New learning opportunities

UNIQUE PROJECT: Millicent Community Learning Centre students have been hard at work creating wooden chopping blocks, serving platters and coasters out of repurposed wood.

By Raquel Mustillo

MILLICENT Community Learning Centre students have teamed up with a Limestone Coast business to make unique chopping and platter boards and coasters from repurposed wood.

Students are honing their woodworking skills through a joint venture with George Street Gourmet Meats, creating the kitchen staples out of scrap pieces of redgum and stringy bark wood.

Millicent Learning Community Centre teacher Brett Loader said the initiative developed after the store was selling boards made out of Western Australia hardwood.

“The centre already had a connection with George Street Gourmet Meats because they donated a heap of meat to our fundraiser at the Great Vic Bike Ride, which we made a clear profit of $1000,” she said.

“We said we can make boards like that and we have a laser cutter where we can put your branding on it to make it even better for you guys.

“So we started with a few chopping boards and went to the coasters.”

Mr Loader said boards, which are on display and available to purchase at the George Street butcher, was a great advertisement of students, skills and programs at the centre.

“We do all of the timber work here, but the laser cutting is part of the facilities that have been included in the upgrade on the Millicent High School campus,” he said.

“A lot of our kids have been taught to use the laser cutting through the process and they have gained a lot more confidence in doing the work.

“It has also created a bit of cross-campus cooperation, which is another great benefit.”

Millicent Community Learning Centre student Rhys Rigney said the process took a few hours for the solid blocks and a day for the mixed wood creations.

“They are pretty simple to make, you just need to sand it and cut it which takes a few hours,” he said.

“The other boards are pretty tricky because you have to put the pieces all together, glue it and clamp it.

“I had no idea how to do the laser engraving before this and it has been good to learn how to do it.”

Student Kurtis Job said students were proud of the finished products, which range in price from $15 and $50 with all proceeds returning to the centre.

“It has been good to do and we have got some experience in woodwork,” he said.

“We use different types of varnishes to finish them and they end up looking really good.”

George Street Gourmet Meats owner Laura Kompo said the boards and coasters had been a popular item and expected sales to increase ahead of Christmas.

“The first day they dropped them all off, one lady bought them straight away,” she said.

“Our customers say they are nice and always ask where they are made.”