Mildura Weekly : Friday April 25 2014 Vol 8 No 25
www.milduraweekly.com.au 14 Mildura Weekly – 25/04/14 Men who are part of the furniture • From Page 12 This was no hit and miss mis- sion, the pair spent a couple of days selecting their log, knowing that this initial choice would have a great bearing on the quality of the furniture they, and their fellow group members, would make. Once milled, the timber was loaded into a shipping container on tailor-made racks for transport to the east. The container made its way from the West to Adelaide via rail, and then by truck from the City of Churches to Mildura. On arrival, the doors to the container were thrown open, and the timber allowed to sit for many months to ‘season’ – drying out and acclimatising to Sunraysia. Richard made a point of assur- ing me that the timber had been taken from a sustainable supply...a consideration that had been made a non-negotiable, prerequisite of the purchase by the group members. Work in earnest on the furniture pieces did not begin until October last year. Then, for the next five months, the group of six toiled to make their furniture pieces, helping each other out to make Richard’s classic design a reality. “Sharp tools have been the key,” the group tells me. Being a heavy, dense timber – it weighs about 900 kilograms a cubic metre – a range of specialist heavy duty tools were pressed into service, including a large multi-function machine worth tens of thousands of dollars that was used to cut, thickness, and rout the timber. “Three quarters of our time was spent cutting and shaping the pieces,” retired horticulturalist Glen Burnell, tells me. “And the other three quarters was sanding,” farmer John Tyack jokes. There was an awful lot of sand- ing, he recalls, as his fellow group members nod their heads. And while the group used many of the latest tools in their work, they also had to master some old skills, like dovetailing the drawer timber for instance. So it was really a case of mod- ern machinery, but traditional skills, Richard said. The group worked Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday mornings on the project, with the support of their partners who made sure they never went hungry at lunch or smoko times. There is an easy camaraderie be- tween the disparate group, the result of a lot of time spent in each other’s company working towards a com- mon goal. They admit that, by necessity, some of the work had to be com- pleted production-line fashion. In other words they set up the machinery to do one job at a time, and that often meant turning out the same piece, or pieces, for each of the six projects one after the other. “It can take up to hour to set the big machine up for just one task,” Richard explains. “So it makes sense to do all the required pieces at one time.” As the months passed, and the furniture began to take shape, it was becoming increasingly clear that the finished product was going to be something special. Fitter and turner Russell Shal- lard told me the six had worked to- gether, and alone, at different times as the work progressed. But the group always found time for a cuppa, and a chat to keep ev- eryone abreast of where production was up to. It took the group members more than five months, but all are very, very happy with the final result. There was a mini-celebration last week as the finishing touches were put to each piece, and plans made to have the furniture, that should last for several generations, delivered. Jarrah is many things, as well as being an expensive timber. Each of the six pieces contains between $2000 and $3000 worth of timber, and would sell commer- cially for $6000, $7000 or even as high as $8000 in the right market, Richard says. It was the first time this group had come together to work togeth- er, but it is unlikely to be the last. Already the group is planning its next, shared project. This time it is a display case, with a glass front and LED lighting to showcase the contents. And once again, the timber of choice will be jarrah. • FOOTNOTE: Jarrah has another use too. It produces a dark, thick, tasty honey! • TOOLED UP: Some of the work was done on modern machinery, but old hand tools also were used, TOP LEFT. This pair of pieces, ABOVE, formed the curved sides of the cupboards. Russell Shallard (white hair) and John Tyack work together to progress their projects, LEFT. New 4 star, self contained apartments are now available in Renmark. Located Adjacent The Renmark Club & Town Riverfront The brand new holiday accomodation apartments offer you everything you will need to make your holiday in Renmark complete. Whether you stay in Renmark for business, pleasure, short term or long term, the Renmark Holiday Apartments cater for all. Bookings Phone 1300 855 563 | Email firstname.lastname@example.org | www.renmarkholidayapartments.com.au Renmark One Bedroom Apartment 6 downstairs apartments available. Accommodates up to four guests (1 Queen Bed, 1 Sofa Bed) Two Bedroom Apartment 4 upstairs apartments available. Accommodates up to six guests (1 Queen Bed, 2 Single Beds, can be joined to make a King Size Bed and Sofa Bed) All apartments have fully equipped kitchen, dining and living area, laundry facilites and bathroom. There are TV’s in lounge room and bedrooms. They are non-serviced accomodation and have secure parking.
Friday April 18 2014 Vol 8 No 24
Friday May 2 2014 Vol 8 No 26