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!!

HO Scale Heims Mill

HO scale building for trainsets. It was a combined effort- a MakeCNC design (Heims Mill), cut out on my CNC using a 1mm cutter in 1.5mm acrylic. Unfortunately the only colour available in that thickness is no colour at all, ie clear.
Finally, assembly and painting by my old man (it is for his trainset). It came up brilliantly. I’m no expert on what scaled buildings are available commercially, but I daresay this would be their equal.

The water effect was made with super glue, by dribbling it on a piece of plastic, then bending it while still flexible.  Very effective!

Rambutso Island

Face it, we are pretty spoiled with the opportunities we have here in Australia. Looking past the fundamentals of shelter, food, health, we can also take a drive down the road to a local woodworking shop and buy pretty much anything under the sun.  We can also head to a furniture shop (or Ikea) and pick up anything that tickles our fancy.

Not everywhere in the world affords its citizens the same opportunities, but in some cases there are some special people bringing the tools and skills to the locals to be able to make their own.

Our friend, and woodworking legend Richard Vaughan is doing just that on Rambutso Island.  Taking a stack of donated tools with him, he is running fundamental furniture making courses for the locals.

He is returning later this year to do it all again, but he needs our help.

He needs donated tools to take with him.  They obviously need to be hand tools- a power tool is pretty useless if there isn’t any electricity!

Basically he is in need of hand tools in working condition, mainly;

· carving tools (very needed),

· clamps,

· sharpening stones, both flat and slipstones

· hand driven grinders,

· hacksaw blades,

· bits for braces, especially 20mm and larger for the mortices.

· triangular files for saw sharpening

· files for chainsaw sharpening.

· gal nails from 30 to 65 mm

If you have anything that would help out, know that it is going to a great cause.

Richard has arranged to get all the tools from his place to Rambutso Island, but the tools do need to be sent to him with donors bearing the cost of postage.

If you have any handtools you are willing to donate, please send them to

7/16 Spine St, Sumner Park Qld. 4074, by September 7th.

To read about Richard’s last trip, there was an article in the last issue of Australian Wood Review.


Every bit helps!

Cake Topper

Cut from clear acrylic, with an LED strip, battery & switch in a custom housing underneath.

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!

Chopstick Master

Big fan of Bridge City Tool Works.  Wish I could afford more of their amazing gear.  I do have their Kerfmaker, which I have used on a few jobs, and had perfect joints as a result.

They also make the Chopstick Master – yes, it seems a bit of a niche tool, but the quality of the tool they make for this purpose is second to noone.

Here is a video by BCTW of their Chopstick Master in action.  This is the 1st gen version, they are in the process of releasing version 2, which does not use a sawblade to create the end finial, but instead uses the supplied plane for all the steps.

Version 2 – crating the finial with the plane

The original video, describing how the Chopstick Master can into existence.

1.5mm MDF

Does anyone know if you can get 1.5mm thick MDF in Australia? 


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