In the neighbourhood

Happened to be passing by Caboolture, and couldn’t let the opportunity pass to drop in on Larry (as in Lazy Larry), have a beer with a mate, and check out his new laser engraver!

And it is a monster! But more of that in a sec.

I haven’t seen Larry’s place since my introduction to the Torque Workcentre a few years ago, and it was very familiar- a shed away from home. Still crazy with all the projects he has on the go (and even more so now that Larry is full time operating out of the shed these days- selling through numerous markets, and online).

Interestingly, despite Larry being the very first purchaser of a Torque Workcentre, and then the first dealer, there was not one to be seen (and only a base being used as a bench).

Workcentre as a bench

Workcentre as a bench

Lots of very familiar tools around the place, similar to what is in my shop but with a lot more available space (and a much more impressive wood store!)



Now to the new star in Larry’s eye- his laser engraver, and it is awesome! The size, capacity, wattage, possibilities.

Just to give you a sense of scale, here is Larry prepping a job on the computer alongside the laser



The laser tube itself has to be seen to be believed. What was once such a rarity, seen only in elite industry, and university research, you can now pick them up for a few hundred dollars ($400 or so)

Laser tube

Laser tube

The beam is reflected around and down to the lens to focus it onto the work.



Then to the actual burn

Doing the burn

Doing the burn

Fast, deep (and it can be used to cut thinner stock, not just engrave), sharp, and accurate. And it may not seem cheap at around $7k, a lot cheaper than the $20k+ they can still be.

The result will be proudly mounted in the shed.



Thanks Larry, and sorry for dropping by unannounced!

A Sense of Responsibility

I became a timber owner today.  And that carries both a sense of possibilities, but also responsibility.  A responsibility to utilise that timber in a way that best displays the incredible characteristics, and varieties of each and every piece.

What arrived (ahead of schedule which was good, meaning it turned up just before the Easter break), was a Torque Workcentre which I am using to create a comprehensive set of assembly instructions, and in a second container which was almost the same size, and felt like it weighed just as much, was a wide assortment of timbers from Lazy Larry Woodworks in Queensland.  Almost was surprised when I got home without blowing a tyre on the trailer!

As soon as I cracked open that container, a very familiar (and welcome) aroma wafted out – the unmistakable smell of Camphor Laurel.  And it certainly wasn’t just CL in the container.  Silver Ash, Maple and Walnut were just some of the 40 pieces of timber of all sorts of shape and size were inside.

Assortment of Timber from Lazy Larry

Although most seem to have some indication what they are, I think I’m going to need Larry’s help actually working out what all of it is!

So now I don’t have an excuse, and already feel a an urge to really do something with this timber. In the past, with the nicest pieces in the shed, they are (kinda) earmarked for future boxes, but that is both a lack of imagination on my part, and a function of the size of those pieces.  This collection is something else, and could become part of some piece of fine furniture, such as the Hall Table I made on the Ideal Tools course late last year.

Possibilities, possibilities (and responsibilities). Taking those 40 odd pieces of timber, and making the best use of them that I can.

Another Twist in the Ultimate Router Table Tail

When I was first setting up my workshop (slowly, over time), I got to the point of deciding between a router table (something I’d never experienced, or knew what it was really for), or a drill press (sounded a bit boring).  I was relying on Triton Orange products to know what to get, not knowing better and the first few purchases were exemplary (particularly the original 2400W Triton Saw).  Triton had a couple of jigs for their router table – a biscuit joiner and a finger jointer (which was technically a box joint rather than a finger joint) and so I had the impression that a router table might be quite useful if they were the sort of things you can do with it.

Once getting the router table, I discovered just how much control, safety and capability having the router mounted provided.  Over time I have outgrown that table (and some subsequent ones, well documented on this website if you do a quick search), and some jobs I have done since have needed me to develop some hand-held routing skills.  But I’ve always returned to the router table whenever I could for that overall control.  But what if I could have both?

One of the things that drew me to the Triton range was that it was an Australian company, and it was local manufacturing, something that I think is definitely worth supporting, and encouraging.

Once I went away from a commercial solution (not finding something that satisfied all my requirements) I started combining quality components to make a Frankenstein router table to beat all router tables.  But as much as I am happy with how the top is progressing, the base was always far behind.  I’ve always liked Norm Abrams router table design too fwiw.

Having a solid base has been something I’ve wanted to add to the whole package, but just what that would be has been in question for years.

So I had a bit of a brainwave on the way to work the other day: as you might have gathered from my recent road-trip, (and some upcoming videos) (and by reading Lazy Larry’s blog post), I have decided to add a Torque Workcentre to my workshop, and gain all its significantly impressive capabilities.  My thought was – why not combine the two?  It would save me significant space in the workshop, having both tools occupy a single footprint, and allow the features of one to add to the other when it was applicable.  There is a small problem area, where the router under the table can impact on the support arm for the overhead router, but if I need to use the whole top for a large slab, the in-table router can simply be lifted out.

With a 2.4 meter top, I will have 2m of working range for the overhead router, so with all that bench space my main fight will be keeping it clear of detritus that seems to build up on any and every flat surface in my workshop!

The Torque Workcentre is significantly solid as a platform, it is an Australian invention, and is manufactured here, so ticks all those boxes as well. There is an added benefit to that which I first was exposed to when I was heavily endowed with Triton machines with the factory in Melbourne – spares are easy to come by, and you can have an influence on the product design, and when need be, talk with the real experts – the manufacturers, designers and engineers.  Those in the US/OS don’t miss out – these workbenches can be purchased worldwide, exported from Australia, and as demand dictates it may be that manufacturing is also exported under license (there being a worldwide patent on the design). Lazy Larry Woodworks (and the first ever owner of a Torque Workcentre) is listed as the international distributor. (There is a definite benefit of going through Larry – he’s an owner as well, so understands actually using the machine, and isn’t just trying to sell it to you! This approach worked very well for Triton in the past as well – real owners out demonstrating the product, allowing the product to sell itself (as good products will)).

My Torque workcentre is currently being built, and should be shipped down from Brisbane either the end of next week, or the start of the week after at the latest (at this stage!)  As much as I got to try out Larry’s one last Wednesday, it is a completely different experience when it is just you and the machine in your own space.  It’s going to be awesome!

I haven’t decided yet whether I am going to dedicate a 2400W Triton to the cause, or get a router specifically for the Torque Workcentre.  All these things are yet to be determined, and can only really be done when the machine arrives.  I’ve already had a number of ideas, how to incorporate a Wixey height gauge into the Torque design, the incorporation of a down-draught table, and of course having a table-mounted router mounted into the tabletop of workcentre.

So the path to the Ultimate Router Table has taken an interesting turn, and with this latest development, it is looking to be the most unique, and capable router table out there!  Eat your heart out Norm 😉

An Alternate Perspective

Getting to see an event from another person’s perspective is rather cool, especially when it is your own event.  I’ve been writing about recent shows, and trips to Brisbane, and now have been reading about the same trips and events from Larry’s viewpoint on his Lumberjocks blog.

Stu’s Shed trip to Brisbane

Melbourne Wood Show

Alternate Wood Show

He certainly gets a lot more comments on his blog posts than I do. The benefit of having a blog attached to such an active woodworking community as Lumberjocks!

Northern Exposure

In the end, it was quite a massive day, an absolute whirlwind.  From waking at 5am, I was home 1am the following day (thanks in part to some disruptions to flights on the way home on Qantas, and in part because I got to the airport 30 minutes early iaw my ticket, and was told it was too late, and for a local flight I should have planned to be there 90 minutes early. Oh well, had an iPhone packed with movies, so time passed quickly).

Qantas 737

Qantas 737

At the airport, I was met by Larry (Lazy Larry Woodworks) and Aaron (Torque Workcentres), so it promised to be a day full of info.  Larry owns the first Torque Workcentre sold (around 9 months ago?), and Aaron manufactures them, so it was a great tag-team.  More on the workcentre in the next post.


Bread and Cheese Boards

Other than a general lack of sawdust 😉 (Larry had taken a garden blower to the shed), it was my kind of chaos.  I recognised a Carbatec workbench there on the left.  This is looking towards the back of the shed, with a beer fridge in the back corner (out of view), a clamp rack, lots of storage, and little wallspace, with jigs and creations on all the working surfaces.


View towards shed front

A view from the beer fridge (an essential in Brisbane – hot and humid (well it seemed so to me)), stocked with XXXX Gold, and some ciders.  Oh to have so much working space!


Timber, timber everywhere!

Larry certainly has a range of timbers, and a decent quantity of each.  He also knows his timbers a lot better than I do.  Bit disappointing hearing how much they pay for timber up there – anyone would think timber was gold encrusted in Melbourne for the comparable prices.


Torque Workcentre and more jigs

Walls covered in jigs – the essence of a functional shop.


Larry's version of a trivet


Twin axis jig used for cutting complex curves

So that’s a bit of a look around Larry’s workshop – still plenty missed.  You know what it is like in your own shed – all those nooks and crannies where things are hiding, jigs only you vaguely remember the job it was created for, timber offcuts you couldn’t quite throw away.  There was even a radial arm saw I caught a glimpse of on the video I don’t remember actually seeing.  Guess it has become pretty superfluous now Larry has the Torque Workcentre!  His tablesaw is a 12″ contractor’s saw, with a full Incra fence and positioner system, Incra 2000 mitre sled.

So a big thanks to Larry for his hospitality, and a chance to have a good look through the place.  Of course, the primary reason for the visit was to see the Torque Workcentre, and that will be covered shortly.

Oh, and thanks heaps for the timber too – Larry sent me home with some Hairy Oak, Avocardo (that will be interesting to see how it comes out – I doubt it will be green though!), a couple of other piece I can’t remember the names of (as I said, Larry knows his timber a lot better than I do!), and most generously, one of his large woven design cutting boards.  Thanks mate!

Another Road Trip

Been a while since I had a road trip, although I guess technically it is a road/air/road/road/air/road trip. Total round trip distance is 3600km.  In US terms, I think this is roughly like a round trip from Miami to NYC.

Yup, tomorrow I’m heading north for the day, with a flying visit to Brisbane to check out Lazy Larry’s workshop, and particularly get a really good look at the Torque Workcentre.

lazy larry

Larry's impressive "weave" pattern

Torque Workcentre

Torque Workcentre

Needless to say, I’m taking my video camera!




Stu and Lazy Larry

Stu and Lazy Larry

Stu and Lazy Larry

Caught up with Larry when he came down from Brisbane for both the Alternate Wood Show and the Melbourne Wood Show.  We got to see some of his work at the Melbourne Show – he does some stunning work which I took some photos of, and you can catch more of through his website.

Larry and his "Woven" Chopping Board

Larry and his "Woven" Chopping Board

Sample of his work

Sample of his work

And some more boards

And some more boards

He really puts in a great deal of attention to detail in the boards he makes, combining complementary and contrasting timbers in elaborate patterns.  He is it seems a fan, as I am, of Purpleheart as an accent timber.  He makes particular use of the capabilities of the Torque Workcentre in some of his creations, which was being demonstrated at the two shows.

%d bloggers like this: