A First Box

Suppose that is a little misleading – I have made boxes before, but not with an attention to the joint, nor, from memory, with the use of nice timbers and it to have cosmetic appeal as well as a function.  Who knows why – I’ve gone as far as proving the joint can be made (by me that is!), and the other specific construction areas, but hadn’t actually bought them together to create a finished object.

So this is what I have come up with.  I’ve given away the sliding lid, and instead went for a shallow rebate around the lid for a close fitted separate one.  Leaving hinges for another day, and for a box with thicker walls (at least initially).  I’d also like to try to make wooden hinges, but again – not for this box!

Mulga Box

Mulga Box

The finish is very simple, which I like – I’ve given it a sand to about 220 grit with a ROS (random orbital), then applied Ubeaut Traditional Wax.  This was then bought to the final finish with a good buff with a Ubeaut Swansdown mop, mounted in the drill press.  I haven’t used it for smaller objects before (that weren’t turning on the lathe that is), so have always had it mounted in a hand drill.  Having it mounted in a fixed tool and bringing the work to the mop was so much easier! (Of course working on large furniture which is the last thing I used it on doesn’t exactly give you that option!)

UBeaut Swansdown Mop

UBeaut Swansdown Mop

It might look dirty etc, but it needs to have a significant wax buildup in the mop before it actually becomes functional, otherwise it just sucks the wax right out of the project!

Disaster – UBeaut EEE is no more

EEE Ultrashine (pronounced Triple E) was one of those amazing products – a cut and polish for woodturners. The name was a play on Tripoli – the mineral (like talc) that is used as the cutting agent in the wax.

Unfortunately, too many out there just didn’t “get it”. Not whether the product was any good or not, just the name 😉

So the product is still being sold, but now it is just called “Ultrashine” Whew 🙂

UBeaut Shellawax Cream – Special

I’m a big fan of the UBeaut range of products – and particularly the Shellawax products. As you may gather from the name, they are a combination of shellac (used for French Polishing) and wax (I also use a lot of UBeaut Traditional Wax, which has a higher melting point than beeswax, which makes it great for products that are going to receive handling.)

Anyway, onto the point, there is a batch of Shellawax Cream that is being sold at 1/2 price, so thought I’d post it here to bring it to your attention. This is the original text about it – explains what is going on with it being 1/ price, and provides the links so you can read more about the product, as well as where to source it from (in this case specifically being the seconds stock, rather than where the U-Beaut range can be purchased from!) So to quote Neil Ellis (who’s book on finishing I still refer to as “The Finishing Bible” – posted on here about a year ago):

We currently have a large quantity of SHELLAWAX CREAM SECONDS in stock which must be sold. This Cream is seconds because turpentine was inadvertently left out of the brew.
It works brilliantly, with some saying it’s possibly better than the proper Shellawax Cream, however because of the lack of turpentine it is a little thicker than usual and has a slightly gritty feel. The gritty feel is because small pin prick sized bits of carnauba wax are suspended in the mix rather than fully blended as usually is the case. This suspended wax is soft and will mix in with the rest during application of the Cream to the work.
To view Shellawax Cream info page CLICK HERE
Regular price $28.60incl GST
ONLY $14.00 GST incl
Box of 9 jars $120.00
Order box lots from U-Beaut: 03 5221 8775
individual jars from Carroll’s:03 5251 3874
All orders will be PLUS POSTAGE or COURIER at standard postal rates.
No packing or handling fees are charged.

Unorthodox Triton Router Table Mod Part 1

I’ve had a few queries about my unusual table top in my recent post about Router Tables. So to cause a bit of controversy, here is the article I wrote at the time about the modification. To clarify however, I still use an original, unmodified Triton Router Table quite successfully, so this is another one of those “I’ll always try to modify everything kind of thing!”


I have been using the Triton Router Table for a few years now (with the Triton Router pretty much permanently mounted), and have found it to be an excellent way of performing most router operations. In fact, other than some totally unavoidable operations where I need to do freehand routing, I wouldn’t dream of not using a router table. As things have progressed, I have been expecting more and more from my equipment, in their capabilities, and accuracies, and have been reaching a point where I needed to use bigger and bigger router bits, and/or a very high degree of accuracy. As I have written in another article, (which I’ll post here soon) the micro-adjusters for the Triton Router Table are excellent for achieving precise fence movements.

When using some very large router bits (such as for raised panel joints), I found that the Router Template Guide plate got in the way, so I wasn’t able to lower the bit far enough to achieve the cut that I wanted. To get around this, I had three options. The first was really not an option at all (lowering the router). The second was raising the work, which although ok, made it difficult to achieve the same setup every time (you don’t want each door on a raised panel cabinet looking different!) The final solution was to make the Triton Router Table top thicker. This had an added benefit of allowing a 1-piece top, which meant that there was no chance for the front edge of a piece of work to catch the top of the table at all, or worse, experience any dip or rise as it progressed past the router bit.

Photo 1 – Original Triton Router Table

There were a few things that I demanded of the upgrade.
1. Retain the ability to use the fence, perform through-table bit changing, and still be able to use the various router table jigs (finger joiner, biscuit joiner, jigsaw table).

2. The modification must be fully reversible, which adds an extra dimension to the design.

3. The table must still be able to take a full range of bit sizes, from the 3mm Triton bit, through to panel making bits, without ending up with a huge cavity when using the smaller bits.

4. Safety must not be compromised.
My solution was to attach a new single piece of aluminium sheet over the entire tabletop, while still leaving the slot for the sliding portion uncovered, and therefore usable as originally intended. After much thought, I finally clicked to the best way to do this- attach the new top to the removable router holding plate, so that it gets removed at the same time as the router is.

Click here to read full article

Burl Clock

After having a couple of inquiries, thought I’d post a brief description of the Burl Clock, seen in the Gallery.


The burl (and clock mechanism) were purchased at the Working with Wood show. Total cost: $40.  The mechanism came from Jonathon Knowles Clocks.

The face has been planed and sanded to get it reasonably flat, then the sanding to produce the finish. Each sandpaper grade was used, between 120 and 1200, all on a Triton Random Orbital sander.  The ROS is used because its eccentric sanding pattern doesn’t leave the telltale swirls (scratches) of a normal orbital sander.

The finish was produced first by rubbing Ubeaut Shellawax Cream across the face until the cloth started to grab. It was then buffed with a Ubeaut Swansdown mop attached to a drill. Next, Ubeaut EEE Ultrashine was used to produce a satin finish, again with the Swansdown mop.

The cavity for the clock mechanism was made using the Triton Router (handheld), using a template guide and straight router bit.

Nautical Weather Station

I think the projects that always challenge me the most, are ones that I am making for others. I find myself really thinking a project through, trying new techniques and developing new skills.

This Nautical Weather Station is one such example. I made this a number of years ago as a Christmas present for my wife, and learned a great deal in making it (and have learned a great deal since!) What I find really satisfying, is even though something like this was made so long ago, I still occasionally look at it, and wonder “how the hell did I manage that?!!”


It also started my passion for Jarrah (as mentioned in the video earlier today).

A few details then: The whole unit is made from Jarrah, and although it isn’t so obvious from the photo, the central panel is quite a lot darker than the edges. This was deliberate, as I spent a week oiling and buffing that panel (literally, morning and night for a week, applying another coat and burnishing it in until I got the colouring and finish I wanted).

The turnings on either side were produced on a $90 lathe (GMC), and were my first attempt at duplicating on a lathe.

The top is a moulding, produced on the router table, then mitred to fit the 3 exposed sides.

The finish is a combination of burnishing oil, then buffed with a topcoat of Ubeaut Shellawax Cream.

All in all, it was a great project, and I learned a great deal in the process.

Some views from the show


This is the demonstrator end of the Triton display, and where I spent most of my time at the show.  It was taken at closing time, so the crowds had pretty much left.  As you can see, our supplies of SuperJaws was pretty much depleted, and all the Wet & Dry Sharpeners were gone as well.  This looks to be the end of Saturday, as there is the 13″ thicknesser in the background and on Sunday it had morphed into the 8″ bandsaw.


A large display of items made by the Victorian Woodwork Association  members.  Always some amazing things to see, but I always find it makes me feel like giving woodworking away, as I haven’t the time to even begin to see if I can develop the skills to match any of their work.  So it looks amazing, but it is a section of the show that I tend to avoid so as not to get too depressed.


One of the other displays – this one is the Ubeaut stand.

Didn’t have time to get many other photos etc from the show – can think of some other ones that would have been good (like all the timber on offer), but that is fine in hindsight.  Oh well, perhaps next year!

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”

Burl Clock

Clocks are a remarkably easy project, and make great gifts. Total cost – about $A40, including the burl slice, and the clock mechanism (from Jonathon Knowles Clocks)

This one I didn’t give away, and is on the wall of my office.

Planed, then sanded to 1200 grit using a Triton Random Orbital Sander, followed with an application of Ubeaut Shellawax Cream then buffed with a swansdown mop. Ubeaut EEE Ultrashine was used to produce a satin finish.


Timber Health Hazards

To quote the experts “In Australia all wood dust is now classified as carcinogenic (liable to cause cancer) This list has been compiled to give woodworkers a little bit of an insight into the potential health hazards posed by some of the timbers that are used.”

This site & list has been put together by U-Beaut Enterprises and is an excellent reference for (Australian) Woodworkers in particular.

While you are there, check out the range of finishing products and related accessories at http://www.ubeaut.com.au Have no doubt- you will hear more from me about their products (there is hardly a job I do that doesn’t include finishing with one of their superb range.) I believe their products are starting to be seen on shelves in the US, UK and Canada, and they are definitely worth seeking out.

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