Triton 15in Planer/Thicknesser/Moulder

I’ve just been out to the shed shooting the final installment of three videos that I will have available very shortly (hopefully by the end of the week for the first). (This doesn’t include a fourth that will be an after-market upgrade of a digital height scale).

The three videos are 1. Using the unit as a planer/thicknesser – as with the 13in thicknesser video, this is more a look at the unit itself than a monologue on the techniques of flattening a board. 2. Installing the moulding blades and 3. using the unit as a moulder.

I had to shoot the videos over a couple of days (evenings), as thicknessers generally rather noisy affairs, and as much as my neighbours have not complained about my noisy pursuits to date, I really don’t want to push my luck!

Talking of noise, (rather loose segue here), for those who have seen the recent video, the intro (and music) is still very much a work in progress, and although this new one will probably be used for the next set of videos, I hope to have a refined one ready pretty soon – just have to master the technologies (and create a more original music track)!

Back to thicknessers for a sec – I’ve been very remiss in keeping up with some of the other quality blogs out there, but I did come across a very relevant post on Sandal Woods that reminded me of a couple of similar experiences I’ve had with thicknessers. Al’s post can be found here, but in brief summary, if you find your thicknesser is having trouble feeding timber through, and the rollers don’t seem to be pulling on the timber properly, the fault is probably NOT the rollers. If you don’t keep the table sufficiently lubricated (waxed), it can quickly develop quite serious feed issues. I’ve had this happen a couple of times, and each time I have forgotten the lessons from the past, and wasted all sorts of time trying to diagnose a machine fault, when a quick clean and wipe with a bit of finishing wax would have (and eventually did) solve the problem! So thanks for the timely reminder Al!

The Wood Whisperer Network

Marc (The Wood Whisperer) Spagnuolo over in Arizona, USA has been blogging and podcasting about woodworking for quite a while now, and has always been very supportive of others operating in the same genre (myself included).  He has recently added a feature called “The Wood Whisperer Network” which highlights a collection of blogs (and bloggers) around the world, and I’ve had no hesitation in joining the network. (Marc (or his wife Nicole) makes a very nice button depicting your site!)

I’ve already discovered that it is a bit dangerous though – I was planning on posting a bit more tonight, and instead discovered all my time had been eaten up reading through some of the other blogs also featured!

The constant woodworker

I was contacted a couple of days ago by the owner of ReaderSheds (UK) and asked if I’d like to submit my shed to their site (which I’ve done).  While looking for some photos to include, I quickly came to realise, well, a few things.  I discovered I have no current photos of the inside of my shed.  Perhaps embarrassment about the state of it as much as anything, but what photos I do have are quite out-of-date.  It seems that despite thinking that things out there are pretty much static, that the shed layout is constantly changing and evolving.  Over the period of even 6 months, I can look at a photo and see elements that are the same, but also a whole raft of changes that have occurred in that time.

I also saw some older photos of the place, and it dawned on me that at one time, the space I had was adequate – all the tools had a home, and they were all easily accessible.  I know I keep taking about cleaning the place up (and this year I mean it!!), but it has become a simple fact that there isn’t enough room for the tools that are there already, and if I pack any more in there, well, there is an advert on TV about a guy who can’t resist a hardware bargain to the point that his garage literally bursts…….

Does this mean no more tool acquisitions? Not bloody likely!!!!! 🙂

Shed Visits

Went for a shed visit yesterday – it was really good getting a few hours of woodworking in again, especially with the current weather….

(aside: a week ago I was working flat-out getting the garden ready for Christmas visitors (other than Santa) in pouring rain, and this week it is over 40 degrees C ambient (meant to get to 43 degrees C today), which makes my shed reach 45 – 50 degrees 😦  Basically, that means no shed time for me)

Getting back to the point, the shed I visited is somewhat more insulated (a brick garage) than my tin box, so was actually usable in the conditions.

First thing was the obligatory shed tour, and it is always interesting having the clash of the familiar and unfamiliar.  Not explaining myself very well… what I mean is when you walk into a woodworking workshop, it has a familiar feel – there are machines that are common, but then they are not identical, and the layout and relationship between the machines is always different.  It is good in another way – it strips away some of that confidence that familiarity with a machine breeds, and reminds you just how important safe practices are.


The first thing we decided to do was to refamiliarise ourselves with the Incra, and specifically to try making some dovetail joints.  The first couple really didn’t work well, so it was back to the books, and it just goes to show that forgetting/skipping steps is a really bad thing.  I’d forgotten just how critical bit height was, and had set it so the bit was higher than the material, but where that works for a box joint, it does nothing for a dovetail.  We got the height right, using the trick of cutting 2 dovetail slots, then flipping one board to rejoin them together.  Any error in bit height is immediately apparent.


Once we had that sorted, the dovetail proceeded very easily.  Next time, we have to try one of the more complex joints!

The other thing we got to, was teaching me some of the basic techniques for turning a wood bowl.  Got a small one made, although with many errors, but at least it looked kind of like it should.

So an interesting day – its always good getting to share ideas and work on a project with someone else.  So often this is such an individual pursuit.

All quiet on the Western Front

It has been quite an intense couple of weeks, what with the Woodworking Show, demands of work (been shooting a few hours of video of Uni Students being interviewed about their first year’s experiences fwiw) and for the past few days, a somewhat under-the-weather 9 month old, which pretty much means no sleep and all the associated fun 🙂

For the past couple of days I have also been running another Introductory Woodworking course at Holmesglen Tafe, which I always enjoy (despite having to get up at 6am on a Saturday, and Sunday morning!) Today could have been better planned – having an early start on the same day that daylight savings kicks in… ouch!

I always really enjoy these courses – moreso than the Woodworking Show, or any demo at a hardware outlet (Bunnings, Mitre 10 etc). You always meet a really interesting, diverse group of people, and this time was no exception. The course was very full (9 out of a max of 10), and we kicked through without any dramas (other than one rookie mistake by me that is – feeding the router from the wrong direction, resulting in a climb cut, and the router trying to make every use of my error, resulting in a mortice joint that was rather wider than it should have been. Oh well – do as I say, not as I do…… “This is how NOT to route a mortice joint….”). I took along the 15″ Triton thicknesser, the spindle sander, and the latest version of the Superjaws, so they all got good workout. The Wixey digital angle gauge got a bit of attention as well.

Anyway, hopefully those that attended the course had a good time, learned plenty, and left with newfound skills and confidence to build upon.

There is meant to be another course in 2 weeks time, so hopefully we get enough bookings for that to proceed.

With my daughter not being 100%, I haven’t had a chance to get down to the shed to shoot any more video, but am hoping to get some done this week. I have a few that really need to get done as soon as poss!

Sunday night (finally) came

It’s been a pretty massive 5 days, and for me, the Wood Show is over for another year. (Pity the poor buggers who still have days worth of packing and unpacking stock, let alone processing all the orders!)

For the first few days, I feel like I’d like the show to go for a lot longer, but by Sunday night, I’m wrecked! Didn’t even get around to taking a break today – was too interested in what I was doing (playing with the new Triton 8″ and 12″ Bandsaws). Had to stop about 3pm though – had to get some timber before you greedy lot bought it all up! Even then there were poor pickings. I did some nice bits even so.

I came home with about a dozen pieces of Huon Pine, which I can only describe as a very pure timber – it has a homogeneous consistency, and is a pale yellow / white. It is quite a soft timber, so excellent for carving, and easy to turn on the lathe. That’s where most of these pieces will end up – trying to learn techniques on cheap crapiata is hard – you don’t know if it is you making life difficult, or the wood. I did get one piece of round which will make a very nice bowl, but I won’t think of tackling that until I’ve had plenty of practice on the other pieces. I also treated myself to a very nice bowl gouge from Carbatec, so will be very interested to see how that works.

(Bit of an update, from one of the blog’s regular readers (thanks Andy) in response to my Huon Pine description about it’s homogeneous consistency: “You should see some the figured stuff! It has lots more character and, I dare say, would be very nice for turning. You probably know all this (no I didn’t, but I’m learning!) but it’s also a very oily timber which doesn’t allow ordinary estapol to dry off readily unless you remove the oil from the surface layer first. To save stuffing around with lime or acetone scrubbing, I use water based poly.

I found some black-hearted sassafras, a small piece of marble eucalyptus burl for pens, and a bit of American Redwood. As the show was packing up, I found a few lumps of Camphor Laurel that had been chucked out – not too much in there usable for any large project, but I’ll get a 1/2 dozen pen blanks out of it (and I won’t have any sinus issues for a month once I start hacking into it!!) It is the aroma that always tells me the Wood Show has arrived – you walk into the exhibition hall when the show is on, and it is that smell that hits you right off the mark.

Got some really interesting pen kits from Addictive Pen Kits (think they are based in NSW), so will be producing something other than Slimlines for once! Can’t quite remember what I got, but there is definitely a Sierra and a Cigar in there (and the associated Bush sets).

I’m sure there are other bits and pieces in there, but the last thing that comes to mind is the Triton demonstrators had their kit upgraded with the new SuperJaws so I’ll finally be able to do an up close and personal comparison of the old and new models.

So it’s all over for another year, strangely (for me) my wallet is reasonably intact, I have a few goodies to play with, and my feet are killing me!

It was great meeting all of you who visit this site (apparently there are some who actually visit here!), so to all of you, from Cam the Mad, to Russell & Corey, Clint and all the others (some names have slipped my mind, I’m sorry), it was great catching up!

A (non virtual) visitor to my shed!

It isn’t often that I have shed visitors, so it was pretty cool to have a fellow woodworker around tonight.  We covered a bit of ground – I showed him some of the techniques and tips for pen turning, he showed me some for bowl turning.  He also bought around his collection of Tormek jigs that fit the Triton Sharpener, which was very interesting to get to play with.

It was actually quite novel to have someone else in the workshop there to actually make use of the tools, and share ideas.

Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the other Dads out there! (And a belated one to those in the USA – 3rd Sunday in June afaik (as far as I know))

Kind of fitting to mention some of my influences that caused me to get into woodworking, and you can probably guess where this is going. Dad always made stuff – whether it was bunk beds, bookcases, house extensions etc, he would make it, rather than buy it.

For my 4th birthday, I was really upset that I was not allowed into the garage where my father, and uncle were busily working.  They were finishing off my first billycart, which became the first of many.  The point is, I was always surrounded by things that were made – you came to expect that you could create things yourself, rather than just accept someone else’s construct.

Who knows where this all lead? Did all this influence me in getting an engineering degree? Become a woodworker? Who knows, but in hindsight, it is interesting seeing where the first seeds were potentially sewn.

So to all the Dads out there, and myself these days – what we do day to day, and in our sheds can hugely influence our next generation, in the same way our Dads influenced us.

Thanks Dad, Happy Father’s Day.

A Global Village

Does this make me the local wood smith for our global village?

This is a rudimentary map of the distribution of visitors to the site for the past week or so. Fascinating to see just how global my little tin shed in the suburbs of Melbourne is seen around the world.


(BTW, I don’t have any mechanism for, nor interest in, collecting info on individual visitors – this map is compiled based on ISP location rather than individuals).

Welcome to Fans of WoodTalkOnline!

For those that don’t know, Marc (The Wood Whisperer) (and Nicole) and Matt (Matt’s Basement Workshop) have been collaborating on an audio Podcast available through iTunes, called WoodTalkOnline.  There is an associated website where they post their show notes and is rapidly expanding with other articles, so are definitely worth checking out.

To the fans of their respective (and collaborative) shows, who have found their way down under to Stu’s Shed, welcome indeed.  Hope you enjoy your stay, have a gander around and feel free to drop back anytime!  I’d offer refreshments, but this is still only Web 2.0 – we will be waiting a while yet for Web 7.9!

Comments, questions, feedback, requests etc all welcome 🙂

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