Pre-judging a Tool

It is a rare thing for a tool to perform significantly different to what you imagined, and often that is not a positive thing.

So it is even rarer to find oneself completely surprised by how a tool just purchased operates, and in a good way!

The tool in question is the Arbortech Contour Sander.  It is fitted to an angle grinder and is for smoothing odd shaped items (such as one might create with some of the other Arbortech tools!)

Now the angle grinder is not exactly a tool that you would regard as being subtle.  It is loud, it vibrates, and it runs at around 10,000 RPM.  You would imagine that attaching a shaft to that, and sticking a piece of sandpaper on the end, that you are about to have some very rapid stock removal, in a cloud of dust.

Nothing could have been further removed from my expectation.

Instead, I had a tool running at very high speed (as angle grinders are want to do), but the sandpaper end was barely moving on the workpiece.  It is a random orbital sander style, so the rapid angular speed of the angle grinder translates into a more linear, but random amount of microstrokes.

It was subtle, it sanded quickly, but at a very controllable rate, and the soft end allowed the contours be sanded, without them being removed or abraded away.  Contour Sander indeed!

I think my only negative point was that the sandpaper is stuck on, rather than using velcro/hook & loop, so it isn’t easy to change from one pad to the next, working through the grades.

I’ve already used the sander on a few small jobs, smoothing and softening the natural edge of some timber, but I well expect it will prove a very useful tool for a range of projects in future.

Drilling down

The saga of my drill press continues.

For years, I have had a full height drill press – Woodman series, that I purchased pretty early on in the scheme of things, making the best decisions that I could at the time.  That is to say in hindsight, I have been a bit disappointed in it from the start.

I tried many different ways to deal with the shortcomings – different table tops



(the second was very interesting, but WAY too heavy!)

different chucks, but what began the end-game was when one of the capacitors blew.  That was back in May 2014, and somehow I have been dealing without one ever since.


Can’t exactly remember the timing, but either late last year/earlier this year I finally got around to trying to fix the motor, replacing the failed capacitor with another.  Seemed to work, and a few 5 second runs seemed to show it was back to being functional.  Still, after having it out of action for so long, I’d learned to work without it, so it didn’t get used.

I finally needed to on the weekend – a small hole with a forstner bit.  3/4 of the way down (20mm or so), and the motor on the drill press was smoking more than the workpiece!  Soon thereafter, and the motor ground to a halt, and this time it will be permanent (at least as far as I am concerned).

So it was off to the store once-known as Masters (now in liquidation), and picked up a bench-top drill press a couple of friends have also purchased, and have been pleased with.


Got it for 10% off (liquidator’s price), then an additional 5% with my soon-t0-be defunct Masters trade card.  Cost about $350.

That will keep me going at least until the Nova Voyager drill press is finally available from Teknatool.

Can’t wait!!

Panel Saw

Had a ‘new’ panel saw turn up over the weekend.  It is a Safety Speed Manufacturing branded H5 saw, made in USA.

Their website lists it as being around $A3500, although in this case the saw is well used (second hand), and doesn’t have the motor or blade any more, nor the counterweight.  (In Australia, it is listed as $A7300.  Does it seriously cost that much to land it from the USA?  In saying that, it makes my $100 investment about the best bargain I have ever done!)


In saying that, it is otherwise complete, and includes an aftermarket dust trap.  Adding a counterweight will be easy, as will mounting a saw to it.  So not bad at all for $100!  It is an ex-Bunnings saw, and came from the demise of the Woodworking Warehouse.

A mate with a truck dropped it off yesterday (thanks Dennis!)  It weights a tonne (actually 135kg)

The saw can cut panels up to 1600 wide, and can be orientated to also do a rip cut.  Additionally, the saw can be replaced with a router, and although I probably won’t, it is an interesting idea.

It is a bit of a monster to fit in, but I have it across the roller door, so that may be ok.  It is partially blocking the outfeed of the tablesaw, but only for large cuts, and well, large cuts are probably better done on this panelsaw now anyway!

Like everything, I’ll juggle it around until I get a good fit.  Hmm- wonder if it can double up to be a mount for the Frontline clamps…….  Not bad for $100 anyway!

Loot Boxes

So apparently there is a really big thing out there that I was only vaguely aware of, called Loot Boxes.

It is like a high-end version of a show bag that comes to your letterbox once a month (so you don’t have to brave the dodgy rides, candyfloss and wait a year between events for a show).

A very popular version are the Geek Boxes – things that appeal to the fantasy/sci-fi/anime etc community.  One such company producing these is called Lootaku, run out of Hong Kong.  They charge about $US50 / month, and you get a box of goodies worth around $US80 in your mail box.


A couple of weeks ago, Lootaku contacted me through my Etsy store, as they had come across my Game of Thrones inspired Hodor door stop, and wanted to include it in the latest box they were sending out for June.

That was on the Wednesday night, and by the weekend, I had 160 of the suckers made up, wrapped, and flying their way express to Hong Kong.

If you don’t watch Game of Thrones, then a Hodor door stop will make no sense to you what-so-ever.  Fans of the show get it🙂

Photo 19-06-2016, 09 53 08

What is fun now, is watching the recipients open their loot boxes on You Tube – videoing the opening is also a popular past time it seems.

Here’s one of the first videos – I’ve fast forwarded it to near where they get to the Hodor.

Cool reaction.  That’s what I enjoy about making things – the reaction of the recipients.  You don’t normally get first reactions recorded for prosperity on YouTube, but that is where Loot Boxes are somewhat unique.

And another

And another

And yet another!

And on it goes……

Transcending language barriers

Torque Workcentre for sale!

A regular of Stu’s Shed has a 3.5m Torque Workcentre for sale that has had very little use.

Given how rarely second hand Torque Workcentres come up for sale, and the lead time on getting a new one, I am pretty sure there will be someone out there keen to snap this one up.  It is being sold for $5000

“I have for sale a Torque WorkCentre. I have had it for a number of years, but have never really used it. It simply doesn’t suit my woodworking, or workflow.
The details and accessories are:

3.5m by 900mm WorkCentre ($5060 current new price (cnp))
Extension beam ($745 cnp)
Circular Saw Attachment ($245 cnp)
Copy Attachment ($190 cnp)
Triton Router Attachment ($160 cnp)
Dust Extraction Guard ($115 cnp)
Drill/Grinder Attachment ($60 cnp)

Also a pro router switch, multiple lengths of t&g T Track, various stops, fences etc.

All up new, that’s more than $6500. And I guarantee, my unit is as new (some shipping plastic wrap still on some parts!)

I am based in Gippsland. Please message me if you have any questions at or call on 0478 401 013”


I had a friend apply her much-more-artistic skills in decorating one of the models, and this is what she came up with.

Goes to show what someone with talent can do!

Jeanené is an artist and does facepainting for markets among her other creative outlets. She can be contacted via email at or on 045 206 1416.

Photos by Kara Rasmanis

Butterfly plans from

Rock Your World promotion

For the month of June, Stu’s Shed readers are being given a special code to get a 15% discount on a new range of machinery from I Wood Like.

Follow this link to I Wood Like to get details of the exclusive Stu’s Shed Sale

So just what are the new tools that IWL have on offer?

There are two new bandsaw models.

Pro300B Bandsaw


This is a 305mm twin speed bandsaw with a maximum DOC of 200mm.  Priced at $1190 inc GST, it has been reduced to $1011.50 with your Stu’s Shed discount.

If you need something beefier, there is the

Artisan400B Bandsaw


With a 390mm throat depth, 270mm resaw height and a 2.2kW motor, this bandsaw will do some pretty significant work.  It can take up to a 30mm blade, so that really opens up the options for getting carbide tipped blades for serious resawing.

It is priced at $1949 inc GST, which comes down to $1656.65 with the Stu’s Shed discount.

There are a couple of combo jointer-thicknessers, and a couple of smaller sanders (linisher and or disc) that I will highlight in the near future.

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