Close Encounters of the Schwarz Kind

Chris Schwarz is down under this month, and although I wasn’t in a position to go on one of the courses on offer, there are a lucky few that are.

There is still the Shaker Wall Cabinet course with a few vacancies if anyone is interested.

220px_Wall_Cabinet_v2.110419-1There is also a Melbourne Hand Tool Event at the Melbourne Guild of Fine Woodworking, which will have Chris in attendance.  Unfortunately we don’t know when that is actually on – they forgot to put the dates in their newsletter, and their website hasn’t been updated since 2011!  If I hear a current date, will let you know (check the comments).

Chris is also hosting a seminar at Eley Community Centre on the 28th March, 6-9pm. Not sure if there is a cost involved.


Wood turning Glossary of Terms

After the frivolous collection of definitions, these might be a little more useful, from Woodturner’s Resource.


Can’t help the 90’s photo treatments: at least the terms are timeless 🙂

An Oldie, but a Goodie: Tool Descriptions

Thanks Frank 🙂

Drill Press


A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.

Wire Wheel

imagesCleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, ‘Oh sh –‘

Circular Saw

csA portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

Multigrip Pliers

300832Used to round off bolt heads.

Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.

Belt Sander

142127_ozito_bsg152_belt_sanderAn electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.



One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle… It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

Vice Grips

10cr_lgGenerally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

Oxy Acetylene Torch


Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub out of which you want to remove a bearing race..




A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.


Hydraulic Floor Jack


Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.




A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut good aluminum sheet into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.


Two Ton Engine Hoist

Engine Stands & Hoists 19

A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.


Phillips Screwdriver


Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids or for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.

Straight Screwdriver


A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms.


Pry Bar


A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.

Hose Cutter


A tool used to make hoses too short.




Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent to the object we are trying to hit.


Utility Knife


Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts.

Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.

Son of a Bitch Tool

Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling ‘Son of a bitch’ at the top of your lungs.
It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.

Pack Progress

So the pack is progressing, even in the shed now.  It isn’t just a matter of throwing everything into boxes (although that would be much easier!) and sorting it out at the other end (that wouldn’t be fun), because like any move, some boxes just don’t get opened again for a long time, until there is something inside that is specifically needed.

Each box is being sorted by category, based on the tool they are for: drill press, Festool, Vac Clamp, spindle sander, clamps etc.  Everything for that tool then ends up in the same box.  Some can be packed and sealed straight away, some are for items scattered all over the shed (deliberately, or otherwise), so they get left open so additional items can be added as they are found.

I’ve gone from having 8 boxes complete, then 16, to having around 40 boxes now packed.  Finally looks like some progress is happening out there!

Along with boxes, I’ve been considering whether there is a benefit to palletising some of the items.  Of course that’d mean hiring a pallet truck, and critically, dealing with a restriction on the path that has a maximum width of 980mm.  Pallets in Australia are generally wider than that, so I’d have to use the Euro pallets, and pallet truck.  Unfortunately, the hire place I rang didn’t even know there were 2 types of pallet truck.

The other problem is the total weight – not for the pallet truck (which typically can lift 2500kg), but to not exceed the load capacity of the truck’s lifting capacity.   The other part of the debate, is whether it is worth the hassle of hiring a pallet truck etc.  Most of my machines are already on mobile bases.  The only two that are not, are the DVR lathe (135kg) and the bandsaw (121kg).  Thinking it is probably good that I managed to get the thicknesser onto a mobile base when I first bought it home (260kg), which would be the heaviest machine I have, followed by the tablesaw (220kg).

Machine weights etc may all seem a bit irrelevant, but as I am getting into the logistics of the move, this is all becoming important.  I have a pallet full of tassie oak, which on it’s own weights about 1080kg!  Might have to split that one between 2 or 3 separate pallets so that it is manageable.

Now I just want to move, get over and past this current stage.  It is a negative phase – the devolving of a working workshop into boxes.  Going from a functional to non-functional condition.

I was thinking while packing (there is a lot of time to think, funnily enough), that you can not move a man’s shed (or a girl’s, for those who have similar pursuits).  A shed ends when it is packed.  It cannot be relocated.  A new shed is then created at the new location, even if it is using the same components as the previous location.

This isn’t the first ‘relocation’ of the shed, although it is the first new address 🙂

The shed started in a 3m x 3m shed, that fitted a tablesaw, router table (both Triton), and a lathe.  It then expanded by becoming a 6m x 3m, with the 3m x 3m remaining as storage.  Next, that shed collapsed to the middle, and the walls ‘pushed’ out to form the current 8m x 4m structure (and still with the 3m x 3m storage).  So this is, in a way, relocation number 4, and by FAR, the largest!

Very difficult to estimate, but I’d guess a conservative figure of 3.5 tonnes of tools, machines and timber.

In Principle vs Reality

I finally got around to tackling the vinyl-wrapped doors on the kitchen unit that have delaminated/had the vinyl detach.

Thought I would be able to glue them back on, so tried on the first door.  The glue was not the issue, but how to apply an even pressure over the whole surface, including inside the detail (faux raised panel).  A vacuum press (pretty much the same process that is used to apply the vinyl wrap in the first place) would be the way to go, but unlike the factory where they are done, I just don’t have a door sized vacuum press out in the workshop.  The one used for veneering is large, but just not big enough for the doors, and the heavy duty plastic is good for flat or curved veneering, but not to get into the tighter detail.

Instead, I thought I’d give those space bags a try.  The principle is exactly the same – remove the air from inside the bag, and the air pressure from the outside provides a significant amount of pressure.

Please note, I say space bag, but I am referring to the concept, not the specific brand.  The brand of bag I used isn’t important.

So after applying and spreading the glue, and reattaching the vinyl, the whole lot was placed inside the space bag, and a vacuum applied.

It looked to work swimmingly.  The bag pressed down tightly across the surface, and right into the detail.  It would have been perfect, except for one little detail.

These clothing vac bags seem to do a great job with clothes, as everything squashes down to significantly smaller areas (never as neatly as the photos mind), but I have yet to find a bag (irrespective of brand) that holds a vacuum.  And in this case, it couldn’t hold a vacuum long enough even for the glue to dry.

So the principle was great, but reality sucked.

Unfortunately, I really wanted it to suck, and remain so.  Hmm – wonder what that says?!

Tom’s Workbench

Tom Iovino runs a website called Tom’s Workbench, and has done so now for about 5 years.


There are a few old hands of us around – Tom has been working closely with Marc Spagnuolo, and their Wood Talk online.  The blogosphere sure has grown since there was only the podfather (Matt Vanderlist), then Marc (Wood Whisperer), then mine, and Tom’s not long after, before the place exploded!  Still, I’d like to think the blogs like Tom’s, Marc’s, Matt’s and mine are still setting the standards for others to follow.  You may not agree, but that is fine too – for my sake, I’d like my blog to be more than it is, but unless it was a primary income generator, it could never get the full attention it deserves.

Anyway, Tom was kind enough to post about Stu’s Shed as the link of the week – cheers mate 🙂


New Veritas Plane

If you have ever been tempted by a Veritas plane – the quality machining, the fine cut, the aesthetic look of polished metal and black finish but couldn’t afford the limited edition planes, then this may be the one for you.

It is a low angle block plane, and turns a curl exactly as you’d hope.


I refer to a small selection of tools as being apron tools – those you live with in your shop apron, ready at a moment’s notice.  This plane is more of a pocket plane, but perhaps not quite for the reason you’d expect.  But you’ll see why I think that in a sec.


Before going further, just check out the quality of the shavings, and the thinness. You can see the colours through even where it is, and if you held the shaving over a book, the text can be read easily.


Not sure if I have ever used the word wispy on this site before, ever. 1 million words, and this the first use of wispy, but that is about the best description of these shavings.  If you drop one, it takes forever to hit the bench.

The other interesting thing about this plane, is you can get it into places where many others cannot reach, due to a relatively unique feature.  A picture tells a thousand words, so guess this next one is the best way to describe that feature.


Heh – sorry.  Yes, it is a miniature of their block plane.  A perfectly functional miniature block plane.


05p8220s6 05p8211s2

Part of the range of miniature planes from Veritas.  I have the shoulder plane as well – haven’t seen the edge plane or router plane before.  Would make a cool set.

The price of the block plane isn’t $300, or $500 – the pricing around their full sized versions.  This one will cost you around $55.  As seen at Carbatec.



It has begun!

After two solid weeks of painting, cleaning, rubbish clearing etc, I got into the shed on the final day before returning to work (on Sunday) to begin the great pack.

8 boxes later, and you could not see any difference at all.  So on Tuesday night, I tried again and got another 8 boxes packed, and still – hard to see where it all has come from – just an inkling in one corner that something might be happening.

This is going to be an “interesting” experience.

I had a removalist company out to quote on moving the house and shed contents, and the price came in at  (drumroll please), $6200. So that put paid to that idea.  I would rather put $6k into the construction of the new shed (that’d get the electricals well sorted and then some, or pay for much of the slab etc etc).  For that sort of money, I could buy a really good trailer ($2k), and a pallet truck ($400) and still have heaps left over.  If I had that sort of loose change, I could get a pretty awesome setup of Festool!

So onto plan B.  Doing it ourselves.  It may be hard work, but I will be able to remind myself at every step that this effort is saving us a significant penny.

The shed pack will take a bit to get through the place, but with regular trips out there, it should move on at a pretty steady pace.  Now that I know I will be moving the contents, I can adjust my perception on how I am packing as well – more things can just be dealt with at the time rather than having to ensure that it is well packed 100% before the move date.

Still, I think there will be a bit of a shortage of storage boxes in the world by the time I’ve finished!

Shed Concept

An appealing shed design!

A place for everything…

You know the old saying, and it is a rule I find particularly satisfying when I can apply it.

When the latest Carbatec catalog email came out, one thing that caught my eye was an organiser from Kreg. Now to a certain extent, there are plenty of unbranded organisers out there, but I did like the Kreg toolboxx (and the spelling is deliberate).

There are two versions – the one I got, which is just the toolboxx, along with 1050 assorted Kreg screws (150 of each standard size and thread pitch), and a deeper version which comes with a serious collection of Kreg jigs and clamps. If I didn’t already have a full set of what is in the Master collection, that would have been the one to go for.

If you don’t have a Kreg pockethole jig, this is definitely a good time to give some serious consideration to one. They are not everyone’s cup of tea, but then they can solve a joinery problem where many other methods struggle. It has gotten me out of trouble on a number of occasions.

But back to the case I got, and it got loaded up pretty quickly!


The top is secured with the main clamps, so it is not a situation where you can pick up the case with the top accidentally unsecured and send screws everywhere. There are 15 removeable compartments, and three fixed ones (the longest in the middle ideal for the long driver, and the drill bit(s).

I managed to fit all my extra screws in as well (almost), so a total of around 2000 screws fitted in the compartments.


To keep track of what screws I have (for reordering if nothing else), I cut the label off each of the boxes I had and laid them on top. I may change this to Dymo labels on the individual compartment, but will decide that at a later stage.

In the lower area, I was easily able to fit the jigs I have and their accessories, all except the Kreg pockethole jig itself. That doesn’t fit for the simple reason that I have mine mounted in a large backing board (30mm thick or so), as documented a ways back (2009) so fitting it in is simply not possible!


I have the panel clamp and the pockethole clamp in there, along with the micro pockethole adapter, dust cover, and a portable set of pockethole screws.


The one thing I found interesting (disappointing?) are the Kreg screws that came with the toolboxx. Not sure of the quality of the material – don’t have an easy way to test their strength, but the head is different. Unlike the standard Kreg screw, which uses Robertson screws, these are a hybrid of Robertson and Phillips. Hybrid is another word for compromise.

The Robertson drive does not sit as deeply in the screw head, although it did drive in and out multiple times without issue. Overall however, I don’t like the decrease in contact area and the shallower driver position. The Phillips part is heavily compromised, and burred very easily – it could not drive the screw in fully into hardwood without significant slippage and burring, and needed the Robertson to finish driving it home.

I just don’t get the point of the compromise. If you want to use Phillips, use Phillips and accept the problems (driver camming out easily for example), otherwise, stay with the dedicated Robertson screw. I hope it is only the screws that came with the toolboxx that are this compromised, hybrid head, and not the whole Kreg range.


Top left, the original Robertson screw type from Kreg, top right is the one that has burred heavily. The Robertson drive can still manage, the Phillips cannot.

No specific mention of a change of head on the Kreg website.

So other than the screws (which are still functional), I am liking the toolboxx! Available from Carbatec.

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