When I was doing a shed organisation after the ebay sales, I left the space that the Triton thicknesser came out of free for the intended new thicknesser purchase.

We finally got it (the 15″ 381) home, using a friend’s trailer, and proceeded to work out how to get a 290kg machine off the back.  Opening the container in-situ was the best option, so some weight could be removed (such as the solid in and out-feed wings).  The unit was also physically bolted down to the container.  You know when it is a serious (and seriously large) tool when there is no polystyrene, and its container has been built around it.

In the end, with care, 3 of us where able to gently slide the unit down to ground level.  If we had less than 3 (or I’d gone for the 20″ unit), we would have been in serious trouble.

Once in the shed, I quickly concluded that due to the side the controls are on, and the direction needed for dust extraction, meant the thicknesser needed to be on the other side of the shed.  And thus a complete reorganisation of the shed was on the cards to fit the new tool in.

A relatively simple task suddenly became bigger than Ben Hur.

I’ve tried to leave the tablesaw and router tables in their current positions, but everything else had its position reevaluated.  And most are now in new locations!

Lathe Reposition

Lathe Reposition

I originally had a stereo on a wheeled table in the top shed corner, and alongside that a table with sharpening gear, then the Triton thicknesser.

The lathe was alongside the tablesaw, and that has now been moved right up into this corner.  I now have a good position for the grinder stand (near the lathe as it should be), and a much smaller unit for the wetstone sharpener.

The drill press then was moved (again), and now has gone from one side of the doors to the other.  This seems to be a pretty good location, and I might finally be in a position to dynabolt it back to the floor.

Main Tool Placement

Main Tool Placement

The bandsaw is now moved to where the drill press was, and the corner table (with the various sanders) moved from one corner to the other, so there was space behind the thicknesser for good outfeed area.  The new router table stand is still waiting for commissioning.

New 15" Thicknesser

New 15" Thicknesser

The thicknesser is then placed over where the bandsaw used to live.  The lathe was moved to provide good infeed area, and the sanders for outfeed area.  This location has another benefit – given the amount of sawdust potentially generated, having it so close to the dust extractor.  Depending on how well the extractor works through the current trunking, I have the option of running a second hose directly to the dust extractor (with its own blast gate).

I still haven’t fired the machine up yet – there is still a bit of setting up I need to do, and I’d rather get it right than rushed.

Drum Sander

Drum Sander

I haven’t even begun looking at the drum sander!  I have one option of keeping it very low, and storing under the tablesaw wing, but if I can find a better location, that will be preferable.

So once again, chaos reins.  And a fullscale game of tetris progresses once again.

Decisions part 2

To follow up on the recent post, and to cover what I finally went with:

The thicknesser (planer) is as mentioned the 15″ 381.  With a retail price of $1600 (minus their current offer of 10% off or a free dust extractor or something), it is more than something like the Triton 15″ (which was retailing at $1000, and can take moulding blades), but boy do you get a lot of machine for your money! It is, I am lead to believe, very very similar to the Grizzly 15″ Planer – the GO453. Other than the colour, I’d struggle to be able to tell them apart (not even sure I could).

I did buy the WDS400 in the end – there was a lot of umming and ahhring (and not it wasn’t “Speak Like a Pirate Day”), but in the end, there isn’t another machine out there that comes close in price, and it is a 16/32 drum sander (for some reason it has been metricised) (I don’t know if that is a word, but it sounds good). I did take into account the many opinions that were kindly offered – these were probably as much the cause of much of my uncertainty, and also my decision to proceed.  See, I listen to everyone, but in the end I have to make a final call, and in this case it was “suck and see”.

I also added the mortising attachment for the drill press.  I was thinking of a dedicated machine, but we’ll see how much demand there is for little investment before forking out for yet another machine that I am rapidly running out of room to house!

And finally, (and most importantly?!) I went with the Foxtel IQ2 for a DVR.  Strange decision for me perhaps, but by juggling my account requirements, I ended up getting it and actually having the overall package costing $5 less per month than what I currently pay.  And how is that related to woodworking?  Simple – this thing has quad tuners in it.  This means I can record the various woodworking shows when they come on Foxtel (or free to air (except channel 7 (currently), and not have to compromise shed time (or the other things we want to watch and/or record).  As with the other decisions, I did note and investigate the various other options.  Hard to beat getting one for nothing and saving $5/month in the process!

Sharpening Jig Collection Nears Completion

While in Carbatec, I noticed at the back of one of the shelves in the wetstone wheel sharpening section, some boxes in familar colours – the yellow/blue of Scheppach. Knowing that Carbatec no longer seem to be stocking them, in favour of Tormek, I had a quick dig through to see what was there, and found the large knife jig which was one that I was still wanting. (I had sharpened my kitchen knives with one not that long ago, and they are back to better than new (they are never sold as sharp as they can be!))

Scheppach Large Knife Jig

Scheppach Large Knife Jig

I ended up getting it for $50 because it is discontinued stock (still sold elsewhere for around $100), so although expensive for what it is, no where near as much as it could have been!

Some Decisions

Bit of a dramatic day as it turned out.  I was planning on getting over to Ikea, but they had limited stock of what I wanted to pick up, and would not put aside or guarantee that it would not be a wasted trip, so the door of opportunity opened for me to make some shed purchase decisions.

Based as much on price as features, I ended up choosing the 15″ CTJ381.  As much as I was tempted by the 20″, it was significantly more expensive, and the Powermatic is way out of my price range.  The Jets don’t have solid in and outfeed tables, and I really wanted to have solid tables, rather than rollers.  To my thinking, all the cheap machines have roller in and out feeds, so an upgraded machine would have something else (as in cast iron!)  I guess you can never have the perfect solution, but this unit is at a good price point, has solid cast iron in and outfeed tables, 3 blade cutter, 15A, 3HP, dual speeds, fixed head.

I had a close look at the drum sander while I was there, but I really struggled to decide to buy it.  Not sure what was causing the resistance, but there was something there, so I decided to err on the side of conservatism.  There are some other models out there that I’ll have another look at.

Getting home was a little tricky – had the forklift about to load the thicknesser into the trailer, and found that it was too high to fit into the cage.  Bugger.  The docs said it came in two boxes, just not the shape boxes I was expecting!  Oh well – have to wait a day or two before I get it home.  I’m still lamenting the choice between the 15″ and 20″, but I think I made the right decision (I hope!!!!)

Speaking of decisions, and totally unrelated to the shed, I bought a TiVo a week ago.  It went back for a refund today.  What a disappointment after all the hype.  It is undoubtably a different experience in the US, but the Australian implementation is very disappointing.  Now I have to find another dual HD tuner HDD recorder.

Researching New Tools, Part 2

Still on the new tool research wagon at the moment.  Unusually for me, I have the power available for the tool, and a space, and not the tool to fill it!

As I mentioned, I am looking for a new cast iron thicknesser (planer),  and drum sander.

At the moment, some models I am looking at (in order) are:

CTJ508 (20″, fixed head)

Carbatec CTJ508

Carbatec CTJ508

CTJ381 (15″, fixed head)

Carbatec CTJ381

Carbatec CTJ381

And for a drum sander:


Carbatec WDS400

Carbatec WDS400

The main influence for the drum sander is that is is sub $1000.

Drill Press Table Drawer

When I first added the Pro Drill Press Table, I found I had a (minor) issue with the height winding handle hitting the tabletop (or having to mount the top further out from the main upright than I wanted).  My solution was pretty simple – I placed some spacers under the table to raise it up above the handle.

Effective? Yes.  Elegant? No.

Michael (who is loosely affiliated with Professional Woodworkers Supplies (who supply the Pro Table)) saw my solution, and came up with one that was blindingly obvious – instead of boring (and useless) spacers, why not put a drawer in there?

Once I had finished kicking myself, there was no question but to do the same to my table.  After all, the extra storage for all the drill bits, clamps, keys etc was something I desperately needed.

I have documented the build in a video, but here are a couple of photos of the resulting unit, made from melamine, and pockethole joined together.

Drill Press Table Drawer

Drill Press Table Drawer

The video shows a 2 drawer unit, but once I had put it in place, I decided that it was just too high, and so cut it down to a single drawer.  One of the benefits of the pockethole joints is not only are they very strong, they are very easy to disassemble too.  You can’t actually see them in these photos – with the caps in place they have blended in a bit too well!

You can see the drawer unit sits forward of the back of the Pro Table – this is to give the handle the space it needs.  At some stage, I’m very tempted to extend the handle to make for easier access.

Talking of handles, the drawer handle was chosen very specifically.  Because I work up against the unit occasionally, and especially when moving past the drill press, I wanted a handle that was unlikely to catch on clothing etc. And it looks the part. (And because it attaches with 2 screws, it is more able to cope with a heavy drawer).



No sooner had the drawer been built, than it started filling with drilling paraphernalia.

At least now it is all in one place, and easy to find.

(Yes, that is a set of Triton drill bits you can see.  Bit of a collector’s item these days, along with the Triton countersink.  What – never heard of a Triton countersink?  I have one.  And some Triton branded carpenter’s pencils!)

Edgebanding Melamine

I’ve been working on a drawer unit for the drillpress (from an idea I got from Professional Woodworkers Supplies).  The basic plan can be seen in a podcast/video recently (the sketch), and I have since completed the unit (the subject of another video around here somewhere – coming to an iTunes store near you shortly).

I’ll have another post with more details tomorrow.

As part of the construction, I decided to use melamine (to fit in with the Pro Drill Press Table). Of course, once you cut melamine, you are left with the core showing (either particle board or MDF, depending on the cost), so covering that is definitely required.

You can buy iron-on melamine edging typically from where you buy the melamine itself, and it isn’t particularly expensive.  It has a heat-activated glue on the back, and that is where the household iron comes into play.

Iron-on Melamine Edging

Iron-on Melamine Edging

FWIW, the same technique is used when using veneered sheets – edge banding in all sorts of different timbers can be purchased.

Here I have cut the edging slightly oversized (lengthwise).  The banding is already wider than required for the project, so that makes ironing it down easy (when hot, the banding can slip and move easily, so it would be easy to end up with the banding not matching on an edge if you were not careful).  Once stuck down (I use the iron up pretty hot, with steam turned off), it sets in a few seconds.  You are then able to trim the banding to the final size.

First, I trim the ends to length, using a sharp hand-plane blade.  Next, I run the same blade down both sides of the melamine to cut the banding to the right width.

Plane Blade

Plane Blade

I use a slight shearing action, so rather than chipping at the banding, the action is slicing.  I also always do the stroke towards the body of the melamine (rather than up towards the edge), to prevent any tendency of the banding to break out.

Slicing Action Along the Edge

Slicing Action Along the Edge

This I find produces a very clean cut, and flush finish.  There are actual edgebanding trimmers available commercially, but I find this process very quick and easy anyway, and produces a finish that would rival the commercial version.  I tend to hold the blade flat against the side (as seen here), but have, on occasions, held it at 45 degrees to produce a chamfer on the edge.

Some Promotional Images

Been working on some images for a website, and thought I might as well throw them on here to see how they look live, as it were.




ncf-quick-ca-acceleratorThe second image is CA Accelerator – although we think of CA (superglue) as being incredibly quick-drying, when using it as a finish when turning (such as for a pen) it is beneficial to be able to get it to cure even faster, and thus this is where the CA Accelerator is useful.

Couldn’t find any, until I mentioned it on here of course, and next thing I was getting suggestions (cheers!) on where to track it down, including hobby shops, and the Woodworking Warehouse, where I sourced this can from.

SSYTC003 Wixey Digital Calipers

SSYTC003 Wixey Digital Calipers

Short promo developed for the Wixey Digital Calipers

In the Beginning, Stu Said

“Let there be POWER

And there was, and it was (very) good!

Shed Subpanel

Shed Subpanel

Here is the shed’s new subpanel.  40A of power directly from the house main switchboard, down to the shed, and out into the circuits I’ve mentioned before (light x 1, 10A x 2, 15A x 2)

I had to put up this board for the electricians to mount the switchboard to – guess the joinery method would look kind of familiar!

I had the saw rewired so that it had the correct rating lead and plug on it (it is a 14.5A machine, but for some strange reason from the machine’s junction box to the plug, it was only 10A cable, and a 10A plug.)  It now has a 15A cable (most likely rated quite a bit higher), and a 15A plug.  For those that don’t know, a 15A plug as an oversized earth pin, so the plug cannot fit into a 10A socket.



So that is the new box, so power issues are (near to being) resolved. (I still have a little issue of the dust extractor – 2HP, but seems to draw near 15A to start!)

All up, including a couple of motion detectors for elsewhere on the property, and them doing all the work (including digging!), $1000.  Seems a lot when you write it down, but without power, there are no electrons to murder!

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