The team that has been working at Brownwood since December of 2020 is as anxious as many members are to have the shop open! We’ve been held up by several contractor design problems, but contracts have been let to fix the things that need to be changed or improved. Some of the work has been done but delays are probably happening because parts need to be fabricated or are delayed because of lack of stock or people.
The positive aspect of the delay is it’s giving us more time to work on the things we take for granted at Rolling Acres, cutting jigs for the saws, member storage cabinets, carver and glass worktables and completing the dust collection system Bob Behrens designed for the carvers, outfitting Special Projects, building two breakroom tables and making and hanging signs for safety and machine operation. Glenn Croteau has mastered the sign label, letter and design machine and his “artistry” can be seen throughout the shop.
One aspect that has been incorporated at every machine are hanging packets containing information about machine operation and safety. These are handouts that members can read, use to add notes or take home. There are several machines that members must be checked out by someone from maintenance or a designated member. There are other machines that members must be certified to operate. These machines are locked-out and are not intended to be used once and awhile. Members who are only here during the winter can expect to be re-certified upon their return. There will also be a certification badge system. The badge will indicate what machines a member is certified to operate and will be used to let the crib monitors know the member is authorized to have the keys to remove the lockouts. If the badge system is successful, it will be started at Rolling Acres as well as several other aspects of Brownwood – signage, information and safety packets, and other aspects to the woodworking experience.
Another area in which we are trying a new approach is the Tool Crib. The ultimate goal would be to develop a cadre of individuals who want to work and in effect take “ownership” of the crib. These individuals would fulfill their monitor duties by working solely in the crib. They would have a working knowledge of the tools and know when a tool has been misused or has missing parts, order materials issued from the crib, maintain inventories, work with members on cleaning and general tool operation and hopefully making crib duty something members want to do and take pride in operating and managing it. Getting there will take time, but the crib should not be a “reading room” or a place where members can randomly walk in-and-out of and sometimes leave and return with an item without following the checkout/in process.
Orientation will soon start and the those who have worked hard over the last several months look forward to showing off their work. You will be impressed with what you will see and hear!