Denver 3, and Community Woodworking

A busy afternoon, doing the first part of why I am over here – putting the Torque Workcentre together, ready for tomorrow’s shoot.  Met up with one of the Associate Producers from Cool Tools – Darin Foat.  Cool guy.

Headed first to Bunnings, I mean Home Depot (could hardly tell the difference on the inside – they look quite different, but similar concept it seems), and bought an MDF sheet as a top for the TWC, and a sheet of ply for some stuff tomorrow, and some other lengths of timber.

Next, with some time to kill, we headed over to grab a drink, and I found some (old) snow.  Decided not to do the angel thing – bit too cold to be soaked through for the rest of the afternoon!

A little snow

Snow is kinda handy for some things though:

Drink on the Rocks

No need for a Cooltainer here!

Got into the workshop to begin setting up, meeting with Stephen and Joshua.  Joshua as it turned out occasionally happens to read Stu’s Shed, so did a really big double take when he saw the logo on my shirt – that was pretty cool as well.

Now I can’t really go much further without talking about the workshop itself, and it is really worth discussing.  Over in Australia, there has been a real groundswell with the concept of Men’s Sheds.  In Oz, there are now over 400 sheds, involving 30,000+ participants, although even that seems hard to determine – there seems to be a bit of a head-to-head between a couple of organisations looking to oversee and manage the various Men’s Sheds.

The scale of it in Australia hasn’t arrived in the US, but there are apparently a few community-style woodworking clubs springing up.  What Stephen and Joshua have created, from the ground up and completely unfunded (other than membership)/unsponsored is a woodworking workshop for the community, called “Community Woodworking“.  A not-for profit, hands-on woodworking club, and their efforts have to really be commended.  They have been adding to the workshop as their funds permit – you have to love the sense of community that is being shown – I take my hat off to them (but put it back on pretty smart – it is still cold 🙂 )

They do have to charge for membership – covering the costs of running the place (but we are only talking $20/month, + $8/hr – check out their club membership page for more info) You can also take out a life membership. It is not-for-profit after all.

They have a range of machines ready for members – jointer, planer, tablesaw, a couple of bandsaws, buzzsaw (mitre saw), drill press, and a wall of ready-access handtools.  They even had a Triton Woodrack 🙂  They seem pretty happy we are there too, according to their blog.

I’ll try to get some photos of the place tomorrow – was focusing on the TWC assembly today.

Almost forgot, Steve showed me one project that he’s working on – the handgrip for a Colt45 (think Dirty Harry) (correction – it is a Ruger Super Blackhawk chambered for .44 Magnum).  It almost seems to be something that gets a lot of people into woodworking in one form or another.  Rifle stocks too are typically wood, and it is something a lot of owners take great pride in, especially if they make it themselves.  From an engineering perspective, the Ruger is very impressive in its simplicity of design.  I’ll hopefully get some photos tomorrow (again, was working against the clock today). (BTW, sorry, but not interested in the whole pro/anti gun thing).

The workbench went together easily – I still have some fine-tuning to go through, but even so I managed to cut a circle, do some copy work of a sign, and surface some vermilion – a very red timber which looks great surfaced, and created a really red sawdust.

Tomorrow is the real day. Early start, then a full 1/2 day of filming, then get to see the rest of the show being created.  Hope to take some photos, both of the workshop, and the shoot.  I probably won’t be able to show the photos directly of the shoot until after the show goes to air. C’est la vie!

Denver 2

Had a morning wander around the streets of Denver – the air has an honest cold feel to it which I am enjoying.  Seeing the occasional snowplow-enabled vehicle reminds you of what the environment could throw at the city, and even last night one was driving along salting the streets.


Found a charismatic bookstore called “The Tattered Cover”, with creaking wooden floors and a wide selection.  Seems a popular place for people to go for a coffee, chat and read.  Picked up a copy of “American Woodworker” magazine – had to get something thematic to woodworking!

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