Cot Commissioning

It has been a few months since we finished the cot, ready for a final sand and oil, and of course it’s young occupant!

So my colleague took the cot home, then disassembled it into components as we designed it. He then proceeded to run multiple passes (and grades) of sandpaper (on a random orbital sander) over the cot, then applied Organoil’s Hard Burnishing Oil over it.  The result is awesome :), and MJ (aka new Dad) sent these photos through.


Oiling the rails

As the oil is applied, you can really see the beauty of the grain in the Tassie Oak, and the colour come out.


Before and After


Before and After – End Pieces

I love this one – the before and after shows up the details of the piece, and the colour and features of the timber.


Assembled, bed made up, and in the nursery

So it all came together, and what a difference a little finishing makes!


The Cot

So here it is – the first cot that I have turned out, and MJ has done a great job finishing it off.  Hope the bub gets lots of sleep!  I’m really pleased with the outcome, and MJ should be equally so 🙂

Wax On, Wax Off

When it comes to finishing, I’m all in favour of anything that can make that job go faster, better (sounds like the byline for the 6 million dollar man). If you choose to work with anything better than MDF and crapiata, and you don’t invest in producing a decent finish, you’ve wasted good money, or good timber, or both.

Now I certainly would prefer to waste as little time making something decent out of rubbish, but I enjoy making things a lot more than finishing them – I just like getting to the decent end result. So getting a chance to try out a new finishing pad from Professional Woodworkers Supplies was of definite interest. The new finishing pad is the SurBuf and is claiming to give a better finish than a hand rubbed one.

The jury is still out on that, but it is certainly easier than a hand rubbed one!


The pad is well cushioned and attaches to an orbital sander (or ROS in this case) via ‘hook and loop’. Given how new the pad is, and how new my ROS is, it was rather difficult to remove the pad after I finished!

A first pass

I tried applying both a wood oil and a wax, and the pad appeared to work well for both – certainly the amount of elbow grease used was non-existent, especially with the very well balanced Festool ETA150! When so little effort is used, and electrons screaming to their death is the only real noise, I could find myself polishing all the way to a decent finish, rather than rushing the process.


The box comes with two pads, so you can dedicate each to a different finish type without risking cross-contamination.

Check with Professional Woodworkers Supplies about cost and availability.

Rockler Bench Cookies

Out of the mists at the recent AFWS show in Las Vegas they appeared – futuristic looking like they had been sent back in time to the woodworkers of today as a gift from the future.

Looking not unlike blue hockey pucks, the word was out – the Rockler Bench Cookies had arrived.  No more would woodworkers have to use antislip mats under their work when freehand routing, or sanding operations (and then having to try to get that little polka-dot pattern left by oil residues in the mat off their work).  The Bench Cookies are designed to lift, grip and protect both your workpiece, as well as the bench underneath.

With a surface on their top and bottom with a little give, and a lot of grip, one placed in each corner (of a smaller piece, or a couple more in the middle of larger ones), they allow the full edge of the workpiece to be exposed, so when running your router around the edge with a fence, or a bearing bit, it can protrude below the base, and still there is plenty of grip of the workpiece so you can safely route without needing to clamp the piece down.

When sanding, the piece is held firmly as you’d expect, and then finishing – the edge is fully exposed so you can get your finish right to the bottom of the edge, and not find a bead of it pooling in the lower corner. They work whether clean or dusty, as the YouTube video below will demonstrate.

Rockler Bench Cookie

Rockler Bench Cookie

What’s more, they are cheap – a set of 4 costing under $US12 (get the actual pricing from the Rockler Store) Check with them what shipping costs though if you are purchasing outside the States- I haven’t found that out as yet.

This YouTube video was produced by  A quick tap and sweep with your fingers is what is recommended to clean it, but that is not even done here. I’ll make my own version of a video when I have a chance.

Episode 50b Finishing and Assembling a Pen

Episode 50b Finishing and Assembling a Pen


After spending time planning the job, spending good money purchasing the wood, etc etc, why would you then not spend the time getting the finish right?

A bad piece can’t be made good by getting the finish right, but a good piece can be wrecked with a bad finish.

I tend to find that you need to spend as much time on finishing (sanding, polishing etc), as you do on the construction of the project. And unfortunately, some areas of the project have to be bought to a reasonable degree of finishing before assembly, as it becomes very difficult to reach some places after assembly.

If you want a woodworkers ‘Bible’ on finishing, get “A Polishers Handbook”, by Neil Ellis. Read it cover to cover, twice, then keep referring back to it- there’s heaps to learn, and it is chock full of information

Starting the baby-proofing!

Now that our little one is becoming mobile, and especially pulling herself up on things, I dreaded the idea of her falling and hitting her head on the brick surround of the fireplace.

So what I have done, is rebated a piece of 90×45, so that the remainder had about a 15mm wall thickness on both surfaces. Next, I rounded over the top corner using the largest roundover bit that I have (about 20 – 25mm radius) (using the router table obviously!)

Finally, I applied a large chamfer to the top back edge, and a small one to the bottom front edge, just to break the corners and prevent any splinters. Once I had created the profile I wanted, I cut the length up to form the front, and 2 sides, with a 45 degree mitre joint, that I biscuit joined together. Finally, I took a Black & Decker powerfile (effectively a belt sander with a 10mm wide belt), and rounded over the outside corners of the mitre.

The result is this:


It doesn’t look too bad, and does make the fireplace a bit safer. At some stage, I’ll get around to applying a Jarrah stain, and some Estapol, but in the meantime, it is doing the job intended.

Woodwork 101 – Books

Over the years, I have come across a huge number of woodworking books (often from the local libraries). There is one set of books that I would happily recommend to all woodworkers – experienced or not.  These are the Taunton Press “Complete Illustrated Guide” set.

They are available from Taunton Press, Amazon, and often local bookstores and libraries will have some of the range.  Beautifully laid out, and chock-full of full colour photographs to best demonstrate the topic being covered, they are a superb set of books to have in your library.  I’ve read most cover to cover, and still reference back to them regularly.

The next book I term “the finishers bible”.  Written by Neil Ellis – a master craftsman who not only does magnificent carvings, but is (without exaggeration), a world expert on finishing, and specifically polishing.  He is based in Geelong (south of Melbourne), and has formulated his own range of polishes – waxes and shellacs trading as U-Beaut.  However, what I want to include in this topic today is his book- “A Polishers Handbook”.


This is another of those books that is worth reading, cover to cover, twice. (Or more). Neil can be found at many (if not all) the Australian “Timber and Working With Wood” shows, on his U-Beaut stand.  Go along, tell him I sent you 😀 ask questions, buy some product (especially Shellawax, and EEE) and BUY THIS BOOK!!  (No, I don’t get anything from him / U-Beaut for saying this fwiw, this is just a genuine recommendation!)  Cost is about $A32, value – priceless (for everthing else there is masterca….. all right – enough already!)

Two authors jump to mind when I think of woodworking authors.  They are Mark Duginske, and Lonnie Bird.  Both have written introductory books on a number of subjects (not sure of Lonnie’s background, but Mark is like a 4th or 5th generation woodworker, and both really know their topics).  Mark also does a range of woodworking DVDs, but that is a subject of another post!

For learning about bandsaws, I’d choose Mark’s “Bandsaw Handbook”, and Lonnie’s “The Bandsaw Book”

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