Kinder Toys

I was down at my daughter’s kindergarten last night- after the cleaners and painters had done their thing over the Xmas break, all the rolls of carpet and kids’ furniture and toys had been stacked, so was doing my bit putting them back in the main room. (Furniture being play fridges, play ironing boards, play stoves, seats, etc)

While walking back and forth carrying various bits n pieces, it really drove home that kids’ toys should always be primarily wood based.

It is heavy, smooth, has a physical and visual presence, is not over decorated, leaving something to the child’s imagination.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to be a perfect facsimile of the original.

So some simple guidelines came out of my observations:

a. the furniture/toys need to be wood, plain and simple. Not MDF. Not plastic. Wood.
b. it needs to be repairable (designed to avoid breakage, but expect it none the less)
c. it needs to be storable. That doesn’t mean stackable (necessarily). Nor does it mean it must be portable (necessarily). But consideration must be given to the fact that the items will need to be moved by teachers/cleaners/etc, often.
d. if it can be carried, provide handles (ofen no more than an opening at either side, rounded over providing lifting points)
e. if it is too heavy to be lifted easily, it needs wheels (castors). Lockable so the kids cannot push them around.
f. colour is definitely not necessarily. Wood looks great as wood! It can be varnished, stained (and sealed), or painted. It coukd be mostly varnished wood with just some painted components. But I like wood.
g. the furniture/toys need to be wood, plain and simple. Not MDF. Not plastic. Wood.

My 2 cents.

Trek’in On

Chek out Barry Shield’s website, or his Etsy page for his USS Enterprise coffee table.



Rather cool, although it might have a more limited audience, especially at $US3100!

You could also find something suitable for your cat, such as this scratching pole, pictured on Imgur by Hobbitron



Live long and prosper


Knee Deep in Dust

For regulars of this site, you’d know my preference for cyclonic dust collection. There is one time particularly, when a cyclone just won’t do it for you- when you’ve used it, and used it, and ignored it, and the bin has overfilled!

Sure, we can lift the lid and check levels, but that is often forgotten (or a matter of just one more small job following another, and each is just not enough for the hassle of checking).

How about a visual indicator that the levels have gotten too high?

Oneida have a unit that measures the level in the collection bin using infrared to sense the levels. Not only would you not rely on the unit giving a reasonable response midway through a dusty job, but infrared has very good dust penetration (ask any photographer from the old days who used infrared film).

When the unit senses the level is too high, it turns on the attached strobe.

I don’t know if the units are being bought into Oz (I doubt it unfortunately), but they can be ordered here

Personally, I’d love one of these units on my main, 4″ collector as well! Given it isn’t in the same shed as I work, it would stop me from ignoring the dusty until it makes strange noises and stops sucking when the dust levels block the extraction fan!

Thee may be other solutions out there, but this one looks pretty good, if not a bit expensive.



Wood Feeler Gauge

In the automotive industry (in particular), the feeler gauge is an invaluable tool for setting precise clearances.  You can get a cheap one for a few bucks, or spend significantly more for ones with a huge range of sizes and smaller tolerances of error.

Automotive Feeler Gauge

I do use one in the workshop, but there are not many situations that such fine gaps are required, or at least measured.  More often than not you will find many people talking about using a sheet of paper, a bank note or a post-it note to check gaps.  Seeing as you can get a feeler gauge for $7, not sure why you’d bother with paper, but that is just me.

Woodworking also doesn’t need the precision that an automotive feeler gauge offers.  It doesn’t mean that the concept of a feeler gauge wouldn’t be invaluable in the workshop though.  And no – I don’t mean the feeler gauge has to be made of wood!

Woodpeckers make just the thing – no surprise there!  Available from Professional Woodworkers Supplies, there is the “7 piece set up block” (available in metric and imperial).

You can use them as a ruler, but better, you can use them as woodworking feeler gauges.

Metric Setup Blocks

The sizes are 0.5mm, 1mm, 2mm, 4mm, 8mm, 16mm and a precision block providing 25mm, 50mm and 100mm.

They are still precise to 0.0254mm (0.01″)

The more you use them, the more you find yourself using them.

Tablesaw blade height

By combining the gauges together you can measure blade heights with 0.5mm steps. This, for example is the blade set to precisely 32.5mm

Setting Fences

Or do you want to set a fence a distance from the blade (and in a very repeatable way)?  This is the fence set at 104mm from the right side of the carbides of the blade. You can slip the smaller gauge in and out in the same way as you do with automotive gauges, ensuring it isn’t too tight so something is potentially loaded up creating a false reading (such as the blade flexing), and not too loose so as to get a sloppy (and therefore inaccurate) reading.

Resawing on the bandsaw


Setting the resaw fence on the bandsaw for 1.0mm thick veneers.

Setting up the jointer

Precisely measuring the gap underneath a rule to show the infeed table is exactly 1mm below the outfeed, irrespective of what the height gauge on the tool claims.

The set is equally at home on the drill press, and the router table, and that is just a few applications for the tool.

Stretch your imagination for others!

Available from Professional Woodworkers Supplies. These are part of the One-Time tools, so once gone, they are gone for good.

Testing social networking connection

WordPress to Facebook

Convert Old TV Cabinets Into State of the Art Play Kitchens

Convert Old TV Cabinets Into State of the Art Play Kitchens
The linked article proposes an absolutely brilliant idea for old entertainment (aka CRT screen-based) units.  Turning them into toy kitchens.

Stunning work, and worth reading the background articles.  Genuine congratulations to both for such amazing repurposing of old furniture, and irrespective, a couple of great toy kitchens!


(photo from

Sutton Grace

(photo from

Want a Woodcraft Franchise?

Woodcraft (in the US ( 😦 ) ) have created a site for you to become more inspired about starting up a Woodcraft franchise owner.


Sure would be tempting!

$50,000 startup fee
Total startup investment around $500,000-$600,000
Currently 76 franchises and 4 owned stores

They take 5% Gross revenue, and you need to have at least a population of 350,000 within a 20 mile radius.

Some really interesting figures there!

Wonder if they have thought of coming down-under………

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