Brian Wilkinson, from Manawatu, turns a ball for his Victorian game. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

By KEVIN BALL
Cogwheels engage with each other to move rotating motion from one place to another. Although usually round, they can be triangular, square, hexagonal, or any other shape and still do the same job.

If that sounds far-fetched, take a look at the photograph of a working model built by skilled scroll-saw worker Mac McKenzie at the Wairarapa Woodworkers’ Guild headquarters in Masterton’s old trout hatchery.

The Weird Gears, an example of kinetic art, was one of several eye-openers spotted during an open day that attracted woodworkers from around the region.

Sandra Edwards with a sample of her pyrography.

Sandra Edwards and Mac were working in the scroll saw room, Sandra at her pyrography [pokerwork] and scrollwork. Mac was also working on a headpiece for one of his grandfather-sized wooden-geared clocks, a job he expected would take 36 hours of meticulous sawing. He’s no newcomer to the craft, having used a scroll saw to create patterns for a foundry he ran before retirement.

In the wood-turning room, guild chairman and tutor Dr Nick Crozier had visitors and their hosts busy creating a popular Victorian toy, a handle with a cup on one end and connected by string to a wooden ball. The objective is to flick the ball up and catch it in the cup. Twelve wood lathes were in use, the visitors working in pairs with locals.

Later, the pairs faced another, more challenging task – creating a cup and saucer. The handles were done on the scroll saws. Both disciplines were competitive and both were won by John Kennedy and his visitor partner.

Crozier said the guild was extremely fortunate in having the use of the historic trout hatchery building. New Zealand’s trout industry dates back to the breeding of the fish in Masterton.

Several attempts had been made to bring trout here from the UK – most of which failed. Finally, a shipment of eggs from England was hatched out and then raised to maturity in Australia. They were stripped of their ova and this was fertilised and transported to New Zealand, to the Masterton hatchery.

Since those early days, the hatchery has seen several uses and had fallen into disrepair due to neglect and vandalism. The owners, Masterton Trust Lands Trust, made the buildings available at a reasonable cost. After refurbishment, including installing powerful air filtering units and glass windows with vandal-resistant polycarbonate, the woodworkers moved in. They also received good support for the purchase of equipment from Trust House.

The turners work towards various levels of the National Association of Woodworkers’ certificate. The pinnacle of the course is level 4, for master artisans. Courses run year-round and last 10 weeks. Those for the rest of this year are filled and the first one for 2022 is already receiving applications.

  • Contact with the group can be made through their website, Wairarapa Woodworkers’ Guild.


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