I am finally back, cooking with gas

Gas hasn’t been the problem however.  Nor electricity, water, phone, Foxtel.

The only industry that cannot sort its cr@p out for when someone moves house is the ISPs (internet providers).  For an industry at the forefront of technology, their service sucks big-time.  Sure, they say the right things nicely when you ring them, but with that sugar on top answer “It’ll be 6-10 days for your internet to be connected”

Why???!!  Oh, and it didn’t take the maximum 10 days promised.  It took 14.  14 days for a straight-forward setup.  Hate to see how long it’d take to do a complicated one.

Foxtel managed not only to be up and running within 24 hours of moving in, but that included a physical satellite receiver install, and cables run through the house.

All the other services also happened seamlessly, without interruption.  But not the internet.

I was with Commander (once they bought out People Telecom) and moved to iPrimus (which uses Commander as their actual internet provider), so there is no issue there.  And the house was connected to ADSL2 to the only exchange in the area before the previous occupants left, so I wanted to use exactly the same wires, and connections, so no problem there either.

I can only put it down to one thing.  Cr@p customer service.  As in they don’t actually care about their impact on the customer.  I even forwarded a letter of complaint to the Red Tape Commissioner (recently set up by the state government), but no reply from their either.  Must take too much red tape to reply.

Whatever the reason, whatever the lame excuse, I’m back baby, and 3x faster than before. (Yes, I should have a lot more, but I have given up caring – comes down to the telcos providing a decent service.)

The regular show can now recommence, without trying to force it through the dog of a 3G or E service of a Telstra mobile!

This Old House

Just been watching part of an episode on Foxtel – generally not being into home renovations, I haven’t seen much, if any of it before.

The guys make it look so easy.  Disturbingly easy.  But if you have their respective levels of experience, I guess it is!

Great to see the prolific use of Festool – Kapex, Routers, Dust Extraction etc.

Their 2 pac spray insulation has given me a great idea for a small problem I have (and had totally forgotten about on the router table – that I hadn’t finished attaching the top and sealing the irregular-shaped gap between the two, to ensure the dust extraction extracts from where the dust is!

Only just discovered (remembered) the problem tonight, and within 30 minutes (and arrival back in the lounge), I have a great solution.

Not that I’ll use 2 pac spray, but no-more-gaps will do a great job.  Sometimes TV actually does provide a solution.  Just not often!

(Update: just saw an ad for Room Crashes (or some such).  Guy goes troppo in various rooms destroying them to make them over.  Yeah weird.  Especially when he deliberately smashes some fluro tubes by kicking them.  Can anyone spell mercury vapour?)

Cool Tools

After a bit of an interlude from the Xmas break, I got a copy of the episode of Cool Tools that I featured in.  Looked good – I was prepared to be rather embarrassed,  but I’m happy with the result.

Sadly, no mention at all of Stu’s Shed, which would explain why there was absolutely no change in site traffic when the episode aired over the US Thanksgiving weekend (and other than the fun of heading over to the US to film an episode, was one of the reasons for making the trip over).

At least I didn’t make a complete fool of myself!

Coming to America

This March, Stu’s Shed is having a flying visit to America (specifically Denver, Colorado), to appear on the DIY Network show Cool Tools, demonstrating and providing an independent perspective of the Torque Workcentre!

It is a long way to go to be a guest on Cool Tools, but getting an opportunity to appear on the show is, well TOO COOL!

The show is seen in over 100 countries (including Foxtel in Australia).

(And a big “Gidday” to the Producers of Cool Tools – turns out they occasionally visit Stu’s Shed, and is how they discovered the Torque Workcentre in the first place! How cool is that!)

Cool Tools & Triton

The Cool Tools show on pay-TV got mentioned here recently for their MagSwitch feature. I was watching the show tonight, and the first tool out of the blocks was the Triton MOF001.

Sad- it still looks good.

Speaking of Cool Tools, Worx also made an appearance with a new circular saw- the bladerunner. Worx/Rockwell really seem to be filling the old Triton niche.

Lessons and Ideas from Foxtel

With the luxury of finally being able to record whatever I want on Foxtel, been getting to watch some of what I actually feel like seeing when I’m ready.

So I’ve been watching a few of Norm’s shows of course.  Not even sure if there are any other quality woodworking shows being made at the moment (and not even sure if Norm is making any currently).

Norm loves nailing projects together, which I’ve always found a bit unusual.  But it does get the projects together quickly I suppose.  Was watching his take on a poker table tonight too, and rather than the rather complex constructions that I saw in one of the woodworking magazine, Norm made an easy version relying heavily on MDF, some veneered boards, and felt.  Once finished, it looked great, and one day I’d really like to make one myself. He produces a lot of other ideas, and shop aids etc which would be really useful, if one had some floor area in their workshop!  Love to see what someone like that could do in a typical backyard (constricted, and (comparatively) tool limited) workshop, rather than their massive spread.

Speaking of challenges, I’ve also been watching a bit of Iron Chef – where 2 highly skilled chefs go head-to-head in a 60 minute cooking battle, with the basis of each meal being a specific ingredient.  Wonder how a woodworking equivalent of that would go?  Instead of a secret ingredient, a secret tool, or material that needs to be incorporated.

I can’t really criticise Norm’s preference for nailing projects together for speed really.  Considering I’ve made the second of two trips to Ikea to get the last of the modules I needed to complete our bedroom makeover.  Sure, I would have loved to have made it all myself, but that really costs (in materials), and more importantly, I am more time-poor than anything else, so having something pretty much ready-for-assembly helps.  When I am quite a bit older, I’d like the luxury of saying I don’t shop there anymore, and instead hand make everything.  In the meantime, I’ve made serious work of the 90 second charging GMC rapid screwdriver to tackle the large bags of joinery components that is the essence of Ikea.

How well the Ikea items last over time will be quite telling, but the beauty of the Kreg Pockethole Jig is if it comes to it, I can reinforce the joints with pockethole joinery down track (as I have done before), which is ideal for joining man-made materials such is the basis for much of Ikea’s products.  Despite their relative position in the marketplace of their products, there is one point that they really excel, and that is in the item design.  The engineering is quite incredible – taking a piece of furniture and breaking it down into components that pack very flat, and can be joined together easily enough if you follow an instruction manual that’s main feature is a complete absence of words.

I say unto you in the words of Chariman Dacascos: Allez Cuisine!

TV Shows

Been using the Foxtel IQ2 to finally get to record some of the shows I might be interested in (I never seem to actually be surfing to find something to watch when they happen to be on – now at least they are automatically recorded for when I’m ready!)

Watched Norm for the first time in ages, and another (which I won’t name) that has um surprised me before, and tonight was no exception.  Let’s just say that what they do when woodworking are not practices that you’d see in my workshop, whether a camera was rolling or not.  Putting a narrow board through a thicknesser on its edge…..using a biscuit joiner and placing a hand on top of the guard to hold it down right in front of the cutter.  It may be fine, but my hand will never be on that side of the biscuit joiner – at least not while it is plunging into the workpiece.  There might have been more, but I couldn’t bring myself to continue watching.

I’m not saying that my practices are ideal by any stretch of the imagination, but this is national TV!

Both shows used a jointer too.  That second show cut boards to length, then ran them through the jointer and thicknesser.  To my mind that is asking for snipe.

Norm on the other hand had an interesting technique (which if have come across before, I’d forgotten).  He has his in and out feed tables set accurately with 1/32″ difference in height.  He joints one face, then one edge.  Thicknesses, then cuts the width on the tablesaw – so far, all very typical.  However, what he does at that point is cut the width exactly 1/32″ oversized.  He then returns to the jointer, and does a single pass, achieving the final accurate width, and removes saw marks.  Ok, not rocket science, but a worthwhile technique to keep in mind.

The contrast between the two shows really stuck out. Watching tools being used does rub off, so to my mind I’d rather watch tools being used correctly, lest I pick up too many more bad habits!

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