Cambodia Work - An Update

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Blog entry by Tim Scoville posted 08-29-2020 10:02 PM 359 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve not posted anything recently about our Cambodian work teaching and encouraging woodworking skills in support of an overall Christian mission, called Jumpah. When we first began our nearly annual trips in 2006, we were limited to about two weeks at a time while I was gainfully employed at Boeing. Since retirement in 2108, our last trip was a full month since we were no longer limited by time. The shop they are currently in is now the fourth generation shop and very large.

When we first started they had an AIDS hospice, an orphanage supporting children of those succumbing to AIDS, a wood shop teaching vocational skills and supplementing mission income from projects sold here in the states and locally. They also showcased hydroponic methods for growing crops to encourage local villagers. Since 2012, the AIDS hospice is no longer required due to help from the Gates Foundation with medications that can manage this disease. Likewise, the last three children in the orphanage were transferred to another with more kids. Our orphanage once had more than 22 kids. Now the emphasis is on a new school to support surrounding villages and has grown astronomically over the 6 years of operation. The farm has grown and proceeds help support the ministry and school. The wood shop continues to do the same.

It did not take long before enthusiastic young men had equaled or excelled my knowledge or experience in wood working. They have pride in the things they are capable of and want to continue to accrue new skills. This has kept me on my toes. We started with simple turnings, scroll-sawn children’s toys and progressed to furniture, larger turnings, and intarsia. My target during every trip is to bring at least a couple new projects with me to work with them on. Often my time there is spent assessing and attempting to maintain equipment in poor repair, to determine more efficient ways to work certain projects, and sometimes helping them to better understand western standards of quality. They understand functional but quality isn’t normally something they strive for. This is understandable since they work very hard at just trying to survive.

An example of their intarsia work.

More intarsia Christmas ornaments in box woven from palm fronds.

An interesting bowl. We dome some nice natural edged bowls also. Soon we will start doing more segmented bowls to help use up some of the scrap in the shop and in my quest to move from ‘functional’ pieces to more art.

Spatula for pizzas. We’re having fun with these. We have cheese and cutting boards too.

One of our first tables.

I’ll follow up soon with some images of tools we are working with and upcoming projects I envision. Thanks for visiting.

Tim Scoville

-- Tim S, AZ

5 comments so far

View lew's profile


13195 posts in 4638 days

#1 posted 08-29-2020 11:53 PM

Beautiful projects, Tim! I really love that pizza peel!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View justoneofme's profile


839 posts in 3363 days

#2 posted 08-30-2020 12:04 AM

That’s extremely impressive Tim and I admire your devotion to hands-on teaching! It must be very exciting to think up annual projects … and rewarding to watch budding woodworkers!! Well done and best wishes for many adventurous years ahead in Cambodia … and in your own workshop as well :)

-- Elaine in Duncan

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6872 posts in 4862 days

#3 posted 08-30-2020 01:00 AM

Beautiful work! Noble undertaking on your part!

-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View ~Julie~'s profile


623 posts in 3917 days

#4 posted 08-30-2020 12:09 PM

Wonderful! You have made a difference in many lives through woodworking.

-- ~Julie~

View Sasha's profile


1213 posts in 2095 days

#5 posted 09-20-2020 01:45 PM

-- Ganchik Sasha. Life is not a draft, tomorrow you will not redo......

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