And that’s a wrap

What a year, and what a decade.  As both draw rapidly to an end, my feeling is one of…..shellshock. It has been a tumultuous decade that we have lived through.  Looking back, and on a personal level one can recall event after event of positive, milestone achievements.  From a global perspective, what one remembers is a torrid flood of negative ones.

If you would permit me, I feel a need to touch on a few of them, hopefully vaguely relevant to the existence of this website, doctor.

At the start of the decade, I had been living in Australia for just over a year, and by Easter 2000 I had met a girl, who then became my girlfriend, my fiance by November, and we were married just after Christmas the following year.  We just had our 8th wedding anniversary (and have an almost 3 year old daughter, but I’m getting ahead of myself).

Easter 2000 was also about the last time I used a film camera (SLR), after Kodak totally destroyed all the (Velvia) films I had shot while making a photographic trip down the Great Ocean Road.  The photographic passion took a massive hit, which it has never recovered from, and only around 2005 when I got my digital SLR did I experience a brief resurgence, but even that didn’t last, and now photography has become very much a documentary process for me, rather than an artform.

2001 is pretty infamous on the international stage, something you never get over seeing (and I happened to be watching it live until around 3am), and marks the start of an age of Terrorism (they were around for a lot longer than that, but never had such a global impact to my mind).  There is no need to rehash all the subsequent events here, but they really have shaped the entire decade, and set humanity on its current, and less than desirable path, giving the vocal minority (particularly governments) too much power to choose the destinies of the citizens (the increasing of powers of “The Police State”).  The current rather zealous approach to “Global Warming”, I don’t think would have occurred in the way it is if not for 2001.  The War the world has been involved in started in 2001, and despite name changes has persisted ever since, with no definite signs of an end.  There have been an incredible number of events since – bombs, floods, tsunami, crashes, crisis (financial and otherwise), and although I could summarise a massive list, Wikipedia gives a better list: just use and substitute the x for the year of interest.

Christmas 2001, when my (now) wife and I were married placed a major building block that resulted in this website, when (we) were given a lathe as a wedding present.  That required I build a bench to mount it on, and I needed a saw to make that bench.  I chose a Triton, and the rest is history!

Throughout the decade, many seemingly unrelated event occurred, which lead to a point on 20 June 2007 when Stu’s Shed was launched. It has been growing ever since, and currently enjoys between 1100 and 1300 visitors daily.  This year, the 1/2 millionth visitor mark was passed, and already another 120,000 visitors have come through the virtual door.

I have no idea what the next year, let alone decade holds.  I can only hope for a steadily increasing presence of Stu’s Shed on the local (and world) stage, and perhaps, just perhaps, it might actually make a little bit of money (I doubt enough to live on, but we can all dream!) Watching my daughter go through the real journey that going from 2 to 12 entails will be a fascinating experience that my wife and I will get great pleasure from.

I sincerely hope that the world finds a greater sense of stability – the chaos of the last decade is not healthy in the long, or short term. But there are no signs of an improvement anytime soon, politically, financially, environmentally.

But looking towards the light for a moment – I hope the last decade has been good for you personally, and the next is incredibly rewarding.  Looking from here to 2020, I wonder just what creations will come out of the shed, how it will change and grow.

I’m not a great one for sticking to resolutions set, so don’t think there is much point trying to set any – I’d like to get a book published, build a workbench (finally), and I’m sure I could create a mega-long, mega-scary and mega-impossible-to-achieve-everything list if I put my mind to it.  Sorry about the ramble!

Happy New Year everyone!

Slippery When Wet

Warping when moist, cracking when dry. Timber is a tempermental beast at the best of times.

A ways back I did think it was a good idea to have a better visibility of what was happening with some of the different pieces I had harvested, or collected. If too green or moist, there would be significant amounts of movement as it dried, and potential cracking. I tried a couple of moisture detectors out but I was either unhappy with their performance, or price. So it was very cool when I got my hands on a new one that is (or about to become) available through Carbatec.

It is still a pinned detector (with 2 probes that get pushed into the timber), so that puts it at the lower end for cost, but with a very nice LCD display, and two calibration checking circuits built into the cap it means you can feel a lot more confident in the readings that you get.

I’ve already found cause to use it a couple of times already- taking new stock of unknown condition and finding out if it is stable enough to use, so like a number of other small tools around the shop it is going to prove to be invaluable.

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