History brought to life as Feilding museum for Old Skills in Action

Hilton Digby, left, and Vern Jensen demonstrate the wood bending process in the making of wooden wheels for a Model T Ford vintage car.
WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Hilton Digby, left, and Vern Jensen demonstrate the wood bending process in the making of wooden wheels for a Model T Ford vintage car.

History has come to life in Feilding, as skilled craftspeople demonstrate the trades that helped build the Manawatū region. 

Weavers, wheelwrights, blacksmiths, shearers and more shared the secrets of their art for Old Skills in Action at the Coach House Museum on Sunday.

Feilding wheelwright Vern Jensen is one of a handful of people in New Zealand still making wooden wheels for vintage cars. 

He eagerly shared his knowledge with a curious crowd throughout the day, while making Model T Ford wheels.

READ MORE:
* Feilding could become home to New Zealand's first plastic reprocessing centre
* Feilding and District Steam Rail restores 116-year-old heritage turntable
* Feilding stands united in support of mosque shooting victims
* Mixed response to what Feilding thoroughfares should be prioritised 

Lucy Brown from Feilding takes a hammer to shaping a red hot steel rod on the anvil under the watchful and instructive eye of Brian Schnell from Bunnythorpe.
1 of 9WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Lucy Brown from Feilding takes a hammer to shaping a red hot steel rod on the anvil under the watchful and instructive eye of Brian Schnell from Bunnythorpe.
Rose Frear of Palmerston North with one of the dozens of designs she shapes into old wooden handled saws using a hand-held plasma cutter.
2 of 9WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Rose Frear of Palmerston North with one of the dozens of designs she shapes into old wooden handled saws using a hand-held plasma cutter.
Ray Haydock (centre) demonstrates Ratosaurus, his remote controlled steam punk racing teapot.
3 of 9WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Ray Haydock (centre) demonstrates Ratosaurus, his remote controlled steam punk racing teapot.
Demonstration of skills and trades of days gone by  -
4 of 9WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Demonstration of skills and trades of days gone by -
Liam Shirriff, 10, from Woodville dressed for the occasion in his steam punk outfit holds his steam punk remote controlled dinosaur in a teapot vehicle called D-Rex.
5 of 9WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Liam Shirriff, 10, from Woodville dressed for the occasion in his steam punk outfit holds his steam punk remote controlled dinosaur in a teapot vehicle called D-Rex.
Vern Jensen checks the one inch thick strip of hickory bent to form the wheel rim for a Model T Ford. vintage car.
6 of 9WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Vern Jensen checks the one inch thick strip of hickory bent to form the wheel rim for a Model T Ford. vintage car.
Sarah Holwell and her daughter Saskia Symonds, 7, explore the exhibits in the Coach House Museum with the help of the co-ordinator of the day?s activities, Piki Lowe (right).
7 of 9WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Sarah Holwell and her daughter Saskia Symonds, 7, explore the exhibits in the Coach House Museum with the help of the co-ordinator of the day?s activities, Piki Lowe (right).
Ethan Shirriff from Woodville  (left) demonstrates Duckalan, his remote controlled steam punk racing teapot.
8 of 9WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Ethan Shirriff from Woodville (left) demonstrates Duckalan, his remote controlled steam punk racing teapot.
Hilton Digby (foreground) from Apiti and Vern Jensen demonstrate the wood bending process in the making of wooden wheels for a Model T Ford. vintage car.
9 of 9WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Hilton Digby (foreground) from Apiti and Vern Jensen demonstrate the wood bending process in the making of wooden wheels for a Model T Ford. vintage car.

Jensen's skills are in hot demand with vintage car collectors. He sells his wheels all over the world, so the chance to get ahead with his work was a cheeky bonus.

There's a real knack to getting it just right, but Jensen made the wheel-making process look deceptively simple.

First, a length of wood is cut to size and boiled for five minutes. This makes the wood pliable enough to be bent around a solid circle, then clamped into place for another five minutes to make half a wheel. The two halves are then spoked and joined, before being fitted with a metal rim.

Museum administrator Piki Lowe said the biennial event was a fun way to give people a better idea of how the machines and artifacts in their static displays were used.

"These skills are what built our community, and we started [Old Skills in Action] as a chance for people to get a hands-on education about our heritage."

Koharu Tsutsumi, 8, from Palmerston North, tries her hand on an old-time rope platting machine, with museum custodian Joe Beattie.
WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Koharu Tsutsumi, 8, from Palmerston North, tries her hand on an old-time rope platting machine, with museum custodian Joe Beattie.

Other displays included traditional weaving, using both Māori and European methods, steam-powered tractors and farm equipment, vintage tractor and truck rides, and a small forge.

Children got to play old games, like the horseshoe toss, or try out an old school laundry and washboard, and even a little well-supervised blacksmithing.

For those looking for a more personal connection to the past, volunteers from the Feilding and Districts Community Archive were on hand to help them find historical records and articles on their family, school or club.

 

 

 

Stuff