Sass & Spunk Styles

Been doing quite a lot of product development for Sass & Spunk Styles recently, which is interesting.  

You can check them out on Facebook – search for “Sass & Spunk Styles”

They can definitely style their product photos better than I can! There are some lessons I can learn from there.

He is a snap I took yesterday of a part of their stand at a local market.

The great Masters sell off.

With 14 days or so to go until the doors finally close on the failed Masters experiment, prices have been dropped again, now to 60-80% off.

Sounds good, except that is a carcass that has been heavily picked over.  There is so little stock in each store, that if the combined shelf space of all Masters put together would struggle to fill a single outlet (and even then it would be a sad product range.

In the power tool section, pretty much everything has gone, bar one brand.  Wonder what is says about that brand’s reputation that plenty of stock is still left, even with a minimum 60% off, and no other choices (competition) available?!

Clean up in isle 1

While I’ve been doing quite a bit in the shed in recent months, especially around the CNC, my housekeeping (in the shed) has been woefully neglected.

So I put a couple of hours into it yesterday, and managed to get a semblance of order into an area of a whole 8m2.  Granted it was probably the worst corner of the shed, but still, there is a lot more work required out there.

I am happy with the start though, and rather than the two hours trying to generally clean everywhere (which inevitably only touches the high traffic areas), this covered a lot less area, but got right into the corners, backs of shelves etc.

Now if only I can keep it that tidy as I progress the clean across the shop.

I might even get to unpack some more boxes that I haven’t seen the contents of for a few years!

Time for a name change

I’m thinking Phoenix would be a suitable replacement name for Triton.  They keep rising from the ashes, and appear to be immortal.

Time after time parent companies have failed, or have sold the brand, and yet even after the demise of Masters as one of the big outlets for Triton, I get this in my inbox: an invitation to a product launch!

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While I have some questionable opinions of some of the product range these days (still heavily influenced by their days under GMC), you can’t fault the brand’s resilience!

Stopped the Saw

Having the opportunity to demonstrate the SawStop means I have set it off many times, by a variety of techniques.

Today was the first time I tried a new technique.  Setting off the brake for real, by accident, as a false release.

Wrecked a brake, damaged a blade (a good one).  So how do I feel about it all now, now that I have incurred the cost of a blade and brake which wasn’t a real save?  Absolutely no different to how I felt about the whole system yesterday.

Sure, I made a mistake, but you don’t piss and moan about the airbags in your car going off unnecessarily in a less serious accident, and I feel exactly the same about the SawStop.  It is still there ready to save if there is ever a need.  I have had the SawStop for a few years now, and this is the first time, so to my mind that equates to about a $100/year insurance policy. Yes, I am comfortable with that.

So what happened?  I forgot that the SawStop mechanism was there I think.  I was cutting some acrylic, which I have done plenty of times before, but this was acrylic with a difference.  It has a silvered surface, ie, a mirror.  And silvered surfaces tend to be……metallic.  I must have not been making good contact, so it didn’t detect me through the material initially, but as the blade got closer to me, it must have passed a threshold reading and off it went.

There are a lot out there that disagree with SawStop, for whatever reason, and this adds fuel to their fire.  So be it, that is your personal choice.  Me, I know how much the cost, and personal physical damage of just a simple knife slip.  I can’t begine to imagine what the results would be for a tablesaw accident.

Vale The Timber Benders

Sad news has come through this month: Don O’Connor and Sue Ewart O’Connor were killed earlier this month in a tragic car accident, when they swerved to avoid a kangaroo on the Daylesford-Malmsbury Road.

I met Don and Sue briefly at one of the woodshows (when they were at the Flemington Race Course), having been very aware of the work they were doing with some historic (mid 19th century) equipment and old techniques to steam-bend timber.

They were the last dedicated timber bending industry in Australia, and they, and the knowledge they had of traditional techniques will be sorely missed.

New Kreg Product – a Plug Cutter

Noticed this came on the market recently (at least I hope it was recently!) A plug cutter from Kreg Tool

This means you can cut plugs to fill the pockethole hole from your choice of timber species.

It looks to use an oversized guide which fits your standard jig, which will support HD, standard and micro plug cutting bits.

Not sure when this will be available in Australia – if you use pocketholes, worth keeping an eye out for this one.

Cake Toppers

Have had a few orders for cake toppers recently.  I’ve been cutting them from acrylic and it seems to be quite successful.  Better yet is when you can make it completely customised – can’t buy that in a shop (or from China!). Will post the latest effort shortly.

Top 50 Woodworking Blogs

So after 9 1/2 years, Stu’s Shed has made it onto the feedspot list of top 50 woodworking blogs, coming in at a modest #26.  

Interesting, but a bit of a reality check is also in order.  There are about 600 facebook fans (followers) and 1075 on Twitter.  No idea how they do it, but there are others with 10s of 1000s (even up to 220000) facebook followers.

Even so, I’m not complaining – over the past few years I have not been able to afford the time to put the amount of love and attention into the blog as I was once able to do.  The frequency has certainly dropped off, with a post a day on average now being closer to a post per week.

Of course, if there had been a woodworking blog category when I started, Stu’s Shed would have been rated at #3.  More because it was only the 3rd woodworking blog out there than anything else (and #1 in the southern hemisphere)!

Still, it is here, and plodding modestly along.  Got some new projects in the pipeline, some shed rearranging underway, and some new machines planned, so there is something to check in on.

And the 10 year anniversary is getting ever closer.  10 years – that has to be a lot of prattling on!


Masters loss can be our gain

While the demise of Masters was inevitable (and I did predict it very early on, given their insane approach to how they chose to compete with Bunnings), it does provide an opportunity to grab a few bargains, before Bunnings again gets to dominate the hardware market.

I dropped in there today, as the discounts have increased to 40-70% off, and boy are the shelves emptying quickly.

I managed to get a couple of cans of Danish Oil, and while I was tempted by a few things about the place, I did take the opportunity to (finally) bite the bullet and get a new tool trolley.

My old ones (x2) were very cheap and dodgy.  Very light, and although they have kind of lasted, they are really at end of life and have been so for quite some time.  Still, not bad for $100 each at the time.

But I came across some of the last stock of the Gearwrench XL trolleys, and I just couldn’t resist getting them for 1/2 off (or there abouts).

Still, they (it is two parts that you can buy together or separate) cost a pretty penny, but it is a lot of cabinet.  Combined it weights in around 200kg.  That is empty!  Either there are bricks hidden in the bottom of it, or the whole unit is made from a good heavy grade of steel.  

So I can retire my two small units, and hopefully get to unpack some more tools as well, seeing as there are still a plethora of those that are still in boxes since I moved house.  Only been 3 years or so!

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