July 2018 Newsletter

Presidents Message

Ken Ryan

Already July and another Newsletter has been produced with hanks to Ray Meyer. If you have any items of interest, photos etc of shed activities, please advise Ray for inclusion in the next Newsletter.

Recently Nan and Les Cowling visited the shed and shared a cuppa at Smoko. They made a very generous donation to the shed and Nan and Les have been supporters of our Men’s shed for many years. On behalf of all our members, a big thank you to Nan and Les. Their support is greatly appreciated.

Thanks to all members who assisted in the garage sale conducted on 23rd and 24th June. Surplus tools and other items were sold and the shed benefited by $1,000 plus.

On Saturday 30th June we were invited to assist the Coffs Harbour Support Services
with their special day at the Showground. Coffs Men’s Shed provided the sausage sizzle and thanks go to the volunteers Tom Skinner, Mick Maley, Ray Meyer and Nev Colligan.

Lunchtime at the shed has become a popular time for using the microwave oven to heat up leftovers etc. If you have a microwave oven which you have recently retired, we can certainly use another at the shed.

Shed Manager's Report

  • During the next few weeks the kitchen area will undergo a clean up with the floor being cleaned and then painted. As it is winter the drying time may be extended so please be patient and avoid all work areas.
  • All members are asked to report to the committee or management if they are asked by sponsors about the shed and it's progress.
  • Doug has been reorganising storage and you will now find bits and pieces are arranged in an alphabetical order.
  • Remember to always return tools etc to their appropriate storage area.
  • Peter has asked that the metal working area is not a storage area and members should remove their projects from the area when they finish for the day, even if they intend to return the next day.
  • Don't forget to clean up before you leave. This includes the area and workbench, plus all tools and equipment that have been used. It is not fair to have other members clean up your mess, no matter how small.
  • Anyone interested in joining the music group, musical shedders get together every Wednesday afternoon after lunch for a chat and a jam session.
  • These photos below show how the lathe areas have been given better storage for the tools. Keep them tidy and always return a tool to it's appropriate storage place.

Weekend Garage Sale

On the weekend of the 23rd and 24th of June, the Shed held an impromptu Garage Sale.
Many items were on display, and was well attended by volunteer members.
There are many items left with discounted prices for members.


Of particular interest was this antique perambulator (pram) which was snapped up by a couple on Sunday.
The family Chihuahua got to take a ride on the way out. 
There is enough room for a family of chihuahuas, plus a barbeque pit...

Out and About

On behalf of the entire team at Coffs Harbour Support Services we would like to thank the Coffs Harbour Men’s Shed for their ongoing support. They attended the Coffs Harbour Support Services reunion that was held on the 30th June 2018. 

The team were very pleased to provide a sausage sizzle for the event and be part of the festivities for the day.

The event was aimed at bringing individuals and families together who have been part of the journey with Coffs Harbour Support 
Services. Our end goal was to have everyone come together and enjoy a carnival themed day of excitement and festivity including circus performers, jumping castles, food vans, live music, hands on ‘make and save’ activities, zumba displays, dress up photo booth, showbags and more!

To say thank you for their ongoing support Coffs Harbour Support Services donated two hundred dollars towards this wonderful 
community group. We look forward to an ongoing partnership to promote Inclusion, participation and opportunity.

Custom made canes

Shedder David Wickham is seen here by the wood lathe. He is in the final stages of turning a piece of rosewood into a gentleman's walking stick. He makes the handle at home, assembles the handle to the stick, gives it 3 coats of Linseed oil, and finishes with a lacquer. The custom made walking sticks are produced and sold through the Men's Shed to raise funds.

Boring Job


Doug Simmons repairing a timber kitchen board. Four holes are drilled in the sides, and timber dowels are glued and inserted. Doug made a small longitudinal indentation in the dowel to allow excess air and glue to escape.

Refurbished Blanket Box

This beautiful blanket box was restored by Tom Skinner and is waiting at the paint area for finishing. The velveteen material for the top was supplied by the customer.

Stained Glass Window Repair

Article by Tom Skinner

We were asked to repair 2 window sashes. The glassing in the windows were lead light. I had to be very careful dismantling the old sashes. If the old glass is broken new glass cannot be used to replace it as the new glass will not match the old.


The timber was rotted, it was necessary to make 2 new sashes. They had to be the same size as the originals. The sashes had to be the correct size to take the leadlight glazing and also the correct size to fit the existing window frame. Hinges also had to be in the original position. A time proven system of glazing consisting of linseed putty was used to keep the authentic look of the sashes. The timber for the sashes had to be machined for a piece of Douglas Fir we had in stock.

I carried out the work and found it interesting. It took me back to my early days as an apprentice. While I only worked in a joinery shop for a short time, I never had the opportunity to make timber windows. My first job as an apprentice was to dress and sand the sashes ready for the glazing. My old boss worked in thongs, smoked a lot and headed for the club at 4 O’clock. He was a digger from the second world war. He would on odd times tell me about things that had happened to him during the war. I know now he was reaching out, but I was just too young to realise at the time. Thinking back I realise just how influential the short time with Ken was.

Coffee Table

Built by Glenn Cox

Originally we were asked to cut an existing table down. It had sentimental value to the customer, but was a little too large for his unit. He asked us if we could make a small coffee with the offcuts.

Glen Cox carried out the work. His skill cutting the large table down was exceptional. As you can imagine if you cut an end off a table you then have to match that cut end with the original end. Glen then took the offcuts and fashioned them into the coffee table to match the original large table.

Glen is an exceptional tradesman and a great asset to our shed.

Desk Refurbishment

by Tom Skinner

We were asked to bring this Oak desk back to it’s original bare timber. As it had been finished with a stain varnish it was necessary to apply a coat of paint stripper. In these cases the main problem is removing the stain as it penetrates into the timber. This makes it hard to get the original timber colour back.

As this is a solid oak desk and not oak veneer, a more severe sanding process can be used. I have removed most of the stain varnish with paint stripper, I can now sand this back to it’s original oak surface.

If you are restoring old furniture it is important not to use an orbital sander. This will leave small circular marks on the surface which are very difficult to remove. These small circles are not obvious when you look at the bare timber but will stand out when the finish is applied.

Article on Australian Native Bees

by Doug Tysoe

Australia has nearly 2000 species of native bees. Most native bees will not sting you but they can bite. They can be divided into two main categories. Solo bees and social colony bees. In fact 90% of native bee species are solo bees.

Bees vary in appearance from looking like little black flies to larger wasps. They are mostly black, but there are other various colours. Many of them you may think are just flies. Some gather pollen on their bodies and legs. As they go from flower to flower they pollinate other plants. Other bees will pollinate by buzzing and vibrating the flower, releasing the pollen onto other flowers nearby.

It is important that we look after our wildlife and in this case, the native bees. There is a real threat to the European Honey bee from the varroa virus, not only here in Australia but world wide. Numbers are in decline and there is a fear that they may be wiped out all together. Not only will we not be able to buy honey in the future but these bees perform a big part in pollinating trees, crops and vegetables.

The real threat comes from chemical companies producing pesticides and herbicides that are devastating the Honey bee and all native species.

Native bees also have natural predators. Hive beetles will squeeze into small gaps. The Syrphid fly is a wasp like insect that reverses into the entrance and lays its eggs and as they hatch they enter the hive and totally destroy it. The Phorid fly will do similar.

A hive will cost $700-800 to purchase on today's market, but as they become more popular, they are also becoming more expensive to buy. So a bee keeper does not want to lose a hive to pests. That is why you see us making boxes in the shed and being pedantic about no gaps in the joins of the boxes we are building.

Bees are interesting little critters. It is good to have a hive in your garden. You can have them virtually as pets. You can sit and just watch their behaviour. They will pollinate your trees and vegetables and flowers. 

If you take a walk about your garden or local park, you will see native bees of some sort.

The native bee that I would like to focus on for now is one of the species of social colony bee. It is the Tetragonula Carbonaria species. We call them TC for short.

This bee looks just like a little black fly. It usually has its hive in the hollow of a tree trunk or limb but sometimes finds a cavity in your house or brick wall or even electrical fuse box. If so, they may be a nuisance to you and we can remove them for you. It is native and common in this area, and can live as far south as Sydney. It generally won’t tolerate the low temperatures of the New England. Excessive temperatures above 40 degrees are a threat to the hive survival too. So positioning the garden hive is important. . The box in your yard should be
facing in the north to east quarter and not in direct sun. Under an eve is ideal or have its own roof.

The box is generally made of 35mm pine for natural insulation. It should be painted to preserve against weather. The timber must not be treated. Any glue or poly filler used must be water based.

There is so much I could tell you about native bees but this is just a bit of info and if interested to know more about bees, you can talk to either myself or Mark Dunn and we can help you with more advice on bee keeping.

If you have a problem with a swarm in your garden, or find some on a fallen tree or firewood log, or cavity of your home, we can come and help with the removal of it for you.

The interest in native bees is increasing among the men of the shed. So this is just an item of interest and we are happy to share our knowledge with you. Mark or I can also provide plans of dimensions and on how to build your own hive.

Cockroach Infestation

A sudden infestation of cockroaches appeared in the shed on the afternoon of the final Origin series. Pest Control experts were confounded by the fact that the cockroaches only attacked Shedder Brian Franklin. Some Committee members speculated that the cockies were attracted to the 'Maroon' colour of the clothing Brian was wearing. A quick check on Google showed that during the winter months in Australia, NSW cockroaches are repulsed by the 'Maroon' colour and are sent into a crazed frenzy. If this is the case, Brian better was his face with a scrubbing brush.

We hope Brian recovers soon.


Every Thursday morning the OzHarvest Crew roll up with a donation of food for shed members.
For this we are very grateful and we should support their efforts. Here is their story...


OzHarvest Coffs Harbour is a passionate and lively group that rescues quality food for more than 25 charity partners in the Coffs community since inception in February 2014. Our committed team of volunteers has rescued more than 45 tonnes of food or the equivalent of 135,000 free meals for disadvantaged local residents who are ‘doing it tough.’ We have more than 20 wonderful volunteers who help us sort, pick, collect and distribute the vast range of quality excess food from our caring local food businesses, including Woolworths,
Harbourside Markets, Mother Nature and many other local food stores as well as from farmers and growers in the plentiful farming region that surrounds us.

OzHarvest Coffs Harbour also receives wonderful support from local groups such as Coffs City Council; The Coffs Business Women’s Network; various Rotary clubs, many churches and community care-groups and small businesses that simply care about improving local food waste and hunger. We love what we do! If you are interested in becoming a OzHarvest volunteer, food or financial donor, charity partner or just a ‘fan’ we would love to hear from you!

To get involved please contact: JULIE FERGUSON (Chapter Coordinator)
Phone: 0421 430 175 Email: coffsharbour.info@ozharvest.org

Coffs Computer Classes

Hone your computer skills at the Coffs Seniors Computer Club 

A lot has changed in the 17 years since the Coffs Seniors Computer Club Inc. began in 2001. Today nearly everyone has a computerised device within their reach - phones, pads, laptops and desktops. In fact, it's practically impossible to communicate with the outside world without one. The small but dedicated group that successfully run the Club are committed to make available the secrets of new and old devices to those that need it most - that section of the public that didn't have these devices when we grew up.

I attended a meeting and found that the rooms are segregated into beginners (to gauge the level of experience), intermediate and advanced. Groups are also broken down into operating systems - Apple, Windows and Android. As shown in these photos, each group concentrates on learning specific topics and systems.

After talking to Mary and Graham, who run the Club, I came away with the impression of commitment and satisfaction from these 2 hardworking people. This is the best value Club in town where you can learn, and socialise with like minded people. Members of all ages are welcome.

The Club charges a small $5 fee per session which includes a cuppa and cake, and a modest $10 membership fee. As with all Clubs run by volunteers, tutors are required so if you can help call Mary on 0439 581 770 evenings and have a chat. If you are looking to understand your computer, IPad, Android or Phone why not drop in to the Cavanbah Centre (near Coles in Coffs) most Monday mornings at 8.30 for a cuppa and chat with Mary or Graham and see how they can help. You will always find them friendly and informative.

Mary Voutos

Light Relief

FOUND: One slightly used shopping trolley..
LOST: One very used shedder!


Shedder Scotty finds a new "Crank Handle" to start his car!


"No screws were damaged when attaching the name tags."

Doug's at it again!

This time, he's promising a higher quality, custom made, hand written member's badge, seen here - beautifully modelled by Doug himself, on a disgusting worker's zip up sleeveless cardigan.

Interested parties should approach Doug (carefully) and maybe negotiate a price.

Coffs Harbour History

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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