Showbag Wrapup

The show must go on, as they say, and the showbags went out hand over fist to anyone who hovered around the stand long enough to be noticed!

In the end, 200 showbags went, which took with it the bulk of ManSpace magazines I had been able to get to give away (4 1/2 boxes)  (and the remainder went as well!), all the Festool mousepads, all the DVDs, flyers, and a lucky few got CarbeeSharps donated to the showbag giveaway by Carbatec.

No idea the specific numbers of people who came to the show (down again on previous years, much to the rending of garments and beating of foreheads that typically accompanies such statistics).  Still, good numbers for visitors to the stand, who got to ask about different tool recommendations, (and a walking tour to where the item in question was being sold), viewing sharpening demos, or dovetail jig demos, or cyclonic dust collection on the Festool.

Quite a bit to process, so more on the show to come.

Great to meet regular readers of the site, and welcome to any and all who have now discovered Stu’s Shed as a result of the show.  Hope you hang around, and you find something of interest!

An Evening with Stu’s Shed @ Carbatec

UPDATE: Carbatec have cancelled the entire “An evening with” programme, so the upcoming booking on September 1 has also been cancelled.

In the near future, Carbatec Melbourne are going to trial late night shopping on a Thursday evening – great news for those of us who struggle to get there during working hours, and don’t really want to make the trek on the weekend (when we could be in our sheds!)

As part of this, they are inviting speakers for the evening, and so on Sep 1, Stu’s Shed will be participating, with “An Evening with Stu’s Shed”

My question to you, is what would you be interested in having that evening be? (Or if you cannot make it, what would you want if you could, with the potential of having a camera roll so you can at least see what went on)

Do you want it casual, having a chat over a coffee, some form of presentation on a topic, showcasing a product (or product range), or perhaps a demonstration evening? A session where you get to use different tools under guidance?  If it is tools or technique, what specific subjects?

I’d like to make the evening as interesting for you, for you to get the maximum benefit out of it.

Fire your ideas into the comments, so I have plenty of time to prepare for whatever the evening is to become!

Enz of an Era

History Never Repeats

History never repeats,
I tell myself before I go to t'meet.
Don't say the words you might regret,
I lost before, you know I can't forget.

There was a club I used to know,
It was dealt a savage blow,
The Triton club you cannot see,
But anyway that's history.

History never repeats,
I tell myself before I go to t'meet.
It's time for the final regret,
The club is gone you can't forget.

It's time for that final string,
To be severed and that's the thing,
Better to jump than hesitate,
You need to change and can't delay.

History never repeats,
The URL will be gone soon,
And if you don't change you will find,
A deathly silence in its wake.

It is the end of an era.  When I joined the Triton Woodworkers club, Holmesglen, I quickly took on the role to create and maintain a website for them – the previous one was only a static advert page, and instead I created and grew a new site that ended up the largest Triton website in the world, dwarfing even the company’s own one.  It carried articles, plans, a small amount of video (this was really prior to Web 2.0) and reference materials all based around Triton, and the club.

When the club finally ended, that website was also taken down and what content was useful to extract was ported across to this one.  There is still stuff on there that may be worth having referenced on here, compatibility tables etc – things that have since been lost when Triton themselves were bought by GMC then taken down when that company bombed.  I still have the website in all its glory stored locally on one of my machines.

The URL was maintained even since then, and redirected to Stu’s Shed, and still gets some traffic.

However, it is the end of an era.  In the next few days, the subscription for the URL will lapse, and it will cease to exist.  So if you still use that URL to access this website, you will need to start using the current addresses, rather than that historic one.

Either of:

Will still deliver all the content, video, articles and reviews you always expect!  Over 120 videos, and 1 million words across 1600 articles and 50 static pages 🙂

Mag Appearance

Made a (brief) appearance in a woodworking mag: Australian Wood Review, as myself, rather than as the author of an article.

It was all part of the “My Shed” competition. Shame not to have won the tablesaw, but then, where the hell would I have put it anyway!!!


One day, and you know you’ve finally “arrived” when it happens, someone may write an article about Stu’s Shed, rather than by Stu, or Stu’s Shed.

Small steps, small steps 😉

Woodworkers: Architects of Society

The small man-like creature peered over the bushes at the animal below. The bough in hand had good heft, ready to be swung as a club. It had been found earlier in the day, and with a bit of work had been fashioned to the intended purpose.  It was effective, if he could get close enough to swing it before the animal bolted.

What was needed was something with range, throwable. A straight thin branch would work, sharpened at one end.  In time, the forerunner of the carbide-tipped tool came into being, with a sharpened stone affixed to one end to improve its effectiveness.

And thus, through necessity, the age of the woodworker began.

Through every stage of the development of the human race, from their earliest precursors to modern society, woodworking has been an integral part of the process.

Necessity through the ages often appears to be combat-related, but only because an image of a trebuchet or catapult is more interesting than a wooden bowl, spoon or bucket!

But whether it is warmaking, or winemaking, woodworking has been there.

Even during the industrial revolution, and beyond, when steel had taken over as the material of choice, one of the most skilled group in the manufacturing plant were the patternmakers – woodworkers of impressive skills who could take a drawing of a component and fabricate it out of wood, including taking into account the pathways that the metal would flow when filling the eventual cast, and how much shrinkage would be experienced so the final product, and not the pattern was to the correct dimensions.

These patterns were not destroyed in the process, and were retained for each time a new mold was created. The railway workshops had many shelves full of these patterns, particularly from the days of steam.

A number of woodworking tools still in common use today were developed in this time, and where the terms “patternmaker’s vice” and “patternmaker’s bench” come from.

History is also full of the direct influences of woodworkers.  Ships that sailed to the new world, canoes from the islands resulting in the spread of populations across Polynesia, decisive battles in history, including the use of wooden cannons.

Literature too, including the Trojan Horse during the battle of Troy as told by Virgil in “Aeneid” (trans John Dryden)

By destiny compell’d, and in despair,
The Greeks grew weary of the tedious war,
And by Minerva’s aid a fabric rear’d,
Which like a steed of monstrous height appear’d:
The sides were plank’d with pine; they feign’d it made
For their return, and this the vow they paid.
Thus they pretend, but in the hollow side
Selected numbers of their soldiers hide:
With inward arms the dire machine they load
And iron bowels stuff the dark abode.

The Christian bible too, has many references, including of course Noah’s Ark, and of course reference to Jesus being a carpenter.

There are societies that survive today, that are heavily influenced by woodworking, including the Amish and Mennonites, particularly with their traditional barn raisings.

I often think this is how we should be building the quintessential Aussie shed.

The Shakers have also been very influential on many modern furniture designs.

The movies (& TV) have obvious also caught onto the woodworker’s influence, whether they particularly meant to or not, from Evan Almighty, through to The Lord of the Rings, The Witness, The Simpsons and NCIS to name but a few.

And in this day, as modern media takes a stronger and stronger hold, there is a new generation, including The Wood Whisperer……

and yours truly.

So throughout history, from the daily grind, to combat, literature and religion, the woodworker has been a pivotal influence on society.

So the next time you need to justify a trip out to the shed, remember, it is your duty, for the good of future society, to maintain all the ancient, medieval and modern traditions of woodworking, lest society falter and fail.

Beyond Blue & The Shed

I’m not sure what to make of it, or if there is a hidden agenda behind it (I don’t trust politicians or their motivations!), but Beyond Blue and the Men’s Shed organisation has created an online shed called “The Shed Online” to join the battle against depression in men.

It sounds like a good idea – an online community of shed dwellers (and those who would have a shed if they could, but cannot for one reason or another).  Sharing ideas, discussing issues, swapping stories, seeking help from fellow shed dwellers.  Sounds excellent, and somehow….familiar.

But a politician (you can always remove a politician from politics, but not the politics from an ex-politician) like Jeff Kennett would never reinvent the wheel would they?  Currently it has 4 members online right now (including mine as I check the site out), and there is another out there with 1400 users online right now, based out of Geelong, with a member base (registered) of 59000.  7500 active (and that is a small fraction of total visitors to the site).  That site is The Woodwork Forums, and although the name focuses on woodworking, it takes in the whole gamut of shed dwelling activities.

So why would they ignore it, and instead try to create another version?  Seems such a waste, and all the people who will potentially join it will miss out on the collective contribution of over 100,000 threads, and over 1,000,000 posts.

Don’t get me wrong, the concept is excellent, but it is already a strong movement in Australia, so why would the Men’s Shed organisation (who must know the Woodwork Forums exist), and Beyond Blue ignore it, other than to score political brownie points?  They will have significantly better press coverage (and Jeff certainly helps that), but if the intentions are pure why did they not join forces?  I’m not trying to knock the idea – the online shed idea sounds brilliant 😉 but I’m just a little sad to see a reinvention of something that is already in existence and exceptionally successful.  They even have Shed TV.  Wonder where I’ve seen that before?

Anyway, if you are wanting to join the new community the links are above – I’m sure they could do with the membership!  And if you happen to mention the other resources already out there, well it will be interesting to see how refined their moderation team procedures are!!

Woodshow Stand

Some more photos from the Stu’s Shed / Torque Workcentre stand at the wood show in Melbourne

Still no photo of the chainsaw mount (it is coming, and will be here before Christmas!), but a shot of the cool 12″ Hitachi drop saw mounted on the TWC on a purpose-designed tool mount.


I never visit Carbatec……do I?

In an email sent out to subscribers to their email list today, advising people of their 10% off for 6 day sale at the Melbourne store (that was a bit of a mouthful), I noticed the image used at the bottom that adds a bit of colour to the email.


The bloke in the middle looking at the catalogue, in Carbatec (management) colours is Tony Forbes. Immediately to the left in the image is a vaguely familiar person (and no, it wasn’t a staged photo either). Undoubtedly, this was shot at the Brisbane Working with Wood show earlier this year.

Another point from the email: Carbatec Melbourne now have a late night: open until 9pm on Thursdays, from now until Christmas. If there is enough demand, this trial will continue next year, so definitely make use of it – having a late night is an excellent addition to their opening lineup!

New Demo Programme

I’ve been having discussions with the manager of Carbatec, Melbourne, and he is very supportive of me running a demonstration programme in-store.

What I’m planning, is a demonstration on a wide variety of topics, running for 2 hours on the last Saturday of the month, each month, from 10am to 12pm.  There is no charge to attendees, and it is a matter of turning up at some stage in that 2 hour window, seeing what I have on hand, asking any questions you may have.  If there is a crowd, then I’ll do more of a talking/running presentation.  If not, then I’ll be there to show whatever you want to see, and having more of a dialogue.

The first few topics (starting in May (there is no April demo planned)) will likely be:

May: Kreg Pockethole

Kreg Pockethole

June: MagSwitch

MagSwitch Combo Fence Kit

July: CNC Shark

CNC Shark

The first few topics are subject to change until I lock down the programme formally.

Other topics likely to be on the schedule include:

Pen Turning
Leigh FMT
Sharpening (Tormek / DMT Diamond)
Tablesaw Basics
Bandsaw Basics
Wood Preparation (Planer/Thicknesser)

and that is just the start of the potential list.  Other suggestions welcome (and if better than the above could end up earlier in the schedule!)

Advertising in AWR

As recently spotted in the Australian Wood Review:

Picture1Cool huh!

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