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Woodturning News: General News

BRISBANE TIMES: Making the most of time as internet teaches old dogs new tricks (07/31/2016)

Monday, August 1, 2016   (0 Comments)
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BRISBANE TIMES: Making the most of time as internet teaches old dogs new tricks (07/31/2016)

Bob Webb will be 79 in October, runs a wood turner's website, makes electronic clocks, has learnt computer coding and has a cheeky sense of humour.

But the retired Ormiston wood turner, former shearer and air telecommunications employer says it is still never too late to learn something new.

He has built 11 beautifully hand-turned wooden clocks after learning new skills via the internet.

Mr Webb is one of the internet's late bloomers and says it has simply added so much to the life he started in Perth 78 years ago.

He shifted around the country as his father, a bank manager, was transferred from town to town.

"I left school at 15, was shearing at 16 and in the RAAF by 17," Mr Webb says from his Ormiston home.

He spent many long years working in the forerunner of the Civil Aviation Authority, then the Civil Aviation Authority itself, before finding he did not "see eye to eye" with aviator and entrepreneur Dick Smith when he was appointed to run the aviation body in 1990.

Viewo source and photos.

Mr Webb eventually took early retirement and began to explore.

But he credits the internet as giving him a fourth-lease on life; after his schooling, his career, his earlier retirement and his new life today as a clockmaker.

He already had an interest in wood turning but began to wonder if he could learn how to make electric clocks.

"And that led me further down the path of the internet," he said. "In the past 10 years, I have learnt so much; electronics, coding."

"I'm a member of the Sydney Clockmakers Society now. And there's a few smart people in that, let me tell you... but if it hadn't been for the internet, I wouldn't have been doing any of this.

"It is just an extraordinary tool."

Mr Webb runs the  Bayside Woodturner's website, co-ordinating the activities of its 140 members and telling their stories.

He has built his 11th clock, all the internal fittings, the brass wheels and gears, the electronics to make them run and turned and shaped the external timberwork.

"I call it Clock 11. I can't figure out anything else to call them," he laughed.

"So I just call them by numbers."

Mr Webb said he wanted to encourage older Australians to use the internet to continue to learn.

He learned computer coding after his son started the Bayside Woodturners website and told his Dad to "get stuck in."

"So I did."

He wants to encourage other "older blokes" to have a second look at the internet to learn new things.

"If there are other old blokes that you come into contact with, and their backs are too sore to play golf or whatever... they will be able to use my webpage – and the free advice from me – you can get stuck in and make yourself a clock."

Sure, you need the patience, he concedes.

But you don't need to be a scientist or engineering expert to do it, he insists.

"You just need someone down at street level who can simplify it."

Clock 11 is made from WA Jarrah with featured camphor, and has a simple hours and minutes electromagnetic movement with the timing provided by a clock crystal which is controlled by an integrated Circuit (IC 12f683).

View source and photos.

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