Stu’s Shed

Murdering electrons in a Woodworking Workshop. Covering woodworking tools and techniques (with the occasional venture over to “The Dark Side” with traditional hand tools and methods).

One thing I found while on the woodworking journey is the frustration from having to discover things by trial and error. This site started as a way to get some of those answers out there, presented in a down-to-earth manner from one woodworker to another.


It has grown to cover reviews, how-to articles and more in-depth articles about the technology behind the tools, as well as answering questions posed from readers around the world. It also covers a bit of my journey as well – we all start from somewhere, and I will never stop learning so as I do, what I have discovered (rediscovered) will end up here as well.  I’m quite a tool addict, and have as much interest in the modern electron-murderers (power tools) as their traditional alternatives.

There is an ever-increasing library of videos (all free btw), and you can watch them directly from this site, or subscribe to the iTunes Podcast so each new episode can be downloaded automatically as they are made available.

Hopefully there is something here for everyone, and if not, let me know – I’m always looking for the next article!  I tend to post something new every day, if not more often, so keep coming back and get the latest info. Is there anything about woodworking that you ever wanted to know, but didn’t know where to ask?

Last, but not least, welcome to my shed!  Grab a stool or a tool, and a beer (or whatever is your poison), and let’s make some sawdust!

About Stu

You can see a sample of my projects on my Instagram page: OzToymaker


Demonstrating the 3D Router Carver System

Where in the world do I start? I am – Stuart Lees, BE(Mech), APSNZ. Born in Australia, raised in New Zealand, now living in Melbourne. I am married, and my beautiful wife and I are blessed with our gorgeous young daughter. I completed a Mechanical Engineering Degree at Auckland University, specialising in materials, metallurgy and welding engineering. From there, I went into the Navy (RNZN) as a Marine Engineering Officer, and served primarily on HMNZ Ships WAIKATO and TE KAHA.

HMNZS WAIKATO Exercise Kakadu 2 Me on-watch in the Engine Room HMNZS TE KAHA

I was a bit younger and fitter back then (sigh).

I then moved to Melbourne, and have been in a few roles here: consultant on the ANZAC Ship project, Emergency Procedures Trainer, Communications Supervisor for the Australian Grand Prix, Motorcycle Grand Prix and Super V8 Clipsall 500. I then became the IT Trainer / Project Manager for the Faculty of Arts at Monash University for over 9 years, before moving into facilities management, and am currently the Faculty’s Facilities & Resources Group Manager.


So onto woodworking. I’ve been actively involved in woodworking since 2001, and taught a couple of woodworking short courses at Holmesglen Tafe, and was the instructor for the now disbanded Triton Woodworkers Club, Holmesglen (I was also president of the club for a couple of years).



On the occasional weekend, I was demonstrating Triton woodworking products while that program was running.  You’d find me on one stand or another at the Melbourne Working with Wood Show, oh, and there are a quite a few magazines out there with articles of mine in them – Australian Wood Review, and there are also articles in back-issuues of House & Home magazine, and Australian Toymaker.  I currently write for ManSpace magazine, and The Shed magazine.

So what is it that I do woodworking-wise? Pretty much anything that I can get my hands on. I’ve done a bit of turning – primarily small items such as pens, but I have gone as far as table legs and detail features for a nautical weather set. I hope to progress this a lot further – I now have a very nice Jet Mini lathe which suits me for the time being, and have added a Nova chuck to that (good kiwi engineering!). I’ve made entertainment units, bookshelves, dinosaurs, picture frames, puppets, fences, dog houses, playhouse furniture and so on…

For what it’s worth, I was awarded an APSNZ (Associateship of the Photographic Society of New Zealand) in ’99 for my photographs taken while in the Royal New Zealand Navy.



so until next time,


About Stu’s Shed

Stu’s Shed is just that – a modest tin shed on a suburban block in Melbourne. Although as of 2014, it may not be so easy to classify it as modest!  As I see it, the shed is a tool, just like any other contained therein, and I do what I can with the tools that I have.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t like collecting new tools, and bigger and bigger sheds are always very useful! (Is there such a thing as too big a shed?)

This virtual “Stu’s Shed” came from humble beginnings – the original blog was meant to be somewhere I dropped a few thoughts, and links to some interesting websites that I had come across, and as a more dynamic area of my Triton website. It didn’t really take off as a concept- but the seed was sown for this redevelopment.  Then the ability to host significantly larger video files meant the whole genre of podcasting was finally a reality. The first video on this site alone is 3 times the size of my previous web server space!


Comments on this page suspended due to spam.

51 Responses

  1. Stu!

    Lookin darn good (for a beginner).

    I’ve been in Melbourne (working in the store) for a week. Just sitting here killing time for a couple of min’s and thought I would see how you were doing with the site.

    Glad to see all is going well, and I understand you have been talking with Simon about a few things.

    I have moved more into the marketing and product development side with Carbatec now, so I have been been busy putting the 2008 catalogue together (its off getting the proof copy printed as I type). The catalogue this year is going to impress beyond relief, with a greatly improved layout, and more information then ever before. Its also going to increase in size by 50% (page count that is!). I will make sure you get one ASAP.

    Till next time…..keep up the great work (just stop printing nice things about Jet!) LOL

    Tony Forbes

  2. Stu, Great website! I found you from a link on the Wood Whisperer.
    I am a retired US Navy submariner and am trying to assemble a small shop in my basement. I find your site encouraging that you can make quality projects with limited space and carefully selected tools. Thanks for the hard work.

    Regards -Bill

  3. Hello there,
    I have noticed that your front page is so heavily embedded with so many images and videos and that there are some many post on the front page that it takes a long time to load. I’m on a highspeed dedicated broadband service and it annoyed me so imagine what it is like for those on dial-up service. I would like to suggest that you reduce the number of posts that you display on your front page to reduce page loading time.

    Dashboard -> Options -> Reading
    Blog Pages
    Show at most: __ posts

    Change the number to a lower one and click “Save Changes”.

    I hope you find this helpful. Best wishes for happy blogging. 🙂

  4. w00t! My husband reads your blog and it’s now loading much more quickly. Good on you for reducing the number of posts on the front page. I should have also told you that another way to speed loading time without reducing the number of posts on the front page is to insert the “read more” tag.

    Using the read more tag in a wordpress blog

    Cheers 🙂

  5. Hello Stu from Florida USA,
    Really great web site.
    I have been able to get something out of every entry I have read…..
    Have a real problem obtaining add-ons for my new Triton 2000 which I was able to obtain in Canada (last one they had in the warehouse. My problen is no one wants to ship anything for the 2000 to the States.
    I was able to purchase and have shipped to Florida aTriton circular saw and believe it or not I was glad to pay the exchange rate with the UK added to a wild shipping charge.
    It would seem that no one wants to ship their Ebay items outside Australia …Do you have any suggestions.
    Sure would like some sort of direction I could persue in buying Triton from the great folks in Australia.

  6. Hi Richard,

    Try http://www.tritonwoodworking.com/tritontools/triton_dealers_network.php?country=ALL

    Hopefully that helps find a local supplier for you.

    As to shipping Ebay out of Australia, guess it comes down to a lack of trust in Ebay buyers in general, and the overall expense of posting internationally.

    Glad you’ve found the site – Enjoy!

  7. Hi

    I`m new to all this, but somehow I have found you on here and you work with wood – snap!!


  8. Is the Triton a good router , now that they are made in China. I was looking at the feature of being able to adjust the height from above the bench (below bench mounted ) by means of a key.I believe this only applies to one model , which model ?A friend in the woodworking business said he heard of an armature flying apart on a Triton. Have you heard any bad reports ? Thanks Frank.

  9. I’m visiting Melbourne for 2 weeks. As I’m from S Africa, I need help @ which addresses in Melbourne I could buy the following :

    Wooden toy wheels
    Axle pins
    Fuel tanks (wooden)
    Carbi tool wheel cutters
    Toy plans (wooden)

  10. Stu,

    We were talking the other day when we both had to go. I have lost your phone number, so if you could give me a call that would be great,


  11. Hi Stu
    Thanks for ringing earlier. This is a very busy week as we have some internal meetings throughout the whole week.
    I had a quik squeeze through your web site and would like to know what you are most interested to do with Festool. Do you want to do a product review on one of our tools? Do you want to add content about the Fesool tools, because we have a lot of that?

    Thanks again, and it will probably be easiest to contact me via email for the next couple of weeks.

  12. Hello Stu from WV USA
    I just found your site and Ilove it . I am just got started in wood work and really love it .I have found a lot of good things on here. I will be back on more.
    Thanks Joe

  13. Hi Stu,
    Found your site, “great videos” I’ve been watching all morning. The videos are very well done, nothing left out, (as it should be)
    Thanks…………..Darrell from Mississauga, Canada

  14. Hey Stu,
    Thanks for mentioning the Livescribe pen – you’ve generated some leads for us. I hear you had a good meeting with John and Eric a few weeks ago?


    • Probably one or two – have demo’ed the pen to over 60 people in person so far (in organised sessions), not to mention 1000’s here!
      Wish I got a commission 😉

  15. Hi Stu,

    Stumbled across your website. So had to say Hi.
    Great website with what looks like quite a big following Well Done!, Great Photos on Occipital Hypertrophy. I used to see you out snapping on Te Kaha great to see some of the results after many years. We were all fitter back then.


    Scott McLeod (ex LRF)

    • Gidday yourself Scott! Think you are the first person from my past life to discover what I am doing these days – the old persona-non-grata that seems to surround some once they leave pussers.

      Got quite a few awards for those photos, particularly the ones shot during OOWMANs / MOB drills after reammunitioning and taking on the first supply of Sea Sparrows at Point Wilson. Long time ago now.

      One day I might finally get around to doing something with the photos – had an exhibition in Williamstown a few years ago, but that is about it.

  16. Stu,

    If you want to add Facebook or email sharing buttons to your blog posts, there’s a plugin that does it for you: http://www.picturesurf.org/share-buttons

    Hope you find it helpful!


  17. Great website, very informative, I will be coming back here when I have more time to look around.

  18. Aarrgghh Bunnings. Customer service zero, quality going thru the floor and prices going thru the roof. Another ‘quality’ experience at Bunnings again today. Bring on the competition. What a bunch of w……s.
    Calum (venting some steam)

  19. I was about to offer you assistance with photography! Then I see that you were offered associateship in photography! Oops.
    Your pictures are not as clear as I see elsewhere on websites; is there a reason for that?
    And, where abouts is your shed?
    Ivan Earl

    • Appreciate the thought! Actually, if you had some examples of sites with images that are clearer, I’ll see what I can glean and compare to what I am doing – improving my approach probably wouldn’t hurt.

      I don’t focus on the photography on this site – the photos are used to document something that is easier to show in an image than explain in text, and they are quite utilitarian in that regard. It is also a matter of being time-poor, so snap off a quick documenting image than actually concentrating on the photo itself.

      Some sites really do put a lot of effort into the images they use, but then they also have weekly or monthly posts, rather than daily as I do, so they do concentrate more on the presentation of what they do post.

      The other thing is I do recognise that the site is very image intensive, so I opt for a much smaller image size, and a much lower image quality than I would prefer to accept.

      But I will have another look at what I do to see if there are ways I can improve it.

      As to where the shed is – SE Melbourne

      • I have been in touch with Aaron from TWC and despite him giving me your mobile number, which I keyed into my phone, it’s gone walkabytes. I’d like to come to your workshop and see you, perhaps tomorrow or better still thursday morning. my number is xxxxxxxxxx;
        from memory yours was something like xxxxxxxxxxxx
        Just let me know what suits. Thanks.

        (phone numbers deleted to prevent security issues – ed)

  20. Hello Stu,

    At the recent WwW show we spoke about establishing a link for the Bellarine Woodworkers Inc website.
    I must report that the website is currently being redeveloped ,anticipated to be completed early 2010.
    I will advise when this is completed and provide details.
    ( Late but not forgotten)
    Ian G .

  21. Hi Stu

    Nice site and nice shed 🙂


  22. Hi Master Stu
    I am very much a novice in woodworking.
    I am wondering if you could give me some ideas, guidance or even instructions to modify my Triton Router Table RTA300’s top.
    As I read blogs on the net about a lot of woodworkers being unhappy with the RTA300’s top and I have to agree with those senior woodworkers. The top is pretty much mediocre and not very flat.
    I can’t afford Incra as the whole set.
    I wonder if I can replace the top with something more decent.
    Please advise.

  23. Without a doubt, this article is really the latest on this deserving topic. I agree with your conclusions and am eagerly look forward to your future updates. Just saying thanks will not just be enough, for the extraordinary clarity in your writing. I will at once grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Gratifying work and much success in your business endeavors!

    • This is an example of the sort of spam this site is now receiving – a new trend for the blogging community – dripping complements in a hope legitimate bloggers will be fooled into allowing their post to remain. However, I hate spammers and can smell them a mile off these days – this one I left only to document the issue, after removing any links to their website, rendering it useless.

      As you can see though, spammers are still as dumb as ever, with even a pretty generic comment such as this placed incorrectly on the website – wonder what ‘article’ they are ‘complementing’?

  24. Hi Stu,
    just noticed on your twitterfeed that you had a cease & desist. I got one from my isp 2 yrs ago even though it was someone next door that breached my wifi network – now have all pc’s wired and wifi off.

    But I have been using the website http://tvgorge.com/ to watch my programs online in the u.s.a all recent episodes and no trouble as they are not bit torrents and its a similar way to watching youtube.


    Ps still havent heard about that voucher for holmsglen last year. left messages but no reply.

    • Thanks David, good to know. Also, the person I was dealing with has now left Holmesglen, which is perhaps why the loss of communications. I also know her replacement – will follow up for you – about time we had this resolved eh!

  25. Hi Stu,

    We just did the National Tradesman’s Expo in Brisbane on the weekend and bumbed into Aaron with his work bench on steroids.
    Arron told us how you reveived his bench.
    We’re always keen to hear feedback from your customers and independent reviews on our gear as we believe it’s the best in the world. Particularly for injury prevention and time & motion savings.
    Would love to hear your thougts on the gear.
    Our website is above but we could also send some gear to you to try out. If youre interested we would just need to get your sizes.
    Our website is above and here is my mobile if you would like to discuss (number removed for privacy)
    Look forward to hearing from you.
    Best regards

  26. Hey Stu. Thank you for the site. If you didn’t already know, google.com has a tool called sketchup. it is a modeling tool that is completely free and I find it a complete boon while woodworking.

    It allows one to design their piece in 3D and perform every sort of cut and join imaginable.

    You can check it out at google.com/sketchup

  27. Greetings Stu

    Excellent site, something I have been looking for in more ways than one.

    I’m rather surprised I never came across your website previously, considering I rather enjoy wood working.

    ANd spend too much time on the net and have been a member on Ubeaut for a few years.

    Anyway I’m building my own house in the bush and am videoing much of the process.

    I get asked so many questions from so many people about many products and methods.

    Can I ask how much it costs to set this website up and run it?.

    I love the length and detail of your articles and videos.



  28. Hi Stuart,

    it is your long lost cousin! I have been checking out your website – wow!

    So much to look at! very impressive.

    Love to you.

  29. Stu: Please advise. Do you know if the “Rout-a-Circle” that you reviewed in 2008 is still available? If so, do you have a URL for it? Haven’t had any luck Googling or Yahooing it.

    Keith – GA, USA

    • Sorry – no idea! They were never on the web, which is why you haven’t been able to find them.

      The actual unit is nothing really more than a length of flat bar – if you went down to a local aluminum supplier, they would be able to provide a length of what you need significantly cheaper than the cost of even getting a Rout-a-circle to the US. Drill a few holes and you will be ready to go! Don’t think powder coated steel is necessary, Al would be perfectly suitable.

      • Stu: thank you for your assistance. Saw some 1/8″ x 1″ x 36″ AL bar stock and local big-box. Will pick some up.

        Tks, Keith

  30. Hi Stu,
    Just a quick note to thank you again for your help when I was looking for saw blades. You came up to me and offered some great advice, namely where to go to get a good blade.
    I did get the flai blade but they didn’t have the model you mentioned.
    The finish with this blade is good with only a little feathering on the softer parts of the wood.(Oregon?!)
    Certainly a far cry from the Chinese quality blade that came with my table saw.
    Have you done any tests on band saw blades?
    Much thanks and God bless you.

  31. Hi Stu
    Have you got any helpful hints on how to remove nails from old red gum posts?
    I tried with a jemmy bar but could not move them.

    • Hi Jan
      Vice Grips make an excellent nail remover – you do need to get enough of the nail exposed to get a grip on it (either if the nail is a bit proud of the surface, or by cutting down a bit), but then the vie grip will lock on and you can roll the grip over, pulling the nail out.

  32. Hi there “Stu” and others I am looking for blades that can fit a Ryobi 16″ scroll saw. It was made in 1993 and the ones from Bunning’s are thinner at the ‘lug’ ends of the blade. The serial number I can find is R336570. Can anyone help me track down some new blades or would I be better off bying a new saw altogeather?

    • Try Carbatec for one. The other thing is at some woodshows, I have seen a specialist scrollsaw blade seller. I don’t know their contact details, but if you looked up the show’s list of exhibitors, you might get lucky.

      • Thanks Stuart, I was looking in the wrong spot for the serial number DOH!!! Since finding the right number I have been able to track some blades down (via Ryobi) and 3rd time lucky at BUNNINGS. Yes it took 3 trips to Bunnings to finally get them to understand what I needed – eventhough I had THE blade in my hand, they didn’t want to make an effort to check/compare their existing stock GRRRRRRR!!! In the end it all worked out fine.

  33. Does anyone know where I can obtain the urethane facing jaws for the triton superjaws, mine have gone brittle over the years and break up. the part numbers I am looking for are SJA027 Jaw Facing, SJA129Sliding Jaw Facing, SJA Jaw Pins and SJA Rear Sliding Jaw Facing

  34. Stuart,

    Acouple of years back I saw an article about building a cast iron router table top that would take an Incra LS. That is exactly what I would like for my set-up. Can you provide details, plans and where to source the cast iron bits.


  35. Stuart

    What’s the model # on the metal detector you use?


    • No idea sorry – it is some Chinese import thing that was in a sales bin one year. Seems to do the job though, so haven’t felt a particular need to see if there are any benefits to changing. One day it would be interesting to do a comparison of different brands – see which one detects better than the others.

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