Australian Timber and Working with Wood Show

A quick reminder about this feature of the Australian Calendar – the TWWW Show. It is still doing the rounds, with the Canberra show in just 9 days, and 44 days to Melbourne!

A great way to check out a whole spectrum of Australian woodworking industries, compare products side-by-side, get special prices on products, attend the free seminars, get to talk with the local producers etc. Check out the site map to find out who you can expect to see.
At the Melbourne Show for example, meet Terry Gordon and Colen Clenton on the HNT Gordon stand for hand-made planes, squares and other darkside tools (I doubt they call it that though 😉 ), Neil Ellis from U-Beaut Enterprises, Roger Gifkins and his Gifkins dovetail jig, and so the list goes on. The Triton stand will be there, and I will be there of course, demonstrating a lot of the new range of Triton toys (sorry – tools).

Hope to see you all there!

For those not from Oz, do check out your local Wood Shows – from what I hear the American ones, for example, are massive! You learn a heap, spend lots of cash 😀 and have a great day (or two….or three!)


Have just spoken with Terry Gordon (HNT Gordon & Co Classic Plane Makers) and he will be at the Canberra Show next week, so check the stand out – the planes (and other tools) are works of art, and are a pleasure to use. I am hoping to feature some of them in a video podcast after the Melbourne show, so stay tuned!

Woodwork 101 – Books

Over the years, I have come across a huge number of woodworking books (often from the local libraries). There is one set of books that I would happily recommend to all woodworkers – experienced or not.  These are the Taunton Press “Complete Illustrated Guide” set.

They are available from Taunton Press, Amazon, and often local bookstores and libraries will have some of the range.  Beautifully laid out, and chock-full of full colour photographs to best demonstrate the topic being covered, they are a superb set of books to have in your library.  I’ve read most cover to cover, and still reference back to them regularly.

The next book I term “the finishers bible”.  Written by Neil Ellis – a master craftsman who not only does magnificent carvings, but is (without exaggeration), a world expert on finishing, and specifically polishing.  He is based in Geelong (south of Melbourne), and has formulated his own range of polishes – waxes and shellacs trading as U-Beaut.  However, what I want to include in this topic today is his book- “A Polishers Handbook”.


This is another of those books that is worth reading, cover to cover, twice. (Or more). Neil can be found at many (if not all) the Australian “Timber and Working With Wood” shows, on his U-Beaut stand.  Go along, tell him I sent you 😀 ask questions, buy some product (especially Shellawax, and EEE) and BUY THIS BOOK!!  (No, I don’t get anything from him / U-Beaut for saying this fwiw, this is just a genuine recommendation!)  Cost is about $A32, value – priceless (for everthing else there is masterca….. all right – enough already!)

Two authors jump to mind when I think of woodworking authors.  They are Mark Duginske, and Lonnie Bird.  Both have written introductory books on a number of subjects (not sure of Lonnie’s background, but Mark is like a 4th or 5th generation woodworker, and both really know their topics).  Mark also does a range of woodworking DVDs, but that is a subject of another post!

For learning about bandsaws, I’d choose Mark’s “Bandsaw Handbook”, and Lonnie’s “The Bandsaw Book”

Woodwork 101

I’ve decided to start a new part of the blog and podcast called “Woodwork 101” (shortened to WW101).  The intention here to provide information that is specifically for people just starting out getting into woodworking as a hobby, and the sorts of things that I have come across that I found invaluable – whether this is sources of information, such as books or DVDs, or descriptions of tools and processes that once I understood them really pushed my woodworking to the next level.

One could argue that this whole blog is that anyway, but doing a quick scan, I can see a few posts that would fit the concept, but a whole heap of others that don’t, and I’m not intending on changing the overall focus (or lack thereof) of this blog to just limit it to the first steps along the woodworking path.  Hopefully, there will be something for everyone.

I am intending to have video/podcasts to complement the WW101 entries, where applicable.  They may not come at the same time however – I don’t have time to be THAT organised!  Nor will they be in a particular order, again, that would require me to be a lot more organised than I am.

So as always, feedback, comments, critiques, requests for info or for future articles/video (podcasts), tools you would like to see etc are all welcome.

A Global Village

Does this make me the local wood smith for our global village?

This is a rudimentary map of the distribution of visitors to the site for the past week or so. Fascinating to see just how global my little tin shed in the suburbs of Melbourne is seen around the world.


(BTW, I don’t have any mechanism for, nor interest in, collecting info on individual visitors – this map is compiled based on ISP location rather than individuals).

Shed Neglect

The state of my shed has been bothering me for quite some time now. I’m sure it is no different to many other sheds (although probably a lot more crowded, given its intended purpose), and it is simply obeying the laws of entropy. I do intend to give it a huge cleanup, but somewhere buried in the shavings is the time that I need to do it, lost in the detritus of years of shed neglect.

And another demo comes and goes

Was quite an interesting day – very tiring.  I keep taking miles too much stuff to these demonstrations, but it is hard for me to limit myself.  I feel more like I am providing education than sales advice, so take more of the equipment to be able to cover a wider range of questions.

It is good though – there are so many Triton Owners out there (1/2 a million workbenches for one), that they do gravitate towards a demo.  When I have new tools there, they get really interested, as it is something they don’t have!  I think Triton Owners are all part magpie….

Another demo tomorrow

Apologies to most of the world, this isn’t relevant……

I’m doing a Triton demonstration tomorrow at Mentone Bunnings (Melbourne, Australia) 10am – 2pm

I’m taking along the new sharpener, thicknesser 13″, and the latest tool – a spindle sander (video of the sander will be made available in the next week or so). Feel free to drop in and have a look!


Site upgrade/downgrade

I’ve been talking with different people about the site/blog, and looked at it on a number of computers, and have been coming to the conclusion that the inline video option was just not working well enough to persist with. Perhaps it is my videos are too large, or I have retained too much quality (definite possibility) and so the sound in particular was very disjointed if the video was viewed while it was still downloading.

I did try the flash video option, but still wasn’t happy with the quality of the inline video, and I’d rather produce high quality. I’d still recommend anyone who is enjoying the videos to subscribe to the podcast, and so iTunes will automatically download the videos for you as I make them available.

So I have ‘downgraded’ the site, so that is no longer available. You can still click on the video and it will now open in a pop-up window.  If you find the download too slow, and seems jerky, pause the playback until sufficient content has downloaded.

There is another benefit to what I have done – the overall site loads much quicker now, and so I can have more posts available on the front page, which is another thing that was missing – too many people were not really aware of the earlier posts.

Anyway, this is still a work in progress – if you have any opinions about the changes (good or bad), please drop me a line and let me know. I can always revert back to the way it was with minimum fuss.

Episode 09 Router Bit Review Compression Bit

Episode 09 Linbide TCT Compression Bit

Router Bit Review Compression Bit

Linbide TCT Compression Bit

First and foremost, this bit is touted as being the World’s first tungsten carbide tipped compression router bit. In the past, these have either had to be made of tool steel, or of solid carbide (and with a significant price tag).

So what is a compression bit, and why would you want one?

When you want to do a planing pass with a straight router bit, you generally use one with straight cutters, which chips away at the wood, and produces a reasonable finish – certainly at high speed (say 15,000 RPM, this means there are 30,000 cuts per minute, so that equates to a pretty smooth surface). However, if you try to do the same to a veneer, melamine or similar, you can get a lot of chipping of the top and bottom surfaces because of the near 90 degree angle and resulting chipping action of the bit.

So a slicing action is definitely preferrable, and that is achieved by using a spiral cutter, so the material is pared (or shaved) away, rather than chipped. The spiral slices the material from the outside edge towards the centre, so the edge itself is always supported, and therefore not prone to chip-out. But what happens when you get to the opposite edge – the spiral is encouraging the material to chip-out due to the direction of the cutting action.

The solution is a compression bit – twin spirals, one a left-hand thread, the other a right-hand thread, so both top and bottom edges are attacked from the correct direction. the material is pulled towards the centre, and this will result in a worse finish there, but when working with veneers / melamine etc, we don’t care about the core, so long as the surfaces are perfect.

So that is what this bit is – 4 flutes – 2 top, 2 bottom, spiralling towards the centre, and each with a tungsten carbide tip (or edge). What is particularly clever, is although the cutting edge is a spiral, it has been made in such a way as to allow for easy sharpening – the front face of the TCT is flat.

Linbide are a New Zealand company, known for their quality router bits, and particularly the tungsten carbide. They also use generous amounts of carbide – their bits are generally very chunky, almost agricultural, so there is a lifetime of carbide available on each bit.

This bit is quite finished – machined nicely, and the carbide bought to quite a shine (shiny = flat/polished, and the meeting point of 2 flat, polished surfaces is very sharp!)

It is available from The Woodworking Warehouse, Braeside, Melbourne (Australia) +61 3 9587 3999 for around $A22. Tell ’em where you heard about it, and we’ll get some kudos for Stu’s Shed!

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