Bill Mason with his cottage clock, not quite as intricate as some of his work, but still a week’s solid work to carve.
Bill Mason with his cottage clock, not quite as intricate as some of his work, but still a week’s solid work to carve. Renee Pilcher

Wooden it make you saw

THE enthusiasm of Gympie's master woodworkers is infectious, as they explain the ins and outs of a hobby that is also, a craft, several trades and sometimes much more than that.

In the hands of Australia's best, including members of the Gympie and District Woodworkers Club, work in the medium of timber becomes nothing short of fine art.

From felling and milling the timber to cutting, carving and fitting it together, the woodworker's craft can cover many skilled activities, from felling and milling to fretwork and cabinet making.

And Australia's best is exactly who will be here on the weekend of June 9 and 10, when Gympie Conference Centre hosts not only the annual Gympie and District competition, but also the nationals.

Best of all for spectators, admission is free to an event that will see impressive displays of incredible work, some of it being created before your eyes.

Steve Andrews is excited that the Gympie group has now been given permission to host their local competition in association with the nationals, for the first time in Queensland.

"We've got entrants coming from Perth - from all over Australia and even overseas," he said.

The big national interest is in the intricate work of the scroll-saw fretwork artist.

Another area noted for its fine work is the Intarsia competition, which involves different coloured pieces of wood becoming parts of a framed picture.

Club assistant secretary Tim Royle is also a member of the scroll saw network and he is also a great admirer of some of the work being done right here in Gympie Region.

Check out the work of Southside's Noel Harrison, he advises, along with that of Bill Mason, Jeff Birt and Bill Coles.

"I use a 1mm drill," said Bill Mason, also a Southside resident. Then in goes the smallest scroll saw blade, "and that gets me started."

An extremely elaborate and intricately carved clock body, dubbed "Westminster Abbey" took six months work, at between five and seven hours a day.

A four or five-day full time project is not unusual when you look around his living room.

There will be plenty to see also in the adjacent Woodworks Museum on the corner near the highway.

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