November 2016

This month’s meeting was our AGM and the business of the day was settled first with reports from our treasurer, the secretary and the chairman and this was followed by the re-election of the committee, unopposed, namely Chris Hayes treasurer, Des Harbourne secretary and Francis Corr chairman. A big thanks to these men for the work they put in through the year keeping the chapter running smoothly. Also to Jack O Rourke who organised all the great demonstrations we had each month, Jack has been doing this job for the last number of years but unfortunately due to the pressure of other commitments has to give it up, thank you Jack for all the work you put into it. Thanks also to Ciara Dowling for her work on the sound and video, to Jim Hynes for looking after the monthly competition, to Frank Trappe for keeping the Library up to date and of course Tom Gibson who is always ready with the tea/coffee and biscuits at our break. (look forward to the mince pies next month) You wouldn’t be reading this if it were not for Simeon Ownes keeping our website updated and maintained, thank you Simeon. And a thanks to all the members and visitors from other chapters who contribute by their attendance.

With Jack having to give up organising the demonstrations the chapter needs someone to take on this interesting and challenging position, anyone interested should contact Francis Corr.

For our demonstration we had the service of John Sheeran and John is famous for his walking sticks a skill that goes back hundreds if not thousands of years.  John had a selection of cuttings he collected in hedges and woods in the west of Ireland and all about four feet long (12mm) and 25mm in diameter. These cuttings he keeps in a dry place for at least a year to dry out before he starts to work them. The first part of the process is to straighten each stick and for this John has various devices, which incidentally he made himself. The stick must be steamed or heated in some way, a heat gun was what John used on the day, then run through a clamping device, eying it for true all the time.  When straightened, these are put aside to dry and the process of making the handle can start. John had with him a number of part prepared handles some buffalo horn and beech and it was a piece of beech he choose to fit to one of the sticks. This was part shaped and about 35mm thick, he said the grip should finish about 30mm in diameter, it also had a hole of around 18mm predrilled in the shoulder to take the stick. John now had to form a tenon to fit the drilled hole and he did this by first winding some tape around one end of the stick, about30mm from the end this to protect the bark from spalling and with a fine rasp proceeded to reduce the diameter to fit into the drilled hole in the handle. The two parts are now glued together using a two-part epoxy resin glue which sets in about five minutes although it should be left at least twelve hours before being put under any stress, however for the sake of the demo John continued to carefully shape the handle and when finished the stick is cut to a length that suits individual needs and here I will refer you to the photos to see the finished job. John then went on to show us how to work the buffalo horn which comes from India, first boiling it for an hour which makes it pliable and can be shaped by using jigs and clamps as for bending timber. I enjoy watching different skills being demonstrated especially this one as I occasionally resort to using a walking stick. (although I prefer to call it a gentleman’s cane) Thank you John for demonstrating your skill.

All that’s left is to give the result of monthly competition and in 1st place Jim Hynes 2nd Pat Gannon 3rd Tom Gibson.  In the beginner’s section 1st place went to Anthony Murphy.

Until next month, our Christmas meeting, when I hope to see you all, work safe.

Pat Gannon.