Across the ages
There are not many times when you would see someone under 40 in a men’s shed, let alone a teenager. However, transition year students from Drimnagh Castle Secondary have been working on benches with a local men’s shed, the Dublin 12 Men’s Shed based in Walkinstown.
Drimnagh Castle Secondary School are a Green Flag School, with teacher Sara Sattar explaining that the students have been building a wildlife garden. The aim of this is to improve biodiversity in school, and also entails students building bug hotels, which will accompany the worm composter they currently have.
Ms Sattar adds that the students thought some benches would fit nicely in the garden, and would act as an outside classroom and wellbeing space. Having noticed exemplary benches made for Loreto College, a local girl’s school in Crumlin, Ms Sattar was pointed in the direction of the Dublin 12 Men’s Shed.
Somewhat masters of woodwork in their own right, shedder Ken O’Connell says that the group has done community projects before, and their work with Loreto College involved the men building two picnic benches. While the shed carries out the usual woodworking projects, like building bird boxes, tables and more, they also practice advance woodworking techniques. Pyrography is one such technique, which is the art of woodburning, and the shed also practices intarsia, which is similar to 3D wood art.
Ken explains that after being approached by Ms Sattar to build two benches for the garden, the shed soon got to work with the students. “We made arrangements for the students to come down. We did all the cuts for them and then they helped us assemble the benches. It was mainly doing the drilling, gluing and assembling”.
Quickly, the first bench was done and delivered to the school. Ms Sattar says that the students were proud of what they had helped to build, adding that the bench was very professional and well-made.
With the second bench, Ken says that it will be a form bench, something that is a bit more complicated than your typical bench. “The second bench is a form bench, which is basically a bench with no back or arms. It’s a bit more complicated with the angles”.
In a typical men’s shed, you would not find people so young. However, the students have brought a breath of fresh air to the shed, with Ken saying that the relationship has been one of learning. “We explain things to them, the woodwork side of things and how a shed works. It’s great to have young lads like that seeing what’s happening in a men’s shed. It’s great to be able to share that knowledge with them”.