Scenes from Ballarat Wood Show

A familiar banner…..


Demonstrating the Festool Surfix finishing system (from Ideal Tools)


Another very familiar demo tool!

Beall Pen Wizard demo


Making a tool box with Dad.

As a long term reader pointed out, very poor practice using food containers for glue however.


Consultation & discussion

Busy day. Lots to see. Price negligible for entry, so no excuse not to come up for a day!

There’s a Torque here on special (2m, brand new except for the use I have given it over the weekend).

Lots of supplies (Carroll’s Woodcraft, and Professional Woodworkers Supplies), lots of demos, lots of crafts and what the region’s woodworkers have made.

See you tomorrow!

That’s not a Domino…

This is a Domino!!

and just in case you were wondering just how big that is….

These are the size of Dominos the original machine can handle:

The Domino, and the Domino XL are two different machines, with appeal for different applications, so it isn’t a matter of one superseding the other – the XL cannot work with the small Dominos, which remain the primary choice for furniture construction, box making etc etc (where you want to use a floating tenon joint of course!)

The Domino XL is…well, I’m not sure why you need such a monster, but where it does get used, you can be sure that joint will survive anything thrown at it!!  The strongest of workbenches, the heaviest of doors, yes – I can see how useful the XL would be.

Maxing out at 70mm for the depth of cut is pretty impressive for a hand-held mortiser.

30mm – 140mm Dominos, widths of 8mm to 14mm.

Have to add this to my wish list 🙂

A virtual tidy

I’ve been having a bit of a poke around the ol’ site: a bit of a tidy here, an update there.  Something I’ve been neglecting for a while it seems!

Found the Stu’s Shed.TV page was around 12 months out of date!  Around 15 videos (in the various sections) had not been listed at all. (Oops).

When I uploaded the latest example, I found there had been a lot of changes in the meantime to the site I use to support the video aspects of Stu’s Shed, which is a bit sad, and moreso, iTunes seems to have changed how they work as well, so only about 13 of my 130+ episodes appear.

So more work to do, and I may have to move away from my traditional video storage, and see if using WordPress video hosting will work better (although at a price – $350/year, in addition to what I already pay to run the site as it does (such as being ad-free))

Something for me to think about.  If I had a commercial internet connection, I’d consider restarting the web server I created for home when I first tested the whole podcasting concept. I’d need a LOT more bandwidth than is currently provided for residential connections.  I imagine there are plenty of other changes that have occurred in the podcasting world since I started!

Perhaps it is simply time for me to look at producing some DVD compilations of my existing videos!

Looking for a workbench?

Ideal Tools are selling off each of the 6 fold-away workbenches that resided in their Festool Workshop in Williamstown.  Built solid, they are 55mm thick in total, comprising 35mm water resistant chipboard base with 19mm West Australian Karri work surface and 65mm Victorian Ash trim. Thick and solid enough to mount a heavy duty woodworkers vice. They are incredibly solid and can take significant weight and a real pounding like a good workbench should be able to when required. Worktop dimensions: 1085mm x 635mm.

Ideal for workshops which are shared with other hobbies or the family car. The workbench is mounted to the wall, and when not required their legs fold against the wall and the top folds down. Protruding only 260mm from the wall.

Included are tool boards which hang on the wall using a simple French cleat system. These tool boards feature two Victorian Ash tool holders which hold the tools via two rows of concealed magnets. There is no direct magnet to tool contact, only timber on tool to avoid tools being scratched by the mounting system. Additionally they feature a whiteboard for project notes. Back board dimensions: 1130mm x 1150mm.

Four of the six workbenches have a series of 19mm dog holes in the worktop. These dog hole work brilliantly with Festool MFT-SP surface clamps and Walko surface clamps, as well as lots of other workbench dogs and clamps.

All surfaces are finished in tung-oil for easy cleaning and refinishing. They are in excellent condition as they have only had two years of intermittent use and only need a light rub-over with fresh oil to bring them up like new again.

Valued around the $1,000 mark, these workbenches are available at $480 each. Contact Anthony at or call 1300 769 258 if you are interested.

The Furphy: When does an exaggeration becomes a lie?

We are surrounded by them: claims by business used to create a sale, when they are actually misleading, exaggerating bullsh*te.


Went to a show recently (camping) and bought an auxiliary battery which will be great for the camp fridge (and other 12V devices).  The guy selling it to me convinced me that installation is easy, and everything that was needed (excluding tools) was in the box.  Bullsh*te.

3 hours later (not including the trip to an auto shop for missing fittings), I finally seem to have managed to install the unit.  Sure, it is in, yes, it will be good, but let’s cut the crap and call a spade a spade.  It is not easy, and no, they do not provide everything required.


I was using some space filler to do that small job on the router table, sealing up some gaps to improve the dust collection by blocking some gaps between the underside of the cast iron top, and my stand.  On the can it clearly says it works at any angle, and that proved correct.  However, the Korean-made foam itself doesn’t like being sprayed into overhead areas, and literally rolled itself out of the void and within 15 minutes was well on its way towards the floor.  Knew I should have paid for the “No More Gaps”, and not just believed what I read on the can of the one I did get.


I guess it is too much to expect/hope for some integrity in sales/advertising.  Can’t speak for anyone else, but personally I’m just a little tired of claims of greatness for a service or a product, only to be endlessly disappointed.  We cannot be experts in every single enterprise we are involved in, and have to constantly make assessments of not only what we are told, but of the person doing the telling.

In the end, I have slowly built a mental list of companies and brands that I do trust.  It isn’t a long list.  I also have a second list of companies and brands I refuse to deal with again, and that list is ever growing.  It is a shame we have to suffer through so many furphies, to find those few company and product gems that are still out there.

Node- a future sensor package

Watching this invention as it goes through a kickstart project launch, and it is not far from market.

When it does, with some additional modules I could see it as offering an amazing arsenal of tools for the woodworker/shed dweller/OHS professional/physical world measurement and monitoring.

At the heart of this device is a handheld component, called the Kore.

  • Arduino compatible
  • Lithium Polymer battery (650 mAh)
  • 12-14 hours battery life with continuous Bluetooth use
  • 2 MB memory
  • 3-axis accelerometer
  • 3-axis magnetometer
  • 3-axis gyroscope
  • Audio buzzer
  • Bluetooth 2.1 or Bluetooth Low Energy
  • 2 module ports
  • 2 dimmable blue LEDs
  • micro-USB for charging and firmware programming

It is compatible with iPhone 4S, iPad3 and a number of other bluetooth 4.0 smartphones.  The Kore has positional feedback (rotation and movement), so I could already see it being built into squares and levels.

However, it doesn’t end there.  The end caps are different modules, providing a whole suite of customisations.

One is called Clima, (climate sensor) giving temperature, wind speed, barometric pressure, humidity, and all this information is wirelessly sent to your iPhone (etc) where it is recorded, and a host of calculations performed to calculate such things as wind chill, elevation etc.

There is a light module called Luma, and so many more in production:

Radiation detector

IR thermometer

Gas detector (Oxa) sensing

  • Carbon Monoxide (0 – 400 ppm)
  • Carbon Dioxide (500 ppm to 90%)
  • Chlorine (0 – 10 ppm)
  • Nitric Oxide (0 – 40 ppm)
  • Hydrogen (0 – 20 ppm)
  • Sulfur Dioxide (0 – 10 ppm)

I’ve had a few brief discussions with the inventor, and have ascertained there is a particle detector on the way, able to detect particles down to 2.5 micron, and have encouraged some other modules:

Moisture detector (pinned and/or pinless) for sensing timber dryness

Metal detector (for finding buried nails etc)

And your imagination could just run on the sort of uses you could find for this device in (or out of) the workshop.  For those with a real technical bent, there will also be blank modules for you to build your own sensors, and the programming is being kept open source so you can create your own interface, custom adaptions, or built from scratch.

Can’t believe how much I want one of these!  Need to upgrade my phone and/or iPad first though – bring on the iPhone 5!

The power of the modern portable computer (phone or tablet) makes for a really exciting time in the world of inventions – it is such a powerful platform that inventors can build upon, and this sort of device makes incredible use of it.

The pricing will be around the $200 mark for the Kore, and modules from about $30 (and up), so it is so within the affordable price bracket.

Imagine a device like this just 5 years ago – it would have cost thousands, even for one or two of these modules as a dedicated sensor.  Not with this amount of interchangeable modules, wireless communication.  Unbelievable!

A New (Temporary?) Reality

Bit of a medical aside. Skip if uninterested.

Woke Wednesday morning to a new reality. (Hopefully short-lived). Sagging mouth, slurring words, one eye no longer blinks, difficulty chewing, very difficult to drink.

I know what it sounds like, and fortunately the medical assessment has ruled out a stroke. However, it still has a very similar impact on the VII nerve (which is the facial nerve). Basically, it is paralyzed, which has paralyzed one half of the face.

Cranial nerve VII 7

Cranial nerve VII 7 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes this is vascular (aka bleed in the brain), but in this case the culprit is likely a virus which has attacked the nerve. It is called Bell’s Palsy (also Facial Palsy). Palsy is simply another word for paralysis apparently. Been learning quite a bit in the past 24 hours.

Recovery can be as quick as 3 weeks or so for 85% of occurrences. It can take 6 months. And no guarantee of a full recovery. So here’s hoping, because this new reality kinda sucks.

Episode 86 Commencing a Project

Episode 86 Commencing a Project
Slideshow created in Keynote on the iPad
Music by Rogue Traders, used with permission.

Timely reminder

Our house (and my shed), cars and yard is covered in a fine layer of ash this morning, after a nearby house burned to the ground around 6am this morning.


It was fast. And very quiet. Fortunately not fatal by a neighbour’s account, who wondered about the smoke crossing the road when he was putting his rubbish bins out, and saw the house right over the fence sending fire, smoke, sparks and ash billowing high into the air not 15 meters from where he stood

Have you checked your smoke alarms recently? Checked your insurance policies?

This Old House

Just been watching part of an episode on Foxtel – generally not being into home renovations, I haven’t seen much, if any of it before.

The guys make it look so easy.  Disturbingly easy.  But if you have their respective levels of experience, I guess it is!

Great to see the prolific use of Festool – Kapex, Routers, Dust Extraction etc.

Their 2 pac spray insulation has given me a great idea for a small problem I have (and had totally forgotten about on the router table – that I hadn’t finished attaching the top and sealing the irregular-shaped gap between the two, to ensure the dust extraction extracts from where the dust is!

Only just discovered (remembered) the problem tonight, and within 30 minutes (and arrival back in the lounge), I have a great solution.

Not that I’ll use 2 pac spray, but no-more-gaps will do a great job.  Sometimes TV actually does provide a solution.  Just not often!

(Update: just saw an ad for Room Crashes (or some such).  Guy goes troppo in various rooms destroying them to make them over.  Yeah weird.  Especially when he deliberately smashes some fluro tubes by kicking them.  Can anyone spell mercury vapour?)

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