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Blog entry by Tim Scoville posted 04-11-2009 08:51 PM 4395 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife and I have been working with a missionary in Phnom Penh, Cambodia toward creation of a vocational training center for woodworking. The site is a village near Kampong Speu about 25 miles west of the city. We have been taking vacations over there since November 2006. It has grown to include weaving using scrap material pieces from the garment factories.

The mission project includes an AIDS hospice called “Garden of Peace” where families dealing with AIDS infection can live together in their last days. Availability of meds thru the Gates Foundation are having a positive affect. Nearby is the orphanage called the “Garden of Joy”. The community center and parsonage is separate from this in the next village (2 miles away). This is where the vocational center is too.

Attaching some pics for those interested. We are also looking for volunteers that could go over there and work a project with them, a furniture piece with drawers and doors. If interested, let me know. Otherwise enjoy. Questions welcome. More photos to follow in future blog entries.

These are some of the small crafts they have done.

A simple table. This was our first. Several of these and other tables were made for a local orphanage in the next village.

They are getting better at bandsaw boxes and they have some really nice wood to use. This is an earlier, simpler box.

Spatulas. One of the first lathe/bandsaw projects we had them do. They have gotten pretty good.

Initially, since we don’t have electricity to the site, we considered treadle-powered equipment. Since they anticipated power at some point, I attempted to convert to treadle power some typical powered tools such as this small Jet lathe. While it did work, it was difficult and required a lot of maintenance. After a short while we converted back to electrical and used a gas/diesel generator, which also provided power to the office, parsonage, and the community center on site. This was the lathe in my shop before disassembly and taking to Cambodia on our first trip.

View of the new shop.

Lumber shop home delivery.

-- Tim S, AZ

10 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4582 days

#1 posted 04-11-2009 09:21 PM

It always fascinates me to see how people function in other parts of the world.

I have to be honest and say that it is a bit humbling and makes me appreciate what I have.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4068 days

#2 posted 04-11-2009 10:52 PM

I once saw a bagpipe maker in INdia using his feet to operate or should I say deliver power to a home made lathe he simply squatted down on the ground and forwarded one leg to constantly pat a drive wheel fiercly with his sole of his foot,and they say he made such good bagpipes people were willing to wait for a long time to get them .Yes it puts us to shame with all our tools as we never seem happy.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4244 days

#3 posted 04-11-2009 10:58 PM

Cambodia has certainly gone through Hell in the recent past. Thanks for giving them a ray of hope.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Tim Scoville's profile

Tim Scoville

97 posts in 3818 days

#4 posted 04-11-2009 11:02 PM

I am certain we could have gotten treadle powered tools to work. But the design I came up with was too prone to requiring maintenance. Since electricity from generators was available it didn’t seem prudent to spend any more time on this approach. I would like to put something together like this for more rural areas though. I have seen a couple of nice designs that I am tempted to try myself – between lots of other projects suffering from neglect around my house.

-- Tim S, AZ

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3924 days

#5 posted 04-12-2009 01:56 AM

Hi Tim. I heard about what you are doing there from Eric in Malaysia, so it,s great to finally get a look at what you,ve acheived. I,m unemployed in the Philippines at the moment but if there is any help I can offer feel free to ask.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View Tim Scoville's profile

Tim Scoville

97 posts in 3818 days

#6 posted 04-12-2009 02:53 AM

Thanks Daryl. It has been awhile since I communicated with Eric. Hope he is doing well.

What are your prospects for work? Hopefully just a temporary setback?

Last trip to Cambodia, I brought my friend from Church, an electrician, with us. He was a huge help with some of the niggly issues we’ve had with power and wiring. He hails from northern Phillipines where he came during grade school. Cambodia wasn’t so much a cultural shock for him as most from the US.

I’ll have to add some posts with short videos of the woodworking shops in Phnom Penh, many of them operated by Vietnamese.

-- Tim S, AZ

View Karson's profile


35198 posts in 4883 days

#7 posted 04-12-2009 03:21 AM

A great project. Assisting the people to become self sufficient.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View noknot's profile


548 posts in 3924 days

#8 posted 04-12-2009 03:32 AM

You are a great guy keep up the great works


View Mauricio's profile


7163 posts in 3634 days

#9 posted 05-23-2013 06:20 PM

Really cool project Tim, I’d love to do something like this one day when the kids get older.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3349 days

#10 posted 05-23-2013 07:00 PM

Where there is a will there is a way.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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