A brief discussion of compressed air in the workshop, and a look at a very flexible option!
It’s wood show season in Melbourne, a fortnight of events.
Starting next weekend with the Oktober Woodfest, held at the Woodworking Warehouse in Braeside. (11 Citrus Street)
Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 10am – 3:30pm.
Not sure who will be there this year, Woodworking Warehouse (obviously), and Professional Woodworkers Supplies (definitely). I’d assume like previous years that Australian Furniture Timbers will be there as well. I got some nice pieces from them last year. There is the BBQ, and as Mel has just had a new bub, another friend of mine will be manning the grill.
There is no entry fee and street parking (and free BBQ), so you can save your coin for the specials inside., and not feel like having to spend it just getting to, and being there.
Be interesting to find out what is happening with Jet, given that Carbatec have been given national distributorship. Personally, (from Woodworking Warehouse’s perspective) I’d be dropping Jet (why be forced buy from your competitor), and bring in a new brand, such as Grizzly. The Grizzly range looks to be made in similar factories as the original Carbatec range (including my discontinued TS10L), and as Carbatec may be dropping that range in preference for Jet (time will tell), there is definitely a market. I’d also be getting Gabbett to provide some of the SawStop range – might as well have it on the shop floor in one of the retail outlets in Melbourne. That’s my 2 cents. I have a few Jet tools (jointer, lathe, bandsaw) and currently have the lathe and bandsaw stored – not because I want to, but I am simply out of room.
Anyway, back to the day – there will be specials, there will be new products (Professional Woodworkers Supplies have a number definitely worth seeing). Check out PWS’s Zhen knives – I have a Nakiri blade, and it is brilliant for chopping up vegetables (you’ve seen ads about slicing tomatoes to reveal how sharp a blade is, but the real demonstration for me is just how easy the blade can cleave and skin a pumpkin. Tomatoes are soft, and any half-sharp blade cuts them easily).
The following weekend (Friday – Sunday) is the Melbourne Timber and Working with Wood Show, and Stu’s Shed has a small stand there, but more on that later.
The weekend after that is the Stitches and Craft show, and along with ManSpace magazine, a few of us will be setting up a men’s break corner. Few demos, comfortable couches, bunch of ManSpace mags to flick through etc. Again, more details closer to the day, but if you are going to be heading along (penance for attending wood shows perhaps?) drop on by!
A recent release from Woodpeckers, this new square is of significant size.
Significantly small that is! When so many other items work to convince you that bigger is better, this goes the other way and proclaims “less is more”
As with other Woodpeckers squares, this is guaranteed square (and to stay square for the gauge’s lifetime) to 0.001″
You may notice inside the stylish container, that Woodpeckers products are made in the USA, and that not only being small, it has decent width. One use of the gauge is for checking that a sharpened chisel is square to the sides, and that width makes it easier to align the gauge with the chisel edge.
This is not the only use for this gauge, as given its small size it can easily get into small spaces (such as a small box or drawer), and check for square. That ability to fit into small spaces isn’t something to undervalue – resorting to folding a piece of paper to create a makeshift square will not achieve 0.001″ accuracy!
Available in Oz from Professional Woodworkers Supplies for under $40.
The Story of a Stick.
The Story Stick has been a useful tool for 100s of years, for recording and transferring measurements, without the need for a rule or tape measure. In its simplest form, it was nothing more than a straight stick, that had distances marked on it so there was consistency in lengths for multiple items, and one that could be stored for future reference.
The Royal Navy had a similar tool (and one still in regular use in various Navies), called a Gunter Batten. This consisted of two poles that could be slid apart to measure a distance up to about 10′ and a piece of string then jammed between and wound around to lock the measurement. When in combat and the ship has taken a hit, especially below the water line, water is pouring in and it needs to be shored up so the ship doesn’t sink, the last thing you need is a tape measure that you are trying fruitlessly to get an accurate measurement of the length of timber you need to support the bulkhead or deckhead to prevent collapse. With water pouring in, and slamming back and forth as the ship rolls, trying to get, and then remember a measurement is prone to disaster. The gunter batten, as a form of story stick, ensures accuracy in the chaos.
Woodpeckers in more recent times revived the concept of the story stick, not so much as one for semi-permanent storage of measurements (the Veritas blank tapemeasure was invented for that task- it was an April Fools joke that was so clever it became a limited run reality!), but at least one that was used for the duration of the project.
Woodpeckers have revisited the design of their story stick, and the result is this pro version, available in various lengths
Now with transparent stops, it is even easier to use, store, and transfer measurements around the project, without having to measure, record, forget, remeasure etc the size of an opening, the thickness of a piece of timber (or length) etc.
These are the straight stops. And as an optional accessory, they also have an offset finger, so you can set the opening of an interior measurement on one side, and the fingers/stops demonstrate the required size of the exterior of the related object. Imagine using this to build a set of drawers, getting an accurate measurement of the drawer opening and being about to easily transfer that measurement to the length of timber for the drawer front. Or a lidded box, or the many other times this sort of work/measuring is required.
It is not dimensionless woodworking, but it is a method where you don’t have to interpret the scale of the measurement tool in question, you can simply set the distance, and transfer it to another object.
I haven’t the additional fingers to try, to be able to assess accuracy, but I would expect this to be very useful for boxmaking, and for wood turning, especially when creating fitted lid boxes etc.
The Woodpeckers Story Stick Pro, from Professional Woodwork Supplies Keeping a very traditional tool alive, and dragged into 21st century design!
About a year or so ago, Woodpeckers stopped making aluminium router plate inserts to making plastic ones. There was a cost saving, and also a durability gain (the plastic ones don’t become potentially unusable if dropped on a hard shed floor).
However, I must admit a personal regret about the decision to abandon the aluminium inserts. They looked the part (anodised aluminium), and just had a good feel. The main reason though, was on the occasion that I did want to remove the router from the table, I found I would do so by lifting from the centre. That worked well with the aluminium rings, but the newer plastic ones are not strong enough.
All is not lost – as part of their One-Time tools, Woodpeckers has decided to produce a limited run of their aluminium insert rings.
Of course, if you don’t have a router table that can fit these rings, you may want to consider the associated router table inserts – whether that be the phenolic plate,
the aluminium one, or the granddaddy – the Woodpecker Uni-lift
FWIW, in each photo of the plate/uni-lift, you can see the newer plastic insert. Compare that to the first photo of the aluminium set, and you can see why I significantly prefer even the aesthetic of the aluminium insert. Chalk and cheese, on form and function.
While looking into it, check out the anodised aluminium woodworking rules. Solid, straight, with laser engraved markings. Normally available in 300mm, 600mm and 900mm lengths, there is a limited version, a Woodpeckers “One-Time” version that is 1200mm for those who need the extra length of a quality rule.
These all can be used with the new Woodpeckers Rule Stop, which adds even more functionality to an already quality product.
Woodpeckers have recently been releasing tools called “One Time Tools”, being a limited edition one-off production run (well kind-of..they are being used to release something of curious appeal, or to test the market on a new development. This means that downtrack some may get repeated, but once the initial run is sold, there is no certainty they will ever appear again).
The first few looked kind of interesting, but as the collection has grown, the overall theme is looking increasingly impressive – a case of the sum being greater than the parts…not that the parts are anything to sneeze at in themselves either. They look very useful, as are all the Woodpeckers items I have in my own shed. Not only that, but are not individually priced out of the reach of the average woodworker. Which is a roundabout way of saying they are quality, and affordable.
Some of the One-Time tools have already sold out, and others are coming on line.
As mentioned in the Professional Woodworkers Supplies eUpdate (email newsletter) Woodpeckers has also released a Cross Dowel Jig. So if you wanted to furniture to rival Ikea, this is the jig for you
Not to be factitious – every joint type has its place and purpose. Like the Kreg Pockethole, it may not be used for fine furniture, but still can be used to produce a strong, quick joint that can be broken down when no longer required. Consider for example, making a baby’s crib, it gets used for the first few months, then needs to be stored for future (potential!) needs. Using this sort of joint allows the furniture to be broken down to a very compact form so it is easily stored until needed again.
I’m sitting here at 3 in the morning (the only time of the day I have time to think for myself!) contemplating the practicalities of shed layout. I keep asking myself why does this question keep cropping up (especially when I could be doing something more productive like a project (or at 3am like sleeping!)), but I guess it is dwelling on my mind because it still isn’t right.
The space, or lack thereof, is killing me out there, but it is what it is so I have to try to work my way around it.
My current issue is still the router table. Despite using the top of the Torque Workcentre as a compromised stand, I keep finding it too much of a compromise – I want the router table to be have an identity of its own, not to have to co-habit with another machine.
For a long time I have thought this stand, from Professional Woodworkers Supplies was the answer, and I still do.
It looks good, looks easy to assemble – I could have a free-standing router table in no time. So that is a done deal. That isn’t the real problem. The problem is where to put it!
I don’t have an answer to that…..yet, but already the gears are grinding once again as I contemplate the tool moves required to make it happen. More tweaks than anything, but a plan is growing. I’ll definitely be including that wheel kit – all the tools in my workshop need some capacity to move. As much as I try to keep them static, they occasionally have to be shifted to make room (more often than not, for another one of those tool moves I keep seeming to do!)
What has sparked this all off is once again the damned team from Torque Workcentres who have finalised the slabbing jig (the chainsaw mount), and so I started thinking about using that when it arrives, and in my mind’s eye I saw the router table getting in the way, and well you know the rest!
Now I’ve worked through it, it feels like the the grey matter has made sufficient progress to allow me to sleep once again. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz