February 2009



President's corner

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President's Corner

Fellow Members ---

A few weeks ago I went with 2 other BAWA members to the Berkeley Boathouse next to Hwy 80 in Berkeley where a non-profit organization called Waterside Workshops is located. They support the West Berkeley community by providing a place for youth to work on various projects in the fields of bicycle mechanics, sewing and wooden boat building. This may be an unusual mix of activites but it is always great to see people encouraging teenagers to develop handcraft skills.

We saw a group of working together to build a bench for their community garden. We also saw a couple of wooden boats being built. These boats are built using traditional methods from using hand carved wooden scale models to determine the 3D shape of the hull to the use of copper rivets to fasten the sidewall planks together. All the projects used recycled or donated wood. The tools were also all donated. It is a great enterprise and I think any organization that encourages and teaches basic craft skills such as woodwork to teenagers should be encouraged. You can check them out at www.watersideworkshops.org

It is part of our charter "to promote the arts and skills of the woodworker." Instilling basic skills along with igniting a young person's interest in woodworking helps meet a charter. If you know of any other charitable organization that helps children or young adults learn the basic skills of woodworking or needs some experienced woodworkers to help please let us know.

Last month I mentioned how the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act would effectively stop anyone making toys etc for the under 12 year olds without obtaining expensive certification to show they are free of hazardous materials such as lead. The good news is that after complaints from sellers of handmade toys and others the CPSC has given a preliminary exemption for toys and other goods made of natural materials such as cotton and wood. So I hope this means we can continue our good work with the Toy Workshops. Our next Toy Workshop is not yet scheduled but we hope to have a good turn out of members once the date is set.

Frank Ramsay

Frankramsay8@aol.com or 408-823-2382