For those of you who don’t know what that is, a distributed denial of service is the web equivalent of a massive street riot. It’s effect on an online website or business is devastating at the time, and the after effects can last for months, and longer.

During the initial attack, there is a massive surge of tens of thousands to millions of attempts to access the website over and over. Even websites and infrastructure hardened against such an event often succumb, and drown under the assault.

It is often perpetuated by some snot-nosed 15 year old wanker, or some 40 year old loser. Underworld Organisations out there work to compromise as many computers as they can get through viruses, through popups people click on and other methods to infiltrate individuals computers, millions of them. These lie dormant, and the owner would have no idea their computer is compromised and has become a sleeper (like in a spy movie), waiting for an order to attack.

The said 15 (40?) year old thinking himself ‘a hacker’ pays the organisation for as many ‘bots’ as he can afford and sets the target. And so the DDoS attack begins. And because it is distributed on individuals’ unprotected computers, they continue hammering away at the site over and over until the site can harden itself against the particular attack.

If you have visited The Wood Whisperer recently, you would have found his site slow, or completely down as he is in the middle of dealing with such an event.

At the moment, you don’t get directly to his front page- you get an authorising screen, requiring you to interpret some difficult to read characters. Only humans (not bots, character recognition software etc) can interpret these, confirming their legitimacy.

Once you confirm you are human, you get to Marc’s site. Persist with it- Marc needs your support to come through this, and if you are in a position to buy something, join the Guild, or simply donate, please do- this sort of attack will be costing $thousands to withstand the attack, more to recover, and a lot of lost business as well.

Marc has been a huge part of the online woodworking community, and it would be an absolute travesty if his contribution was lost through something like this.

You can find more info on the specific attack on Marc’s Facebook page, or on his Twitter account @WoodWhisperer

Burning the Candle

Seems to me these days, that not only am I burning the candle at both ends, but I’ve somehow had to light it in the middle as well. I need to get it under control again soon: it is unsustainable, and my post quality and quantity recently is a direct reflection of that.

In the meantime, as a seque back to what I wanted to show: found this image recently, don’t have any detail about it at all unfortunately. But if you are burning the midnight oil, or burning the candle at both ends, you could use one of these to ignite it


Cool huh!

The Woodworm

Or to be more accurate, Woodwurm (German for worm, because woodworm was taken!)

So what is it?  A interesting site run by Martin Gerhards.  He contacted me recently to ask if he could put a link to this site from his, so I had a bit of a look around his www.WOODWuRM.de while I was at it.

He has an interesting approach, with a comprehensive philosophy towards his woodworking, and towards the material we choose to work with which I found refreshing, and one I’m sure reflects in his woodworking.

Worth a look around, a read (and for some pages, Google Translate is a useful tool – unless you read German!)

He also has quite a collection of links to other woodworking sites out there…..



Not sure what you call it- when an ‘upgrade’ turns out to be a ‘downgrade’, so when you roll back to the earlier version, it is simpler to think of it as a ‘retrograde’! Or something.

I ‘upgraded’ my Torque Workcentre about 6 – 8 months ago (I’m sure there is a post about it at the time) where there was a new concept for the MDF top to have tracks rather than a basic flat, featureless top you screwed things to, or my adaption which was the series of 20mm holes, 100mm apart, with Walko clamps (from Ideal Tools).

Sorry, but hated the upgrade. (Not to put a too-fine a point on it). The top ends up not being really flat, the slots cause issue when moving work across them, such as pin routing or circle cutting (an issue highlighted at the recent Berwick Woodworkers training day), and more than anything else, the tracks quickly fill up with crap and swiftly become unusable.


So I’m looking at these tracks, and asking myself a very simple question- why keep them? I have a much better solution just 19mm below the new top- the existing previous top, complete with Walko/Festool workbench style holes.

So quicker than the new top was added to the machine months ago, it was ‘unadded’, aka ‘retrograded’ aka taking the concept, ditching it into the bin, and returning to a system that had no issues needing to be corrected.


A sense of normalicy floods over the workshop.

Potterin’ About

Bit of a last hurrah from summer over the weekend, with a 37 degree Saturday (over 40C in the shed), so not a lot achieved out there. Bit of cleaning was pretty much the sum of it really. I did continue some more testing – product review, but it isn’t going well. May find I’ll put it aside until for a while, get a different perspective once a bit of time has passed.

Shed has been getting another cleanup – what happens when it is too hot to think, let alone produce. The danger of having a pool right outside the shed door – it is always calling in the heat.

Still, I managed some progress, even if it doesn’t look that much.


No point showing the other direction- still a bombsite in a sawdust warehouse!


Over the past 4 months or so, I was becoming increasingly concerned about the Torque Workcentre, people’s purchasing experiences, lack of communication (particularly given just how invested I had been in it for a few years).

Not too much time has past though, it seems. My last article I wrote before the speedbump has only just made it to press (in the latest edition of Australian Woodworker- I haven’t seen it yet. Has been a while because I can’t remember what I wrote!).

Had a phone call on the back of that from the new business manager, and a great deal of information exchange ensued.

For one, just how much of my involvement, in promoting a quality Australian product, and in design suggestions, and modifications had been lost/forgotten. Even the very comprehensive assembly manual’s existence had been forgotten, and it was only during the phone conversation was it mutually discovered that all this history and quality relationship with Torque had been lost. Even just who I was, and what I, and Stu’s Shed represented as an independent asset for the company, and the product had gone.

Without going into as many details, I know where discussions were going prior to the Melbourne Wood Show last October, what I was lead to believe by a prior company ?manager?, only to discover I was two timed, and the same discussions were also being carried out with another.  They got the gig I was promised, and I was out in the cold, both in a business sense, and what was meant to be the arrangement for the wood show.

Ok, so that is the negative. And it wasn’t, and isn’t directed at Torque Workcentres – they (especially the inventor) are the real victim in all this. Funny thing is, early on in the relationship I was offered to become a part owner- a 10% share (for no financial buy-in). To this day I am still glad I declined the offer. I rather remain independent- remunerated if I do any work for then (such as the assembly manual), but otherwise free of any expectation. And able to continue to provide reviews and opinions which are not compromised.

It has been a very difficult recovery for Torque (and more to come)- I imagine recovering from a real flood or fire would be the equivalent, but it has begun, and what I heard is that recovery is going to be pretty spectacular. Some of the products on their way will blow our collective socks off.

I am going to wait until I get a firm direction from Torque to talk about them, but from the sound of it, it isn’t far away.

In the meantime, if you are looking to have dealings with Torque Workcentres make sure you are using a reputable dealer. These are the ones listed on their website, including Lazy Larry in Queensland.  Apparently Larry is no longer a Torque dealer.

So hopefully, this will represent a return to Torque again making for exciting content on Stu’s Shed. Can’t wait!!!


Manspace Magazine is heading right into the digital frontier with their latest move.

You can certainly still subscribe to the traditional version for $20 ($19.95 for the pedantic) for 4 issues if you want, or save a tree and get it electronically to be read on you device of choice (computer, iPad, Samsung tablet etc etc)

It is available through Zinio, which has a whole swag of other magazines also available, across IT platforms. You can also buy individual issues of Manspace for $6.95

To get to Zinio, click the icon and shop for magazines to your heart’s content. It doesn’t affect your discounts, but Stu’s Shed gets a bit of a kickback. There is a massive range of magazines available too, and they are crossplatform. Buy it on your computer, and read it on you iPad or iPhone (or any other popular device) (and vise versa) Don’t forget to search for “Manspace”! There is quite a comprehensive list of magazines available to choose from, especially when using a web interface.

Zinio - Be Well Read

One Rule to Rule them all

There are a lot of rules out there these days: steel rules, plastic, wooden, anodised aluminium, acrylic. In my workshop, I have a number of examples, most are getting very dusty. The two that are not are quality offerings from Woodpeckers, and a new one from Australian Wood Review ($49) is vying for a place to be included in that select company, which is the Interwood Brass Rule.

It has good heft, is particularly straight (unlike any of my steel rules, which all,seem to have gathered some form of kink over the years) is CNC routed and has acid etched markings. At 350mm, it is more versatile than your standard steel rule and looks a lot nicer to boot!


It doesn’t have a centre scale which I sometimes find useful, but on the other hand, the fact the markings line up on both edges is a worthwhile alternative. One end is also marked to assist with setting tool height (such as router bit and tablesaw).

The rule is currently sitting on my desk at work- I know it’d be useful in the workshop (especially marrying up with the brass square from Wood Review), but I also like the weight, and length for other non-wood related tasks! Dilema!

15 Months….or 15 Years

15 months ago I started a project, creating a display board of my collection of Naval items. It has been a bit of a long haul- not overly difficult, just for some reason I stopped early on, and didn’t find the motivation to knock the project off.

You could say the project started 15 years ago when it was first conceived, but it was only recently I knew what I wanted to do.

One final big push- the brass was all polished and sealed, the board sanded and finished, hole drilled for the gauge and I had the method for attaching all the items finally worked out.

Brass screws (keeping as traditional as possible) mounted the majority of the items. The crests were glued, as were the name plate (with white ensign) and the plate from the ANZAC. This wasn’t screwed on because by the time the ANZACs arrived there was so much less care for attention to detail and quick and easy was the order of the day.

Mounting the cartridges, wheel spanner and torch needed some problem solving, until I cottoned on to the idea of using copper wire. Couldn’t thing of a supplier, so came up with an alternative right in the shed already- heavy electrical wire. Stripping the insulation left a number of strands, just a heavy enough gauge to work. I started off with the idea of drilling two holes next to each other, so the wire could be twisted off at the back, but with the holes close together, huon pine couldn’t withstand the force so the wire cut through between the holes.


I then came up with a much simpler solution- a single hole, with the two end fed through, then wrapped around a screw at the back. With care, this screw is then tightened to lock the wire in place. Care is needed as tightening the screw pulls on the wire, and the copper gets close to breaking point. When successful, it is a good way to really secure the item in question.

I used the same method to secure the rank boards as well, in a way very similar to how rank boards are fixed to a shirt in the first place.

So the completed board, looking rather similar to the planned layout and in context, among some of the qualifications earned at the time. Now I just have to polish up the 4.5″ and 5″ shells.


Training Day

Always surprising just how much I remember about the Torque Workcentre when I get started (either that or I just talk too much!) at the Berwick Woodworkers club today.

With about 10 interested members registered, we jumped straight into various aspects of the machine, from fine tuning, degrees of freedom, mounting tools, mounting work to the workcentre.

Drilling a grid of holes 100mm apart, 20mm diameter was next, for use of Walko Surface Clamps (from Ideal Tools). They are still the best method for mounting work to the workcentre by far. Everyone got to have a go at many of the functions during the day – decent hands on, not just demo.

Lots of information, passing both ways. Heard about their difficulty in getting a complete unit delivered – incomplete deliveries is a common theme I’ve heard a few times now sadly. These guys even had to make some parts to replace those not delivered.

Also got to admire their $36000 dust extraction unit.



Pretty serious stuff!

Back to the day, and the Berwick Club sure looks after you – jam & cream scones for morning tea, great sandwiches for lunch, lamingtons, cupcakes and pastry jam & cream squares for afternoon tea.

So we drilled, surfaced and sanded our way through the morning.


A quick look at the circular saw mount before moving onto router copying.

We cut circles (with everyone getting a go) then looked at pin copy, including the body of a toy plane (Berwick make a lot of kids toys), then moved over to the copy attachment for a bit of bas relief sign writing.


So, a good “Training Day”.

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