Jul 082019

We had a preview of Chris’s beautiful workbench last month, and this month Chris showed us where he got his inspiration from – Robert Lang’s 21st Century Workbench.

Click on the pictures below to see a video on how versatile the workbench is and how to buy the plans at a very reasonable price.


And then – another excellent workbench from Brian! Click on the pictures below for the original plans or Brian’s economic modifications (with a costing of various options – excellent value!)

Brian’s Modified Workbench with Costing


Members were then given practical demonstrations of 2 different methods for cutting tapers on the Workcentre. Brian used a Taper Jig from Carbatec, and Chris used his L-Jig coupled with an electronic angle finder.

Brian’s Method – the Carbatec Taper Jig

Chris’ Method – L-jig and electronic angle finder


Craig then showed us a simple idea for a plant stand

And Chris finished an action packed night with a list of his favourite websites

(click on the picture to see the full list and actionable links)

Jun 182019

We had a great night looking at that essential component of any workshop – the woodworking bench.

A number of members gave presentations on their benches, and why they liked them –
functionality, accessibility, stability, suitability, affordability and how good they looked!

Click on any of the photos below to see the full presentation

Bob’s Bench

Chris’s Bench

Craig’s Benches

John’s Benches

Trevor’s Bench

John finished the night with a great presentation on the variety of workbenches available to members – click on the title page below to see his full presentation.

And here is the article Chris sent us on the most common workbench questions from Christopher Schwarz’s book Workbenches – from Design & Theory to Construction & Use – just click on the book cover below.

May 232019

Shaun from Monaro Timber is a long-time friend and supporter of the Club.

He has hosted several visits to his workshop and timber yard. He judged our 2018 competition and provided constructive feedback particularly in relation to the structural integrity and finish of pieces. The focus of his presentation followed on from his judging experience to provide guidance on building pieces for competitions.

Following are some notes on what Shaun presented to members on the night

The main elements that need to be addressed in preparing pieces for a competition are:

  • design
  • material selection
  • preparation
  • joinery
  • assembly
  • finish

The two main elements of design are aesthetics and technical. Shaun’s main focus is on the technical aspects. Everyone has a different idea about what looks good. His attitude is that if the piece does not hold together and do what it is meant to do then it does not matter how good it looks.

A major issue we need to incorporate into design, especially in Canberra, is shrinkage.

Shrinkage is across the width of a board not the length. Imagine a plank is made up of straws filled with water running the length of the plank. As the water dries out the straws compress inwards. Furniture timber from his yard has typical moisture content of around 12-15%. The moisture content of timber inside Canberra houses during winter can fall to 9.25% or less. You must expect and account for 1% shrinkage for every 4 percentage point drop in moisture content. That is the equivalent of 1cm for a table with planking 1m wide. A bevel edged frame around a planked table top will not cope with this amount of shrinkage.

Material Selection
Don’t use Jarrah for drawer sides – it exudes gum that can clog movement. Try Victorian Ash.
Make sure veneer boards have veneer on both faces of core material. The timber in heavy veneers, ie boards using resawn timber for veneering, have the same properties as timber planking in terms of shrinkage for veneers 3mm or more thick.

Avoid boards with twists for planking jobs but if they have nice feature they may be alright for heavy veneers (but don’t expect as many veneer sheets).
Don’t use polyurethane glues with Huon pine – it turns orange.

Be aware that dressed timber which has been sitting in racks in timber yards will have knocks and bumps, rounded or uneven edges and other signs of wear. Ash normally sits OK in horizontal racks but many other timbers will need further dressing before undertaking projects.

Joinery and Assembly
Due to time constraints Shaun skipped over joinery and assembly but stressed that throughout preparation and construction it was always important to be aware of the need for accuracy, quality, attention to detail and consistency. Always bear in mind – will it pass the mum or spouse test. In terms of quality and consistency – a bevel edge must be sharp and well defined with consistent sizes throughout the project. To allow for sanding a routed curved edge is better if it starts below the top face. Also be aware that any problems in preparation and construction (eg glue squeeze out that is not cleaned up at the time) will take a lot more time to correct with sanding and finishing.

With regard to accuracy, it is better to use steel rules for accurate final measurement, rather than tape measures, which can be inaccurate.

A good finish can make a bad job look better. A poor finish will make a good job look bad. Shaun reinforced the importance of sanding and the need to work through the range of grits. Need to get rid of the hills with coarser grit before going to finer grits. Make good use of a random orbital sander – to get a consistently smooth finish use long straight slow sweeps back and forth along the surface (with a 20cm overlap) rather than fast heavy handed swirling motions. For rounded edges use a smooth roll over motion as the sander is runs along the top surface. Do not apply downward pressure to the sander.

He was a major user of Organoil (based on tung oil) but has been increasing his usage of hard wax oils. With tung oil based products the finer the grit the better the finish (he showed examples up to 2000 grit). Don’t go too fine with hard wax oil as the product will not penetrate the surface. Recently he has switched from Osmo to Bona hard wax oils for cost reasons but has not been able to detect any notable difference in quality or performance.

He highlighted the importance of good downlighting, especially as our eyes deteriorate with age. LED downlights help a lot.

Thanks Shaun for a very informative and much appreciated evening.

(Shaun indicated that he and others at Monaro Timber were prepared to provide advice to club members (send an email) even if you don’t end up purchasing the timber from them – but don’t forget they provide a discount to club members!)

Apr 222019

At our April meeting Brian and Chris showed us the washing and cooking stations they had the privilege of helping to make for our hosts – the Stromlo Forest Scout Group. The stations can be easily mounted on an ozito mitre saw stand, and are very economical and transportable. Thanks Chris and Brian!


Peter then gave his thoughts on the mystery jig kindly donated to the club and, with the help of our resident experts, we now have a clear answer! it’s a jig to provide precisely cut wedges for a turned segmented bowl.


For those interested in the process the following video from Woodworker’s Journal is quite informative.


Chris then gave us a presentation on options for cutting circles and curves. Members can view the full presentation on our new “Presentations” page – don’t forget to Login.


Following are some of the videos Chris found for us. However the Trammel video with Becky Krailicek is only available to Woodsmith subscribers, so we’ve shown an alternative below.

After a welcome break (with lamingtons!), Brian then showed us some dangerous cuts on the Triton Router Table – including mortises and shaped bearing cuts.

We finished the meeting with some contributions from members on their current projects. Check out John’s glass cabinet in the new “Presentations” page!

A great, value packed night!

Mar 122019

Our March meeting began with a practical demonstration of the versatility of the Triton Workcentre by our excellent demonstrator Brian.
We looked at a whole range of dangerous cuts (those done without a riving knife), and Brian supplemented his demonstration with a whole range of hints and jigs.

Brian ‘s final demonstration – cove cuts with his simple but efficient jig

Brian’s sample of what can easily be done with a cove cut

For those who missed the meeting, the following Triton Heritage videos cover some of the cuts Brian showed us (but we also had the opportunity of asking Brian questions – so try not to miss the meetings!)


Chris then gave members a quick demonstration of the two dowelling jigs donated by Gavin – up for auction for members.

And Peter then finished a great evening with a presentation on lighting in the workshop – a topic raised at our last meeting.

Members – make sure you’re logged on and then click on the first page below for Peter’s full presentation.

Feb 082019

After our farewell to Gavin last year, John and Chris caught up with him to present a certificate of life membership – hopefully he can drop in on his old mates now and then!

Chris then gave members a couple of great presentations on Workshop Layout and Cutting Thin Strips and Veneers on the Bandsaw

Members – make sure you’re logged on and then click on either image below for Chris’s presentation


And these are the videos Chris showed us – just in case you can’t link them from the previous presentation


Mick raised an alternative view on bandsaw drift by Michael Fortune – the following video has his suggestions

And Chris found the following in response to Antoni’s question on the best light for a workshop – just click on the image to open the article

Dec 082018

Good company, steak sandwich, ginger beer, birthday cake and woodwork – how can you beat that!


Many thanks to Hugh for the photos, Mick, Mike, Ron & Richard – our very able cooks – and of course our lovely Carolan who arranged it all.

After dinner Alison brought out an amazing birthday cake for Mick – and we all sang happy birthday (mostly in tune!)

Our great judges – Shaun Hayward from Monaro Timber, Fred Buckley from the Woodcraft Guild and Alison Brice – then gave some great feedback on all the entries in this year’s competition.


And the winners were:


Bruce – 1st, 2nd & 3rd!

Peter – Prize Winner

Craig – Prize Winner



John – 1st Prize

Mick – 2nd Prize

Peter – 3rd Prize



Chris – 1st Prize

John – 2nd Prize

Mick – 3rd Prize


Merry Christmas everyone – looking forward to a great new year!

Nov 082018

Members were privileged to have Andrew Pearce speak to us on his experience restoring an Albatros D.Va for the Australian War Memorial, and his current career as an objects and metal conservator with Endangered Heritage.


Andrew spoke to us on the trepidation he had on working on an irreplaceable part of world history, and we had the privilege of seeing the internal structure of the fuselage and wings of the Albatros as it was being restored.


For members interested in the camouflage pattern used for the Albatros, check out the Wikipedia article on Lozenge camouflage. There’s also a link to more information on the Albatros.

Andrew’s current work makes use of Liberon products, and he showed us some of the products he uses and examples of their application. A lot of his work uses Black Bison Wax, and members are able to order this and other Liberon supplies from Endangered Heritage.

After Andrew’s talk there was quite a response from members. In answer to one question Andrew suggested, for large furniture items, members might be interested in the work of Greg Peters at nearby Patinations.

Thank you Andrew – it was a fascinating night!

On a sadder note, members said a final farewell to a long standing and much loved member of the club.
Bon Voyage Gavin, and Happy Landings