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.

Quickfire Questions and Answers

Triton Workcentre  – WC2000 

How do you care for the surface of your Triton equipment?

Given that the surface is enamel which is baked on, rather than a cast-iron top, with use, you will gets cuts/scratches and wear through this layer. Over time, I’d rather see a well-used bench, than one that is aesthetically pleasing, but unused.

To keep mine functioning well, I use wax – try Ubeaut for some great wax products. Stay right away from any product containing silicone – your finishes will thank you.

What is the maximum depth of cut in a Triton WC2000?

If fitted with the height winder (an absolute must-have addon for the Triton Workcentre) and a 9 1/4″ saw then the maximum depth of cut is 63mm.

Is the Dust Bag worth adding, or is the dust collection from the blade guard sufficient?

The dust collection from the blade guard collects about 10% of the total dust produced when cutting, the rest falls below the table. The heavier stuff isn’t much of an issue, (other than making a bloody mess), it is the fine dust which is the real problem. All wood dust is regarded as carcinogenic in Australia, but beware certain materials which are much worse than others – MDF is a prime example.

Unless you are prepared to use a high quality dust mask, then anything that minimises dust in the workplace is highly recommended, and that goes for the Triton dust bag as well – your lungs will thank you. You can (and I’ll document it sometime downtrack) modify the dust bag so it can be coupled to an active collection system, such as a 4″ dust collector.

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