January 2021 Newsletter

President's Report

I would like to thank our members for putting their faith in me again this year as President. I am sure we will achieve many varied and worthwhile projects this year. One never knows what will come through the front door.
We are closing in on finishing the work on the mezzanine floor. The elevator has been ordered. There are still a few small items to finalise but they are in hand.
A few of our members have had health problems. I suppose that is to be expected at our time of life. Ron Braun has had a knee replacement. He is no longer the man he was.
Now a big concern at our shed. Complacency when using machines. We have had two serious injuries. These two incidents could have been much worse. I can assure you the difference between half an inch and an inch on a machine can be the difference between the total loss of a finger or just a bad cut. Members should not be frightened to use a machine, but they should be cautious at all times. Concentrate on what you are doing. The lines around the machines are there for a purpose. Don’t enter that area if someone is using the machine. It is distracting.
I know everyone is sick to death of hearing about Covid. However keep it in mind. We have introduced a few new rules to assist with social distancing. Four people at a table. It is not a suggestion it is a rule. There is no need for everyone to sit down together at morning tea. Stagger your time. It is illegal for ten people to gather around the coffee, sugar and urn. While I am not paranoid about covid I am conscience of keeping my social distance. You should be too.
One of our newer members Paul has offered to run a fitness course. I know now, none of us will get to run a marathon, but I am sure a health programme will benefit us all if we commit to participating. More on this later.
Paint. We still have a vast amount of paint. If any member needs some paint please see Ken Ryan. Do not just take it on yourself to take it. You are welcome to what you need but ask first. It was very disappointing last time we offered paint, a couple of members just helped themselves.
The biggest item that we have coming up in the near future is a working bee. Please make some time to come and help. It is a great time to interact with other members in a more relaxed atmosphere. To explain a few points of the working bee. The collection of wood dust on beams around the shed is a fire hazard. The dust will virtually explode if it comes in contact with fire.

We have a notice board with jobs that need attention. If you would like to take on some of these projects, there is no need to wait for the working bee.
Committee meetings. I would like to point out that any member of our shed is permitted to come to a committee meeting to witness the working of the shed. You are also permitted to sight the minutes of any meeting. If you wish to attend a meeting please request to do so. You will not be permitted to speak at the meeting, but your attendance is more that welcome.
It was approved at our recent meeting to purchase a bandsaw mill. This will enable us to mill larger pieces of timber in a more accurate and much safer way.
Prior to the working bee. If members have had jobs stored in the store rooms for some time please attend to them. If you want them come and get them. We are getting far to many items stored and neglected.
Finally I would like to make a point to all members. My position as president and the position of all the committee is for the betterment of our shed. At every meeting I am amazed at the dedication of these members who are prepared to go that little bit further. To take extra time and responsibility. It is not just the meeting times. Members also carry out work away from the shed to improve it for the general members.

If you have any ideas for improvements in the shed please approach a committee member and discuss it. If you have a concern - if you don’t let us know we can’t fix it. My idea of an organisation is an inverted triangle. The small base is the committee supporting the larger section the members.

I am looking forward to sharing a great 2021 with all our members.

President Tom Skinner

General News

Working Bee

Last time the shed had a good clean was September 2019, that's 17 months ago, so the Shed will be closed for normal business for a minimum of 3 days for a major clean. All able members are asked to donate some time and muscle power to assist in the clean. A list will be drawn up, and jobs will be allocated as you arrive. We did a great job last time and shedders pitched in to knock it over in a few days.

Clean up days:

Monday 1st February

Tuesday 2nd February

Wednesday 3rd February


Beware of Scammers

Recently the shed management thwarted a potential loss of funds when scammers tried to get a bogus invoice payment. Information from the website (we presume) was used to fake a payment authorisation with Tom's name and details. Rob, being the cunning Scotsman that he is, checked the account of the scammer, and replied asking for the invoice details, which, surprisingly, did not come. 

The incident has been reported to various Government Authorities, as well as the bank of the scammer. All in all it was a very amateur attempt, but still, without vetting, could result in the loss of funds.

Be aware at home of scammers. Always question anyone who requires information or money from you. Either ignore the request, ask for confirmation via other means, like phone numbers you can call back and check, paperwork, and / or authorisation from another source.


Robert and Tom are looking into setting up a 'gentle' exercise program for shedders. Pauly, a new member to the shed, has offered to run exercise classes for shed members. How this will work, and what's involved will be researched and shedders will be notified accordingly.

Excess Paint

Again, we remind shedders that we have a lot of excess paint that has been donated to the shed. We cannot sell it, so if you need some indoor or outdoor paint talk to Ken Ryan. It's free, so the price is right, although a donation is always welcome. As Tom has stated in his report, if you want some paint, DON'T just take it - see Ken Ryan first. We may need the paint you want.

Be Covid Safe


During the summer months, especially with closed borders, our beautiful region is visited by families from all over the state, bringing the possibility of Covid-19 transmission to a higher level. Doing our bit is essential in staying healthy and preventing further restrictions for the shed, including the shed closure.

As a precaution, members are urged to practice Social Distancing at all times. 

The lunch room is now limited to seating no more than 4 persons at each table, 

with staggered morning tea and lunch times to keep numbers in the area to a minimum. 

Also, don't crowd around the tea and coffee making facilities.

Remember, it's your health that is at risk.

Minor (?)  Workplace accidents

If you ask to look at the accident register you will see that the Coffs Harbour Shed is NOT accident free. We have incidents happening regularly. Unfortunately, most of these are preventable with common sense and patience. On January 6 a shedder nearly took the top of his thumb off simply because he didn't wait for a rotating saw blade to come to a stop. The shedder was taken to hospital as a precaution, but this accident was fully avoidable.



Grounds Report

The wet has made things a little more difficult to manage, most of the garden and grounds are saturated. Here’s to a little sunshine.

The outside areas have been sprayed every few weeks in attempt to keep the weeds at bay. This includes along northern fence line.

We have newly planted 6 passion fruit vines (thanks to Tony Goninann) that will eventually cover the northern fence. We should have a good crop in 12 months time.

Besides passionfruit we have watermelon, tomatoes and strawberries planted. The watermelons are thriving growing outside the garden bed. They should be ready in a few weeks time. The tomato’s likewise are doing well. The strawberries on the other hand not so well. The plants are very healthy but the fruit in very small. Flavours are good though. Any advice from a green thumbs out there?? Everyone is welcome to help yourself to the strawberries Provided They Replace The Netting.

Other plants are struggling in the wet. The Kangaroo Paw likewise have wet feet. About 5 have died. I think they need a more sandy soil to grow well.

The grevillea royal mantle, ground cover is starting to spread, but a couple have died and need replacing. Cost about $30.00.

Graham Miller

Logo Competition

Last year we ran a competition to get some ideas for an new or updated logo. The best and most innovative entries are shown below. We decided that the first image shown was the best to draw inspiration from. Logos are not only used on signs and letterheads these days. They need to be small, square, round, large, iconised etc, so complicated logos work well in large publications, but not for emails, websites, icons... All large companies use very simple graphic designs to create a 'mark' that's recognisable anywhere, think of the Adidas 'tick', the Commonwealth Bank changed to CommBank, and now to CAN.

All entries will receive a $50 Bunnings Voucher as we appreciate all efforts.

Shedmen Report

Well, here it is 2021, the start of a new musical year for the in house band affectionately known as “THE SHEDMEN”.

We have all had a well earned break and commenced our weekly jam sessions last Tuesday with nearly all in attendance. Surprisingly we kicked off with some good old Chuck Berry Rock n Roll tunes like Johnny Be Good, and other 12 bar Rock that any band member yelled out from memory and we all passionately filled in. Ye ole shed was a rockin'n'reelin. Some great improvisation from our guitar section and sax player.

Obviously Covid has limited any possibility of the band playing for some retirement homes entertainment but we are planning to contribute to the community where we can, when we can. We are planning to play some music on Garage Sale days in the future so that should roll the crowds in. Watch this space.

The Mens Shed annual Xmas party has been the only chance for the SHEDMEN to perform for the members that attended. Tony (drums) and Col (bass)were not able to be present unfortunately but reports were favourable even if a bit loud for the venue etc. (lucky they weren't there?).

Gillie was to undergo a hip replacement in January but that has been deferred indefinitely so until then he has to stand on one leg with no “hippy, hippy shake”. Col has had some family illness and commitments which has had him practising at home but he should be back on deck this week. Tony complaining of a dilapidated knee but that doesn't stop him banging the bass drum.

Our President TOM is recovering from his shoulder operation and graces our presence regularly to show off his vocal abilities. (who wrote this??).

Please do not forget members, that the musical section is just another extension of the wide variety of experiences we can pursue through our shed and everybody is welcome to join in, whether it be with an instrument of your choice or to grab the microphone.

Jam sessions every Tuesday 8-30am til 2pm.

If the door is closed, please just come in to listen and tap your feet.

MUSIC is a great leveller and most importantly, it makes you feel good.

Til next time.

PS Ask your friends to check You Tube : Shedmen Jamming 2020 for our first attempt at stardom. We hope to do a Rock n Roll theme later this year. (Youtube video below.)

The Shedmen go public

Those who attended the Shed Christmas dinner had a taste of what the "Shedmen" sound like on the stage. A couple of days later the boys got together at the shed, and were filmed rehearsing a few numbers. The sound quality isn't the greatest because we only used microphones on the speakers, and not through a proper mixing console, but the spirit and enjoyment of the band can be seen throughout the whole video.

Take a look at our musos having some fun. This video, as well as many others, are available on youtube. Just type in Coffs Harbour Mens Shed into the search bar to see them all. Alternatively, visit the media page on our website.

Thanks to all the band members for their co-operation, and thanks to my good friend Steve Young for helping with the shoot.

Wise words


TV Cabinet

Doug was sick of watching his old small screen tv from across the room, so his Christmas visitors convinced him to treat himself to a modern large screen television. 

Problem: How to display it proudly.

Solution: Go to the shed and make a professional looking furniture masterpiece.

So Doug has cut, shaped, and joined a nice piece of raw timber to make the top of a display cabinet or low-boy. I bet it will costs hundreds of dollars less than any bought furniture, and will look brilliant. Well done, Doug.

Well, it ended up as a TV bench

Food Truck

Tim is a shed member of 3 years now. His son Shaun thought it would be a good idea to make use of the extra free time that Covid made available, to build a food truck. Pictured here is a 10 foot x 10 foot square cabin made from an ex-shipping container. Tim and Shaun are outfitting it with the essentials to run a portable kitchen - power, vents, storage, cooking equipment and, hopefully, a serving counter and till. Shaun's partner is a chef, and although the menu isn't yet set, Shaun hopes to be on the road (or side of the road) by Easter, selling good quality fast food.

Best of luck boys.

The Braun Legacy

Ron Braun is a familiar face around the shed. His sense of humour is great, and his jokes are much better than Tom's (in my opinion, sorry Tom). But Ron has been absent for the last few months due to a knee operation. I caught up with Ron recently.

Ron had a condition called Baker's Cyst, a build up of fluid behind the knee. It was stiff and painful. His doctor sent him to a physio, who, after checking his XRays, suggested he get a knee replacement. So on the 5th December last year Ron had a total knee replacement. Recovery is slow, and that's why Ron's been convalescing at home.

Looks nasty.

I asked Ron how he came to be a shedder, and he explained that he was suffering bad depression. He was told about the shed, and approached the shed in Marcia Street numerous times, but always turned around and went home before he got to the front door. On his sixth visit he entered the shed, saw some familiar faces, felt more relaxed, and joined. He felt right at home with his new mates, and has been on a much happier path ever since. The ability to find things to do is so important in helping people with depression.

Ron has also been quite busy in the new shed. He takes care of the lawns in and outside the perimeter of the shed. You can tell he's gone AWOL for now because the grass is very tall. No doubt it will be cut as soon as Ron is back on his feet. Recover soon Ron.

For those who haven't had a conversation with Ron, his position before retiring was the local Sheriff. Now, with retirement, comes free time, time to do things like gardening, and time to relax, with a beer. Ron combined his free time into making beer, and  then drinking it.

Ah, that sense of humour...

Now I've brewed some beer lately, and it tastes awful, but Ron's beer is quite nice. Some shedders have also had a Braun Brew and agreed, for a home brew it's quite good. So I asked Ron what his secret is.

"I've been brewing beer for about 11 years now. I have been using the same method all along. This method was shown to me by a friend. It's a Coopers Lager from Woolworths, with reduced sugar. On the can it says to add a kilo of raw sugar, but I only add about 280 grams. It's a lower alcohol beer, but it tastes great."

"There's no special secret. You go by the method they say to do it. There's no rocket science in it. They go on about temperatures and lights, and putting it in the fridge, and hydrometers. I don't use any of that, I just use the same method I always use."

"For sterilisation I use boiling hot water and a bottle brush on a battery drill to get the bottles clean."

"Every afternoon I come out and have a couple of stubbies. I have enough here to last me a few months."

29 stubbies per box times 16 boxes = ?

Thanks to Ron Braun for the interview, and the beer...

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


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:

Tony Winter

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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