The Hobbit workshops

In a small country, not very far away, they are making a movie. Not just any movie, but for me it is a continuation (and prequel) to one of the greatest movie achievements of all time, of one of the greatest stories ever conceptualised and written.

I grew up on the story of the Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings. After my Mum read it to me for the first time when I was about 7(?) I’ve re-read the entire series a further 24 times to date.

So it is with great anticipation that I await the release of The Hobbit- the story that starts it off.


The Hobbit

There is an iPad app out that provides an amazing collection of behind the scenes photos and videos of production, and watching the first pre-production video where they are making some of the scene and costume details (and some of the multitude of weapons), I saw a very familiar piece of equipment.

A Triton Dust Mask!


Triton Dust Mask during set construction

Sad that I am not over there in the country I grew up in, to be involved in such an amazing creation, but I watch the behind the scenes work with a sense of pride, and eagerness to view what will be a stunning result.

Ideal Tools undergoes Mitosis

And finds itself replicated across the ditch!

(For those not in the region, “crossing the ditch” refers to crossing the Tasman sea, or in other words moving between Australia and New Zealand. It implies the distance between the two countries is so small, that moving from one to the other is no further or harder than traversing a small ditch)

So in news today, Ideal Tools has launched a dedicated New Zealand website.


This provides a dedicated store in New Zealand for their Festool and Protool customers, located at

This means that NZ customers can get:

Free delivery for all orders over $250.
Rapid shipment from Auckland to all over New Zealand (rather than being shipped from Melbourne, if NZ customers were purchasing from the Australian site in the past).
A local 0800 phone number for sales and support
New Zealand specific woodworking articles and discussion, specials and product offers

Thought you might be interested to know!
Australian website is still

There and back again


First, an apology for being AWOL for the past 10 days, and particularly the last few.  As some may have gathered, I have been traveling around a bit of the North Island with my family, visiting my folks, and revisiting some of my old stomping grounds.  For the sake of security I didn’t make too much mention of the trip before I left or while I was away – too many dickheads out there who may find that sort of information too tempting.  However, I am back now so all is good and I am free to talk about what has been happening.

Land of the long lost iCloud

Aotearoa is the Land of the Long White Cloud, but after this recent trip, I think it needs a name change.  I intended to keep the website running pretty much the entire time I was away, but where once New Zealand was used as a telecommunication test bed for the US telcos, it seems this has been slipping a lot – I had so much internet trouble while over there that I just couldn’t keep this site updated as often as I’d like.  My parents’ place cannot even receive broadband, or 3G (or mobile phone reception), being a whole 40km or so from the centre of Auckland.  I therefore had to resort to dial-up, but that posed its own problems (other than speed), as it meant I could not get my devices (iPhone/iPad/Apple Air) online at all – I am committed to wireless technology these days.  Even motels offering free internet turned out to be via an ethernet cable (and none of my computing devices have an ethernet port!)  Another supposed 4 star hotel in Taupo had wireless internet, but expected you to sit in their reception area to use it.  So if I have been unusually quiet – sorry – very much beyond my control.

Australia may be seemingly better, but even we are still suffering from pathetically slow, overpriced internet compared to what is actually technologically possible. It is about time we caught up – there is so much more that would be possible if we just had a modern network.

Woodworking Down Under

I really didn’t have much of a chance to tour around woodworking in New Zealand – too much to do, too little time.  I have documented a bit of what I found, particularly the Māori carving at Rotorua, so there will be a bit filtering out over the next couple of weeks or so.  And there will be a bit of other things I find interesting, not necessarily woodworking or shed related, but interesting never-the-less.

My parents (particularly Dad) is into Rockhounds, including not only finding the rocks (etc) in the wild (as it were), but then also cutting, polishing and shaping them.  I’ve bought back a few examples, including some Kauri gum that I will look at how to mount them as highlights in some box lids (etc).  So came back with some new ideas and directions to try.


It was refreshing to listen to the news in another country without the constant pathetic partisan bickering that we seem to have to endure here in Oz. So a simple message to the pollies. GROW UP ffs.


So a big trip – rather tired, glad to be home and looking forward to getting back into my (shed) space.  Home really feels more like home now, it has been interesting in that respect.  This was the first time I’ve been back to the city I grew up since I moved to Australia 12 years ago.  It has changed a bit, but perhaps not as much as I imagined.  It took a while to feel like the home I left, but it did much more so by the time we finished.  Even so, Melbourne feels so much more like home now than it ever has.

So I’m back, Stu’s Shed is back on air, and work is still sending me emails that I am going to ignore until I go back next week!

Thanks for being patient – hopefully the hiatus will prove worthwhile for you, my constant readers.


The Shed


The Shed Magazine is a magazine focused on the legion of Kiwis who tinker in their sheds or garages.

That is the byline for a New Zealand magazine dedicated to the ingenuity of shed dwellers. (And a subscription was a Christmas present for me last year).

Growing up in NZ, particularly as an engineering graduate, and we were always fed the line of Kiwi Ingenuity.  Reading through the magazine, and just what the sheddites are doing, with such limited resources and I’m inspired again just how true that statement really is.

Current Edition

Current Edition

The magazine is not specific to woodworking, or metalworking (or anything else particularly – it is as diverse as the shed dwellers that buy it!), and already I have read about rocketry, building a steam engine, building a jet pack, and the Centre for Fine Woodworking.

If nothing else, it is a relief to read about other shed owners who will tackle anything in their sheds, not accepting limitations on tools, materials, space or anything else, and will create, repair, tinker, hoard or just potter about in their realms.

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