Sav­ing our her­itage

Wheel-maker and black­smith still busy

Central and North Burnett Times - - OVER 50S - Emily Smith emily.smith@cnbtimes.com.au

TREVOR Pin­cotts’ fin­gers are used to get­ting hit.

The Monto wheel-maker and black­smith ded­i­cates ev­ery bit of his spare time to projects us­ing the old tech­niques but he said he al­ways knew his fin­gers were go­ing to get hurt in the process.

“I’m just think­ing “how many times am I go­ing to hit my fin­gers?” he said, with a laugh.

“You never bloody grow out of it.”

De­spite the bat­tery, Mr Pin­cott be­lieved learn­ing the skills was im­por­tant and he would like to see more peo­ple work to pre­serve them.

“It is very sad more peo­ple aren’t pre­serv­ing th­ese skills,” he said.

“Be­cause they are how this coun­try was built. We are fight­ing to save our an­tique her­itage. It’s an art re­ally.”

The first step in build­ing the wagon wheels, which were once on carts to pull tim­ber, gravel or even the old cream cans around Monto, was to col­lect wood from the bush.

“You just wan­der around in the bush un­til you find it,” Mr Pin­cott said.

“Some­times you walk around in the bush for days, other times you find it right away.

“Then you just ask the own­ers if you can have it and nine times out of 10 they say yes.”

His lat­est cre­ations had fea­tured yel­low-box tim­ber, but he said iron bark and blue gum worked well too.

There was not a lot of room for er­ror in build­ing the hubs and spokes, and the Monto crafts­man said he had to start from scratch on more than one oc­ca­sion.

“It takes about a week to make one once I get started,” he said.

“Then I just fin­ish them up with deck­ing oil.”

Although the de­mand for wagon wheels slumped a long time ago, they were still popular gar­den or­na­ments and for his­tor­i­cal me­mora­bilia.

“I learnt a bit from old Spook (Harold Ware) at the his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety over the years,” Mr Pin­cott said.

“The rest just from books and teach­ing my­self.”

He hoped his next project would be restor­ing a huge cart used to haul tim­ber that would re­quire be­tween 32 and 64 horses to pull it, depend­ing on how loaded up it was.

“I got it up at Pine Moun­tain from Alf Myles about five years ago,” he said.

“I’ve got to make four of the mas­sive hubs to begin with and they are big bug­gers.”

Be­tween work­ing as vice pres­i­dent of the his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety, sec­ond in com­mand of Monto’s driver re­viver, a mem­ber of the cul­tural cen­tre com­mit­tee and cart­ing card­board and plas­tic, Mr Pin­cott was al­ready good at keep­ing busy.

But he wel­comed the new project just the same.

“I sup­pose, it will keep me hop­ping, keep me out of mis­chief,” he said, with a laugh.

It is very sad more peo­ple aren’t pre­serv­ing th­ese skills.

PHOTO: EMILY SMITH

HIS­TORY LIVES ON: It's be­cause of peo­ple like Trevor Pin­cott that skills such as black­smithing and wheel-mak­ing are pre­served.

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