We’re Good To Go!

Published by Les on

This has been a very special week at Pren, after 20 weeks of very little activity in the workshop, we are at last back up and running, with students calling for tuition, albeit under a set of well controlled precautions.

As students arrive for tuition, they will already be aware of most of these measures, through a copy of the Risk Assessment which now gets sent out to students at the time that they book their tuition date……

…..and as they approach the workshop, they will be greeted by the sanitising station, which will be a must-use step before entering.

Perhaps the single biggest difference that we’ve made to the structure of the workshop, is the inclusion of a toilet and washroom for use specifically by the students, to bring an end to the former practice of students using the bathroom within our house.

Within the workshop we’ve made a few changes, principally by removing lots of equipment that was only rarely used and replacing it with timber storage so that students can play a role in selecting their own workpieces, without having to wander in and out of other wood-stores

…and on top of all this timber, there’s about 50 bowl blanks to choose from as well, so we really should have the right piece of timber for each student’s skills and taste.

The quality of ventilation has been dramatically improved. Firstly, we built a huge under-cover store area right outside the workshop door. This allows us to keep the door open in all weathers, which is proving to be a major advantage at this time of year.

Our main lathe, tha Record Maxi 1, is situated right alongside the door, so it gets really good light and bags of fresh air around it, and whilst we’re on the subject of lighting, all the former fluorescent light fittings have been removed and replaced (and added to) with LED fittings, so we’re using substantially less electricity and getting brighter light of a much better colour. Gone are the drab and slightly yellowy effects of fading fluorescents as they give way to crisp, clean daylight-LEDs.

We don’t offer courses to groups of students; I’ve never believed that such a practice affords individual learners sufficient attention from the tutor. So all students get one-to-one teaching unless they specifically ask to book a second student at the same time, in which case we restrict it to a spouse, partner, relative or friend, and we offer a good discount off the second person’s fee.

Air quality has always been an important issue in workshops where dust is generated, but nowadays it has become more important than ever. For this reason we have taken measures to provide a good through-flow of fresh air. In the ceiling there are two air filters. A small one immediately above the lathe and a much larger one set near a double-window behind the lathe, both of which can draw-in workshop air and filter particles down to less just one micron in size, so airborne dust is becoming a thing of the past.

One possible draw-back of air filtration is that it re-circulates the same air, time and time again, and with Covid 19 being transmitted principally by air-borne particles, it’s important that measures are taken to avoid excessive re-circulation. To deal with this we have constructed a new canopy over the double windows, directly next to the large air filter.This means that air can be drawn in from the workshop, but expelled through the open windows, causing an increased through-flow of fresh air near the lathes.

Within the workshop there is an extensive range of PPE, including face masks, respirators, eye-shields, disposable gloves and aprons, as well as sanitising fluid and wipes. The use of some of these items is obligatory, and these will be noted in the risk assessment each time it is updated, as the Covid-19 restrictions change. Others are there for students to use as and when they wish.

Finally, we no longer use our own house as a base for the bathroom or whilst having lunch, so there’s a couple of areas within the garden where visitors can enjoy sitting down, or, if it’s raining, then we can always have our lunch in the workshop or in the covered area immediately adjacent to it.

So, if you’re thinking of having tuition, do please get in touch and ask for a copy of the full Risk Assessment. Based on this, you’ll be in a good position to decide whether you feel confident to go ahead now, or to wait until further easing of lock-down. Either way, we assure you that we will be working within the restrictions that the Welsh Government has drawn up and to help with that, we’ve registered with the National Tourist Organisations of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, whose “We’re Good To Go” scheme helps to assure clients that their safety is paramount.


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