Oct / Nov of The Shed is out


Latest issue out has my waterwheel (as seen in the thumbnail pic on the cover), and there is a 1 pge article in the back about Amana Tool/Toolstoday.com which I wasn’t aware of, discussing their products and availability down under.  Turns out, I’ve been quite influential in opening up the Australasian market.  Who’d have thunk it?!

We didn’t have enough time to get the waterwheel plans into the magazine this time (ran very close to the wind for submission dates), so instead, here they are: (click on the image for the PDF).



Event Horizon

Another show on the horizon

How does this show sound:

A hall full of powertools and machine tools of all descriptions to create the biggest Tool Expo the city has ever seen.

Bargains available from the leading brands like Makita, Hitachi, Dewalt and the fantastic deals available on workshop must-haves from Machinery House, Carba-Tec and W&R Jacks.  Everything’s for sale and you might never see bargains like these again.

Check out the latest in welding technology including the home workshop sized CNC plasma cutting systems and state of the art welding gear from Lincoln Electric.

A live steam display outside and pizza oven in action and live action displays of woodturning, woodworking and model engineering.

Freestyle Motorcross, the current Guinness Book of Records current record holders for parallel parking, BMX stunt riders.

Another hall filled with classic cars and supercars, and including car manufactures like Audi, Aston Martin, Bentley, Lamborghini, McLaren, Nissan, Porsche, Renault, Suzuki, and Volvo.  Motorcycles don’t miss out, with displays by BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Honda, Indian, KTM, Suzuki and Yamaha.

A forklift driver’s competiton.  An excavator operator competition.   A beer tent with live entertainment.

And for the insane among us – a three-day crossfit competition.

Entry price – $A18.

Sounds too good to be true, but that is how they roll…..across the ditch.

The show is Big Boys Toys, in Auckland 30th October to 1st November.  And while I was invited, I just can’t get there for all three days, (just too many conflicting commitments) but I am going to get there for the Sunday.

I’ve been asked to be a part of The Shed magazine’s contribution to the show, which is “The Shed” tent (mentioned at the start, full of power tools and machinery, and including Carbatec, Festool, Hare & Forbes etc.)


It sounds like an exciting show, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it. (Especially after the dismal wood show).

I don’t have any photos to include of the tool hall, but here are some images of other aspects of the show.

Busy work

Haven’t posted anything for a while – longer than I realised it seems!  Not that I haven’t been working in the shed, but sometimes I just need to get my head down and power through to make some progress.

The latest work that I have been doing is for the next issue of The Shed magazine – those deadline come around so quickly!

For a bit of a sneak peek, I am working on a water wheel – will end up being a garden feature, but I am trying to make it with some thought behind the design, and not just a basic layout.  You may well ask, just how many ways can you actually make a water wheel, and the more I think about it, and the more research I do on the topic, the more surprised I become about the breadth of the topic.

I found a particularly interesting reference, quite the authority on the topic.  It is The Engineer’s and Mechanic’s Encyclopædia: Comprehending Practical Illustrations of the Machinery and Processes Employed in Every Description of Manufacuture of the British Empire, Volumes 1-2

by Luke Herbert, and the title is quite the mouthful!  Interesting to find a book that has such a strong understanding of the science of water wheels.  Of course, that it was written in 1836 might have something to do with it!  I found some of the relevant text online so was able to glean what I could from that, and I have the book on order from Amazon – looking forward to seeing what other gems it contains!

I’ve been playing around with fin design, with this as an early model

File 8-09-2015 09 48 33This was with a fin angle of 22.5o.  I’ve since refined the angle to 30o, and the result is a lot better, with the inner circle now having a much greater diameter.

I am designing it as an overshot water wheel, so the turning moment of the water is important – the further away from the point of rotation that the water is maintained, the greater turning force it exerts due to gravity.  In any respect, it is quite a fun evolution!

I’ve also been making a number of models on the CNC while all this has been going on, in preparation for an upcoming school fête fundraiser.

So as I said, I might have been a bit quiet on here, but that doesn’t mean that it has been so in the shed! Bags and bags of sawdust coming out (especially now I have the new collector, and the cyclone separator makes removing the full bags a breeze).

Last of the big spenders

Next issue of “The Shed” is now out, making it 3 different magazines currently in shops that I have articles in.

This issue, I have made a coin collector’s cabinet, that can hold up to 1200 individual coins, with each shelf holding a different part of the collection, be that a region, country, or in more detail, such as Australian 20c commemorative coins.


The Shed Mag


Latest issue out now.  Featuring my weather station project.


Hail to the Chef

Had a busy weekend out in the shed, madly making sawdust (which is always a good thing!)

In this case though, it hasn’t generated much content for this site, as it was for the next edition of The Shed magazine.

Here are a couple of the images from the build, but if you want the full article, it will be in the next edition of The Shed (NZ/Aus edition).  If previous writeups are anything to go on, it gets about 9 pages which is pretty awesome!

A fun build – took a weekend to complete, and that is with lots of on the fly design decisions and problem solving.  I quite enjoy building without plans, and just designing as I go.  It throws up all kinds of interesting issues, and solutions that would not have been seen if it had been a sterile, plan-following build.  I’m not saying there isn’t a place for pre-build design, in fact that is the recommended route 99 times out of 100.  I just happen to enjoy the challenges of working with that 1%!


The unit was even thrown into action before I even had had a chance to finish it!  Needless to say, that has been resolved now, using Ubeaut FoodPlus mineral oil.  Came up a treat, and really useful to boot!

Shed Magazine Oct/Nov 14

The latest issue of The Shed magazine has just came out


and it includes my take on a mobile device charging station.


From The Shed website, a sneak peek (there is a bit more than this screen shot on their site), but if you want the full 9 page article, check out your local newsagent.

FWIW, the workgear seen in the article is the Mascot gear from Proskill that I picked up from their stand at the recent Home Ideas show.

The Shed Magazine

Originally only available in New Zealand (at least easily), The Shed magazine has gone Australasian.

Photo 9-04-2014 20 07 08

The first Australasian issue has got me wanting to practice my welding more, and I have an old 1/2″ mild steel plate that would be perfect for the job.

It also has my article on the making of the truck recently (if you were wondering why there was very little detail about that build, this is why!

Photo 9-04-2014 20 07 30

On “The Shed”‘s website is an excerpt from the article, but better than that is seeing all 5 or so pages of it in print.

Photo 9-04-2014 20 11 43

SawStop in the foreground, the new Fair Dinkum workshop in the background. Sweet!


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!!

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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