A Random Assortment of Rockler

Bit of a random assortment of things I saw at Rockler, Denver.

First thing is some of the construction happening from one of the courses. This box has something a lot more significant to it than the construction. The timber is something special, but in a sad sort of way.

Pine Beetle Carried Blue Fungus

Due to a number of factors, including the unusually warm average temperature, a certain beetle that does normally exist in the environment has reached significantly high (and destructive) levels. They bore into the bark of the tree, and along with the damage they do, they are introducing a fungus, and that is blocking nutrient flow through the tree, and commonly results in the tree becoming effectively ring-barked, and the death of the tree.

The fungus causes a unique blue colouring to the timber (a bit hard to pick from the photo). The woodworker for this box is accentuating it by using a turquoise-coloured filler for the knots and elsewhere it is needed.

Why this event is significant, is it isn’t taking out the occasional tree. It is taking out entire forests around Colorado.

Board-Foot Calculator closeup

This device is so simple, and so clever. It is used to calculate the volume of a piece of timber. By placing the plank (etc) up against the top left corner, and reading the figure the lower right corner of the plank touches, you immediately know how many board-feet the timber is. This is assuming the board is 1” thick. If it is 2”, simply double the result and so on. This same principle could be equally applied to metric systems of measurement.

In the photo below, you get a better idea the size of measuring tool. I really like the simplicity of this tool – no need to individually measure the dimensions and multiply to find the result.

Board-Foot Calculator

These are downstairs, along with the extra timber supplies.

Wall Mountable Blast Gate

These blast gates were new to me – not that I haven’t seen, or used 4” blast gates, but these can be mounted directly to the wall or roof, and that I thought was a brilliant addition to the standard gate. Now if, like me you already have a stack of blast gates, you are not going to want to replace them all with these. So you can purchase the adapter (numbered “2” in the photo), and your standard blast gate fits it, and the same clamps that hold the flex tube to the blast gate also holds the blast gate to this fitting.  They can be purchased individually or by the box of 4 (I bought 2 boxes!)

A Small Slab

Some small slabs they have.

Dust Right

The Dust Right system is interesting, in that it is a fully expandable system, from the dust collector itself, the tubes and fittings.

Visiting the (Rockler) Candy Store

I have thrown a bunch of photos into a YouTube video (SSYTC23), as it seemed I had more than was reasonable to fit in an article.  If you watch the higher res version, the photos should look pretty clear.

Got there reasonably early – one of the regulars here (Ken) picked me up which was appreciated! We met up with the Assistant Manager, Curt, who kindly gave us a comprehensive look around Rockler, Denver

Stu visits Rockler!

The store had quite a few people shopping the whole time we were there, and the fact that Denver is significantly smaller than Melbourne (about 4 million for Melbourne, 2.5 million for Denver) it goes to show quite a difference in the sorts of stores the two cities potentially can support.

The big differences are on a number of approaches.  Rocker (Denver) has a significant training facility downstairs, which is regularly used for club meetings and training events.  They have a separate training room and lecture room, so the place can handle some pretty significant course and meeting events.

Lecture-style area

Training Room

The Training room had a 1/2 dozen or so of those Jet lathes you can see to the right, and has courses on all sorts of topics, including finishing, pen making, bandsawn boxes, carpentry and cabinetry.

A couple of days before I arrived, they had a presentation by the inventor of the CNC Shark – that would have been an interesting one!

Belt Sander Racing

I spotted this in one of the rooms downstairs, and apparently it gets used reasonably regularly – the belt sander racing track (and Rockler’s entry to the races).  The track is stacked in sections if that makes it clearer.  If the US can do it, surely we could have a belt sanding racing league down under?  Think it’d be great as a carpark event at a store as Rockler do, and/or at the wood shows!

Sailing to the Temptation Isles

Upstairs there is an amazing assortment of product lines, and a strong emphasis on the smaller items – there were no large tools on display, and it was more consumables, jigs, jig creating hardware, project hardware etc.  A massive router bit collection, and the new quadra-cut router bits from Freud.  These are quite interesting in that they have 2 main cutters, at a positive rake angle, then 2 minor (much smaller) blades at a negative rake, to remove any feathering that occurs when routing cross-grain.  These blades are much smaller, as you don’t need the treatment over the whole cut area, only where the feathering is most likely to occur.

Timber Collection

There was a wide assortment of interesting and exotic timbers, and a massive range of pen blanks.

Rocker also sell Festool, although strangely I couldn’t buy any 4mm dominos – they were withdrawn from sale at the store for a lack of sales, so not sure what Denver woodworkers who want to use 4mm dominos are expected to do!

Pen Turning Heaven

A few bits n pieces

So that is a quick look around the Rockler store – sorry to all those in Oz who are now cursing me getting to one!

And finally (or firstly), at the entrance to the store, we have just a small collection of

Bench Cookies!

So that is a quick look around the store – don’t forget to check out SSYTC23 for more photos.

I’ll talk about what I was tempted by in the next article!  You can see the online Rockler store here, and by using this link to the store, you are also supporting Stu’s Shed (cool huh 🙂 )

So a big thanks to Curt (and Rich whom I didn’t get to meet), and my ‘driver’, Ken

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