt to us, that we can stand up and be counted. If we listen to the media telling us we are confused and undecided, that is what we will be. Don’t listen to the negative ideas presented, but look at the positives that we can take to make our lives better.

It was a bad time for the shed with us having to close for around six weeks. But the positive from that is the importance of the shed and it’s aims being pointed out to us. Members finally being able to come back and admit they had been at a loss while the shed was closed.
When I first joined the shed, I thought it was a facility for men to come and carry on their ambitions to do woodwork. A place providing tools and ideas to fill in time. How I was wrong. I now see the benefits of social activities. Men talking to men, sharing activities, teaching skills, learning other skills and understanding other men’s needs and apprehensions.
If you take time have a look at the positives we have attained during a year that was supposed to bring us down. A monthly garage sale. Positive. A time when members put aside their usual aims and combine to sell unwanted equipment and material to the shed’s benefit. The social activity Friday afternoon preparing the shed for the Saturday. Members who would normally be working on individual projects now working side by side. The asset to our shed financially overwhelming. The clearing of unwanted goods and material essential to our work areas. Thankyou gentlemen.

Another positive the shed has obtained this year is the “Coffs Harbour Community Men’s Shed Symphony Orchestra.” As they say, “From small acorns great oaks grow.”
“We have, From a few nuts. Who knows?” Congratulations go to our music members.

I hope in the future more diverse activities can develop within our shed.

I nearly forgot to mention our new “Market Garden” Another new initiative. “Give the man a carrot, feed him for a day. Teach him to farm, feed him for life."

Unfortunately, this year we lost two valuable members of our shed, Barry Guest and Jim Cleal. While it can be expected with the age of our members this will be an ongoing situation, it is still a great loss and it brings us to the realisation we are not immortal. 

I would like to thank all members who have given me support during my year as president. It has been a pleasure and I know you will all give your support to our new president and committee.

I remind members, everyone in our shed is a volunteer. The input you put into our shed is beyond comprehension. While personal jobs are welcome, remember that our shed will not survive if we don’t apply some of our efforts to support the shed.

I would like to make a point here. We have a shed that would be the envy of any shed in Australia. A shed that has been provided for our use. This has been attained by a few members’ ambitions and goals. We could count on one hand who these members are. I am not going to mention names, but please look at what we have. Appreciate what we have, look after what we have, and endeavour to help improve what we have. 

Just to add the icing on the cake, this year we had our dust extractor installed. A great safety asset. Up till this was installed, the only dust extractor I ever used was my nose. Breathe it in today breath it out tomorrow.

Our new jointer has arrived. Look out anyone who puts a nail over it. Handled properly it will give us quality work.

New Jointer - still unpacked as of the AGM

 We also have obtained our DA for the mezzanine improvements. Our elevator has been ordered. Early next year this will be installed along with a few minor works that are needed.

It is my aim to see that each member achieves the best possible result for their efforts. Look at what you have made or produced. Is it the best you could have done? If not with a little help could you do it better.

My apologies. I am not a good teacher. Something for me to improve on no doubt. I try to explain in 60 seconds what it took me 60 years to learn and can’t understand why you don’t get it. Bear with me, don’t worry if you feel like telling me to slow down and be more patient. Please do so. I will try harder. As Anthony Cummins said after Bart’s death – “He taught me all I know. The only problem is he didn’t teach me all he knew”.

I would like to add the shed’s thanks to Ken Howe who took onboard the treasurer job when Clive was forced to step down. Also thanks to Garth Howard who put his hand up and took on the treasurer position.

Last but not least, thanks to our managers Robert and David who keep the shed running smoothly in spite of some of the pressure put on them.  

 I wish everyone a very safe Christmas., blessed with love and harmony. May 2021 be the year we rebound with positive thoughts and aspirations.

Tom Skinner
President Coffs Harbour Community Men’s Shed.

Annual General Meeting Results


The Annual General Meeting was held on the moring of 10th December 2020

Here are some notes:

  • There were 36 members attending the Meeting
  • Ken Ryan opened the meeting by welcoming members
  • Minutes from the last AGM were read.
  • Ken read Tom's President report for the year (above)
  • Doug Tysoe thanked all the shedders who helped in setting up and packing away the garage sale goods, and also to members who gave up their Saturday mornings to help 'sell' the shed and it's goods.
  • Credos to Warren Sanger for pushing to keep the "Shedders" band up and running.
  • Credos to Graham Miller for his gardening throughout the year.
  • Overview of the past year
  • A tribute to members who passed in 2020
  • We have received a new jointer which is still to be installed
  • The elevator will be installed in 2021
  • Thanks to all members for their work in 2020
  • Special thanks to Ken Howe and Garth Howard for stepping in to the treasurer's vacancy
  • Special thanks to Robert and Dave for the excellent running of the shed
  • Garth Howard gave a treasurers report for 2020
  • We are quite financial
  • More grant money is expected next year
  • Committee positions were declared vacant
  • Doug Tysoe took on the job as returning officer and the new committee is as follows:
Executive Committee

President - Tom Skinner
Vice President - Ken Ryan
Secretary - Tony Winter
Assistant Secretary - Warren Sanger
Treasurer - Garth Howard
Assistant Treasurer - Ken Ryan

General Members 

Robert Houston
Glen Cox
Ken Howe
David Churchyard
Peter Jackson
Brian Franklin
Ray Meyer

The meeting was followed by a sausage sizzle

'Chef' Dave is at home behind the burners

Jacko must have been hungry to chip in...

The usual mix - bangers and onions

General News

  • Logo Competition: The logo competition has closed, and we have accumulated some really nice designs. These designs will (hopefully) be discussed in January's Committee meeting. Thanks to all who participated.
  • Get Well: Tom Skinner has just had a shoulder reconstruction, probably from carrying the load of the shed Presidency. Ron Braun had a knee surgery, and is doing well. Recover soon boys.


International Mens Day

by Robert Houston

After an Invite by Mentors for Men (John Humphrey & John Mandle), at the Jetty Markets, the Coffs men’s shed set up a stall and had a lot of visitors stop and talk to us about the shed and what we did there, I did notice at my stint that a lot of the visitors talking to us were from out of town, making their way home after the quarantine rules allowed them to cross the border into Queensland.
The general consensus is that the Shed Movement was a great thing and helped a lot to promote men’s health and well being as well as passing on new skills to members. The quality of items coming out our shed is above average due to the few craftsmen we have attending.
All in all a great day and many new contacts made, which hopefully translates into new members.

International Men’s Day (IMD) is celebrated on 19th November every year and is marked in around 80 countries worldwide. To help more people get involved and mark the day, the Australian Men’s Health Forum (AMHF) has launched a new International Men’s Day website under the theme “Talking About Men”.

The Coffs Harbour shed had representation at the Jetty Markets. Thanks to all involved.

The IMD website will encourage people to take part in International Men’s Day and promote some of the events that are happening around the country. 

For more information click here: IMD Website

Garage Sale

Another successful day with our garage sale this month. Patronage was down, but not surprising given the amount of activities in Coffs over the weekend. Still, we moved plenty of items, some large, some small. Doug wants to convey his thanks to shedders who gave up their Saturday moring to man the sales and chat with the visitors to the shed. Again, it's volunteers that make these events successful.

Please Note: There is NO garage sale in January. Next sale is February 6th 2021

Christmas Party

10th December 2020

Christmas was celebrated in style again this year with free ten pin bowling and dinner at a local pub. Numbers were down on previous years, but that didn't dampen the enthusiasm of shedders and their partners who attended.

Time to show off your ball skills

The ladies scored much better than the men. We had a couple of sneeky tournament players in John and his wife Fay, who truly showed some skill with multiple strikes. Ken slipped onto his back and head, and it was touch and go. Surprisingly, Ken came back strong and showed what a trooper he is.

Dinner followed at the Coffs Harbour hotel. We were entertained by the "Shedders" who played a variety of songs while dinner was served.

The "Shedmen" loosend up with a few beers (maybe too many..)


Interbit computers in Wollongong donated a graphics card and wifi dongle to the shed recently. This allowed uo to use an older Windows 7 computer to drive the monitor in the shed, and also drive a projector (more about this next year).

Many thanks.

Beautiful WoodWork

Photos attached of a jewellery box. 

Made by member Don Langley for his granddaughter.

Shed Member Don Langley

Attention: Bike Riders

New member Paul 'Pauly' rode up to the AGM on his 2012 Triumph. It's not a beginner's bike either, with a water cooled 1600cc engine. Pauly joined the shed a few months ago. After breaking his back his life became very restricted, and he joined the shed to overcome boredom. (Editor's note: I also have back problems, but nothing will stop me from enjoying a good bike ride.)

Pauly is Welsh, so you may have to get Robert to translate for you.

Members with motor bikes are encouraged to get together for a "ride day" early in 2021. A nice ride, a pub lunch, some good company - what better way to enjoy this great area we live in. The mountain roads are second to none in the world for bikers. If you are interested, talk to Pauly or myself (Ray Meyer) and we'll organise a day away.

Many Thanks

Shedder client Ann Lovett has sent some pics of the furniture that was restored by shed members:

Hi guys,

Sending you the finished photos. I absolutely love the finish on the
bedroom suite & the print just sets it all off. Can’t thank you enough.

Merry Xmas, see you in the New Year with some more jobs.

Kind regards
Ann Lovett

Thanks Ann, we "Lovett" too...

News Alert


In order to prevent birds and small animals access to our produce, netting has been placed over the outdoor garden beds. Spokesperson for the Coffs Harbour Men's Shed said that crops were being lost to feed local animals and birdlife. While not opposed to feeding our local wildlife, crops like these tomatoes and strawberries are being grown to feed members of the shed, and others. 

The idea of the garden is to allow shedders access to grow produce, to foster healthy outdoor activity, and de-stress members who want to be closer to nature. A lot of retired members do not have access to areas suitable for growing produce, and as part of the mental health committment to the members, these gardens provide free access to members who wish to grow and nurture our botanicals.

Netting protects against butterflies and birds

Furniture Restorations

Every month shedders get to restore a lot of furniture, namely chairs, tables and storage units. A quick look around the paint shop highlights how many individual pieces are being restored. Some have extensive repairs, but most are simply sanded back and repainted. Here are some examples of furniture being repainted, anlongside some finished jobs.

These jobs are important to the cash flow of the shed, and members are encouraged to participate in the work. There is always a surface to sand, or stain, or repair.

Ken putting a finish on freshly painted drawer faces

Tom applying some paint

Partly finished set of drawers

A finished low set of shelves

Numbered timber markers

Art Deco Table

An interview with Tom Skinner

Tom: We're very fortunate that sometimes we get extremely good pieces of furniture to repair and restore, and in this case we had the chance to do an art deco table. This art deco table was a magnificent example of that art deco period and the workmanship that was in it was absolutely exquisite. All the veneer on it was book matched. There were in total 8 pieces of veneer on the table, and as I said they were book matched, which means that the pattern is repeated over and over on the table, and unless you know what you're looking for, a lot of people would look at it and say "Oh yeah, that's nice!", and in this case, I advised everybody in the shed to go and have a look at it and really take notice of how the workmanship was done because it was excellent.

Q: What did you do to restore it?

Tom: I stripped it back to bare timber, and then gave it about five coats of Scandinavian Oil, and with the Scandinavian Oil the beauty is that in a few years time you can give it a light sand down with steel wool, give it a nother coat of Scandinavian Oil and it will come back to where it was originally.

Q: How much time was spent on it?

Tom: About 4 full days.

Q: What was the customer's reaction to the finish?

Tom: The customer was absolutely over the moon. We often get ladies come in with furniture and they say "Oh that's beautiful" and they really rave about it, but in this case it was a gentleman who really showed his satisfaction. We are providing a service, and it's like a lot of people wouldn't be able to get antiques restored because the cost is so prohibitive, but they can bring them down here, and because we not in that Professional business we can spend a bit more time to get the best result.

Covid 1st World Problem...

An interview with Shedder Wayne

Our American shed member, Wayne, opens up about his struggle to get home to visit his family.

Wayne: I tried to leave Australia and Immigration told me I came in as an Australian and I cannot leave as an Australian because Australians cannot leave Australia. I can leave if I give up my residency and say I'm an American, then I can leave, but I have to get a flight out, and to get a flight out I have to fly to New Zealand, and at the time New Zealand wasn't open. Now it's open, I can fly to New Zealand, and then I have to fly to Canada, do a 2 week quarantine in Canada, and then take a bus from Canada back to Sacramento, which will take me about 4 days, all total. So I guess I'm stuck in the best part of the world until this virus is over.

Q: Are you missing any family members?

Wayne: I've got a daughter, a son, and three grand kids, I haven't seen them in a year now, and the holidays are coming up which is going to be tough. This is the first time I've missed them and they've missed me, and my partner here is Australian, and she can't get back to the States because the virus is too bad, so she's stuck here, and well right now I'm stuck here, I don't know for how long, it could be another 6 months, it could be a year and a half before I can get back home.

Q: Now you're an American citizen with an Australian residency.

Wayne: Right

Q: And you come from Sacramento California?

Wayne: Correct.

Q: How long have you been travelling in and out of Australia?

Wayne: Oh, for 20 years. I met my partner in Perth, and about 9 years ago we moved over here to Coffs, to cut that 6 or 7 hours extra of flight, so we moved here so it's a lot simpler to go back and forth. The past year we've been stuck. Other than that every 3 months we go back to California to my house back there, then we stay for 3 months, then we come back here for 3 months.

Q: Is your house vacant in California?

Wayne: It's vacant, my kids watch it, I've got a lawn service that takes care of that.

Q: What is it about the Men's Shed that helps you?

Wayne: Personally, the Men's Shed has, definitely, I was depressed for a while and went to the doctor, he gave me some stuff, and I come down here every day and it's relaxing, I get to talk to the guys, find out what's going on with them, and they find out what's going on with me, you know it's great. Either that or I'd be sitting at home watching tv doing nothing.

Q: Going mad!

Wayne: Yeah!

Q: Do you miss your American compatriots? 

Wayne: I've been here so long, for 20 years, that I actually have more friends here. I actually feel like this is my home and I go back to the states to visit, and if it wasn't for my kids I'd stay here - I wouldn't even go back, and it's funny, Immigration said "why don't you become a citizen?". They said "You don't even have to take the test. You're too old to remember anything! So just show up and raise your hand." and I said "what've I got to do for that?". They said "Well, by becoming a citizen you get to vote.". I said "To be honest with you that's no big thing - look at the idiot we've got back in the states! What else?" "Well, you get to pay taxes." I said "So if I become a citizen I get to vote and I get to pay taxes? If I stay a resident I don't get to do either?". They said "Right.". I said " Then I think I'll stay a resident.." And that's the way it's been.

Thanks Wayne

Boxes being made for a charity organisation

Business Opportunity

P. J. Mowers is listed as 'FOR SALE'.

Renowned Engineering Expert Peter Jackson is so busy with his new venture 'Jackomite' that he is offering his mower repair business for immediate sale. Stock includes 3 well-worn, pre-used, run-down, dilapidated, non-working rideon mowers, and a spanner. Offers should be made in person to Peter himself (please don't bother anyone else). Be sure to bring an MP3 player, as we believe it's going for a song...

Around the shed

The boys learning how to drive a rideon mower?

Peter shows his disapproval...

Donated mowers seldom work.

New Committee 2021


President: Tom Skinner
Vice President: Ken Ryan
Secretary: Tony Winter
Treasurer: Garth Howard
Assistant Secretary: Warren Sanger
Assistant Treasurer: Ken Ryan


David Churchyard
Robert Houston
Peter Jackson
Ken Howe
Glenn Cox
Brain Franklin
Ray Meyer


Shed Managers & Office Administration:

Robert Houston
David Churchyard

Health & Welfare Officers:

David Churchyard
Ken Howe

Woodwork Shop:

Tom Skinner

Metalwork / Engineering:

Peter Jackson

Information Technology / Website / Media:

Ray Meyer

Supporters of the Coffs Harbour Men's Shed

The Coffs Harbour Community Men's Shed wishes to thank all our supporters, both large and small,
for their ongoing support and generous donations of time and money. 


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