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CALGARY. Some are pieces of art, while others are functional furniture.  Some may even be both.  The Southern Alberta Woodworkers Society (SAWS) is hosting a weeklong event at Southcentre Mall’s centre court of some of its finest work.

Neil Dorin is the president of SAWS. 

“It is an opportunity for woodworking enthusiasts of all skill levels," Dorin says.  "From accomplished professionals to artisans, craftspeople, hobbyists, students and others to see entries firsthand and learn more from SAWS about woodworking.”

Over 60 pieces were entered into the exhibition but the standards judging panel chose 53 of the finest works.

Stuart Boyer joined the club about a year ago but he’s been working with wood for the last decade. 

Boyer is impressed with the level of detail in the pieces. “I’ve quite often sanded a piece of wood five or six times to kind of get to the level of smoothness that they’re achieving here," Boyer says.  "It must be an obsession with them to get the finish that they’re doing now.”

SAWS was started just over 35 years ago as a way to bring together all levels of the woodworking community in a social and learning environment.

Dorin says SAWS is made up of men and women of all ages from people all over the province and is a chance for members to learn from each other.

“A lot of these members they don’t have kids or grand-kids who are interested who want to pick up the mantle and carry it on and so you have all of this experience and wealth of knowledge that really didn’t have anywhere to go,” says Dorin. 

“Until they find saws and then they find these younger members that are raring for an opportunity that are just right in there to be mentored by these more experienced (people who are) really masters of the craft.”

SAWS membership is open to anyone interested in the craft. There is an annual fee. Regular organization meetings feature speakers, tours of woodworking establishments and firsthand looks at local member shops and projects.

The pieces are on display during mall hours until October 6th.  More information about the exhibition and membership in SAWS is available on the organization’s websitewww.saws.ca