Rockler and the Roving Reporter

Stu’s Shed’s unofficial roving reporter got over to the USA recently, and had an opportunity to get to the Rockler Store (lucky bugger).

So I now have a new cap 🙂 and a very interesting catalog (deliberate use of US spelling 😉 ) from their store.

It kind of looks like a magazine from the 80s!  I am also surprised just how many non-woodworking specific items were listed – toilet roll holders for example.  Guess they were missed from the Carbatec catalogue this year!  Even more disconcerting is amongst that sort of thing, there is a very obviously woodworking related item or section.

However, all that aside, it is fascinating to see the range of products that are available over there.  It is like someone in Australia has gone through the catalog, and circled specific items with “that will work in Oz”.  Also, in reverse, you cruise through their catalog and come across a couple of MagSwitches, or a Triton Woodrack.

It isn’t meant to sound negative either – there is so many interesting items in the catalog that I’d love to have available in Oz.

One of those wood branding irons for example.  “Handmade by Stu’s Shed” perhaps.

However what really caught my attention was actually on the front cover.  A large, solid cast iron router tabletop, and not just as an extra wing for the tablesaw, but a dedicated router table.  Not cheap, but stunning never the less.  I’m sure some would just say – add a permenant motor, and it becomes a standard spindle moulder, and that may be true to an extent, but I’ve never seen a spindle moulder capable of handling an Incra fence.

Given a new router bit I have just received from Linbide to review, I am seriously tempted to add an extra wing on the tablesaw anyway with this bit (semi) permenantly fitted to a second router.  Of course if I did that, my original fence I made (before buying the Incra Wonderfence) would again be useful.  However I can’t remember for the life of me what I dd with it.  Turns out this site can be useful, even to me – just scanned back through a few pages to the last photo of part of the workshop, and found it quietly sitting on a shelf!  A couple of brackets on the back of it, and I’d be able to MagSwitch it to the table easily, using the tablesaw fence and Wixey digital scale for accurate positioning!

The ‘roving reporter’ was also wrapped with a few of his purchases at the store, including some angle brackets and clamps for glueing up brackets, and a polyurethane encased mallet.  More on these later 🙂

A nostalgic look at the Triton Club’s final page

Here lies:

Triton Woodworkers Homepage

Triton Woodworkers Homepage


At one stage, this site I created and ran was the largest Triton-based website in the world.  A huge amount of work and energy went into creating and running it (although it pales in comparison to the amount of time involved in Stu’s Shed!)  I created it firstly as a single page on the Woodwork Forums server on 9 September 2002, before creating this site, built from the ground up and launched 30 May 2003.  Since then, it received almost 50,000 visitors until shut down 29 October 2008.  I was the inaugural (and only) webmaster of the club over that period, and president of the club over the period July 2004 to July 2006.

They now only exist as local sites on one of my harddrives, granted the gift of oblivion.

Original Club Website

Original Club Website

New products from MagSwitch & Lidwig

A bit more on the new products out there, and these have pretty much gone straight into use in the workshop – solutions to problems I have been working around without even realising it!

MagSwitch Jigs & Solutions

MagSwitch Jigs & Solutions

The first is more using the current items in different ways.  Working from left to right, I have my MagPowerBoard – a standard power board fitted to a piece of crapiata, with 2x 40mm holes cut with a forstner bit, and 2 MagJigs dropped in so I can position the powerboard wherever it is needed.  I’ve screwed them in, but that isn’t critical as they are perfectly capable of staying where they are when fixed in position.

The featherboard is there simply as a convenient storage position.  I have been reluctant to do this in the past, because the original instructions for the MagSwitches said to store them in the off position so as not to degrade their performance.  This is true, so over time they will loose their strength – about 5% loss in 100 years according to the latest from MagSwitch.  Think I can live with that!!!!  So now I’ve got all the hooks etc where I need them, rather than just being used for the job at the time.

So the next thing is on the right side of the table – a MagSquare which is simply holding all my Allen (Hex) keys I need for my Incra Jigs.

Directly under that, is a Gorilla Hook (MagHook) which is holding my pushstick and arbor spanner.  It is right next to the saw power switch, so can be grabbed easily.

Gorilla in the Room

Gorilla in the Room

The hook is substantial – with great holding strength, particularly in this orientation.  It is overkill for its current roll, but it might as well be there doing something I need, until I have another task to assign it.

Might be a very good idea for Triton owners (and others with thin steel tables), as if positioned near where the featherboards will be used, will give them a significant boost in holddown strength through the thin steel.

MagHook and Lidwig Hanger

MagHook and Lidwig Hanger

The last one is an awesome solution.  I have the smaller MagHook (the Power Hook from memory), clamped to the underside of the bandsaw table, and on that is a new “clamp” from Lidwig.  It was being sold as an extension cord hanger, but I’d say it is even better for bandsaw blades.  It is a very easy release (unlike my earlier solution from Bunnings), and given they are all of $8 or so, I will be getting another 3 or 4 I imagine for around the shop – 1 more for the other (Triton) bandsaw, then 2 for extension leads.  I think they are planning on bringing out a bigger one for pneumatic hoses, so will be after one of those as well.

I’ll take some more photos shortly so you can see just how easy they open and close.  Very cool.  My ‘shop feels more organised than ever!  One of the reasons I love the wood show – you see things that fit straight into the workshop brilliantly.

(And yes, my bandsaw blades need some TLC – they are still suffering the effects of the conditions of the old shed).  Met a bandsaw manufacturer at the show as well, so might have some more indepth articles looking into that side of things in the future as well.

Episode 40 SawStop at the Melbourne Wood Show

Episode 40 SawStop

Some very impressive technology for the woodworking workshop. As seen demonstrated at the Melbourne Timber and Working with Wood Show, October 08.

The buggers also give me a bit of stick while filming 🙂  Thanks Brendan!

Latest from MagSwitch

I had these air freighted to me from the States (almost) in time for the show ( I had them there for Saturday and Sunday)

There are a few more products in the extended range as well, and all (I hope) will be around before Christmas.

MagSwitch - MagFence Combo Kit

MagSwitch - MagFence Combo Kit

MagSwitch - MagFence Combo Kit (Back)

MagSwitch - MagFence Combo Kit (Back)

This is the packaging of the combo kit, although the items are available individually as well.  No pricing is known as yet.  The combo kit comes with a couple of $50 MagJigs.

MagFence Assembled

MagFences Assembled

MagFence Assembled (rear)

MagFences Assembled (rear)

As you can see, there are 2 types of MagFence – one with a dual roller, and one with a single.  The single is ideal for resawing on the bandsaw, the double is more specifically as a fence.  They can also be used to hold work down if you have a ferrous fence on your tool.  The rollers can be removed when necessary for cleaning etc, and are sealed against dust.  As the fence and base come in 2 parts, there is provision for accurately adjusting the fence so it is perpendicular.  They (and the new featherboards) are now coming in this yellow, and that seems appropriate given they are safety equipment.  Oh, and as you can see, I’ve used a second set of MagJigs in the other fence (2 come in the combo pack), so you can also then use them in other homemade jigs.  Great concept, so I hope that it gets carried over to the featherboards at some stage. (No plans that I know of for that at this stage afaik, so I’m just suggesting it for future reference).

Now the other cool (and simple) concept they’ve come up with, is the ability to use either the 20mm MagJig, or the 30mm MagJig in the same setup, with a simple spacer to fit around the 20mm version.  Again, if you already own the 20s, you don’t have to have the additional cost of getting 30s to fit.  (Although the 30s are significantly stronger)

20mm MagJig Expanders

20mm MagJig Expanders

Now the other thing that came across in the air freight was a way to adapt the pro featherboard and vertical attachment.  With these simple risers (they come in a pack of 4)….

MagSwitch Spacers

MagSwitch Risers

You can turn the vertical attachment into a high featherboard, and can either have them as a twin featherboard with one, or two risers in between, or use 2 vertical attachments to really get a large featherboard for rised panel work (for example).

MagSwitch Pro Featherboard w Risers

MagSwitch Pro Featherboard w Risers

MagSwitch Pro Featherboard w Risers

MagSwitch Pro Featherboard w Risers

I haven’t taken photos of the hooks, so these will have to suffice, and I haven’t seen the Universal Featherboard yet, but it will be excellent when it is available.

MagSwitch Power Hook

MagSwitch Power Hook

MagSwitch Gorilla Hook

MagSwitch Gorilla Hook

(It’s quite large, and very strong!)

MagSwitch Ground Clamp

MagSwitch Ground Clamp

I’m going to be upgrading my welder with one as soon as I have 5 minutes spare.  They come in a range of sizes, and therefore amp ratings.  This looks to be the 200Amp, there is a 300Amp and 600Amp.

And finally, (but not the last new product, there is a heap of others as well, but this is a good start!), the Universal Featherboard!

MagSwitch Universal Featherboard

MagSwitch Universal Featherboard

Had to give these ones back at the end of the show (tried to sneak out!), but hopefully ( 🙂 ) I’ll have some more of them soon so I can show them off in a video/podcast

Photos from the Show

A few quick snaps taken around the place on the Thursday afternoon before the show opened

Melbourne Woodshow Wrapup

Trying something new – polls are now available in my blogging software, so that’s very cool – will have some more interesting polls in future, but this is a good test one to get the ball rolling.

As to the show, I had a blast.  Feeling a little weary today, and my voice has gotten rather strange, but it was definitely fun!  It was also great getting to meet up with so many of the site’s readers – thanks for coming over to say hi.  I’m glad to hear people are still getting something out of this, and while you do, I’ll keep going 🙂

I got to play with a lot of cool toys (tools), and meet lots of people, both in the industry, and then a tonne of us who do what we do simply because we enjoy working with wood in our spare time (what is that anyway – having spare time seems a distant memory!)

So in no particular order, and with every chance of missing some out (I am pretty hazy today!) these are the sorts of things I got to play with at the show / industries (etc) I got to talk with:

Professional Woodworkers Supplies (obviously, seeing as I was demonstrating on the stand), but I did get to play with some Incra rules etc that I hadn’t had a chance to as yet.  That digital router height readout certainly looks interesting, and the simple upgrade for the drill press giving it a laser positioning is a must.  I could have used that just the other day with a forstner bit – working out where the centre of the hole was going to be.

MagSwitch (again obviously), and I’ll have a separate post about it, but I had arrive for Sat and Sun of the show the absolute latest products from MagSwitch, sent over to me directly from the States.  Had to give them back at the end though (but not before I took some photos for you)

Lidwig Clamps – some really interesting stuff there, and particularly a very easy cable hanger that is ideal for bandsaw blades.  I have one at home now, so will do a proper review soon (but will at least post some photos this week).  Am going to buy at least 3 more (and given they are only about $8, it isn’t going to break the bank!  Also have some of their clamps to try out, so that is also coming.

Actually, I have so much content to get through now, it will probably take till the next Melb Wood show to catch up, but I’m not complaining!

Festool, and I now have a Cooltainer (their esky Systainer) (thanks heaps to Ideal Tools!) to keep my drinks cold in the shed – perfect for what feels like is going to be a hot summer coming. Also got to play with a ProTools drill which was simply quality, and some incredible Festool forstner bits.

Brad’s Burls – we are working on a new Stu’s Shed feature called “Timber of-the-Month”, getting to look at the wide range of timbers out there, in both their raw and finished states and building a photo library here on Stu’s Shed to be a bit of a reference guide.  I’m very excited by this, as I really need to increase my knowledge of the range of timbers out there.  I also bought some pen blanks from them, and some Silky Oak planks that they had to quickly use to nail their bins shut for shipping down to the show.  I certainly wasn’t complaining!

Chris Vesper and his stunning hand-made tools – squares and marking knives particularly

SawStop / Gabbett Engineering – and I now have (as I mentioned) a couple of post-incident (aka- they met the sausage) blades for the shed wall.  I also got a video of one of the firings, so will get that into SS.TV as soon as I can.  Amazing stuff.

I’ve probably missed a whole heap (I certainly got to a lot more stands than the above list!), but that’s why I find the show great – so much to see, and talk about / find out about all in one space.

The 200,000

Somehow or other, we have a tie, and both with photographic evidence to prove it.  I guess the counters don’t work as fast as you guys (and girls) hit the site 🙂

As to the winners, I have photographic evidence from both Will and Kevin (you know who you are) that you were the 200,004th visitors (simultaneously), and as they are both the closest to 200k, they will jointly win.

There were a couple of honourable mentions at 200,009 and 200,013 – better luck next time!

Guys, please email me a postal address, and I’ll send out a GMC Powered Tape Measure each.  Don’t put your address into a comment here on the site – I’m sure you wouldn’t want it all around the world!!

Depending on how quickly you get your addresses to me, you should have them before the weekend (depending on Aussie Post of course!).

I will in all likelyhood have another competition in for the 1st quarter of a million hits, which at current rates is likely to be a few days before Christmas.  Not sure what the prize will be as yet, but possibly some Carb-i-tool router bits or something.  Will have a think etc before the time, but keep an eye out for it.

FWIW, last week’s hits were up 17% from the week before, not a bad progression!  If we ever get to the 1st million, I will definitely be seeing what sort of prize pack I can put together!  Put it this way, it will certainly be worth playing for 🙂

Rumour has it….

(and this is COMPLETELY unsubstantiated), that the Triton arm of GMC has been sold as of Thursday.  Buyer and price unknown.  However, I have absolutely no confirmation that this is true (yet), so it may all be wrong.  Of course, it may also all be right too………

Rumours, rumours…….

Melbourne Wood Show, Day 1

Great day at the show – had a blast!

Demoing went ok, need to work out how to draw more of a crowd.  At least tomorrow there is a bit more of interest in the MagSwitch stuff, as in a box right beside me at the moment, I have some of the absolute latest offerings that were air freighted across from the USA, and arrived today (too late to get to the show, but at least will have it there for Saturday and Sunday!)

What else?  I have a very nice, hand-made marking knife by Chris Vesper to use in my Measuring and Set-out demonstration (1100 – 1145 on the Professional Woodworkers Supplies stand).

Sawstop (Gabbetts) are doing 4 firings a day of their Sawstop mechanism, and I have one of the results, complete with embedded brake to hang on the shed wall – will take some photos in a day or two – bit weary tonight!

And a Lidwig clamp to help during some of the setups I am doing as well 🙂

Looking forward to another great day tomorrow – will take the video and try to get a bit of footage.

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