Wiseguys

If you’re a lookin to do a deal wid the Family, you’d better come heavy and be packin some serious heat.

When joining with this thing of ours, and gettin’ into the waste management business, what better way to wear it, than to sign on the dotted line with a pen fit for a wiseguy. It would be che peccato to use anything less. Trust me as your Consigliere, if expecting to sign a contract in front of the Don, use this, the latest offering from Kallenshaan Woods. And remember, Col tempo la foglia di gelso diventa seta.

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A cool looking pen, but what absolutely makes it, is that optional case. Mamma Mia!

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Enz of an Era

History Never Repeats

History never repeats,
I tell myself before I go to t'meet.
Don't say the words you might regret,
I lost before, you know I can't forget.

There was a club I used to know,
It was dealt a savage blow,
The Triton club you cannot see,
But anyway that's history.

History never repeats,
I tell myself before I go to t'meet.
It's time for the final regret,
The club is gone you can't forget.

It's time for that final string,
To be severed and that's the thing,
Better to jump than hesitate,
You need to change and can't delay.

History never repeats,
The URL will be gone soon,
And if you don't change you will find,
A deathly silence in its wake.

It is the end of an era.  When I joined the Triton Woodworkers club, Holmesglen, I quickly took on the role to create and maintain a website for them – the previous one was only a static advert page, and instead I created and grew a new site that ended up the largest Triton website in the world, dwarfing even the company’s own one.  It carried articles, plans, a small amount of video (this was really prior to Web 2.0) and reference materials all based around Triton, and the club.

When the club finally ended, that website was also taken down and what content was useful to extract was ported across to this one.  There is still stuff on there that may be worth having referenced on here, compatibility tables etc – things that have since been lost when Triton themselves were bought by GMC then taken down when that company bombed.  I still have the website in all its glory stored locally on one of my machines.

The URL http://www.tritonwoodworkers.org.au was maintained even since then, and redirected to Stu’s Shed, and still gets some traffic.

However, it is the end of an era.  In the next few days, the subscription for the URL http://www.tritonwoodworkers.org.au will lapse, and it will cease to exist.  So if you still use that URL to access this website, you will need to start using the current addresses, rather than that historic one.

Either of:

http://www.stusshed.com

http://www.stusshed.com.au

Will still deliver all the content, video, articles and reviews you always expect!  Over 120 videos, and 1 million words across 1600 articles and 50 static pages 🙂

Holding Pattern

Some musings, completely unrelated to woodworking, so read no further if not interested!

Have been thinking a lot recently about the job, about past lives (no, not the Charlie Brown (aka wishy washy) “I’ve had past lives” crap, but previous career paths etc), and a thought dawned on me this morning that the role I am doing now has a lot of similarities to where I was at about 14 years ago.  There are some differences – I earn more now, I have a lot less disposable income (family, home etc), I know whether I am free in 3 weekends time to arrange something non work related, I’m not up in the middle of the night for hours of sleep depriving battlestations (or wait, perhaps I am- parenting and sleep deprivation go hand-in-hand!).

My role these days does have similarities to the AMEO/DMEO (Deputy Marine Engineer Officer), and Officer of the Day (OOD) all rolled into one.  I have keys to all parts of the building, like the OOD, I deal with maintenance, damage control, scheduling work etc etc.  It’s like in the last decade I have come full circle, and found myself where I started. Not sure if that is a comforting thought or not – perhaps I am back on track with a lost 14 years in the middle, or that it is just life, and by going through doors, sometimes one finds themselves in a parallel room, looking through a window to where one once stood.

Went rummaging last night and found my naval qualification certificates and commissioning parchment – some to be added in frames around the souvenir / memory board I’m creating.  Lots of photos too – been thinking of finding them a cloudy home (a blog of sorts), with various anecdotes as I recall them. Not all PC, as you’d expect!

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At least I get to do more woodworking these days, and have a patch of the planet that is my own, with a shed firmly planted there!

 

Richard Raffan Turning

Been watching my woodworking DVDs again recently (makes a good distraction while cooking!), and have been looking again at the Richard Raffan DVD from Taunton on Turning Boxes.

Damn, but he makes it look easy.  I was trying (without first reading any instructions, or reviewing videos etc) roughing out a bowl recently, and found it took a significant amount of force to get the tool to hollow out the centre, so decided very quickly than rather risk some catastrophic kickback, to review the how to materials first.

Seeing how Richard was doing it showed I was somewhat on the right track, but it should have been a lot easier than I was experiencing.

Perhaps I need to go on one of these Woodturning Cruises!  Puttering around the fiords of Norway, in a floating shop/training facility for wood turners.

One of the guys in the video has a T-shirt- you just catch a glimpse of the logo “When I die, bury me….in my shavings”

Did a quick Google of that, and found at Peachtree that they have a few others as well, including “Happiness is being covered in sawdust”,

“I love the smell of sawdust in the morning” and one I can definitely sympathise with:

Wonder if they have one “When I’m turning, DUCK!” Or “Blood is a woodturner’s patina” or “You know when you’ve had a kickback when your hands are ringing like they’ve just been to a rock concert”.  No – no accidents recently, although I have experienced all the above at one time or another.

One thing I really like from Richard’s video, and as was at the start of one of Mark Duginske’s videos – the woodworker in the forest, sourcing his raw materials.  These guys don’t start a project wandering around aisles of crapiata at Bunnings.  They get out there and harvest their own.

Jig Hardware Kit

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Jigs are very much part and parcel with woodworking. If you don’t own a particular setup, make it! When you make a jig, it is always nicer to have decent hardware to pimp it up- knobs, in particular.

This kit from Carbatec puts some very common jig-making hardware into a sorted box, ready for the next project.

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There is both a 1/4″ and 5/16″ version of the kit. The 1/4″ is suitable for thinner T track (such as Incra), and the 5/16″ is suitable for heavier jigs, and larger track (such as what is used on the bed of the Torque Workcentre).

I’ve initially picked up the 5/16″ kit for some Torque Workcentre jigs, and may also pick up the 1/4″ set to provide a good range of T bolts, knobs, insert threads, T nuts etc.

Some existing clamps will become dedicated to the Torque Workcentre, so I have change their hardware over so they are well suited to the new tool bed.

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These kits are normally $79 (which seems a bit high), but are still on special (not for much longer as I understand it!) from Carbatec for $49.

Face Shield Adjustment

As much as I find the Purelite powered respirator very convenient, I don’t always want the full weight of a helmet, and the sound of the air filtration when I only want a face shield. So that lead to me buying one of these (from Carbatec – costs about $39)

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When I first put it on, I found that when the head banding was properly fitted, the face shield itself stuck out too far, to the point that I didn’t feel it was fully shielding the lower part of my face.

There were no instructions on if there were any adjustments, so I deconstructed the shield and worked out the were a couple of plastic pieces behind the face shield screws that control face plate angle.

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Once I played with them, I found they controlled the face shield angle through quite a decent range, and was able to find a setting that suited me.

So this is really to bring to your attention, that if you have one of these face shields (or similar), and you were wondering why it wasn’t fitting as well as you’d hope, there is this adjustment available.

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Veritas Miniature Shoulder Plane

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The Veritas Miniature Shoulder Plane is a stunning, tiny plane, that is still very functional (almost as an added bonus!) It is made from stainless steel, using the investment-cast process. It has a fixed mouth, with a machined sole and ground sides. A low 15° bed angle combined with the 25° blade bevel provides a 40° cutting angle.

The investment-cast process is a lost-wax casting process, where the original item is carved out of wax, from which a cast is made (and the wax is then melted out and “lost”). Into this mould, a ceramic copy is made. This is used to produce the future moulds, and is called the “investment”

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Does this make it a “palm plane”?

The plane is well designed, and can be used in catching and squaring up the small corners at the bottom of a dado.

Compared to a normal plane, it is significantly tiny!

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Available from Carbatec. You’ll have to ask for them at the counter – they are unlikely to be dumpred on the shelves – too small and desirable. Cost is around $35- not sure exactly.

And if you are thinking of joining the woodworking Mob, it makes for an essential fashion accessory 😉

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Mag Appearance

Made a (brief) appearance in a woodworking mag: Australian Wood Review, as myself, rather than as the author of an article.

It was all part of the “My Shed” competition. Shame not to have won the tablesaw, but then, where the hell would I have put it anyway!!!

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One day, and you know you’ve finally “arrived” when it happens, someone may write an article about Stu’s Shed, rather than by Stu, or Stu’s Shed.

Small steps, small steps 😉

Woodworkers: Architects of Society

The small man-like creature peered over the bushes at the animal below. The bough in hand had good heft, ready to be swung as a club. It had been found earlier in the day, and with a bit of work had been fashioned to the intended purpose.  It was effective, if he could get close enough to swing it before the animal bolted.

What was needed was something with range, throwable. A straight thin branch would work, sharpened at one end.  In time, the forerunner of the carbide-tipped tool came into being, with a sharpened stone affixed to one end to improve its effectiveness.

And thus, through necessity, the age of the woodworker began.

Through every stage of the development of the human race, from their earliest precursors to modern society, woodworking has been an integral part of the process.

Necessity through the ages often appears to be combat-related, but only because an image of a trebuchet or catapult is more interesting than a wooden bowl, spoon or bucket!

But whether it is warmaking, or winemaking, woodworking has been there.

Even during the industrial revolution, and beyond, when steel had taken over as the material of choice, one of the most skilled group in the manufacturing plant were the patternmakers – woodworkers of impressive skills who could take a drawing of a component and fabricate it out of wood, including taking into account the pathways that the metal would flow when filling the eventual cast, and how much shrinkage would be experienced so the final product, and not the pattern was to the correct dimensions.

These patterns were not destroyed in the process, and were retained for each time a new mold was created. The railway workshops had many shelves full of these patterns, particularly from the days of steam.

A number of woodworking tools still in common use today were developed in this time, and where the terms “patternmaker’s vice” and “patternmaker’s bench” come from.

History is also full of the direct influences of woodworkers.  Ships that sailed to the new world, canoes from the islands resulting in the spread of populations across Polynesia, decisive battles in history, including the use of wooden cannons.

Literature too, including the Trojan Horse during the battle of Troy as told by Virgil in “Aeneid” (trans John Dryden)

By destiny compell’d, and in despair,
The Greeks grew weary of the tedious war,
And by Minerva’s aid a fabric rear’d,
Which like a steed of monstrous height appear’d:
The sides were plank’d with pine; they feign’d it made
For their return, and this the vow they paid.
Thus they pretend, but in the hollow side
Selected numbers of their soldiers hide:
With inward arms the dire machine they load
And iron bowels stuff the dark abode.

The Christian bible too, has many references, including of course Noah’s Ark, and of course reference to Jesus being a carpenter.

There are societies that survive today, that are heavily influenced by woodworking, including the Amish and Mennonites, particularly with their traditional barn raisings.

I often think this is how we should be building the quintessential Aussie shed.

The Shakers have also been very influential on many modern furniture designs.

The movies (& TV) have obvious also caught onto the woodworker’s influence, whether they particularly meant to or not, from Evan Almighty, through to The Lord of the Rings, The Witness, The Simpsons and NCIS to name but a few.

And in this day, as modern media takes a stronger and stronger hold, there is a new generation, including The Wood Whisperer……

and yours truly.

So throughout history, from the daily grind, to combat, literature and religion, the woodworker has been a pivotal influence on society.

So the next time you need to justify a trip out to the shed, remember, it is your duty, for the good of future society, to maintain all the ancient, medieval and modern traditions of woodworking, lest society falter and fail.


Where did all the businesses go?

Reports out of the Wood Show in Brisbane last weekend speak of a significant drop in local business involvement, with many regulars missing. Wonder where did they all go? Were they affected by the recent floods? The strong Australian dollar? The cost of show attendance? The online economy? The GFC?

Is it that Australians are not supporting local business enough, so it is drying up and blowing offshore as happened with the manufacturing industry?

It is hard to have the discussion without seeming both self-righteous, and hypocritical at the same time. We all love a bargain, but is buying tonnes of Chinese product the way to get it? It often is very cheap (in more ways than one), but we are now paying back the price difference at the petrol pump, and as the Chinese manufactuing market increases, so does the price. But is hard not to be tempted as an individual for a bargain when the consequences only result from millions doing the same.

It is like water savings: what difference to the content of a massive water reservoir if I have an extra minute shower? Multiply that by entire populations, and the difference cannot be ignored. But changing the habits of an individual for the collective good is a very difficult task indeed.

As direct purchasing from overseas increases (especially on the back of a strong dollar), so the local retailers take a hit, and things like show attendance drops.

Support, service and business is a two way street.

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