I sure hope you’ve heard of these folks because they are a wonderful local organization here in El Paso de Robles. If you’ve never heard of them, please read on! For the better part of fifteen years, Central Coast Woodworkers Association (CCWA) has been building, teaching, mentoring and donating their time and project results all around the area. As the name implies, “it’s all about the wood” and their slogan is “Just Keep Making Sawdust!”
These days there are 25 members split about 70/30 between men and women. Most are retired and have been drawn to the beauty of wood and what can be created from it as seen through their minds’ eyes. Michael Aroner is the current president of the 10-person board that seems to have a motto of “Contribute to the Community and have fun doing it!”
On Pioneer Day, some of the CCWA members will be outside the Pioneer Museum demonstrating some of their skills such as turning blanks to make pens. Come by; learn; ask.
You might be scratching your head and thinking, “I’ve heard of them but in what context?” Most likely it’s the connection to Paso’s Toy Bank. Starting in May, the members buddy-up and begin planning what they want to make and then donate to the Toy Bank at the early part of December for local children who might otherwise have a bare tree at Christmas. Cradles, usually with a doll and perhaps a blanket donated by quilters and seamstresses, is the big item. Crayon trains, race cars, airplanes and puzzles comprise most of the rest of the couple hundred hand-crafted items. The items are turned in in October and stored until the moms and dads can come and choose. These wooden treasures go along with all the bikes, games, dolls, stuffed animals and items that the caring citizens of Paso donate.
When you visit Warbirds, The Carnegie, Pioneer Museum, Children’s Museum, Oak Park, Centennial, Paso’s Library Gift Shop and others, it’s kinda hard not to notice that each place has custom cabinets, shelves, tables and, and, and. CCWA members have made many of these through the years. They’ve also rebuilt a fair number of old buggies and wagons for the Pioneer Day Committee.
Turning and band-sawing have become more popular each year. The tools are more sophisticated, price-competitive and user-friendly. The two big-box stores and Mayan Hardwoods offer a never-ending supply of materials to choose from. CCWA members mentor adults who want to learn and they even loan some equipment to folks who want to try things themselves at home. They also have taught Oak Park youth for years about woodworking.
CCWA meets on the second Thursday of each month when they bring their projects for design ideas, critiquing and ways to improve one another’s skill sets. They review organizations’ requests for help and share a ton of camaraderie. Want to learn more? CCWWA.org.