The Promise of Future Projects from the Ghosts of the Past

Once, I’m sure, it would have been regarded as a stunning architectural feature of the Menzies Building, but the original timber ceiling is no longer the flavour of the month and has been replaced with a modern suspended one.

I had a scan of my collection of digital photos taken over the years, and found one that at least gives a small taste of what the ceilings used to be.

timberroof-1Rather than see that timber wasted or worse (such as landfill or burnt), I have been fortunate enough to have a good portion dropped off at my place (yeah, just in time for me to then have to relocate it to the new house!)

While part of the ceiling, the boards are secured together in groups of 3 or 6, with a board nailed across them (bet that was some apprentice’s job!) The majority are 90 x 30mm, and 1.8m in length.


To take them apart, I initially tried a hammer, but decided there was a much better way – the Worx Pro Jawhorse.

By clamping the crossbrace in the jaws, it only takes a little encouragement (and gravity) to neatly separate the two, leaving lengths of very straight, very dry timber.


Just goes to show how stable the Jawhorse is!  And a tonne of clamping force to boot.  From there, the boards got stacked onto a pallet.  I haven’t measured it, but it’d be close to 2 m3.

I used a bit for toy kitchen for my daughter’s Christmas, and there are a fair few projects to come out of this lot.  Can’t wait!  So awesome (and inspiring) having a good collection of timber!


A Question

This has been bugging me for years, but not enough for me to get around to actually finding out the answer.

When you buy DAR (dressed all round) softwood, it typically comes with faint grooves running the length of the timber.  (These are about 1mm apart).

Other than the possibility it is used to identify soft wood from hard, why are the grooves there, and how are they produced?  Grooved blades on the thicknesser I assume.  But to what benefit?

One brand is laserwood, but these days if you google that, all you get are countless ads for laser engravers!

Veneer Packs

At the recent Ballarat Wood Show, I had a chance to catch up briefly with “The Timber Benders” from Daylesford.  At some stage I will have to have a good look at their primary business, but in the meantime you may be interested that they have veneer packs for sale ($20 for an assorted pack)

This is one such assortment:

Timber Benders Veneer Pack

I’m no expert on veneering, so cannot lend any expert tips, however on the other hand that I can get a result means at least the basics are very straight forward!


I’ve taken one of the veneers, and applied yellow PVA glue to one side (yellow is about 30% stronger than white, and more water resistant, fwiw).  I’ve brushed the glue on using one of the disposable glue brushes from Professional Woodworkers Supplies.  Next, I’ve applied the veneer to an oversized sheet of MDF, and using the rubber roller to carefully push the sheet down, remove any air bubbles etc.

Roarockit non-stick pad

I’m using one of the Roarockit kits as a vacuum press, and it comes with this piece of plastic mat.  Laying this over the surface means any glue is not as likely to stick to the actual vacuum bag, and assists the air to escape when creating the vacuum.

This is all slipped into the vacuum bag itself, which is a very heavy duty plastic with a valve on top and a seal at one end.

Roarockit came about from skateboard makers wanting to veneer the ply to make their boards.  Basically the same as what we need for other veneering processes.  Also useful for creating curved timber (for those times you actually want the timber warped in a controlled manner!)


The seal is this super sticky/super gummy black substance – it tries to stick to anything, but is really good at holding onto the plastic of the bag.  I keep it clean by reapplying the protective plasticised paper strip when I have finished use.

Once the bag is sealed, the small handpump is used to evacuate the bag.

Nature Abhors a Vacuum

With the air pumped out (no, not to 100%, but as best as I could achieve), the immense weight of the kms of air above the bag push down (total force theoretically is 1 atm, which is roughly (and someone can correct me if I am wrong), around 1kg of force per cm2.)

That is a pretty good amount of force quite frankly – that veneer is getting quite flat from that!

Once the glue is dry, the veneered board is removed from the press, the press is carefully stored away again in its box.

The veneered board is then sanded (not a lot, given the veneer is <1mm thick!), and your choice of finish applied.

Final product, ready for a project

Here is the result, and I haven’t decided what to do with it – make a box lid, or base, or something.  The process seemed to go well, seeing as I am a beginner!

If you want your own pack of veneers to play with, have a chat with The Timber Benders

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