It takes next to no time to show it off, and a few seconds more before it sells itself to another customer. If only I was a. The importer, and b. Had stock!

I refer to the Centipede Workbench, and it has already proven its worth.

Light enough to be very portable, and certainly rigid enough when doing its job. The time to set it up and collapse it back down again, is no exaggeration. Seconds. Literally.

In next to no time, it has become an invaluable tool, particularly for me in breaking down larger sheets. The 2×4 retainers that clip into the top, and the supplied hold-downs are both very clever, and very useful, especially for thin, flexible sheets. No need to work on the ground, bent over the sheet trying to break it down, now you can work at a comfortable standing height.

It is going to be superb coupled up with the Festool TS55 and rail (or any other rail-mounted circular saw).

It may feel a little flimsy as you are opening it up, but that is quite legitimate: the majority of the members in the unit are tension members, so until they are placed into tension (with the workcentre fully opened), then yes, they will flex. Once set up though, it can bear a decent load, especially distributed over all the uprights.

I’ll take some photos/video of it in operation shortly, but take it from me, it is an impressive unit!

Confused, or Impressed?

Either way, I think I’d want one, but I have no idea why, or even the minor point that I don’t typically work with material that needs edgebanding!

A Festool workshop- shame we can’t buy one of these off the shelf!


If you are away from the workshop, perhaps this systainer would get you out of trouble

So much Festool, so little time!



Although I put up the small storage shed last weekend, I really didn’t get a chance to actually make use of the space.

Today, I had a crack at trying to sort out the garage (where the majority of my machines are stored).  For a while it didn’t seem to be going particularly well – too much stuff, not enough storage, but slowly, slowly, things began to fall into place.

In the end, the 8m3 shed was filled to the brim – I would struggle to fit anything more in there at all.  And once I got that much stuff out of the garage, it was just sufficient to provide sufficient flexibility to move things around. As far as the decision to go with a shed rather than using a storage unit – I am storing pretty much all that I intended to, and now I’ll have a shed to show for it after the 2 months is up (the intended time I thought I’d need the unit). If it happens to be more than 2 months (every chance the way things always go), then I’ll be ahead on the cash stakes.  Money for jam.

So it is a shed of sorts – not able to handle large materials, but I can access each of the machines in there – the tablesaw, router table, jointer, thicknesser, both bandsaws, drill press, CNC (while I still have it), the lathes, and even the benchtop machines – there is an existing workbench along one wall in the garage.

Sure it is all a compromise, but hey – anything beats the last 5 months!  The thicknesser and tablesaw can only be run off the generator – no 15A power available otherwise.

IMG_4119 IMG_4121

Tomorrow I might even get to make some sawdust.  Exciting!


One Workbench to Rule Them All

Thanks to Dennis for sharing this link with me. It doesn’t matter in the slightest that the entire video is in German- there are plenty of ideas to pinch from this video!

With a prolific use of Veritas, Incra and Festool, this is one versatile workbench. Check out the Festool storage system in the background too- neatly made. Tool and vice mounting, saw and router. All revolving around a single workbench, which makes a great option for a small workshop while maintaining the functionality of a larger one.

Tom’s Workbench

Tom Iovino runs a website called Tom’s Workbench, and has done so now for about 5 years.


There are a few old hands of us around – Tom has been working closely with Marc Spagnuolo, and their Wood Talk online.  The blogosphere sure has grown since there was only the podfather (Matt Vanderlist), then Marc (Wood Whisperer), then mine, and Tom’s not long after, before the place exploded!  Still, I’d like to think the blogs like Tom’s, Marc’s, Matt’s and mine are still setting the standards for others to follow.  You may not agree, but that is fine too – for my sake, I’d like my blog to be more than it is, but unless it was a primary income generator, it could never get the full attention it deserves.

Anyway, Tom was kind enough to post about Stu’s Shed as the link of the week – cheers mate 🙂


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 or call 1300 769 258 if you are interested.

Episode 86 Commencing a Project

Episode 86 Commencing a Project
Slideshow created in Keynote on the iPad
Music by Rogue Traders, used with permission.

Getting Sorted, Adding Hardware

With a bit of a shuffle, and cleanup, the workspace is looking good.  The shed is tight, but having the dedicated work surface is invaluable, and is already being put to good use.

The stack of Festool has been moved to a more accessible location, and again the advantage of the boom arm is apparent – giving easy access to the hose and power from the Festool vac (thanks to autostart).

Relocation of the setting out tools makes them a lot more accessible.  The gas bottle is stored under the bench at the moment- as good a place as any (currently used most often for the branding iron).  Not sure what I’ll store on the shelf – at this stage the Kreg Pockethole jig is stored under there (in a Festool Systainer).  In the drawer under the bench are bench dogs and surface clamps.

The Veritas Bench Dogs (and Bench Pups) from Carbatec are a very nice add-on.  Being used here while hand planing (HNT Gordon Aussie Jack Plane on New Guinean Rosewood).

The dogs and pups set low (as low as you want them) sit below the edge of the board so as not to affect planing.

Veritas Bench Dog (left) and Pup (right). You need a thicker bench for the bench dog (than for the pup).  The pups are very functional.

The Veritas Surface Clamps are very quick and easy to install – drop them in the desired hole and tighten the knurled knob.  There is a shoulder that prevents the clamp holddown going any deeper than necessary.

Now to find some interesting projects to really commission the bench, and get my teeth into.

Fitting the Veritas Twin Screw

As mentioned in the previous post, I found the Veritas instruction booklet pointlessly confusing.  There is some useful information in there that will help with the assembly, but you have to ferret them out from the detritus of words.  To jump to the end of the post, despite ignoring the warning on the front page that this manual “needs to be read, even if you normally don’t”, I have a successful installation of the Veritas Twin Screw. It isn’t hard to install!

I replaced the original table skirt on the edge that the vice was going to be fitted (wanted it wider and deeper), and this was domino’ed and screwed, with a couple of extra brackets behind for additional support.  Given the location of the metal legs of this workbench (and their location being pre-defined), the threaded rods of the vice needed to pass through them.  This isn’t as big a deal as it might sound – the two vices that originally came with the bench do the same thing.  The Carbatec bench, as designed, has some degree of wobble so I will already be adding some additional bracing to correct that, and any weakening caused by the additional holes.

The distance between centres of the legs is 430mm.  The amount of chain provided with the standard sized Twin Screw is meant to allow a maximum of 427.5mm, but if you include the optional half-link, the chain becomes the perfect length (whew).

In this view, you can see the replacement bench skirt and the supporting brackets, both vice jaws, the female thread for the vice and the hole through the leg for the vice drive.

To get the holes, I used a holesaw which did a very neat job.  Heat became an issue because I did run the drill press too fast, and used a normal light oil rather than cutting fluid.  Don’t think the holesaw bit likes me any more 😦  Hopefully I can resurrect it to some functional level.

Once both holes were drilled, and the individual screws in place, they get bolted to the front jaw.  The chain added so that turning either handle rotates both evenly, so the jaws open and close while remaining parallel.  You can skew the jaws by disengaging the gear on one side, but I’m not expecting to do that often, if ever.

The handles are added to each side, and the end caps secured with supplied screws.  Chain supports are added beneath the lower edge of the chain – these carry the slack of the chain only when the jaws are not under load.

The installation is finished with the addition of the vice cover.  This was originally plastic, but looks much better being made in metal (with cast ends).  The label stuck on at the end may look upside down in error, but then so is the bench at the moment!  Now this vice is attached, I can finish the rest of the assembly and get this bench working!  I still need to add a couple of rub-blocks under the threads to deal with any front jaw drop when the jaws are extended out towards their maximum range.  And once the bench is in place, I will add some dog-holes, once I’ve decided on what dogs to use.

I have been reminding myself that the wooden jaws are a consumable – I imagine they will last a long time, but at some stage replacing them is an option.  This is a functional tool, not some heirloom to be admired and not used.

With this kick-ass vice on the end of the bench, I’m feeling inspired!  But don’t expect me to suddenly handcutting a bunch of dovetails – I may feel inspired, but probably not THAT inspired!

Where there’s a Walko, there’s a way

One of the jobs I had on the list was to progress creating a new work area in the shed. Wall space is an absolute premium – everything is better with a wall behind it, it seems.  So when the Walko showed up, the option of wall mounting it had significant appeal, but that caused an issue given that there was no wall to fit it on.  Looking around the workshop, and the shelving unit at one end caught my eye.  I’ve often thought that where it was would make a good workbench location, and after all, what is a Walko but a portable workbench?

Now loosing the shelving unit would be a problem, so relocating it is much preferred.  Cutting it down might have lost a couple of shelves, but I had a couple under-utilised.  The other two fitted nicely under the Torque Workcentre, making much higher density use of that space.  I do have to relocate the sanders, but I have an idea for them as well.

Under workbench storage

Now with a large chunk of wall exposed, it was time for the Walko to move in.

Wall Mounted Walko

Because it is the Walko 3, I was fortunate to have a bit of space space either side – perfect for a stack of Festool power tools on one side, and the Festool shop vac (the Cleantex 36) on the other.  Makes for an excellent work area.

The next thing I’m planning for this area is to make my own top for another set of table supports, and this top will be specifically suitable for some vices to be fitted.

Wall Mounting Set

The Walko wall-mounting kit is both simple, and very effective.  It is also very easy to detach the Walko and use it in another orientation (A frame, flat on the floor for  breaking down boards etc).

Work area

The benches can be repositioned to any desired height, and for some operations work well together (such as working on a board edge).  Either that, or the lower surface can hold the tools etc ready for the next step.  It would also be excellent for dovetail jigs, such as the Leigh, or pockethole jigs such as the Kreg.

One use for the Workstruts

There are also Workstruts available (and they can also be positioned (and repositioned) wherever required, or folded away when not needed.  They can be used low to support the workpiece, or higher for supplies, temporary wood rack, whatever.  I don’t know their maximum load capacity, but it is significant – they feel rather solid.

Repositioned Microclene Air Filtration

Finally, in addition to the dust extraction, I’ve repositioned the Microclene air filtration unit closer to being as overhead as possible.

Looking forward to making use of my new working area!

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