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New lathe shapes inclusive culture for woodworkers

Sit down Lathe being used by Alan Armstrong
A new sit-down lathe has made woodturning at Bundaberg Woodworkers Guild even more accessible, with the organisation using a $4000 community grant from Bundaberg Regional Council.

A new sit-down lathe has made woodturning at Bundaberg Woodworkers Guild even more accessible, with the organisation using a $4000 community grant from Bundaberg Regional Council to purchase the lathe.

Bundaberg Woodworkers Guild president Stephen Faulkner said the modern sit-down lathe would enable people in a wheelchair to access machinery they were not able to use before, while also benefiting all members.

“It gives everybody an opportunity to learn woodworking, especially people who are disabled or have trouble standing,” Stephen said.

“We do have a number of older members who can’t stand up for too long and that particular lathe can be lowered or raised to suit everyone’s needs.”

The 60-member club is known for being inclusive and is now meeting the needs of people like Alan Armstrong, who is wheelchair bound.

The $4000 purchase of an accessible lathe for the Woodworkers Guild will let disabled hobby craftsmen like Alan get back to doing what they love.

Speaking to Bundaberg Now, Alan said the lathe was a great asset and could be easily adjusted to suit someone in a wheelchair, or a taller person.    

“Whenever I was using the other lathes we had to make a large box up of around 20-30cm so I could get a bit more height to actually get decent access and see what I’m doing,” he said.

“This one is on a hinge so the whole bed slopes down onto a different angle so you can get better access when you’re sitting down.

“It’s similar to the other lathes but has a step-down feature and anyone can use it, short or tall.”

Bundaberg Regional Councillor John learmonth, Woodturners Guild member Alan Armstrong and owner of Taylors Hardware, Bryan Taylor.

The Vicmarc lathe was manufactured in Queensland and provided by local hardware company, Taylors Hardware, who supply the Woodworkers Guild with all their tools.

The lathe turns a square piece of wood into a round piece and is useful for making bowls, chairs legs and door handles, many of which are then sold by the group.

Stephen said the Woodworkers Guild was able to purchase the new lathe through a community grant and without Council’s contribution it would not have been achievable.  

“A lathe like this … it’s a lot of sausage sizzles, a lot of raffles and a lot of fundraisers, so for Council to provide these grants is a great thing,” Stephen said.

“It’s great the way Council help the community.”

Bundaberg Regional Council arts, culture and events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said organisations like the Bundaberg Woodworkers Guild played an important role in the community.

“Sometimes it is not the huge grants that provide satisfaction within the community, but rather these niche community focused grants that really produce a positive impact for locals,” Cr Learmonth said.

“This is just a great example of how a small $4000 community grant can have such a large impact.

“For the woodworkers, something like this lathe means they can continue to hone their woodturning skills, but it also gives people who may never had the chance to use a lathe that wonderful opportunity.”