Link with the past

After reading my article on line shafts, Evan suggested I look at the following video on YouTube.

It is an excerpt from a 1981 documentary about a craftsman who is still using a water-powered (and line-shaft enabled) workshop from the 1840s.  It is 26 minutes long and does a pretty good job of documenting the creation of a project in this workshop.

The video starts with a bit of blacksmithing, which is interesting in its own right, but the majority of the video is about the creation of a large water trough for cattle, completed in a single day using techniques that are very similar to that a cooper would utilise to create a barrel. A very large barrel!

What I found fascinating, and really very invigorating and inspiring (used enough adjectives here?) is the machines in this workshop are practically no different from those in mine, and many others around the place.  We may utilise electricity rather than water power, but little else has changed.  We would be quite comfortable operating in a workshop of the 1840s, and in turn someone from that era would find ours very familiar as well.  Our links with our roots are not very long at all.

A tablesaw is still very recognisable as a tablesaw, as with the thicknesser, jointer, horizontal borer etc.  It seems the only really new technology in our workshops is the router, and even then it is quite possible the spindle moulder dates back far enough to be included in water powered workshops.  In 1925 they were still using flat-sided cutters, so that is something we can be grateful has improved over time! (Kickbacks would have been common, and incredibly violent).

So have a look at Ben Thresher’s mill, right out of the pages of history, and enjoy as I have, that we are still keeping these traditions alive in our own workshops.  The digital age of woodworking seems to be approaching, CNC, laser, 3D printing etc, so lets not allow our craft and skills to be lost in the way that digital photography has affected (what I call) chemical photography, and what computers and iTunes is slowly doing to music. (Had to end on a note of controversy!)

A look way back

Came across some old photos (comparatively old that is) of the original shed

A lonely box


Pouring the original slab beside the shed that was already on the property when the place was purchased.  Note the rather new-looking Triton in the foreground.  The back shed was the first, and in there I had the tablesaw, router table (Triton) and a lathe.  Moving from that 3x3m into a 6×3 metre and I felt like it was SO much space.

Not sure the vintage of this one – it is the 6×3 shed but after that I don’t have any particular references. As much as sheds are continuously evolving, it just goes to show that it is worthwhile taking the occasional photo out there.  May not mean much to you at the time, but it is really interesting looking back.

Another view, and you may not pick it but in the middle is a GMC tablesaw – what I was using before even the Triton.  At this point it was converted to being a disk sander.  I think it was finally sold off a couple of years ago.  Under it is a GMC scrollsaw, and that $40 model is still in my workshop, it has gone up against other models worth 10x as much, and won.  One day a good scrollsaw would be interesting (I reviewed the Excalibur aways back), but until then this is still a functional, very occasionally used machine.

After the storm

That shed took a huge beating one day, with the wind tearing a side and roof completely off.  The only thing that saved the back wall was the Triton Wood Rack – the weight held that wall in place.  Note the Superjaws and recently finished doghouse that was used to help secure the groundsheet until a drier day eventuated.  Also too, there are a lot more houses in the background – amazing how the whole environment has changed over the years.

So that is a bit of look back to around 7-9 years ago.  Wonder what I’ll think in another 7-9 looking back at the current setup.  And what will the shed look like at the time?!!

Enz of an Era

It seems an appropriate title, on a number of levels.
The (temporary) reformation of Split Enz for the recent charity concert Sound Relief.

The end for me of having a near complete collection of Triton gear – especially reminiscent when checking and watching leave the Triton Router Table. The bandsaw and 3 in 1, and the WC2000 all ventured out into the great wide world as well. The WC2000 is heading up to the recent bushfire affected areas, to replace one that was lost in the blaze, so I’m pleased about that.

The apparent end of Triton demonstrating (although that died a quiet death with the demise of Triton – who knows what the future holds).

The fact that Split Enz has a song “History Never Repeats”. But that does have to be offset by Sean Connery as 007: “Never Say Never”……….

So as the cleanup after my biggest ever Ebay sale continues, seeing how much Ebay now take by forcing you to offer PayPal as a payment option really sucks. One sale, on top of the advertising fee and the end of auction fee, the PayPal fee really eats into the bottom line. The PayPal fee alone for that one sale was $20. Unfortunately, there really doesn’t seem to be a better way to sell Triton, but they really take their pound of flesh these days.

Some space is slowly revealing itself again, and I’m already getting some benefits from freeing up resources. I have an electrician already booked for Monday to come and run 40A of power down to the shed, and its own 5 circuit board (inc 2x 15A circuits). No idea why it was so hard getting an electrician – I had one come to quote, who never got back to me with a quote, one who never even returned my initial phonecall(s) (and messages), one that wasn’t interested, and the final one who gave me a quote that I could manage. So much for getting 3 quotes – I was lucky to finally get one! Thought we were in a recession? Guess not, at least I guess there is too much work for electricians out there to take on work that is available!

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