Xmas in July, part 1

Took the family to Sovereign Hill for their Xmas in July that Sovereign Hill runs each year, and had an excellent time.  Not only what they have done for the occasion, but more broadly because I really like the whole Sovereign Hill experience.

Sovereign Hill, for those that don’t know, is an open-air museum and historical park, situated in an early gold diggings area in the Ballarat region.  It covers the time around 1850 (with some of the equipment being closer to 1880s/1890s as the industrial revolution found Australia).

 

These are just the outside of some of the buildings, but what is inside is the real treasure.  Being the mid 1800’s, wood and steel are the main materials of fabrication, mixed with a huge amount of ingenuity.  Not to mention, nothing was made with a designed life expectancy – a tool was made as well as was possible, and that means many of the tools are still very functional today.  There are mines to explore, gold to pan for, 9 pin wooden bowling etc etc.

We stayed in the attached accommodation, so had our own access pass through one of the buildings into the site, which was a very nice feature.  Being able to take in the place in as big or as small a bite as you wanted, being able to return for a rest before the next assault made for a really enjoyable experience.

The Xmas in July was well done too, and the weather in Ballarat lived up to its reputation – cold!  Which was very appropriate for a winter-wonderland based Christmas experience (complete with simulated snow (of the soap/foam variety), which was very much for look than tactile experience!)

At night, the buildings were illuminated by the same company that does other building illumination projects, including the Sydney Opera House, and White Nights in Melbourne.

We attended both the Xmas-type functions (such as the building illumination, and their Xmas dinner), as well as the standard offerings, such as the exceptionally well done “Blood on the Southern Cross”.

I was expecting the latter to have a real bias, but found it was approached really well, and came away from the 90 minute sound and light show (including multiple locations) really impressed with how it was depicted.

From a shed-dweller’s perspective, there is so much of interest at Sovereign Hill.  From the construction of the buildings and fences, through to the metal and woodworking (both manual, and steam-powered) that you get to observe first-hand, but more on that in future posts.

Really got me wondering if I had been born about 150 years too late – the combination of wood, metal and steam, and how they were worked really resonates with me.

If you take a modern wood or metal worker, they would be pretty at home in the workshops from that era, and take an artisan from that period and drop them in one of our workshops, and they would hardly notice a difference, other than the absence of line drives, belts and steam – all replaced with electric motors.  The machines themselves – not much has changed, other than perhaps the addition of shielding!!

I haven’t even touched on the topics I will get into in upcoming posts, that deserve their own dedicated attention. Not to mention that the two full days we spent there (Wed afternoon to Fri morning) still didn’t leave enough time to do everything that was available to do or see!

Bottom line, if you have an opportunity to go to Sovereign Hill (and haven’t already), it is a real experience.

SH-1

SawStop – as in Stop that Sawblade!!

Driver cheats death on Chinese motorway as huge saw blade cuts into car bonnet – Asia – World – The Independent.

Another missed birthday!

Birthday-Cake-by-Omer-Wazir1

Somehow, managed to miss (once again) the stusshed.com birthday.

Now 8 years old, and counting.

2.5 million views (directly, not counting subscriber views) at a rate of over 1000/day (around 385000/yr, plus subs).
over 2200 subscribers (counting RSS)

I can’t even begin to estimate how many video views etc any more – I could if I wanted to spend an hour or so collating the info, but it is a lot!  One video has already amassed over 75000 views.  Not much in the scheme of viral videos, but not bad for a lowly woodworking one.  Over 450000 views of the videos on YouTube alone, and that is only a portion of the total video library. Safe to say, the total views of videos (through iTunes, the blog, Blip.TV (now ended), Howcast (also ended), and YouTube) easily exceeds 1/2 a million (and that is conservative).

Oh well.  Happy 8th birthday blog.

AWR

Been waiting for this one to come out – the latest edition of Australian Wood Review.  Has my first of a series of articles on CNC machining for small-scaled use.  This one is a 2 page spread as an introduction to the topic.

So this is the second magazine (this one, and ManSpace) that is on shelves currently with an article of mine.  And by Monday, the third will be out – the latest edition of The Shed.

AWR87coverweb_E537D540-09AA-11E5-89FC0635E51EDD1F

Video Edit

Currently in the process of editing the latest video, which is about all the different materials that can be routed on the Torque CNC, with the Toolstoday Master Collection of router bits.

Currently have 2 hours of video, shot on 6 devices simultaneously.  And about another 1 – 2 hours of recording to go.  By the time I’m finished, I will have had to edit 24 hours of raw footage into the final video.  No wonder it is taking some time!!

And for a completely random bit of information, the Stu’s Shed twitter feed has just passed 1000 followers.  Not a lot in the scheme of things, but still a cool waypoint from my perspective.

2.5 Million

Another small milestone reached – 2,500,000 direct visitors to the site.

This is not counting that about 50% of the site views are now done through social media – email, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, RSS – too hard to quantify, so I’ll stick with the site counter to keep track of a portion at least!

Still skating on the very edge of 400 Facebook followers (397), 417 email followers, 995 on Twitter, 11 Google+, 431 YouTube, 302 Feedburner, and I have no idea how many are now subscribed to the podcast!

 

And I still do it simply because I’m having fun!  For those keeping track, the site will be 8 years old at the end of June.

Classic House

Watching an old episode of “House” and came across the following quote.  Seemed too good not to share!  From the episode “Clueless”, Season 2.

 

[Wilson is flipping through House’s TiVo selections]

Dr. James Wilson: Now, why do you have a season pass to The New Yankee Workshop?

Dr. Gregory House: It’s a complete moron working with power tools, how much more suspenseful can you get?

 

Ah, the good old days, when there was still some woodworking content on the pay-TV channels.  Seems to have taken a bit of hiatus.

Speaking of having taken a hiatus, things have been a bit quiet around here as well. Short story is simply – I needed a bit of a break.  Getting to the end of the year is always a real push, and last year was certainly no exception, and when it all piles on, the website gets squeezed for time and mental space.

After the typical chaos of Christmas, the family headed to Echuca-Moama for a week, which has been a chance to recharge the batteries somewhat.  43C days are not always the most relaxing, but the time out was good.

Been out in the shed this afternoon, blowing out some figurative, and literal cobwebs.  A combination of getting the tools working, and the grey tool between the ears.

I was making some test pieces for the next “The Shed” magazine article that I will be working on over the next 3 days. It involves a particularly long tambour door in a rather different way (as in, it is definitely not a door, nor is it designed to slide!)

And time for a reflection on the past year in the new shed.  Yes, it is 12 months ago today that construction of the current shed was finally completed!

 

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