A visit to Sea Shepherd

Headed down to Williamstown yesterday to see the MY Steve Irwin.  While there, I was very pleasantly surprised to find the MV Brigitte Bardot was also in port.

Before heading down, I had a check of what they were requiring (there is always a list of needed supplies), and found some woodworking-related items on there, so took them about 4x 10″ saw blades, a couple bottles of yellow PVA glue, some Tung Oil, and two boxes of router bits (1/2″ and 1/4″).

Guess it isn’t a lot, but it all counts.

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Got to tour both ships which bought back lots of memories.  The Steve Irwin was originally built in 1977, around 11 years newer than one of the ships I served on, but still has a similar feel to the decor.  Strangely, it still had speaking tubes installed – a common way to communicate with the lower deck areas (such as the engine room or Captain’s quarters).  Something more usual on ships from WW2 than ones built in the late 70s!

The Brigitte Bardot is an interesting vessel, but sadly it isn’t an Earthrace/Ady Gil.  With a maximum speed of 24 knots, it is nothing compared to the top (short run) capability of 50 knots. (Our tour guide claimed it was 28 knots, but there is no way something that looks like this can only do 28 knots! That’s only 52 kph)


The basic ship tours don’t get you down to my old (equivalent) stomping grounds, (being the engine room/MCR (machinery control room)) but perhaps I might have another chance to do so before they sail on the next campaign.  Have to see if there are any other tools I can take down there.

Looking for a workbench?

Ideal Tools are selling off each of the 6 fold-away workbenches that resided in their Festool Workshop in Williamstown.  Built solid, they are 55mm thick in total, comprising 35mm water resistant chipboard base with 19mm West Australian Karri work surface and 65mm Victorian Ash trim. Thick and solid enough to mount a heavy duty woodworkers vice. They are incredibly solid and can take significant weight and a real pounding like a good workbench should be able to when required. Worktop dimensions: 1085mm x 635mm.

Ideal for workshops which are shared with other hobbies or the family car. The workbench is mounted to the wall, and when not required their legs fold against the wall and the top folds down. Protruding only 260mm from the wall.

Included are tool boards which hang on the wall using a simple French cleat system. These tool boards feature two Victorian Ash tool holders which hold the tools via two rows of concealed magnets. There is no direct magnet to tool contact, only timber on tool to avoid tools being scratched by the mounting system. Additionally they feature a whiteboard for project notes. Back board dimensions: 1130mm x 1150mm.

Four of the six workbenches have a series of 19mm dog holes in the worktop. These dog hole work brilliantly with Festool MFT-SP surface clamps and Walko surface clamps, as well as lots of other workbench dogs and clamps.

All surfaces are finished in tung-oil for easy cleaning and refinishing. They are in excellent condition as they have only had two years of intermittent use and only need a light rub-over with fresh oil to bring them up like new again.

Valued around the $1,000 mark, these workbenches are available at $480 each. Contact Anthony at support@idealtools.com.au or call 1300 769 258 if you are interested.

Episode 64 Hall Table Finishing

Episode 64 Hall Table Finishing

Episode 63 Hall Table

Episode 63 Hall Table

Tung Oil Data Sheets

If choosing a finish, and you see “Tung Oil” somewhere in the description, as in a Tung Oil finish, or Tung Oil type finish etc, just check the product contents.  Some have 0% actual Tung Oil (surprise, surprise), whereas others can be up around 98% – 100% pure Tung Oil.

Organoil sent me the following data sheets , so decided to post them here.  Includes a flow-chart for Tung Oil production.

Download Tung Oil Data Sheet pdf

Download Citrus Terpene Data Sheet pdf

Download Tung Oil production pdf

The Safe Oil

A note on safety – Tung Oil is an exothermic oil – like linseed oil, it generates heat as it dries.  If you don’t treat the rags with respect, they will bite you (or more correctly, burn you, in the sense that they can catch fire and bring the shed down).

Used rags need to either be laid out to dry in the sun, or immersed in water.  If left screwed up in the bin, you might find that in the middle of the night the bin is very easy to find, what with the fire inside it and all.

A Memory Box

Sometimes a memory box isn’t important just for what is inside, but the box itself – the materials it is made from have as much significance as the contents.  This is one of those boxes, and was one I made as a Christmas present this year for my Mother-in-Law.

A Box of Memory

The request for this box came about while my wife’s grandfather’s house was all being packed for the last time (he has recently moved into a nursing home).  Some furniture was not worth selling, and as it was about to be placed out for disposal, the thought by my MIL was whether I might be able to do something with the timber at least, to make a memory box.

The timber came from a piece of Rosenstein furniture, made from Queensland Mahogany.  There was no way that I could maintain the original finish, but that wasn’t specifically important – that it was made from this timber with family historical value was the key.

I took the panel, removed a length of beading detail, then thicknessed and drum sanded it down to a better thickness for the box.  The dovetails were created with the Gifkins Dovetail Jig.

Crocodile Leather Top

Another item found during the process was a bag of crocodile leather, left over from the 60’s, when my wife’s grandmother got a pair of leather boots made.  This was part of the left-over.

I took a piece and glued it to some Tasmanian Oak (so inside the box would still be worth viewing).

Edge Beading

To finish off the leather detail, I took some of the beading removed at the start of the process, ripped it down with the bandsaw, and used this smaller portion (approx 1/3 of the original beading width) to create this edge detail.

Wherever I used the original beading, I was particular in that the original finish was not changed at all, so the colouring of the original furniture is still represented in this reconsideration of the original item.

That crocodile leather is pretty awesome too, and that so much of this box carries that extra depth of meaning is significant, both for the recipient of the box, and for me as I was making it.

Underside of Lid

Keeping the lid simple, I rebated around the edge to create a lid that lifts off, rather than one that incorporates a hinge. (Wooden, handmade hinges is a project for the (near) future).  Here the contrast between the mahogany, and the Tassie Oak is quite noticeable.

Dovetail Detail

Around the top of the box (below the lid), I’ve attached the full width beading removed from the original furniture, mitred at the corners.  It was originally attached with small nails, and where that occurred I have left untouched – if it has a hole, so be it.  I used Titebond glue for both the dovetails, and the beading.

The finish is my old favourite – Tung Oil, and Ubeaut Traditional Wax

In the bottom of the box, and under the box, I’ve attached felt, and otherwise the box is a simple design.  Once again, the Gifkins Jig proves just how good it is at a simple full dovetail. (I have tried handcut dovetails, it can be done, but i didn’t find  it particularly rewarding, or satisfactory result-wise with my skill level – the darkside eludes me again) (Saw a T Shirt quote recently – Come over to the Darkside…..we have cookies!)

I still have a long way to go with my box designs, but for a long time I didn’t even dare try one at all.  A box is something that is often appreciated very closely, so if you don’t have really accurate joints (etc) it is pretty obvious to an even untrained eye.

Creating a box that not only will contain memories, but is made from them is a particularly rewarding exercise.

Danish Oil

Passing through Bunnings yesterday (Keysborough), and came across a sales table with a few cans of Organoil’s Danish Oil.

I’m not sure if they know that Organoil is being re-released or not, but I wasn’t going to tell them, seeing as they had it marked down from $25 to $10 for 1L, and from $75 to $35 for 4L.

I bought 2 x 1L cans, and 2 x 500mL cans for just $30.

Danish Oil

Danish Oil

If you are wondering why Danish Oil, oil finishes can be stunning if done properly, (and still show the timber off nicely, even when just slapped on! (And it has a nice aroma to boot)



From the label, it is a combination of Tung, Linseed, Pinewood and Citrus oils.  Their description where it includes the term “original, heavy oil formulation” is a bit stupid – makes the uninitiated think that it is like slapping heavy black mineral oil on their work, which is far, far from the truth!

Tung Oil, as I saw in Bunnings, seems to be relegated to treating decks.  Unbelievable.  Sure, it would do a good job, but it is like using Jarrah for the deck and painting it (which I have also seen).  Tung Oil can produce the most amazing finishes on fine furniture when applied with care and finesse.

While there, I also bought a bottle of Linseed Oil so I can use it in an experiment with Triton Oil (also known as Hard Burnishing Oil) and Danish Oil to see if I can replicate the dangers of spontaneous combustion of oil-soaked rags.

Linseed Oil

Linseed Oil

The label on the bottle sure promises some results!

Spontaneous Combustion

Spontaneous Combustion

I have a computer-plotting thermocouple temperature probe ready for the experiment as well, so on a day when I have plenty of time to monitor the result (and deal with any consequences), I’ll see if I can’t get some rags to spontaneously burst into flame, just to prove that it can, and does happen.

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