Sydney Checklist

Did a bit of the tourist thing in my latest trip to Sydney.  While I was in the Navy, Sydney was almost a second home, so it was interesting treating it as a first-time visit.

Opera House @ night (handheld camera)

Bondi Beach

World's Smallest Bunnings

A cool fast-food place based around crepes Xquisito @ Chatswood

Visiting Carbatec Sydney

Ferry on the Harbour

City from the Ferry

My old stoming ground - Garden Island East

Climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge (w FIL)

Woodworking for Mainstream

While over in the US, I saw a number of adverts on TV (seems all there was on TV was adverts), and it was cool seeing some were targeting us – woodworkers / shed dwellers.

Turns out in the past, Carbatec in Australia have also had some advertising airtime (on pay-tv), and the Sydney branch let me have a copy to upload.

Road Trip to Carbatec Sydney

While in Sydney, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to drop into Carbatec Sydney, never having been there before (and if the truth be known, this will be the first Carbatec I’ve visited, other than Melbourne of course).

Carbatec Sydney

Was a bit of a drive from where I was staying, down to near Homebush (where the Sydney Olympics were held).  City the size of Sydney could almost do with a couple of Carbatecs!

As much as my iPhone GPS hasn’t let me down on the trip, I was still not sure where the hell it was taking me, until the very familar blue, white ‘n’ red sign came into view.

Lathes and Drill Presses

There was a good collection of heavy machinery, but it was quite tightly packed into the showroom (not in a bad way), so you could still easily see the entire range without it totally dominating.

Bandsaws and Workbenches

Bandsaws, and more bandsaws.  14″, 14″, 17″, 19″, 21″, 24″.  Who’d imagine just how much difference an extra 7″ could make?  The 24″ pretty much has to be a 3 phase machine – single phase just can’t provide it enough oomph. (That’s a technical term btw).

Small accessories and consumables

Looking though the rest of the place, and it is going through quite a transition at the moment, as Dave (owner) and Mark (store manager) are transforming the place with new shelving and wall units.  (If you want one of their older, wooden units some are currently in their carpark with a “for sale” sign on them).

They also have this ideal LCD display unit (foreground), which they use in-store, but will be perfect at the various wood shows too.

New shelving

Books, grinders, books, and the new shelving around the back wall.

A forest of cast iron (tablesaws)

No TS10L though sorry – I checked!  Also planers, thicknessers, router wings.

Adhesives and Carving Chisels

Carbatec also carry a range of Festool and Protool – I even found 4mm dominos here – something I haven’t found in Melbourne, or Denver!  (I have them with my Domino, but have been running out of 4mm ones after the toy kitchen projects)

The Protool Univers SSP200

This one always catches my eye wherever I see it.  There is also a larger 380 version.

For those powerless nights

Tired of tools with power cords?  Try some of these on for size 🙂

Acrylic Pen Blanks

And finally, this simple, but effective idea.  On the front of each acrylic pen blank box is a turned version of the blank.  This does make a lot of sense, because sometimes the blank and the final product are very different, so it is very useful to see what the acrylic comes out like when it is round in cross-section, and not square.

So that is a bit of a photo-tour of Carbatec Sydney.  Thanks to Dave and Mark for the chat, and the look around the place 🙂

Jetstream Conspiracies

It doesn’t take more than a few clicks to be diving deep into websites of paranoia I can tell you.  One that comes up a lot is all about Jetstreams, and Jet trails (or contrails (condensation trails)), with varying, and conflicting reports of mass population control, mass population killoffs, biological weapon dispersal testing, weather altering and control.  The conspiracy theory is that the “government” is playing around with the position of the Jetstream, and using jet trails/contrails to seed clouds, or drop nasty stuff on the uninformed populations below.

What would all these conspiracy ‘experts’ think if they knew there were Multi-Jetstreams!!  And the government knows about them!!

(BTW – from my Navy days – the definition of an Expert:  an Ex is a has-been, and a Spurt is a drip under pressure.  Oh, and if you assume something, you make an ass out of u and me (

But Multi-Jetstreams are not a myth, nor a conspiracy – they are the latest development in sanding technologies by Festool.  By supplying, and exhausting air through many holes in the sanding pad of a sander (such as a Random Orbital Sander), you have rapid, dust free material removal, a significant decrease in sandpaper clogging which then leads to maximising service like of the sander, the pads, and the abrasives.

High Speed Photos of Sanding with Different Hole Configs

In addition, the airflow helps cool the sanding pad, resulting in the tool, abrasive and work surface being 25% cooler than it would without Multi-Jetstream tech.

(Video below – click to play)

Multi-hole technology

The holes in the sanding pad either provide or remove air depending on their position.  It is curious that there are more holes in the pad than there is in the paper – this is deliberate – air is also supplied below the paper, and all the supply and exhaust holes combine to maximise dust movement and removal as it is produced, reducing heat and clogging.

Supplying air is unusual – pushing dust trapped at the centre towards the outside where it is collected by the multiple extraction holes.  It is backwards compatible with older sandpapers, and new multi-jet paper can be used on old machines – obviously both scenarios do not benefit from the latest technology.

Don’t try what someone suggested on the Festool Owners Group website/forum – drilling extra holes in your current pad.  Sure, it might look more multistream, but there are internal channels leading to these holes in the legitimate pads!

This new technology is now standard in the Festool sander range, and both the ETS sanders and the Rotex will benefit significantly from the improved airflows and dust removal from the sanding surface.

I know they claim a marked improvement in minimising clogging of the abrasives, but I don’t know how it will work in situations that caused me the most clogging – burnishing with oil.  Oh well, you can’t win them all!

Looking for Woodworking

Went looking for woodworking around Sydney, thought I’d check out the Lumber Bunker seeing as I was up that way…until I checked out their website and found they’d shut down.  I know I’d mentioned they were up for sale about July last year – guess there were no takers.

Did a small Google search to find out where to go for woodworking in Sydney, or Specialist Timber Sydney and a few others – bit of a worry that even Carbatec didn’t get found.  At least I know they are here somewhere.  Ah bugger – forgot Australia doesn’t open on Sundays – guess even that plan gets shot down.

Anyone know anywhere (woodworking related) to visit in Sydney on a Sunday? Or even a Monday?

Smallest Bunnings Ever

Was driving around Sydney (another short trip recently), and unlike Melbourne where there seems to be a mega-sized Bunnings every second intersection, I only saw 1 Bunnings store, and it was the smallest I have ever seen.  Not a massive building in the middle of a huge carpark, but a small shopfront on a busy street, no parking (don’t think there is any real parking in Sydney).

Standing outside the smallest Bunnings I've ever seen!

Just how small is it?


Garden Supplies Section

Plant Section - Choices Choices!

Speaking of parking, we headed down to see the Opera House one evening, and used a carpark that advertised 1 hour for $9 – oh well, expensive but bearable.  When we left the carpark after 40 minutes – $32!  Apparently there was fine print at the bottom that said there was a fixed rate after 5pm.

Opera House

There is a theory that there are more cars in Sydney than parks, so you have to have a certain percentage of cars always on the road, or rather no matter what happens there will always be a percentage driving around looking for a non-existent park!

Fly Weight

It has been a couple of years since I started the “Battle of the Blades”, and although there are different divisions in the battle, there is no Fly Weight.

There will be, very shortly, a couple of new contenders, competing for the very top spot of their divisions, and these are both produced by FLAI (pronounced “Fly”), and bought into Australia by Promac, the importers of other top shelf goods including Tormek and BMI.

Flai Mustang

The first blade is the Mustang, competing against other wood-cutting blades, but that hardly represents what the blade is about.  This blade doesn’t care what it comes up against (within reason).  Wood? of course.  Wood derivatives? Well duh. What happens if this blade comes across nails embedded in the wood? Now we are talking, and this blade keeps on cutting.  Try doing that with a standard combo blade and see how the teeth look!  Copper, aluminium, mild steel even.

It seems very much to be a universal blade – the blade you can leave in the saw and not be concerned what it is going to run into.  That must be such a relief, particularly if you are often using reclaimed/recycled timber.

Flai Ultimate

The other blade is simply called “The Ultimate”, and simply looking at this blade out of the box, I can see a serious challenge to the Freud Industrial for ultimate quality cutting.  The tungsten carbide tips on this one have to be seen to be believed.  A serious 30 degree alternating top bevel slices like twin knives.  This is not even touching on all the other features of this blade (or  the Mustang for that matter) – how the TCT are fixed to the base, the steel used for the body of the blade, and a number of other subtle (and not so subtle) developments in these blades.

These are going to be fascinating to put through their paces.

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