University of Shedology

” It was quite amazing what can be created from donated packing cases and pallets”

This week I paid a visit to some northern Men’s Sheds, one in Morley in Leeds and the other over the Pennines in Greenfield in Oldham as part of my studies at the University of Shedology.

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The Morley Shed is very well equipped with lathes, belt sanders, various vertical drills, power saws and all the tools you need for wood working  and joinery all of which had been donated by individuals or local organisations.

The Shedders I met where engaged in their own projects such as making a letter box or in making toys for sale to support the shed.

They soon got me involved in working on a pattern for a model toy boat they where developing. It was my job to sand and drill a piece of hardwood for the accommodating block. What was very reassuring is that very quietly and unobtrusively the Shedders were quietly checking that I knew how to use the tool and that I operated in a safe manner. This of course was in addition to the usual humour and laughter which is to be found in a men’s shed. I could see why the Morley shed is becoming  so popular.

All too quickly the morning was over and it was time for me to leave and be on my way to another meeting.

On a rather cold and even snowy day, I crossed the Pennines to Greenfield Men’s shed which just like Morley is located on the ground floor of a former mill.  The shed’s neighbour in the industrial units  is a micro brewery which meant there was the comforting odour of brewing beer when I arrived.  Like Morley, the Greenfield shed concentrates on joinery and a number of the lads also paint.

Dave showed me around and some of the work the Shedders had been working on which included bird boxes and period stile crates and packing cases. He also let me in on their secret formula for producing a lovely steely-grey finish. It was quite amazing what can be created from donated packing cases and pallets. Again the atmosphere was of a quiet unpressurised  working environment although I have to say not everyone was actually making things. One Shedder was engaged in researching the paint jobs for a model lorry he was working on. There was also the sharing of skills and Dave showed me a partly finished Ukulele which was being made by a Shedder with the help of retired Violin maker.

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