Views of the Show

As you can see, rent-a-crowd was definitely needed.  The sawdust on the floor of the racing centre was hilarious – the poor cleaning staff did not know what to do.  They are so used to keeping the space neat and clean, and were running around with those little push, manual vacuums trying to keep the sawdust from spreading.

The sign upstairs said “more upstairs”, so for a second I thought “thank goodness, a third level” Denied.  It was just the same sign from downstairs being shown on all monitors.

I’ve always loved the wood shows.  I can’t wait each year for the show to be on again.  This year, I’m still waiting.

Not sure what to think

So I’ve been to the wood show.  I think

Don’t actually know where to start, or if I really want to, to be honest.

The show was tiny – about 1/2 the size of the Stitches and Craft show.  Certainly doesn’t compare to wood shows of old.  Took me about 10-15 minutes, and I had walked the entire floor plate.  Takes about that long to walk the floor of the Ballarat Wood Show (and that is not a negative perspective of the Ballarat Show – Ballarat has a population of under 100,000 after all).  Given that the Ballarat show is only 2 weekends away, it might be worth a drive for those who didn’t find the Melbourne show provided enough.

For those exhibitors who had turned up, there are many who have put in a definite effort.  The new Carbatec demonstration area looked great.  The chairs that House of Dunstone bought along were beautiful.  I am seriously hoping that they branch out into running some courses in how to make such fine furniture.  Timbecon had a good display, covering a good range of heavy machinery, smaller machines, consumables etc. Carbitool had their normal, impressive range of router bits on display, Arbortech had their standard display, and their latest offerings.  HNT Gordon had a typically impressive range of beautiful planes, including the stunning new addition to the stable, the moving fillister plane. The Warrior Wood Mill was set up outside, showing a range of their new log mills.

But many more were MIA.  Perhaps it had something to do with the organisers moving the date.  And then choosing a date that clashed with one of the biggest woodturning events in Australia: the Phillip Island Down Under Turnaround.  It may be by registration only, but I bet there were many people, and suppliers there instead, including Carrolls, and I daresay Ubeaut as well. And given the typical (but not exclusively by any stretch) demographic for the woodshow would also overlap V8 aficionados, even more potential visitors are dragged away.

I don’t know what the crowds were like on Saturday or Sunday, but I sure hope for the exhibitors’ sake that it was better than Friday.  I remember wood shows of old (especially in the early-mid 2000s) when crowds were so deep that the place pulsed with the enthusiasm of all present.

I didn’t find any timber for sale.  I might have missed a small pocket of sales (outside?), but the only sales I could see were some long strips of veneer.  Some really nice strips, if you want veneer.

This, after all is what was promised.

The Timber & Working With Wood Show is Australia’s premier event for woodworking. From the weekend hobbyist and home DIY’er through to the most experienced enthusiasts, this is a show you cannot miss! See the best in the industry, share their expertise, have fun trying new techniques and tools – and experience some of the world’s finest timbers… all at the one location!

Can the wood show come back from this point?  I don’t think so.  Unless there is some plan for a small show one year, and a massive one the next (and nothing like that has been communicated), then I think the only way we will get to a show of any substance in the future at this stage is to head to the WIA in Las Vegas in 2017.

If the industry (suppliers) have any interest in future wood shows, I think they all need to come together and organise a new model.  1 show a year in the entire country.  One year in Sydney, the next in Brisbane, then Melbourne, then Perth, then Hobart, Adelaide, Darwin and back to Sydney again.  Pricing for exhibitors needs to be really affordable, to justify their efforts in attending the show.  Pricing for visitors also needs to be really affordable – the show needs bodies to attend, and spend.  Charge $10 max, and free for anyone under 18.  Under 18s need to be encouraged, as they will become the woodworkers (and consumers) of the future, so sewing the seed that woodworking is a worthy pursuit to be passionate about will pay off in spades in 10-20 years time.  Especially since we’d want as many people to attend from interstate each each annual show.  That is absolutely not to say that regional woodshows (such as Ballarat) shouldn’t still run annually – we need them more than ever now.

Anyway, this is all just my opinion.  Not everyone will agree with me.  I hope the show was a win for everyone.  I just can’t see, with the cost of exhibition space, the lack of visitors, and the lack of exhibitors how it would have been.

I miss the spectacle of a real wood show already.  And on that happy note, I’ll sign off here.  I’ll touch on what I did find at the show in upcoming posts.

Melbourne Wood Show

Just in case you’ve missed the publicity (of which there has not been a great deal, at least in the mainstream), the Melbourne Timber and Working with Wood Show is this weekend, and is at Caulfield.


Free parking (yay)
$16 entry fee (boo)
I’m not demonstrating this year (yay?)
But not sure how many will be anyway (boo)
Lots of usual suspects (yay)
Many, many others missing (boo)
43 exhibitors (yay)
down from about 70 in 2013 (boo)
Timbecon is back (yay)
Carrolls is MIA (boo)

So it will be interesting to see what it is all like, I really hope it goes well. But for those who have read my thoughts about the woodshow in previous years will remember, this is the direction I was sadly predicting.  And you can’t blame the GFC this time around.

Map and Exhibitor List

Busy work

Haven’t posted anything for a while – longer than I realised it seems!  Not that I haven’t been working in the shed, but sometimes I just need to get my head down and power through to make some progress.

The latest work that I have been doing is for the next issue of The Shed magazine – those deadline come around so quickly!

For a bit of a sneak peek, I am working on a water wheel – will end up being a garden feature, but I am trying to make it with some thought behind the design, and not just a basic layout.  You may well ask, just how many ways can you actually make a water wheel, and the more I think about it, and the more research I do on the topic, the more surprised I become about the breadth of the topic.

I found a particularly interesting reference, quite the authority on the topic.  It is The Engineer’s and Mechanic’s Encyclopædia: Comprehending Practical Illustrations of the Machinery and Processes Employed in Every Description of Manufacuture of the British Empire, Volumes 1-2

by Luke Herbert, and the title is quite the mouthful!  Interesting to find a book that has such a strong understanding of the science of water wheels.  Of course, that it was written in 1836 might have something to do with it!  I found some of the relevant text online so was able to glean what I could from that, and I have the book on order from Amazon – looking forward to seeing what other gems it contains!

I’ve been playing around with fin design, with this as an early model

File 8-09-2015 09 48 33This was with a fin angle of 22.5o.  I’ve since refined the angle to 30o, and the result is a lot better, with the inner circle now having a much greater diameter.

I am designing it as an overshot water wheel, so the turning moment of the water is important – the further away from the point of rotation that the water is maintained, the greater turning force it exerts due to gravity.  In any respect, it is quite a fun evolution!

I’ve also been making a number of models on the CNC while all this has been going on, in preparation for an upcoming school fête fundraiser.

So as I said, I might have been a bit quiet on here, but that doesn’t mean that it has been so in the shed! Bags and bags of sawdust coming out (especially now I have the new collector, and the cyclone separator makes removing the full bags a breeze).


I don’t think there is any craft or vehicle that captured my imagination more as a child than the Voyager spacecraft.  Launched in 1977, the two identical probes were sent on a journey that to date has taken them 1.97×1010 km away from Earth, past the gas giants of the solar system and then way beyond.


There is a lot of information about them on Wikipedia these days, so if interested you can read up more there.

What I was excited about recently, is that the Voyager probe is one of the models on the website.  So I made it.

Over 200 individual parts, cut from 3mm MDF, using the 45190 1/16″ router bit from (which is still going strong).  Cut on the TorqueCNC.

It took me 2 nights to assemble the model, and a lot of hot glue (which I have been finding to be an excellent way to assemble these models).

I had my friend Kara Rasmanis take a couple of photos of the model, suspended in front of a green screen, and she has then inserted in some royalty-free backgrounds, for a truly stunning result showcasing the model from the front, and back.

Even made from 3mm MDF, it is 900mm across.

FromSpace AboveEarth

For a model, cut from MDF, that is awesome!  Currently sits in my office – when I can part with it, it will be off to my daughter’s school science classroom.

Approaching milestones

The site is approaching a couple of milestones, picking up net additional followers each week.

Not sure which will be first (and they are related).  The first is being about 50 off having 2000 followers overall.

This is made up of direct subscribers (email and WordPress blog followers), Twitter (which is already over 1000, and not surprising given the rich content that Twitter now displays), and Facebook.

Facebook is the other milestone, now only 30 off 500 followers of Stu’s Shed.

The 2000 is a bit arbitrary, as there are over 240 RSS followers which are not counted, and I have no idea how many iTunes followers.

Vac in a bucket

Take 2

With the vac stuffed unceremoniously into a rubbish bin, with acoustic absorbing material all round. Sides, base and top.

A gap at the back for the motor cooling air to escape, and the silencer sticking out the top, new measured sound level: 79dB

Likelihood of the vac dying prematurely due to overheating? Probably now at 85%!

But at least it is quieter!


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