Some folks just drop in to com­plete one project

The Shed - - Build A Set Of Bunks -

Teacher and jazz mu­si­cian Tama Nathan is build­ing a cou­ple of elec­tric gui­tars at the Men’s Shed North Shore. He’s on a fly­ing visit home while try­ing to get a work visa fi­nal­ized for the UK. He’d al­ways wanted to make a gui­tar and de­cided that now was a good time as an an­ti­dote to the visa-ap­pli­ca­tion process which, since the Brexit vote, has be­come “su­per stress­ful”. Tama hasn’t done any wood­work­ing since school so ad­mits leap­ing into luthiery is am­bi­tious, but he says that the wealth of knowl­edge among other mem­bers made this Men’s Shed an ideal place to at­tempt it. “They showed me how to use tools [that] I didn’t even know the names of,” he says. He got his plans mostly from YouTube videos and a cou­ple of books. He carved the com­plex con­tours of the face and back from solid Amer­i­can ash tim­ber us­ing drills, routers, and san­ders, while the body and sides were carved out of a block of kauri from an old boat. It will have an ebony bridge and maple fret­board, which will also have com­pound curves. He de­cided to test things out on a pro­to­type but hasn’t made any bad mis­takes with that, so he’s now got two gui­tars to fin­ish. Tama’s lack of grey hair makes him stand out from the crowd but he found it easy to fit in. “They weren’t sure at first but I’m pretty cheeky, so they soon started giv­ing it back,” he says.

Kran Rad­ford joined the Men’s Shed after de­cid­ing that she didn’t want to put up tents any­more. She still wanted to take her daugh­ter, Skyla, who has cere­bral palsy, on hol­i­day, so she bought a 1977 pop-up trailer, which could best be de­scribed as ‘tired’. After the welder who was go­ing to fix it hurt his shoul­der, she started googling and came across the the Men’s Shed North Shore. She said that she felt bad about just drop­ping it off and leav­ing. “They said if I wanted to do stuff I should join.” So she did. “I’ve learned a lot. I re­al­ized [that] if we’re on the road I must be able to fix it my­self, and I’ve got a lot more con­fi­dence about pick­ing up a screw­driver now,” she says. She hasn’t had much ex­pe­ri­ence with tools but she was the first stu­dent to per­suade Ma­nurewa High School that girls should be al­lowed to do tech draw­ing. The cur­rent job is re­build­ing the rusty draw­bar and there’s lots to do in­clud­ing up­grad­ing the wiring to cur­rent stan­dard. She’s itch­ing to get at the in­te­rior. “It’s all wait­ing, ready to go in,” says Kran. “I’d ba­si­cally planned it out and bought ev­ery­thing be­fore I even thought about struc­tural stuff.”

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