Been waiting for this one to come out – the latest edition of Australian Wood Review.  Has my first of a series of articles on CNC machining for small-scaled use.  This one is a 2 page spread as an introduction to the topic.

So this is the second magazine (this one, and ManSpace) that is on shelves currently with an article of mine.  And by Monday, the third will be out – the latest edition of The Shed.


A review in the letterbox

Came home to find a magazine sitting on the doorstep (the postie took the “do not bend” seriously) – the latest copy of Australian Wood Review

Very nice cover – nothing like some beautiful timbers to be inspiring! And on page 6, a very well written, researched, balanced review on the Jet DC650TS dust extractor. Couldn’t quite make out the author 😉

Always nice to get into a different media – online is excellent for the ability to reach a large audience quickly, and with very little overhead, but there is always that extra level of sophistication in the printed word.

New Australian Wood Review

Has just come out.  Particular reason I’m mentioning it is I have a follow up article to my panel clamp article – a look at a wide range of hand clamps that are on the market (and a quick review of the Mustarka Rabbeting Router Bit Set).  There is also a review of the Torque Workcentre (not by me – get a second opinon!).

My clamp article wasn’t particularly complimentary of some commonly available clamps….. but hey, do you want a review that just says everything is golden, or one that actually calls a spade a spade?

Australian Wood Review

Latest issue of AWR is now out, and if you are interested in panel clamps, I have a big 5 page review of 13 different panel clamps that are available featured in this issue.

Issue 64

Issue 64

For those who have discovered Stu’s Shed from following the URL at the end of the article, welcome! Hope you like the place 🙂

Publication OTM – Handmade Furniture Projects

To kick off a new “***** of-the-Month” topic, I have been meaning to have a “Publication of-the-Month” segment, and there is a significant amount of products out there worth highlighting (many already in my library!)  this section is called “publication” and not just “book” because I intend to cover magazines, books, DVDs, woodworking plans etc, so didn’t want to have to limit what can be included.

This month, I received a copy of Handmade Furniture Projects by Rafael Nathan at the recent Brisbane Woodworking Show, so that will be our first cab-off-the-ranks!


It is published by AWR, and is part of their series of “The Best of Australian Wood Review”. Written by furniture designer/maker Rafael Nathan, this book contains 23 furniture and woodworking projects, complete with both metric & imperial cutting lists, colour photos and instructions.

Projects in the book include:

bed bow cabinet
cafetable cdtower chest
coffee colonial desk
drawers dresser goldtable
halltable hibachie roundtable
settee sidetables slabtable
trays tsquares tvunit

Each project is comprehensively covered with photos of the final product, an exploded isometric, dimensioned drawing, written decriptions of the steps, and plenty of colour photographs to illustrate the techniques and details as required.

Wonder if I would ever be able to make that bow?  Looks interesting (although I hear that it took a couple of goes to get one that could take the tension 😉 )

Australian Wood Review

The latest issue has just hit the streets, and as always has lots of interesting content. Including a full-page review by yours truely of the Excalibur EX21 Scrollsaw.  For obvious reasons, I can’t reprint the article here – if you want to see it, you have to buy the magazine!  However, any feedback on it (or the previous review of the Pro Drill-press table) is welcome.


Not been having much luck recently with the short courses at Holmesglen – I don’t have any visibility of the overall performance of courses at the moment, whether overall attendance is dropping, or if just hobby pursuits are having a bit of a downturn in the current economic crisis, but my recent introductory Triton woodworking course, and shed course have both been cancelled for lack of numbers (hard to run a course with 0 attendees), and the same has happened for this weekend’s toy making course.

Bit of a shame really – was looking forward to that, and have done quite a lot of preparation work for it.  Have a number of tools just waiting in the wings to be taken along for people on the course to get to play with (including thicknessers, bandsaws etc), so I guess they can all be moved back into deep storage again – there isn’t another one now until Feb 21, so there is no point having the extra workshop space taken up with them for another 3 months.

A Night at the Opera

Or more like, a night in the shed 🙂  Got a number of things done out there which was very refreshing, and actually felt like real woodworking for once. I even got to make some sawdust!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had some trouble with my current inadequate power supply to allow me to use dado blades on my tablesaw. As a bit of a test, I purchased a tradesman’s extension cord yesterday which has a 1.5 mm core rather than the standard 1.0 mm (or even smaller) in typical household extension cords.  I plugged this feed directly into the tablesaw, and gave that a try and the difference was quite remarkable. Even running a standard blade, the saw sounded somehow different.

I then fitted a dado blade, and this time I was successful. The saw easily managed to bring the dado set up to speed. I must admit, that it has been a while since I’ve been that nervous around woodworking equipment- the first time you use a dado set is scary!  When a typical blade has lots of whirling teeth looking for something to eat, like a circling shark, a dado set looks like a whole school of sharks, and they know what they want.

On the other hand, it sure makes cutting a trench or a dado easy! (Funny that).  This dado test is going to be very interesting, and I’m now in a position to start testing the various blade sets that I have.  There have already been some irregularities come to light, so that is what this battle of the dado blades is all about.  One set appears to have the wrong outside blades, as the tooth count is incorrect to match with the chipper blades so that they cannot stack correctly (and I’m getting some feedback from the relevant company about that), and the set I used last night (CMT) had a very poor trench, because one of the chipper blades is over 1mm oversized which I was very surprised about with a set costing over $400.  Anyway, all this will be revealed in full Cinecolor in the reviews in the near future.

Next, a very rusty demonstrator got to shoot the raw footage for Episode 41 of Stu’s Shed TV which briefly covers some of the jigs that can be used on a wetstone sharpener.  I did get a very respectable edge on my carving knife, so the next tomato will pay the price in the kitchen!  I’ve said it before – the Triton sharpener should come with a knife jig – it is the best excuse to justify buying a tool ever!

Then finally, and inspired by my article about the Chris Vesper Joinery Knife, I had a further play with that laying out some rudimentary dovetails, and that inspired me to (finally) assemble the Dovetail Master I got from the Australian Wood Review over a year ago.  I had put it into the “too hard to think about now” basket, but last night everything just clicked.

Dovetail Master

Dovetail Master

It comes disassembled, but it isn’t actually that hard to put together.  Of course the proof will be if I actually can use it to produce a handcut dovetail, but it looks like I managed to assemble it without too much drama.

Disassembled Dovetail Master

Disassembled Dovetail Master

It is currently on special for all of $35 from Australian Wood Review (direct link to the product) fwiw.

So it was a good night – some sawdust made, some video shot, some old jobs completed.  Good times 🙂

The Rejuvenating Properties of The Shed

Did I ever need yesterday (and a whole heap more required, but I’ll take what I can get!)

Took a day off work yesterday because I really needed a bit of time out to recharge the batteries.  Not to sleep (although with a 20 month-old, sleep is a thing of the past!), but just to ground myself – my blood/sawdust ratio was obviously getting periously low!

And I had (and have) so many things to play around with.  I could take a week and not break the back of everything that could be done, but even a day out there sure helps.

There will be a few item-specific posts about the individual activities, but overall the day went such:

Unloaded the new tools down to the workshop. New tools? GMC are being very supportive of my activites which is very cool, and so there are some new tools to review, and use both in my workshop, and at courses I run etc, such as the upcoming toy course.  (Still looking for bookings for it (through Holmesglen), but there are going to be lots of ‘toys’ to play with, while making toys to play with!!)

So I had a Triton 3 in 1 to get down there, and boy, is that thing a monster.  Not physically large (still a reasonable size), but it feels like it has been carved from a solid lump of steel.  61kgs to be exact.

I also had to (sadly) pack up the Excalibur EX21 Scroll Saw that I have been reviewing for the next edition of the Australian Wood Review magazine.

Once there was a little space, I also had a small GMC benchtop drill press to assemble, the GMC 18V AllNailer to unplack and charge, a CMT Dado set (on loan from Carbatec), and I think that was about it.

Not sure about the AllNailer as yet – the first few nails I’ve driven, some have easily gone full-depth, but others don’t seem to have been able to penetrate to much more than 20-30mm of remaining nail.

I tried cutting a wheel with the 1/3HP GMC drill press (I’m hoping the Triton one will become available soon), and although I managed a 50mm one (in pine), it sure struggled.  The stalling was one thing – that’s just a fact of life that I was pushing it a bit hard, but each time that I did (and I did stall it often), I had to wait 30 seconds for the coil’s thermal cutoff to reset.  I’m guessing what was happening was – each time the motor stalled, the coils in the motor would get hot (immediately), and that there is a thermal switch in there that was tripping.  However, it is a VERY sensitive switch, so even a brief stall was too much for it, and the saw wouldn’t turn on again until the coils cooled.  Interestingly, the first side of the wheel went easily, and it was the second side that was problematic.

Once play time had ended, I went to work on a few prototype parts for a child’s table and chair, including trying out the Mortise Pal for making loose tenon joints using the router (rather than something like the Festool Domino (which looks great, but is miles out of my budget)).

So that’s a bit of an overview of the day.  I’ll go into more detail of the individual events later.

At least I feel a little refreshed.  More needed!!

Australian Wood Review Issue 60

Has just hit the shelves….

Australian Wood Review Issue 60

Australian Wood Review Issue 60

I’m making particular mention of it, because it includes my review of the Pro Drillpress Table from Professional Woodworkers Supplies.

So check it out, let me know what you think of the review (so long as it is good 😉 )

Interesting tidbits

Got to read the proof of my article / review for Australian Wood Review magazine the other day. Not a big deal, but it’s always nice to get something in print. Is a full page on the Pro Drill Press Table from Professional Woodworkers Supplies.

Finally got to fit the Wixey Digital TableSaw Fence, and the accuracy it allows is awesome! More on that in an article shortly.

I’m in the process of writing some new (interrelated) courses for Holmesglen Tafe. They will be available for the 4th quarter of 2008 (and given the course guide is due out shortly, I don’t have much time to get them written, or at least the blurb for the Short Courses Guide). The courses will be in the workshop, and will be making wooden toys. The courses (at this stage) are going to be based around the age of the recipient child, rather than the skill of the woodworker. So they will be wooden toys for under 3s, for 3-5s and for 5+. They will either be a full Saturday and 1/2 a Sunday, or 3 x 1/2 Saturdays in a row – not sure which as yet. With Christmas approaching, I’m hoping they will get enough of a response to run (need 5 attendees as a minimum).

Got down to Bunnings to check out this weird concept of a handsaw with a laser. Turns out to be a Spear and Jackson saw. Not sure what disturbs me more – the fact that Bunnings are selling them (but that shouldn’t be much of a surprise – they are building a strong reputation for selling cheap tools rather than substance), or the fact that a supposedly reputable company such as Spear and Jackson would even consider it. Cost is $39, so not even in the $7 cheap bracket.

Laser Hand Saw

And finally, am doing a bit behind-the-scenes stuff to get an inaugural meeting of an Incra User Group off the ground. More details shortly. I was going to have it in my shed, but it is looking to be too popular for my limited (space & power) resources, so am looking at one of the local woodworking businesses (one that is closely associated with Professional Woodworkers Supplies, who import Incra, and will be closely supporting the user group).

So I still need to organise some (smallish) function at my shed. Wonder if that will ever actually happen?!

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