Manspace Issue 2

The second issue of Manspace Magazine will hit the shelves shortly, and again with a number of articles by yours truly.

Articles in there by me are:

Quick Drawers – on how to make drawer liners for your tool drawers from foam

Torque the Talk – an article on the Torque Workcentre

Solution with Teeth – a look at the Flai Mustang multimaterial blade.

6 pages in total 🙂

Tis the season to be scary

I have never tried this before, but thought we’d try the Halloween pumpkin carving thing.

Bit wonky perhaps, but for something not tried before, and done freehand, it’ll be be good to have for the trick-or-treaters tomorrow night 🙂


The things you do when you have kids!

And only one cut that drew claret- the ol’ “don’t cut towards yourself”. So if the pumpkin comes to life tonight, you’ll know why (aka Stephen King‘s “Mangler“)

Wood Whisperer Squared

A huge congratulations to Marc & Nicole on the birth of their son Mateo Xavier Spagnuolo


Healthy, and at 33 weeks was just a little impatient to check out Dad’s workshop 😉

(Marc is the American podcaster/blogger/woodworker, well known as “The Wood Whisperer” if you were wondering about the relevance to this blog. First Matt, then Marc and myself were the first three woodworking podcasters.)

What is Old, is New Again

What I find more even more interesting when looking at old magazines, old newspapers, old National Geographics, is not the articles, but the adverts.

Those things that cause us endless annoyance, or at least distractions (unless particularly pertinent, targeted to the audience of the magazine) become increasing fascinating as they age.

That is one just aspect of particular interest in the latest offering from Australian Wood Review.

A digital (DVD media) copy of back issues of the magazine that can be read article by article, or the complete magazine at a go.  There are currently 2 collections, covering issues 1-10 and 11-20, with a third one on the way.

It is a valuable resource, and where the physical magazines sit on shelves, or in boxes, and get to the point where they often will be disposed of, the digital versions take up little to no space (the size of a single DVD case) and remains in pristine condition.

Scanned at high resolution, they don’t suffer from the unfortunate pixellation I’ve seen in other magazine’s similar offerings (Fine Woodworking for example).

See what looks to be an early competing model for the Router Master (or is it an early version?), see early Carbatec adverts (and lament the prices items used to be!  An HNT Gordon Smoothing Plane at full price is $95!), and of course read the pearls of wisdom that have been spread through the various issues over the years.

Available from Aust Wood Review, this is a product worth getting on a number of levels.

For those who used to have early issues of the magazine and for a variety of reasons no longer have then in their possession, here you can own them again without having to sift through pawn shops and the like.

If you have never read these early editions (which is the boat I find myself in), then here is an opportunity to access them for the first time, and I am looking forward to continue reading through these early copies.

Moroccan Bow Lathe

Proving that it is not the tools you own, but how you use them

Wax on, Wax off

Despite having been a long time user of Ubeaut waxes and polishes (almost as long as I have been doing this woodworking caper), just using a product doesn’t make one an expert. So I took the opportunity of last weekend to actually stop by the Ubeaut stand, watch one of Neil’s demos and see what else I could learn.


Turns out, very little!

Oh- no, I don’t mean there was very little I could learn from Neil – he who wrote the bible on polishing called A Polishers Handbook


(a book you should read cover to cover…twice!), but that you needed to use very little of the various Ubeaut products to achieve an amazing result. I have been using a reasonable amount of it each time, so was amazed how fast Neil worked, how little time he spent on each grade of sandpaper, and how little product he used to produce results to die for.

Hmm – going to have to relearn my entire approach again. Either Neil is a magician, or I’ve been wasting a lot of time, and product and not achieving a result anything like what he can in minutes.



So hopefully, the next time I get a have a chance to play in the shed, I can try out these techniques, and see if I can’t get a result that is more like what he can.

One Plane to Rule Them All

One plane to find them
One plane to bring them all
And in the Woodshop bind them.

I was speaking with Matt Reynolds at the show, apparently a long-time reader of Stu’s Shed, and from a plane sock he pulled out something he’d made a few weeks earlier. A plane, and what a plane! You’d gladly spend a lot at a number of fine handtool stands to buy one like it, and even more remarkable, this is the first plane he’d ever made.




I LOVE metal dovetails on a plane – perfection and absolute class.

The timber is also stunning. Matt has gone with using burl for his timbers, much trickier to shape, but a stunning result indeed.

There are also details here you’d easily miss. One in particular is how he has created the blade opening. Instead of trying to mill through a solid block, Matt has made that part of the plane sole in two parts, which are then joined and polished until they virtually disappear. I wouldn’t have seen it if Matt hadn’t specifically pointed it out.


Some specs from Matt
Blade is 01 tool steel, 32mm wide.
Infill and wedge are Red Gum Burl
Sole length is 95mm
Bed/Blade angle is 20 deg
Approx 50-60 hours work, all hand made.  My first go at making a plane, completed about three weeks ago.

So some beautiful results, especially given it is metal and timber. Thanks for showing me.

A lesson from the Royal Melbourne Show

Every few years I head along to the Royal Melb Show, and have a look at what is on offer there. Know what I see? Variety, entertainment, and SHOWBAGS! I keep looking each time for a bag orientated more towards me (yeah, chocolate etc are still interesting), and I’m not talking of the Ralph showbag, or some other version of a male-orientated equivalent of the Cleo bag or all the others geared towards the fairer sex, and nor am I looking for a Men’s Health bag, or Beyond Blue bag (not like they are going to include Prozac or little blue pills marked with a V, or something useful anyway!) but what I’m looking for is a woodies showbag, something actually geared towards what we’d really want.

Fast forward to the Working with Wood show, and what is missing? Showbags!

Imagine a Dovetail showbag, including some instructions, a japanese saw, setting gauge (a cheaper bag having the still very nice gauge from Wood Review and a clutch pencil, a more expensive bag having a Colen Clenton gauge and a Chris Vesper marking knife), and some timber to practice on.

Or a pen turning bag, with pen blanks, some pen kits, a lathe mandrel, instructions etc.

You could have a lot of fun coming up with some differnt bag concepts, and each costing between $50, $100 and $200 or so. Some filler material to flesh it out a bit (stubby holders, the obligatory chocolate, etc!)

I’m working on the concept of having a genuine Stu’s Shed stand at the next show in Melbourne- and am looking at the way to take the online and create a real version of the online experience. And I’d love that to include a showbag (not specifically something for sale, a giveaway but still with useful things inside (stubby holder, pens, timber etc)). So now I have 12 months to plan, come up with some concepts, a schedule of demos etc, and see if the concept can fly.

So over the next few months I will be looking to you, my constant readers, for your input into what you’d like to see, what you’d like to do (having some genuine “come and try” experiences), and what could be included in some sort of showbag thingie.

Thinking too of some sort of woodworking Olympics event or two (say a dovetail olympics as some US shows do), with a dovetail saw as a prize. All just vague ideas at the moment, but 12 months will fly by!

A tale of two doves

It was the best of joints, it was the worst of joints,
it was the age of modern methods, it was the age of traditional techniques

At the woodshow you see many different items made by many different methods.
Domino, dowel, screw & glue (thankfully not much of that!) but by far what you see time and again, are dovetails.

Handcut and machine cut alike, the dovetail is the joint of choice for one that is both strong, stylish, and decorative.

Whether it was on the Gifkins stand


The stand for Melbourne Fine Woodworking




Or Raf on the Wood Review stand quietly cutting, showing just how well a joint can be made with the minimum of fuss, dovetails abounded everywhere.


The numbers of beautiful items to view with dovetails either subtly included or proudly on display makes one think that for a woodworker, this is a joint to master.



And that doesn’t seem to be a fact lost on the attendees either



Nice little spike in hits over the past couple of days- guess if people haven’t been finding me where they were expecting at the show (sorry about that), they’ve come here instead 😉

Over 35000 visits for the month already. You guys sure know how to encourage someone to keep doing what they do.

Planning on being back at the show tomorrow for another look around (the 6 hours I spent so far looking around needs to be backed up with another session!) Watch more of the demos, get to say hi to everyone.

Was great meeting up with the plethora of regulars of this site on Friday, from harpmakers to planemakers, regulars of the Woodwork Forums, suppliers and everyone in between. Look forward to chatting a lot more tomorrow.

I’ll say it again, some judge the wood show by different criteria, but what I see is the biggest social occasion for woodworkers for the year, lots of tempting products to see, try and buy, and friends to renew acquaintances with.

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