June 2021 Newsletter

From the President

I would like to welcome our new members.

Some come with experience in woodwork, some with no experience. What is experience without enthusiasm? I personally think our new members are going to be a great asset to our shed.

Our monthly garage sale was well attended by our members. A reminder to everyone if you can attend and help out on the day it would be gratefully appreciated.

Around 20 members turned up to help last Saturday. It is not a work day but a great chance to catch up and communicate with members who you may not normally react with. 

A thank you to the team who is in charge of the sale. Well done again, a big contribution to our coffers. Not only do we make a few dollars we are able to restrict the number of items accumulating in our shed.

Our band played at the garage sale. It was great to see a new member of our community, come and participate. I am sorry I cannot tell this gentleman’s name. He comes from a West African country. He listened to our band for a while, then went out to his car and returned with his own instrument and joined in with the band. This was a very special occasion, something that will stay with me for a long time.

I would like to take this opportunity to express the need to ask for assistance with the use of machinery. It is impossible to induct a member, in the full capabilities of a machine in a short time. In 60 years of working in the building industry. Our shed has the best collection of machines I have ever had available to me.If you have a job that requires something special, something out of the ordinary, please ask. “HELP” It is there for you. These machines will do things you never thought possible.

On a sterner note. Put things away where you found them. This is not just for other members, it's for you. The shed is for you, each and every tool is for your use. Get it , use it put it back where you found it. If it has a problem, report it. Don’t just put it back.

Unfortunately our membership is on the wrong side of the ledger age wise. One of our most staunch members has found himself in hospital. It has been a hard time for those remaining at the shed without Peter. There was no-one to tell us where to go. how to go and at what speed to go. We all hope you are on the mend Peter, and will return to us, sooner than later.

Our band is shaping up as one of the great extensions to our shed. The number of new members coming to join the band is most impressive. It is another avenue that gives our shed another interest to the community. If the numbers keep increasing at the rate they have we will soon have. Not a band but a sympathy orchestra.

Any manual task will never turn out 100%. However if you aim for 100% you may reach 95%, 95% is far better than 60%. I would encourage members to go that little bit further. Try a little harder. Look at what you have done. Ask yourself where could I have improved? If I did that again what would I change. Put your best foot forward. Personally I have never been completely happy with something I have made.

The work on the mezzanine is nearly complete. We only have the plumbing and tiling to finish. Our elevator is now up and operational. It is also down and operational. Last week I was stuck on the escalator in what was the Palm Centre. I was half way up when it stopped. I stood there for half an hour calling for help. I hope our elevator works better that that.

I thank each and every member for their support. I feel we have one of the best sheds, membership wise and equipment wise.

Please enjoy everything it offers you.

President:  Tom Skinner

General News


Work on the mezzanine is near completion. We are just waiting for the tiler and plumber to finish off, and then the Certifier can issue his approval. Thanks to all the members who have contributed in so many ways during the process. We have also been very fortunate in gaining funding from Government grants, local organisations and friends to allow us to take on this project.

The lift has been installed and works well. The frame, cladding and flooring have been finished and it just requires a lick of paint to complete.

The first thing you notice about it, is the lack of a door upstairs! It is a design feature and it has many safety features to ensure safe operation. It is a 2 person lift so don't go trying to beating the Guinness book of records score! Spot the ramp for use with wheelchairs near the bottom door.

If you want to use it for the first time ask Rob or Dave to run you through the procedure. 

Note: it is not meant to be used as an easy alternative to carrying jobs, heavy objects etc upstairs.



Jobs, Jobs and more Jobs

After a slow start to the year, on the commissioned jobs front, we are now booked out till at least August. 

We have been inundated with a heap of repair jobs for chairs in this first 3 months, Tom, Adrian, Graham and others have worked diligently on this restoration work. Tom has spent a long time researching and restoring the chairs below. The one on the left is a Welsh ladder back rush woven chair and the one on the right is a Shaker rocking chair woven with individual strands of cord. If you get a chance ask him about them, the process is fascinating.


We have been commissioned to make lots of possum and bird nesting boxes by Wires. The boys have developed a production line method which has streamlined and improved the quality of the product. These two are almost complete, the roof just needs to be attached. What a great use of old fence palings!

When he is not helping with commissioned jobs, Graham loves to use his creative flair to find ways to recycle items into works of art which he donates to the Shed for sale in the shop. Below is one of his latest creations. Graham is another regular who isn't afraid to give anything a go to help out.

A couple of our new members have also made an impact around the Shed. Firstly,  Rob "Baldy", who is camera shy, but has taken on numerous projects to improve the set up and functionality of areas of the shed. He has played a significant role in putting the finishing touches to the new lift, he has made new racks for storing clamps, helped construct a new grinding bay and helped install our new lathe (donated) just to mention a few projects.


Chris Hansen is another, you can read more about him further down in the member profile. Chris has only been with us since the beginning of the year and expressed an interest in learning to turn wood. Well, we have been asked by a new preschool, setting up at the other end of the road, to help out by making learning materials for the toddlers. So Chris and others have thrown themselves into this project to produce a myriad of resources. Below are some of the items they have made.


Next: The Coffs Harbour Council has joined together with the Men’s Shed and the Botanic Garden to create a yellow flowering garden, for Road Safety week, as a space where people can reflect on lives changed or lost on our roads.

The community is invited to visit the gardens all week from 16 - 23 May and reflect upon loved ones. Whilst there they can write the name of someone special on a ribbon or sunflower and plant it in amongst the swathe of yellow flowers. Free yellow lapel ribbons are available to all. We have been commissioned to produce the ribbons and sunflowers. 

Rob has taken on this task with our new laser cutter. He has produced 50 ribbons and 50 sunflowers. He has also made a giant ribbon  for the entrance.


And lastly, Ken Ryan has taken over the paint shop from Glenn Cox, Glenn is and has been a very valuable member of the Shed and continues to do specialty cabinetry work for the Shed. 

Ken hasn't been able to devote as much time as usual due to his wife's illness. We all wish them well during this difficult time. 

If you have an interest or skill in this area and would like to help out, it would be greatly appreciated. 

Jobs all require some type of finishing to make them sparkle!

A growing problem at the moment is the pick up of completed jobs. We are running out of space to store items awaiting collection!

Garage Sales

Doug and his team have been working hard in receiving donated items, evaluating, preparing items for sale, pricing and running the first Saturday of the month garage sales. 

These sale days have been very successful as a fund raiser for the Shed.

Members are stepping up, to help at the Friday setup before the sale, in increasing numbers. The sale day also has seen up to 20 members coming along to help and have a chance to mingle and get to know other shed members.

A big thank you to Doug and his helpers in organising and running this important function. Monies raised are used to buy consumables for members' use including glue, sand paper etc. as well as helping with overhead costs.

Members Health

We have a number of Shed members who are having health issues at this time. Tom has already mentioned Peter Jackson "Jacko", who manages the metal area as well as helping out in many other areas. We wish you well and a speedy recovery.

Ray Meyer who setup and has managed our media including this newsletter and the web site has been forced to step down because of ill health after years of dedicated service. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for the countless hours of passion and expertise he has poured into this area. The quality of his work enhances our footprint in this community and beyond.

Tom Skinner is another who won't want any fuss made, he works tirelessly for the benefit of the Shed. Tom had a bit of a scare recently which makes us all reflect on the fact that we are not getting any younger.

This is by no means a complete list, many of our Shedders are dealing with both physical and mental issues which make life less than comfortable. Please keep in touch, even if it is just a call or a cuppa at smoko, because the relationships that are formed at the Shed are important. 

Member Profile: Chris Hansen


Welcome Chris!

Chris is new to the Shed and has jumped right in, taking on commission jobs, learning how to turn wood and generally helping out around the Shed.

Chris is a recent arrival (October 2020) in Coffs having moved down from Brisbane with his wife Rosemary to retire. They planned to settle here after moving around the country with his work as a Flight Services Officer.

What does a Flight Service Officer do?

We provide communications between aircraft and ground units to ensure the safety of the aircraft and its occupants. The job changed when Dick Smith closed down small units in the bush. My role is to work with international flights and light aircraft and air traffic control in larger city airports these days.

How did you get into this job?

Well that is a long story. I grew up on a wheat and sheep farm in Western Australia at Bindi Bindi. My father started the farm under the returned soldier settlers’ scheme. I wasn’t interested in being a farmer, so they sold up and moved to Perth.

I enrolled in university (thanks to Gough Whitlam) and did a Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Biology. I was offered 3 jobs at the end of the course, lab tech, environmental officer and a Herbarium position at Murdoch University. I didn’t take any of them and instead decided to take work on a farm as a roustabout! In fact, I have never used the degree formally.

I moved around a bit, worked drilling for water, as a surveyor’s assistant and finally found myself in Darwin as a house painter then moved into construction as a labourer on sites like the Performing Arts Centre earning almost 8 times my previous pay! Around this time my mum sent me a newspaper ad for Flight Service Officer training in Melbourne. I had always been interested in flight, so applied and moved to Melbourne for the course in 1985.

My first posting was to Sydney In 1985. On the job training included stints at Bankstown Briefing Office and Dubbo Flight Service then back to Sydney for four years in the Centre. By then I had married my wife and in 1989 got a transfer back to Perth. Bought a house but ended up transferring straight to Kununurra. In 1990, CASA started to close all these small units and consolidate everything back to the Centres and so we moved back to Perth.

We had ten happy years in the job in Perth then CASA reformed the whole of Air Traffic services in this country to reflect a “World’s best practice” system which required us to re-locate to Brisbane.
The job had changed significantly by this stage, with me now having little responsibility and only acting as voice go between with international and light aircraft and the Air Traffic Controller. I put up with the job and the climate in Brisbane for twenty years but we were always going to move south and Coffs Harbour ticked most of the boxes.

How did you end up coming to the Shed?

2021 was supposed to be our year of travel, but when Covid put paid to that, Rosemary said “well I may as well work” and got herself a job in Admin at Baringa. I knew I’d go spare at home so I came along to join The Men’s Shed and found that the blokes weren’t too obnoxious so I stayed on!

How have you found it?

I must say it’s a pleasure to be able to be oneself at the shed without fear of PC censure, and all in all the guys are pretty good (there’s always one! No names no pack drills!). It’s good to banter with the members and the Coffs Support Services guys with their carers on a Thursday and I’m learning things about the history of Coffs that I would never have learned without the interaction at the Shed gives.
I am loving being a shed member and enjoy doing what I can to give back to the community and on a personal basis fulfill my own projects and get some good interaction with blokes of my ilk.
Thanks Tony for including me in the newsletter

Notice Board

Induction to operate Fixed machines




All members are covered for injury while working at the Shed. However, as part of the conditions for cover whilst using machinery we are required to induct members in the safe use of each fixed machine. 

We are also required to maintain accurate records of members who have been inducted on each fixed machine. We also must provide appropriate signage, including work space exclusion zones marked on the floor and have appropriate safety guards and PPE available. 

If a serious accident does occur the insurer can ask us to produce these induction records.

We obtain our insurance through the Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA), they provide this service to all Sheds in Australia. AMSA have recently had to change insurers because the previous insurer was not happy to continue to provide this level of cover to Shed members, due to increasing numbers of claims. The new insurer has now stipulated what activities we can undertake at the Shed and what our respondsibilities are, to be eligible for this level of cover.

We have acquired a number of new machines over the last six months and need to update our induction records. Tom has been conducting group inductions during the year.

If you wish to use any fixed machine in the Shed that you have not been inducted to use, it is required that you book an induction with the Office before you will be permitted to operate that machine.

This is a rule for ALL members, non members are not permitted to operate any fixed machinery in the Shed because of liability and insurance issues, regardless of their expertise.

If you haven't used a machine for sometime or just want help operating a machine, please approach Tom or a committee member, they will be only too happy to help. 

Remember it is always better to be safe than sorry.

If a machine is not working properly please report it to Tom or the Office. We have a maintenance schedule but naturally things wear out. The committee strives to maintain the Shed at optimum usage for members but your help is required in reporting issues, returning tools and equipment to their storage areas and using the tools for the purposes that they were designed.

Membership Renewals

It is that time of year again! Membership renewals are due at the end of the month, The subs will remain at $60 this year. You will receive an email with the details of how to pay by direct deposit if you are able or you can come in and pay directly. 

Please remember to update your details, especially your email address as this is the main method of communication with members. 

Your membership will lapse on the 1st September and you will be required to rejoin after this time.

The Shed committee is also asking members to complete an emergency medical care form, which is attached to the members' subscription form. The reason for collecting this information is to help in ensuring that the most appropriate treatment is provided in the case of an emergency eg. heart attack, seizure, injuries etc. At present, we have no way of knowing what to say to the ambulance medics about any pre-existing conditions etc.

Providing this information is entirely voluntary and will be kept securely in the Office. It will only be used when and if required.

Improvements to the Shed

The Shed is looking more and more like a commercial setup.Thanks to the fund raising efforts of members, Government grants courtesy of Ken's vigilance and expertise, and donations from the community. During the past 12 months despite COVID, improvements have continued.

A Shed wide dust extractor has been purchased and installed. It has made a huge difference to the amount of dust throughout the Shed. The machine has been installed on the Western side of the Shed.

Also, the air compressors have been housed outside at the southern end of the Shed and air lines installed around the Shed to give access to compressed air in most parts of the Shed.

Storage of wood has been improved with the addition of a roof over the containers and racks being made to house addition wood. A much needed clean up of the area. 

None of these improvement could have happened without the hard work and dedication of Shed members. Well done fellas!

Be Covid Safe


We are very fortunate in Coffs Harbour as the virus has not affected our daily lives to near the extent others in major capital cities have been affected.

The virus is still very much a threat in the greater environment and it is prudent to be cautious.

Signing in and general hygiene including hand washing and wiping surfaces is still required by government to keep members safe. Social distancing rules have been relaxed as per government requirements but it is also necessary to take notice of the boundary lines around machines to be observed while they are in use.

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

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
Brian Franklin


Shed Managers & Office Administration:

Robert Houston
David Churchyard

Health & Welfare Officers:

David Churchyard
Ken Howe

Woodwork Shop:

Tom Skinner

Metalwork / Engineering:

Peter Jackson

 Website / Newsletter

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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