Cool metalworking a hit

Greg Cowie and Matthew Coker get in a twist with the Metalcraft tools being demonstrated to students and Mens Shed members.
Greg Cowie and Matthew Coker get in a twist with the Metalcraft tools being demonstrated to students and Mens Shed members.

There was a strong show of hands for volunteers to test-run a brace of metalwork tools when the Men’s Shed hosted a demonstration from Metalcraft at the shed last month.

The attraction of the Metalcraft products is that no heat is involved, making them suited to use in schools. If the level of interest shown by the shed’s next door neighbours – students at The Sir Henry Parkes Memorial Public School – is any gauge, it would be a popular addition to the school’s teaching aids.

Some of the boy students currently do metalwork during a Tuesday lunchtime, but that may be expanded next term given the level of interest show in the demonstrations, from both the girls and the boys.

Demonstrator Greg Cowie of Chevington Tools was also impressed with the enthusiasm.

“There are so many enthusiastic students wanting to have a go,” he said.

“I don’t always see that with other schools.”

Mr Cowie said he’s been told that the introduction of the tools is turning into a life-changing opportunity for some, with years 10 students ‘heading for trouble’ discovering a new interest and some going on to secure apprenticeships in related industries.

The English-made products are already in use in more than 1600 schools, and require only standard mild steel.

Good for young and old(er)

They’re also popular in Men’s Sheds, with around 70 already using the system.

Tenterfield Men’s Shed president Ian Docherty said the group is hoping to be kitted up, depending on the receipt of grant money and he’s hoping that’s not far away.

Once that happens he’s hoping to run evening classes to give more people the opportunity to use the tools. Mr Docherty said the safety aspect of the system is the main appeal.

The shed has enjoyed a recent surge in membership, and also welcomes ladies to its fold.

Once the new tools are in place they will be getting plenty of use as the members prepare pieces for an exhibition at the Artists’ Collective Studio gallery, slated for next April.

The exhibition is expected to include woodturning and other techniques used at the shed, in addition to the metalwork.

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