Woodies share the folk and art of hobby

April 13, 2017

At any given moment, I wonder how many men and women are slogging wearily away at their office desks in government jobs or selling retail or defending clients in court or standing up to speak in the House of Commons while a thought niggles at the backs of their minds.

I imagine it goes something like this:”When I leave this all behind, I can spend all the time I want every day woodworking in my garage.”

Suffice to say the Penders and other Gulf Islands has a sizable share of these dreamers who become the doers known as woodworkers:

Gulf Islands Driftwood — Penders Edition

Wednesday, March 22, 2000

Woodies share the folk and art of hobby

by Tanya Lester

Their roots run through the community like those of the trees from which they glean their materials, yet the Pender Island Shop Craft Guild (SCG) members say there is always something new for them to learn about woodworking.

Close to a decade old and numbering 50 strong, the SCG’s reason for meeting monthly is the same as it was in the beginning.

“We started by saying we can learn from each other and why don’t we get together every once in awhile,” said Bill Bastendorf.

One of their first major projects saw 30 of them gather at Kevin Oke’s place for an old-fashioned barn-raising, which resulted in a studio and a major education in woodworking techniques for everyone involved.

Nowadays some of the more experienced members are teaching small groups of women to become dexterous in the art of woodworking. This is one reason why monthly meetings throughout the winter season often focus on basics such as measuring and use of both power and hand tools.

Bastendorf said that after being taught the basics, the women apprentices continued right on working — from getting plans and buying the lumber to make finished products that won them prizes.

The SCG is a resource to the Pender community in general and has worked on the beautiful community hall, and spruced things up at the Pender Island Golf and Country Club.

For some SCG members, woodworking has become an almost all-consuming hobby. John Fox will often spend eight hours a day on a project if it really interests him, turning his tools off at 4 p.m. only because he knows tiredness can cause an accident.

“The problem with being retired is you don’t get a day off,” joked Fox, who took up woodworking as therapy when he was a management consultant in Calgary.

“You never reach a point that you know it all; it’s a lot of fun and you lose yourself in it,” Bastendorf said.

The retired psychologist first got into woodworking when he was working on his doctorate in southern California. He found that when he needed something like a box to put things in between his front car seats that he would visit a neighbor handy with wood who insisted on teaching Bastendorf how to do it instead of doing it for him.

In the 1950s, this neighbor encouraged Bastendorf in the woodworking craft by selling him a whole set of tools for $100 when they were worth hundreds more.

In turn, Bastendorf loaned these tools to a friend when he went overseas for what was supposed to be a year but turned into 20. When he returned, he got them back.

Terry Bowyer believes his love for woodworking might be in the genes since his father did it before him. “It’s just a very pleasing thing to do,” he said.

Bowyer likes working with cherry wood, which is quite in vogue nowadays (as is walnut, although it used to be oak), but finds it tricky to work with as there are wood grains running “every which way.”

Some of his finest and most innovative work consists of pens made out of broom and bowls that show off natural wood designs for their artistic quality.

Woodworking, according to Fox, can be an art or it can be a folk piece. As an example, he uses two cabinets he has made. One is chunkier in nature, with the nails showing up as they don’t quite match the colour of the finished wood. Fox will somewhat carelessly put the cabinet in the back of his vehicle when taking it somewhere.

The other piece is a streamlined beauty and Fox treats it like the piece of art that it is, and he wraps it in towels before transporting it.

To work on a wood piece in this way takes time.

Fox’ next project is a diningroom set which will take him two years to complete.

If they were trying to make a living from woodwork, the profit would probably work out to 50 cents a piece, but with the hobby group’s support Fox knows he can ask any member’s advice if he gets stuck on some aspect of his creation.

Fox moved to Pender in 1993 and still numbers the “woodies” he first met in the SCG among his base of island friends.

The group’s monthly meetings have ranged from using the chainsaw to guitar making to stained glass and the fundamentals of blacksmithing. This is all available for the grand total of a $5 annual membership….


To read more posts in this blog of articles and other writing on many different topics, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com

Tanya works as an intuitive reader who specializes in tea leaf reading, tarot and mediumship. Her web is teareading.wordpress.com and she has pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. Or she can be reached directly by email at tealeaf.56@gmail.com  or text or call 250-538-0086.

Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew sometimes available from the author and always available at amazon.com  She also penned Dreams and Tricksters besides Women Rights/Writes.  These books are all available in some public libraries.





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