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Men’s Shed Vernon Delivers A "Turn" For The Better

Men’s Shed Vernon was recently contacted for assistance by a local gentleman who had run out of options.

Brian was looking for a craft person skilled in turning on a wood lathe. Brian had sections of a Juniper tree that he had planted 15 years ago with a loved one who, unfortunately, had died nearly a year ago. He wanted the trunk and branches to be fashioned into stick game pieces used for a cultural game called Slahal that is played in groups. Brian wanted to share the game pieces with his friends.

Men’s Shed guy Lyle Kennedy, who is also a director of the local Wood Turners Guild in the North Okanagan listened to what Brian wanted. The request was a bit intimidating, given the sentimental value of the wood stock, and the added challenge that Brian wanted to trust Lyle for the artistic details. The seventy five game pieces for five games needed to be ready for an upcoming commemorative celebration.

Lyle studied up on the game, and set to work with fellow turner Bernie Neville. Turning pieces like this can be a challenge, given that wood can be a bit unpredictable, … just like people! The Juniper wood was beautiful in colour and grain.

The remaining wood was fashioned into feather shaped game pieces that Men’s Shed guy Bryan engraved a feather on one side.

Brian and Alice came over to “The Shed” to see Lyle, and the finished Slahal pieces. Brian was overwhelmed. Sometimes you aren’t expecting a flood of emotions for something so personal to be triggered by a meeting at a wood shop.

It was pretty amazing to see how Lyle and the Men’s Shed guys had met Brian’s expectations for accuracy and creativity. The two made a connection, and we all had a good visit. Brian says he’s never seen a resource like Men’s Shed Vernon before. I hope we see more of him. I know that Lyle will. Turns out that Brian and Alice invited Lyle and his wife to their gathering. Perhaps Lyle and Brian will get to play Slahal!

Since 1998, there are nearly 3,000 Men’s Sheds around the world. Each one is unique to the character and activities of the men involved. Men’s Shed Vernon started up in 2018. We now have nearly 100 members in a wonderful shop dedicated to building relationships and serving our communities. We have completed over 60 projects for local organizations and hope to be recognized as the workshop for non-profits in the North Okanagan. Visit our website to learn more about joining and supporting us.


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