DVDs Went

All those Taunton DVDs sold, which is great…..is a start towards my shed upgrade budget!

Nothing else to add really – I did include a SuperJaws, lathe and Powered Saw Tabe, so again, anyone interested…..

Taunton Fine Woodworking DVDs for sale

I’m starting to go through my ‘collections’ around the house, and trying to decrease the amount of clutter that has been breeding in quiet! Some stage soon, that will include going through the shed and disposing of some unwanted tools (including my GMC lathe, which always surprised me in how well it worked for a cheap tool from a cheap brand).

Starting the purge is a collection of Taunton Fine Woodworking DVDs that I have – somehow I managed to end up with 2 lots the same, so these are brand-new, and unopened (and original!!). I regularly watch my set – I keep picking up another technique or trick each time, or at least refreshing things I’d forgotten.

They are being sold through Ebay, under Crafts-Woodcrafts-Books & Publications (couldn’t find somewhere more sensible that targetted woodworking). Hopefully this link will get you to the right place! Ebay Auction

Each picture is also linked to its relevant Ebay listing.


At this stage I’ve only made it available to Australia (seeing as I bought them in from the USA, doesn’t seem much point posting them back there!! (Edit – but if there’s enough interest, I can revise the listing!  Given the starting price of $A0.99, it might be tempting!) They each weigh just under 100g, so I can get 5 in one of the Australia Post bags, (or all in one of the large ones!) so will combine postage – or nothing if you collect!

Sometimes it is bloody frustrating being a novice

Headed down to Carbatec today, with my Christmas $$$s burning a hole in my pocket. Wanted to get a few extra things for the lathe, after learning a bit more about it all with the visit to my friend’s shed last weekend.

Couldn’t find a curved toolrest for my Jet mini lathe – more research required.

I did pick up an asymmetric 1″ (25mm) heavy duty scraper (and yes Soren – it has a long handle!!) (For those wondering what I’m on about- as you can see from the photo in the previous post, my latest 3 (and now 4) chisels all have a substantial handle on them. I’ve discovered how much I like having something decent to hang onto while turning. Yes, I know a real turner makes his own handles….. and I might too when life decides to slow down from the million miles/hour it is currently running at). I’m hoping it will do the job that I want – it is a great chunk of HSS (high speed steel) – about 10mm+ thick.

I also bought some extra jaws for my Teknatool Nova G3 chuck. This is where the frustration starts creeping in.

The jaws that came with the chuck are 50mm. They hold primarily on the external rim of the jaw (ie you insert them into a hole (which can be as shallow as a couple of mm), then expand them with the chuck to grip the workpiece. In the case of the bowl I am practicing on (see photo in a recent post), I haven’t gotten the hole in the base with quite enough diameter, so I thought I might as well get a smaller set of jaws, which will be useful for other jobs in the future. Having a look around, there were 45mm jaws (too close to 50mm thought I), 25mm jaws, and 35mm jaws, both in a bowl jaw and a spigot jaw. Hmm – confusion growing a little. Reading the box, it suggests that the 35mm spigot fitted nicely in the gap of sizes between the 25mm and the 50mm. Not sure what the spigot term meant, but it wasn’t much more for those, and they did say that they can grip both internally and externally. Cool – bonus – they can do the job I want, and for not many more $$s than the standard 35mm I can do this spigot thing when I learn what it is (something to do with vases and goblets apparently). Fitting that gap between the capacity of a 25mm jaw set and a 50mm jaw set is exactly what I’m looking for.

So, get home, open box, get out the “Accessory Jaw Manual” and had a quick read. Huh? Apparently the 35mm spigot jaw’s minimum size for expanding is 53mm. What the? How is buying a 35mm jaw set to have one smaller than a 50mm jaw set end up being wrong? This is the frustration. I’m sure if any turners read this, they’ll be going “of course”, but for a novice, this is the sort of thing that jumps up to bite you time and time again. I even went to my Richard Raffan “bible” – the Taunton’s Complete Illustrated Guide to Turning. Not a mention of a spigot, or that some 35mm jaws are larger than 50mm jaws.

I guess why I’m saying all this, is I do appreciate where people new to woodworking are coming from – I’m still learning different aspects myself, and it is these traps that keep tripping us up frustratingly, that would be good if an introduction to a subject actually covered what you need to know, without being written too simply, or patronisingly. (Just because you are new to a subject doesn’t mean you’ve also lost your brain!)

While I’m on the subject of frustration for novices, I guess I would have learned a lot of this by joining a turning club, but so far I’ve been really put off. I haven’t re-broached the subject for a few years now, but my experiences went like this:

One club wanted me to go to an individual member’s house before joining, so my turning abilities could be assessed. Like that isn’t a daunting concept for a novice. I’m just starting out, and someone thinks I want my abilities judged and criticised? Sorry, but no.

Another club (and I’m not naming names here), seemed interested in getting a new member, so I was chatting to one (at a woodshow) about the club etc, and me wanting to learn more. He asked what sort of lathe I had (this is before I bought the Jet mini), and I said that I have a GMC (this is a $100 lathe, so I am under no false illusions about it being a first-rate tool. Never-the-less, I have made plenty of pens, including my apple one with a captive ring (posted here a while back), turned some pretty round spheres in redgum etc). Irrespective, the conversation didn’t get any further. The instant I uttered the fated word “GMC” the member turned his back on me and walked away mid-sentence.

So now you know why I’ve never joined a wood turning club to learn more. Disappointing really. So I’m doing what I do with most things – jumping in feet first and learning as I go. Reading books, watching videos and making sawdust. I’ll probably pick up heaps of bad habits, that will end up restricting me before I unlearn them, but at least I won’t be insulting people, or being a tool snob.

Woodwork 101 – Books

Over the years, I have come across a huge number of woodworking books (often from the local libraries). There is one set of books that I would happily recommend to all woodworkers – experienced or not.  These are the Taunton Press “Complete Illustrated Guide” set.

They are available from Taunton Press, Amazon, and often local bookstores and libraries will have some of the range.  Beautifully laid out, and chock-full of full colour photographs to best demonstrate the topic being covered, they are a superb set of books to have in your library.  I’ve read most cover to cover, and still reference back to them regularly.

The next book I term “the finishers bible”.  Written by Neil Ellis – a master craftsman who not only does magnificent carvings, but is (without exaggeration), a world expert on finishing, and specifically polishing.  He is based in Geelong (south of Melbourne), and has formulated his own range of polishes – waxes and shellacs trading as U-Beaut.  However, what I want to include in this topic today is his book- “A Polishers Handbook”.


This is another of those books that is worth reading, cover to cover, twice. (Or more). Neil can be found at many (if not all) the Australian “Timber and Working With Wood” shows, on his U-Beaut stand.  Go along, tell him I sent you 😀 ask questions, buy some product (especially Shellawax, and EEE) and BUY THIS BOOK!!  (No, I don’t get anything from him / U-Beaut for saying this fwiw, this is just a genuine recommendation!)  Cost is about $A32, value – priceless (for everthing else there is masterca….. all right – enough already!)

Two authors jump to mind when I think of woodworking authors.  They are Mark Duginske, and Lonnie Bird.  Both have written introductory books on a number of subjects (not sure of Lonnie’s background, but Mark is like a 4th or 5th generation woodworker, and both really know their topics).  Mark also does a range of woodworking DVDs, but that is a subject of another post!

For learning about bandsaws, I’d choose Mark’s “Bandsaw Handbook”, and Lonnie’s “The Bandsaw Book”

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