Bribie Island

Workshop wizardry – Building friendships and sharing skills

Workshop wizardry

Creating furniture and items out of wood is proving popular with many residents at GemLife resorts in Queensland and Victoria.

In fact, the residents’ workshops at GemLife Bribie Island, Highfields and Woodend play an important role in the lives of homeowners who like to work with their hands, according to their respective resort workshop coordinators John Gore, Bob Commens, and Rod Cupples.

All agree the woodworking workshops are a great place to gain hands-on experience in being creative with wood and to learn new skills from others who have life-long experience or interest in the field. It is also excellent for making new friends.

“It is no longer just men who use the workshop either. We are also seeing a growing interest from creative women, and we love to welcome them into the fold,” said John Gore, of GemLife Bribie Island.

He said the Bribie Island residents’ workshop set aside one day each week for a pyrography (or woodburning) group that is run by one of the women at the resort.

Each of the workshops is fully equipped with the necessary tools such as lathes, table saws, and thicknesses, and some have also benefited by having tools donated by residents.

Such was the case at Gemlife Highfields.

“When we downsized and moved into the resort, I had my own workshop full of tools and equipment. Rather than try and sell it and get very little in return, I donated it to the residents’ workshop at GemLife Highfields. That way, I still get to use them and can share the tools with others as well,” said Bob Commens.

As coordinator, Bob is on hand most days to help anyone who needs assistance and says there are usually three people in the workshop each day from about 8am to midday. He also ensures people who want to use the facility complete an induction course for safety and teaches them how to use all the equipment, which is a standard procedure at all workshops.

GemLife Woodend coordinator Rod Cupples, who has a background in the building industry and loves working with his hands, has a spacious, well-stocked and laid out workshop which attracts regular attendance from about half a dozen residents three times a week.

“In addition to sharing our skills and helping other residents out by repairing things they bring into us, the workshop has become a great meeting place. We enjoy morning teas and chats, and welcome everyone to join us,” said Rod.