Shed Dichotomy

I have a real love-hate relationship with my shed at the moment. It is awesome to have one, but sometimes it is a real fight to actually produce anything in it.

It really is an imbalance in the space:tool ratio – I have too many tools packed into too small a space. It means every time that I want to use a tool, I have to move all the stuff off it onto another tool (whether that be the router table, the planer (jointer if you are American), the workcentre, the lathe. Couple that with a gross lack of time to do anything about it, and the rapidly mounting piles of sawdust, and the frustration levels peak very quickly.

When the speed of onset of that frustration is so fast as to occur before even entering the shed, you know there is a problem that has to be resolved.

So what is the solution? Decrease the number of tools? Sure, that would work – I could even buy more handtools with the money (given they take so much less space than their powered equivalent). But is that going to happen? Not a chance!!! So, guess the only solution is to balance the other side of the equation. The shed must grow – both outwards and upwards! I don’t know over what timeline, or with what finances, but somehow, this needs to happen.

Video Playback

I’m still learning all the options available for video playback on the site, and hopefully will find one that works for the majority of visitors. The ability to watch these videos ‘inline’ (ie embedded in the actual page, such as the one you are reading) is pretty cool, but isn’t going to give you the best quality.

If the playback seems disjointed, or generally low quality, I’d definitely encourage you to download the mp4 file, and watch it on your computer, or better yet, click on the “Stu’s Shed Podcast” button to the right, and get all the videos from iTunes. They are free there too, I just find that iTunes provides an excellent delivery mechanism. There is no need to own an iPod either – playback can be done very easily right here, on your computer.

To watch mp4 video files on your computer, you may need to get Quicktime, which I am finding to be a superb video player. It is made by Apple, and there is a version for Windows users. If you do download iTunes, there is a checkbox for getting Quicktime at the same time. As as added bonus, once you have iTunes, you can use it to keep all your music files sorted! (And to download iTunes / Quicktime, again, just click the “Stu’s Shed Podcast” logo to the right, if you don’t already have iTunes installed, you will be taken to the download page on the Apple site.)

Hope all this is as clear as mud – if you have any questions / problems, email me.


I’m going to be making more and more use of the H.264 codec which ships with Quicktime (and yes – it works on PC and Mac), as it produces very high quality video while keeping file size down. You can get the codec from Apple, but it is just as easy to use Quicktime 7 (or higher) which has H.264 support built-in.

Episode 01 3D Router Carver

Episode 01 3D Router Carver

The 3D Router Carver produces stylish designs using a handheld router, with dedicated templates and a uniquely designed router bit.

An example of 3D Router Carving


Turning on Robbo’s Monster Lathe


Giving the lathe at Robbo’s a bit of a tryout. Part of a weekend that he gave for free to the willing from the Woodworking Australia’s Woodwork Forums. The lathe is a monster – able to turn tree trunks. It is amazing how much even 5 minutes hands on tuition can teach.

RIP – Steve Bisson (Auld Bassoon)

Steve Bassoon
Steve Bassoon


Rest in peace mate.

Welcome – Part 2

A little about myself: yeah, it will have some coverage in the “About Stu’s Shed” section as well, but “you’ve read it here first folks”

Where in the world do I start? I am – Stuart Lees, BE(Mech), APSNZ.  Born in Australia, raised in New Zealand, now living in Melbourne. I am married, and my beautiful wife and I are blessed with our gorgeous newborn daughter.

I did a Mechanical Engineering Degree at Auckland University, specialising in materials, metallurgy and welding engineering. From there, I went into the Navy (RNZN) as a Marine Engineering Officer, and served primarily on HMNZ Ships WAIKATO and TE KAHA.

HMNZS WAIKATO Exercise Kakadu 2 Me on-watch in the Engine Room HMNZS TE KAHA

I was a bit younger and fitter back then (sigh).

I then moved to Melbourne, and have been in a few roles here: consultant on the ANZAC Ship project, Emergency Procedures Trainer, Communications Supervisor for the Australian Grand Prix, Motorcycle Grand Prix and Super V8 Clipsall 500. My current role is the IT Trainer / Project Manager / Helpdesk Supervisor for a Faculty at Monash University.

So onto woodworking. I’ve been actively involved in woodworking for about 5 years now, and currently teach a couple of woodworking short courses at Holmesglen Tafe, as well as am the instructor for the Triton Woodworkers Club, Holmesglen (I was also president of the club for a couple of years, but recent commitments mean that others now have to carry that role).

On the occasional weekend, you can find me at one of the hardware stores demonstrating Triton woodworking products, and obviously we will see quite a bit of Triton during the podcasts. You’ll find me on one stand or another at the Melbourne Working with Wood Show, oh, and there are a quite a few magazines out there with articles of mine in them – House & Home magazine, and Australian Toymaker being the main two.

So that’s a brief introduction – I’m sure more will come out in the future, particularly around the launch of my sister blog which will be used to podcast a number of photo essays I have in progress. For what it’s worth, I was awarded an APSNZ (Associateship of the Photographic Society of New Zealand) in ’99 for my photographs taken while in the Royal New Zealand Navy.


So keep an eye out for that, and the associated website that is getting a bit of a rebuild. Busy busy busy!!!


so until next time,



Welcome to Stu’s Shed

Enter if you dare!

There have been a number of iterations of this space, as a blog attached to (my website for the Triton Woodworkers Club in Melbourne, Australia), then as a bit more of a stand-alone version, and so the seeds were sown for this space – Stu’s Shed. Bit of a proof-of-concept initially, but so far I am very happy with the various aspects that I have been trialling, with the main one being the inclusion of video, and podcasting.

So, if you are familiar with iTunes (or even if you are not!), I now have an official iTunes Podcast called…… Stu’s Shed. The videos shown on this site will automagically also appear in iTunes, so you can download them to your favourite mp4 player (such as my current favourite, the 80GB Video iPod), or watch them on your computer (of course though, they can also be watched directly from this blog).

The first few videos are pretty basic, shot purely to be shared via bit torrent among members of the Woodworking Australia’s Woodwork Forums ( However, with minor repackaging, and conversion to an iPod compatible format, they are available here.

Downtrack, I am hoping to expand the series dramatically, both with the topics covered, and the production value…and hopefully pick up some sponsorship along the way. I’m hoping too, to include some guests, as there is an absolute wealth of talent out there – so the more we can include to see, the better.

I have been doing a lot of work in the digital video arena over the past few years – time to put some of it into practice for myself. I typically shoot with 2 digital video cameras, but that’s kind of tricky when you are also the subject! Fwiw, I am using both Mac and PC, and tend to stick with the Adobe range of software – Premiere for video, Photoshop for still images (photos).

So anyway, welcome, I hope you enjoy the visit and that there is something here of value to you, and to quote a now very famous shopkeeper “Thank you, come again”

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