The Bega Woodies have gained the help of a brand new thicknesser, thanks to a grant awarded by Bendigo Bank's local branches.
Officially known as the Bega District Woodcraft Association, the group have been involved in community focused projects for 40 years now, providing high quality woodcraft at their Tarraganda workshop.
Woodies Secretary Richard Kleine said the new machine was crucial to the work being done and an upgrade that was certainly due.
"We have been able to thickness wood in the past on a smaller machine, but that machine is now 15 years old and starting to show its age.
"The bigger thicknesser can machine larger material and it's pretty much an essential item to have because a lot of our timber we mill ourselves," Mr Kleine said
"We'll get the timber slabbed, but then we need the thicknesser to get it to the workable size you want."
The machine has a helical cutterhead and is a sizeable upgrade from the previous, with a 20 inch capacity.
Bega/Pambula Bendigo Bank Executive Officer Graham Stubbs said that the Woodies application fit well into the most recent round of grants they awarded.
"In our August round, we distributed over 40 grants to the value of about $120,000, which is pretty good for a little community group.
"We'll do another round in March, depending on how many applications we get," Mr Stubbs said.
The two branches are focused on distributing profits after covering their overheads according to Mr Stubbs.
"That's our sole purpose these days, to try and make some money to put back into the community," he said.
After a drop in memberships over the pandemic, The Woodies have seen numbers pick up recently and have multiple projects coming in.
"At the moment we're doing some restoration work for the Bega Museum.
"They've acquired what was an old counter from the original Bega post office and it is in need of some restoration work," Mr Kleine said.
Having finished work on planter boxes for the maternity word, the next project for The Woodies is an outdoor bench at the Carer accommodation unit, planned to be stripped back, sanded and re-done.
"We do a fair bit of community work and we do is at cost - we usually don't make a profit," Mr Kleine said.
The next round of grants from Bendigo Bank are scheduled for March 2023, and a new table saw is next on the shopping list for the woodies - looking to buy a safer and more modern version that instantly detects the touch of human skin via an electrical signal.
The group meet every Wednesday, twice a month on a Monday and a recently on Saturdays for new members.
"We've given people three months membership rather than a full year membership. That's attracted about 17 new members," Mr Kleine said.
Full membership to join The Woodies $104, adjusted quarterly.
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