Box Bits 8 – Advanced Lifts and Pulls

To introduce a circular element into the shaping of these items we will use a hole drilling jig, which will again use the marked centre line (CL) to ensure that both sides of the stock are evenly matched. These holes should be drilled on a drill press, and may be attempted using stop blocks and lots of luck, but the jig described within this article is easy to make and easy to use.


pdf: Box Bits 8

Thank you from a craftsman


I know you by name, reputation and that I have bought your products.  I realise that you probably wouldn’t know me if we ran into each other, but that is fine.

I appreciate what you and the other folk like you do for our small but growing community of craftspeople.  So thank you for being there, and thank you for your communications and the products and help you provide.

I will continue to buy various items from you – this is usually via the working with wood show for me and a put money aside and roll up usually having a good idea what I need.  I am increasingly using the internet to purchase my supply’s so I see no reason why I shouldn’t place orders with you as well.  I warn you that you will not get rich with what I buy but it be used and will be appreciated.

I am not sure what role Gerdi plays in your business but I bet without there to help your business would all the less.  So thanks to her as well.

I hope the season allows you both to get some relaxing time and I’ll contact you again in 2014.



Thank you from a happy workwork hardware client

Thanks so much Michael and Gerdi for the Christmas wishes.

Thank you for your “personal Touch” that seems to be your trademark. (At the Brissy show Gerdi wrapped some saw files individually in newspaper, that I had purchased. Attention to detail/personal touch. I was impressed)

Thank you too for “being on duty” over the Season to help us out.

Just make sure you both have a good break and enjoy putting your feet up

Merry Christmas


Box Bits 7 – Lid Lifts and Drawer Pulls

There’s always a need for lid lifts and draw pulls when making boxes and small cabinets. Due to their small size, to make them individually is quite difficult and depending on the machines used, a little bit on the dangerous side of things. So, here’s a system that will enable you to mill and shape multiple items using common woodworking machines before separating them into individual pieces.


pdf: Box Bits 7

Box Bits 6 – Mitre Keys

Mitre Keys are a necessary strengthening method for mitred box corners, as well as being an aesthetic addition to the overall box presentation.The extra strength is required due to the small end grain gluing surface provided by mitred corners and the increased strength comes from the extra glue surface provided by the mitre keys and the slots cut into the carcass and lid to fit them, combined with the fact that the grain of the key stock runs at an angle across the mitre joint. Usually mitre keys are made from a stock that is of a contrasting colour to the area of the box they are fitted into thereby adding to the box presentation.


pdf: Box Bits 6

Box Bits 5 – Fitting Barbed-Slot Hinges

These small brass hinges are ideal for hingeing small box lids, and although they don’t have the finish of expensive brass hinges, this is not considered to be a problem, as when mounted, the only portion of the hinge visible is the hinge barrel.


pdf: Box Bits 5

Box Bits 4 – Accurately Mounting Concealed Barrel Hinges

You’ve separated the lid from the carcass, and trued up and sanded the bottom of the lid and the top of the carcass, and everything is all square and ship-shape. Now comes the problem of accurately mounting the b


pdf: Box Bits 4

Box Bits 3 – Concealed Barrel Hinges 8mm – 24mm

These items are a fully concealed barrel hinge manufactured in brass and available in metric sizes between 8mm – 24mm. The brass cylinders are equipped with a small set screw which expands the cylinder after it is mounted in an appropriate hole. The hinges will open to180º from the closed position.and are suitable for stock sizes from 10mm to 25mm. The cylinders also provide a countersunk area for the inclusion of a brass screw as an alternate mounting method. The cylinders are joined by a series of brass plated steel leaves, although in some of the cheaper versions these are made from brass sheet, and appropriate care should be taken.


pdf: Box Bits 3

Box Bits 2 – Concealed Barrel Hinges 5mm

These solid brass hinges are ideal for pen boxes or small jewellery boxes requiring a low profile hinge. They are designed with glue retention lines for securing into the box and lid with epoxy resin glue. They work best on stock between 9m – 12mm, and require both stock pieces to be chamfered at 45º for effective hinge action to occur.


pdf: Box Bits 2

Box Bits 1 – Basic Resawing for Continuous Grain

This article will explain the “Why’s And How To’s” of making a perfect Four Corner Match of continuous grain on all corners of their mitred corner boxes.


pdf: Box Bits 1

Best way of fitting base to box tray in box making

This podcast episode is a review and reading of a question about box making on the woodwork forums.

The Questions Posed:

I am making a tray for a box using 30mm x 6mm thick koto which has tiny dovetail joints on the outer frame of the tray. I want to recess a 3mm thick ply base inside the tray frame which will have a 3 x 3 mm rabbet for the base to drop in neatly. My first problem is how to cut the 3 x3mm rabbet around the inside of the frame without risking damage to the dovetails at the bottom of the box.The 2nd problem is how to cut stopped rebates across the 140 L x 30 W x 6mm sides to take the dividers. The rebates would be 6mm wide and 25mm long, and located at the centre of the sides. The dividers would fit neatly into these rebates



History of Box Making in Poland

The making of decorated wooden boxes has deep historical roots in southern Poland. Farmers and shepherds settled the Tatra region of the Carpathian mountains, a region called Podhale, toward the end of the first millennium AD. During the long winter months, as their fields lay under cover of snow, farmers spent their free time working wood….

This is based on

Creating aluminium and acrylic signs

Discussion with John Holroyd from Name Signs about creating aluminium and acrylic signs using a cnc router in his workshop.

Woodworking and Sign making with John Holroyd

John Holroyd has established a sign making business in Newcastle, Name Signs ( John and I chat about creating signs, custom made furniture, woodwork and cnc routing. I recorded a few videos with him and we’ve converted the audio into the podcast. If you want to see the video so you get visuals at the same time as the audio head to Name Signs.

Setting up a CNC Workshop with John Holroyd

I’ve been chatting with John Holroyd from Name Signs ( about how he setup his CNC machine and workshop in his garage, some of the challenges he faced and learnt wisdom. We had a laid back chat about his experience and the thought process behind buying a $40,000 CNC rather than a cheap $2000 one as well.

The video recording of the discussion can be found on vimeo:


Getting Started in Woodworking: Wood Shop Setup

WS1aHave you decided it’s high time to learn woodworking, but put it off for lack of space? If you are trying to find room for your home woodshop, we might have the answer to your woodworking dream. But first, to get you in the mood, check out the podcasts from the pros over at Hardware for Creative Finishes, they will leave you drooling. The precision and attention to detail that goes into these works of art is phenomenal, especially when you consider that many of these show pieces were not created in professional shops or artist studios. From delicate bowls to sturdy decorative furniture, these wood works, were created by artisans, working for their own satisfaction, in the privacy of their own homes.

If you are ready to learn woodworking, you will need a dedicated work space. In the right frame of mind, woodworking as a hobby can be serene; but not if your other half thinks you are are making a mess. So, in this post we are going to give you ideas for your dedicated wood working space, and that will make everyone happy.

Woodshop Location

Many woodworkers set up shop in their basement or garage. If you are lucky enough to have an unused shed in the back yard, it can be repurposed into a great work space customised exactly the way you like it. And finally, if you are rolling in the dough, you can build a custom work shop on your property.

A Woodshop Away From Home

If on the other hand you have absolutely no space because you live in a tiny cramped apartment, you could check around your town for a shared workspace to use as your woodshop. Obviously there are inconveniences in having to travel to another location to work on your projects, but there really are some benefits. By learning in an established community woodshop you might have access to community owned power tools and equipment that a novice could not yet afford. The real advantage is that there will probably be professional woodworkers with years of experience who can advise you on projects.

A Portable Workshop

WS4If a shared space is not available, or simply just not your style, you can still create a very functional “portable” workshop that will work in an apartment environment. Certainly not as functional as the shop Granddad had in the basement, or a well equipped community hobby shop, but sufficient enough to keep you in woodworking heaven creating functional and beautiful furniture. There are yachtsmen who built sail boats in second story living rooms and later lowered the craft to ground. Where there is a will there is a way.

We didn’t forget those in tight spaces who still yearn for a workshop. Next post we will share how a couple of wooden tool boxes and a slide under the bed folding workbench can fire your workshop in no time. Selecting tools and techniques for your apartment wood workshop will take special considerations, which we can’t wait to share with you. In the mean time, be sure to check out the Wood shop posts and podcasts.

Brazilian Mahogany bodies with Huon Pine trim and Camphor Laurel lids

This is a project that Colin has been working on, they are Bazilian Mahogany bodies with Huon Pine trim and Camphor Laurel lids. Great to see what clients of Hardware for Creative Finishes are doing.

Decorative inlays for box making

Feedback on the decorative inlays supplied by Hardware for Creative Finishes

Dear Michael

Thankyou for your enquiry, have nothing on the go at the moment, but should I require your product in the future will not hesitate to contact you.

The decorative inlays I used on the box I made for my daughter in law were a great success – she was impressed!

Cheers, Ted 


If you are looking for decorative inlays checkout

Michael is heading to woodwork shows in Adelaide, Sydney and Perth

Michael will be exhibiting at the following wood shows. I had a short chat with Michael about how he prepares for the shows, what he takes and what its like there.

Tools and More Expo
19 – 21 July , Wayville Showgrounds Adelaide
Timber and Working With Wood Show
26 – 28 July Homebush Showgrounds Sydney

Perth Wood Show
2- 4 August Claremont Showgrounds , Claremont Perth
He will have a comprehensive Range of products on Display.

Robert Brennan update on woodwork projects

Here is an update from a client of Hardware for Creative Finishes about a project he is working on.

I am currently building a Billy Cart for the Carindale Billy Cart Championships 18 Aug 2013.

It’s a Modified design based loosely on a A Model Ford PU.

I have consumed almost all of your 40G stock getting the recycled timber to an acceptable finish ready to undercoat and then paint.

Its off to the fabricator next for the Final wheels and rolling stock to be fitted.

Regards, Robert Brennan

If you have an interesting project on your workbench and would like to share email to and let Michael know.

Here are the photos

CC 1st Sand stage 1 2


CC 1st Sand stage 1 1


CC 1st Sand stage 1 3

Woodturners of the Hunter

One sunny winters morning I visited the Woodturners of the Hunter at the Newcastle Show Grounds to see what happens there, how the facility is setup, what kind of equipment they have, who their members are and a whole lot more. Join me on a tour of their workshop and share an enjoyable visit to the Woodturners of the Hunter.

The audio was recorded live, in the workshop, so there is some background noise, people sawing, sanding and so forth, we’ve edited it to minimise that as much as we could.

So you think you can STACK Firewood

Normally when i stack firewood its like a pile of split logs in a wheelbarrow, but this is brilliant, you’d almost feel bad about taking bits out to burn.


Watch and enjoy

It’s quirky

I wonder how they stack right to the top of some of these…

and what you do when you actually want some of the wood.

Garrick Blue the Box Maker

My passion for woodcraft began, unexpectedly, back in 1995. I had just retired from thirty three years in the Banking industry and together with my wife Annie, was exploring the South West corner of West Australia as part of an around Australia caravan trip.

I doubt that any visitor to the South West would fail to be impressed, even moved by the sight of the mighty Karri, Tingle and Jarrah forests that occur throughout this area. This fascination became even more intense with a number of visits to local woodwork galleries and conversations with some of the area’s best wood workers.

By the time we returned to our home in Sydney I knew what I wanted to do in “retirement”.

With encouragement from family, local galleries and particularly my woodwork teacher, my hobby soon became a business; that of crafting fine wooden boxes.

Predicably, the majority of my work utilises Australian native timbers which continues to be popular with overseas visitors as well as locals visiting our top woodwork galleries.

I am proud to say my inlaid boxes can be found in a number of these including:- Bungendore Woodworks, Tilba Woodturning, Fox’s Woodwork Bathurst and Boranup Gallery.

Each of my pieces is unique whether it has been designed to hold jewellery, games, business or household accessories or specific items such as coins or medals. My Humidors are also made to the client’s individual specifications.

Among my more notable commissions have been items presented to:~

  • Premier of South Aust from the Aust. Wine Industry
  • Visiting Japanese Industry leaders
  • International Symphony Orchestra Conductor
  • Visiting Chinese Consular Delegation
  • Canadian Forces Delegation

I have also been fortunate to receive a number of awards for inlaid boxes entered for competition in Sydney’s Royal Agricultural shows.

Staining Teak Outdoor Furniture Black

An unusual post in the woodwork forums.  It’s entitled staining Teak outdoor furniture black.  The question is we have a set of chairs and a table on our north-facing balcony, which is (a) looking faded and stained and (b) doesn’t really match the décor of the room, which is all black and dark brown, including the floor which has the Feast Watson Japan black treatment – 7 parts Prooftint Black and 3 parts Prooftint Teak Brown.  And so Pewit would like to stain the furniture to match the floor and the rest of the furniture, but preferably without having to varnish over the top so the process can be repeated when it fades but also to avoid transferring of the stain to clothes.

However, I know that Teak is an oily wood and doesn’t usually take up stains very well.  I have read that after rubbing down, you can bust the grain with 50/50 denatured alcohol and make it take dark colours.  Anyone suggest this treatment will work or suggest an alternative?

We’ve got one answer from Anselm Fraser, which is that there is an easy answer to this question.  At this moment in time, we are working in Switzerland and they like to keep the outside furniture of wooden houses black in colour.  How do they do it?  On wood that has no other finish on it, they use a paint of liberal coat of used car sump oil.  It is a filthy black colour and is free from any car mechanic or presumably out of your own car, but it dries completely in a couple of hours.  I do not know if it will work on Teak but you could open up the grain with a pressure hose.  I suppose he means a gurney.  In Switzerland they use Pine for everything, and by this method, Pine houses last hundreds of years.  Before the motor car, I do not know how they kept the Pine from decaying, but in the last 50 years, this method has been used unbelievably successfully.

Another answer.  I can only tell you my experience with garden furniture stain that I did many years ago.  I used the most expensive Sikkens to stain a full set of garden table and chairs and it came out beautifully.  However, since it is exposed to full sun all day, it only two years for the stain to break down.  Eventually I had to re-coat it with Wattyl external point to match my windows in colour.  Of course it does not look as nice as freshly stained, but it seems to last forever.  So it depends if your outdoor set will be exposed to full sun.  I’d suggest you think twice before you start the job.  Presumably if you put oil on it, you’re not really painting it.

And a follow-up comment.  What an interesting concept.  I’ve lived in Switzerland for 15 years and I can’t say I’ve seen it used.  But then again, I did not visit all the Cantons – that’s the states.  The concept of that is the same as a Black Japan finish on Baltic Pine floors.  It preserves the timber.  And there’s a photo with an example.  With penetrating oil, one can rejuvenate, touch up, or repair if or when necessary.  Don’t expect it to last 10 years, though, with our harsh sun, but anywhere from 12-24 months.  Due to the nature of the oils, there is no issue with using it on a table top.  If the coating is now faded then a good wash with a stiff brush, allow it to dry and the coat will be sufficient to bring it back to life.

So I’m really not sure about putting car oil on furniture.  That sounds a bit dirty, drastic and I’m not sure that you want carcinogenic car oil over your furniture but certainly an interesting idea.  And the consensus of this post, at least, is if you want it to last is paint it and otherwise get it used to brushing it down and giving it a coat of oil every couple of years if it’s going to be in the sun.  And I suppose like the thing is Switzerland is not sunny all the time so it probably doesn’t fade as quickly if you are sealing or oiling a timber.

My Lathe Motor has Lost Its Torque

I was just poking around the woodwork forums as I do and there’s a question here.  It says my lathe motor has lost its torque.  This is by Orraloon.  It’s a 1 horsepower motor and today while roughing a small bowl, would stall while taking very modest cuts.  I’ve done largish turnings up to 16 inches on this with no problems.  The motor spins up okay, was not hot and the headstock bearings were not even warm.  Not being an electrical expert, I’m asking for some advise.  Motor is about five years old and estimated around 2,000 hours.

So there’s a good discussion that follows from this.  There’s a suggestion about how is the belt for tightness and what lathe is being driven by it.  I guess someone with exactly the same problem and they also mentioned that they applied for insurance and got a new motor.  So it might be something to think about.  If you’ve got insurance for electrical motors, that might cover a lathe.  Other suggestion about checking the belt and then there’s slack belt matches the symptoms.

Okay.  So Chuck1 said that his drill press did something similar and the belts were okay and it turned out to be a capacitor that was on the way out, but there were sparks coming off the motor so different symptoms.  And it would spin up but as soon as there was any load put on it, it would clagg out.

So back to the original poster, it’s a Leady lathe so the tension is by the weight of the motor.  I guess that is why I did not think of the belt at first.  It’s one of those micro V-belts, still looks in reasonable order.  I locked in the index pin and was able to rotate the motor pulley by hand on the first step.  I have scrubbed out the V-grooves with metho and given the belt a wipe with soapy water to clean off any gunk, still some slip on the slow speed, so the small pulley on the motor end.  But a fair bit better than it was.  So I’m going to need a new belt sometime.  I may as well look at the bearings as the shaft has to come out for the belt change.  Anyone done the bearings on a Leady?  I will need pullers and a press.

With a follow-up again.  If it’s a V-belt, you can replace it with a link belt.  They do have two sizes that will stretch out quite a bit and you just pull out a link or two, stretch it out over the wheel again.  And this person’s found that needle nose pliers make it pretty easy to pull the belts apart and put them back together again.  And they outlast standard belts and slip less.

Okay.  And so someone else has heard them called “serpentine” belts but has no idea why.  And it says it looks like the spindle will have to be pulled.  Okay.  So that type of belt, apparently, is supposed to give the best pull because of all the surface area.  So I guess, the grooves are like a corrugation on a roof so it makes it stronger and give you more surface area.  On some of the newer lathes, the headstock spindle will unbolt for a belt replacement and for replacing bearings.

And this person here said he’s had a Leady, 20 years old, and has had about four sets of bearings.  But it’s done a lot of work and it’s relatively simple to remove the spindle.  Just pull off the cover plates and tap the bearings out.  There’s no metal impacts and it doesn’t sound like you need any special tools to do it.

So I thought that was an interesting little Q&A and indicative of how helpful people on the woodwork forums are.  It’s a very friendly, helpful community from what I’ve seen and anytime someone does have a legitimate question, there’s people rushing to answer and provide their input on it as well.

Peter Bailey on CNC Routing and Etsy

I was able to speak to Peter Bailey.  Peter’s in Western Australia and he’s had a career and still works consulting in agriculture and doing design engineering and things like that.  And he’s working towards setting up his woodwork business.  And it’s interesting in the way he’s approached it because whilst he’s had a lifelong interest in timber, he hasn’t necessarily taken it up as a kind of hobby so much as it is something he wants to do as paid employment.  And so he’s gone out and bought a CNC router and he’s been designing things on that and creating pieces for friends and family and expanding out his market.

So I hope you enjoy this chat and he was really easy to talk to.  Very obliging and shared a lot of insight into how he got a CNC router into the country in the first place and some of the challenges he’s had with that and some of the interesting experiences he’s had in self-teaching how to use the machine.  So here you go.

link to cnc on woodwork forums

digital wood – peter bailey

Old Epoxy Won’t Stick

Here’s what I thought was interesting.  Titled “Old Epoxy Weird Behavior”.  It’s not actually a wood question but it’s about glues.  This is by REAL Old Nick.EPOXY-SERVICES

I want to stick some Velcro and webbing strap to corflute board.  My first attempt resulted in a complete failure.  The glue simply came away from the corflute.  So I punched lots of tiny holes in the corflute for a key and tried again.  The result was that the epoxy stayed in the keyed corflute but it failed to adhere to the back of the Velcro.  Clean as a whistle.  That surprised me as Velcro is a woven-looking material and I thought that would be okay.  And though it adhered to the strap and the corflute, it simply tore when I pulled up the strap leaving a residue on both strap and plastic.

The stuff is very old.  10 years, probably more.  It works fine, mixes okay, and sets well, it just seems spectacularly weak and not sticky.  Has anyone tried this or have used old epoxy before, not of this breed, but had no trouble?

One suggestion, corflute is made from polyethylene HDPE or LDPE in solid blocks and it makes reasonable bearings but very few things will stick to it, unless you don’t want them to.  He’s a bit sarcastic.  Most Velcro-type products also made from slippery plastics like nylon HDPE.  So it’s no wonder you had to go to extremes to get the preparation and application.  I’m a bit surprised you didn’t just get a peeling off every time instead of some stick and the glue fail.

As for the glue fail, many things have been marked as epoxy glue over the years and only some of it is the real thing.  If it is actually a polyester-based resin with a filler and MEK catalyst as the “B” Part, the MEK could have partly evaporated, which means it won’t be setting to full strength.  Some polyurethane curing agents also have a definite shelf life due to internal chemical reactions or evaporations.  And some real epoxies are just plain very sensitive to the correct amount of curing agent often in the range of 1/100th of a gram or less for some specialist formulations.

Basically if the glue fails, use it to repair broken pot plants or something non-critical and get a new lot of epoxy from a reliable company like Selleys, BoteCote or West, which are formulated for people like you and me.

Another suggestion is to use contact cement.  That’s a very good idea because you can glue it onto both surfaces and when it is tacky, you join them together.

Another reply from the original question was, I was not surprised by the initial un-keyed failure.  I could see the plastic was going to be a tough cookie.  When the glue basically disintegrated, that was a surprise.  Interesting about the Velcro, I could see how it was a slippery plastic but it looks as if the weave or grain was expected to take.  I’m not sure about that.  It has like oily plastic on it sometimes.  I did not know about dodgy epoxies.  I doubt this is polyester as it worked well in the past and polyester is never a good adhesive.  So in my limited experience with epoxy, you don’t use it to join pieces of material together for like signs and things and contact cement is much better at that.  It makes a much better bond.  You can put it on both surfaces and lather it all out and sit it there until it gets nice and tacky and then join it back together.  Whereas epoxy, well, it’s designed to fix boats and things that are rough and got plenty of surface area on them I suppose.  So yeah, an interesting little post.

Anne-Maria on Woodwork as a Woman and In Groups

mumdad1I was fortunate to speak with Anne-Maria and she is a long time experienced craftsperson and has done a lot with ceramics in the past but more recently turned her attention to wood products and creating things with woodturning, like she’s done some pepper grinders.  And increasingly she’s interested in doing woodturning and woodwork as art, and being displayed in galleries not so much for sort of mini mass production of items.

A really interesting lady and I hope that you pick up on some of the ideas that she shared.  And I was especially interested to find out what sort of difference does she feel it’s made for her to be a woman in the woodworking world when it is still, and to a large part, male-oriented.  Especially it seems in the woodturning sort of machinery type of part of woodturning is that whilst there are women who are participating in that, they’re still not anything close to a gender balance, or at least not from what I’ve heard or observed.  But that is changing and certainly it seems that for the most part, the groups that are doing woodturning are very inclusive and very happy to have the gender neutral and are not particularly male-dominated.  And I mention that’s something that’s changing in society in general.

And it was nice to hear that Anne-Maria has got a lot in terms of making friendships and sharing experiences with people in the woodturning groups that she’s been a part of as well.

Wrap up of the Brisbane wood show

Who goes, why are they there, what did they see? The Brisbane wood show has something for everyone, young, old, beginners, experienced, male and female.

Michael Mogy at the Brisbane Timber and Working with Wood Show 2013

Straight from recording to podcast with this one, I was able to catch Michael before the opening of the show. If you are in Brisbane the details are here:

Checkout the woodwork forums

Taking photographs of wood work projects

Based on some question and answer reading on the woodwork forums website.


Introduction to Rob from Damn Fine Furniture

Cedar_sideboard_1So I made a real beginner’s mistake this morning.  I had a fantastic conversation with Rob from Damn Fine Furniture and so faffed up the recording.  So what I’m going to do is I’ll just talk through some of the things that we spoke about because I feel like I learned a lot from what Rob was talking to me about.  And then I’m going to get him back on and I’ll make sure I get the recording right this time.

So Rob was a scientist.  That was his career and he retired from that.  And I get the feeling he was a little bit over.  There was too much stress and it wasn’t really giving him the sort of fulfilment that he was after.  And this is a man who’s obviously highly intelligent.  He was working at Harvard in the U.S. for four years and really needed a new calling as he was getting towards his retirement years.

And so he found woodwork.  And it was not something that he’d done during his life.  It wasn’t a lifelong hobby or it wasn’t something that he’d been practicing forever.  But he had the time to just really get into it in great detail and really embrace making timber products.  And some of the things that he’s made like which you can see on his website, you can see that they’re quite unique pieces.  Like Rob said himself, he doesn’t batch the jobs that he does.  So even if you want three boxes, he’ll make them each one individually from start to finish.  So that when he makes something, it is a unique piece.  It’s not something that is turned out in bulk.

And I think that’s the sort of thing that when you’re doing something as part hobby and part passion, it means that you can take the time to do things one at a time.  And Rob knows that it’s hard to make commercially viable, like commission jobs.  And he’s not looking to have a whole new full-time career necessarily out of woodwork.  I mean, he really enjoys what he does.  And when you’re talking to him, you get the distinct reminder that this is someone who’s gone from a very intellectual background.  He’s been in an occupation where, sure, sometimes he might have been working with his hands but really what he was creating was knowledge and information and that obviously, when you’re in that, it’s incredibly interesting and the challenge of solving problems.  But to go to an occupation, if you like, where at the end it’s something you can pick up and hold.  And the way Rob described it he said like when you’re sanding this box or this table and it’s sort of dusty and doesn’t really… it just looks like a piece of timber and sort of comes together slowly, but when you get to the end and you finish sanding it, and you stain timber, and you see this finished piece, it is the total satisfaction of taking a raw material, a raw piece of timber and turning that into this beautiful piece of furniture or something that you know people will be proud to have in their home.

And he’s done things like toy chests, and chests for embroidery and fabulous dining tables and coffee tables and whole tables.  And he also said he doesn’t really do chairs because you’re better off going and buying the chair from department stores.  Some of the tables that he’s done are amazing.  And well you can see is that he really does put himself into the job.  So when he sits down with someone for a truly commissioned piece and they say, “I really want… create us a new dining room table that we can be proud of.”  And he can sort of work out what type of timber would you like to use and what style do you want the table to be and that kind of thing.  And he really gets a kick out of doing that.  So in the true sense of the word, he’s getting satisfaction from that creative process.

And when I was talking to Richard Raffan who does training and courses in the U.S.A., he finds that when he’s over there, people flock to his courses who are doctors and lawyers and scientists and computer engineers.  So people who have highly intellectual jobs who deal with information and knowledge every day.  They are drawn to woodwork and especially woodturning because of the reward that you get from making something that is real and that comes out in the end and you can be proud of.

And it’s something you can put on the shelf or give to somebody.  And Rob said that a lot of the time, he will make a gift.  He’ll make something which he gives as a gift.  And it could be for family or friends.  And he knows that really, in their hearts they want it, but they just can’t necessarily afford to spend $500 or $1,000 on this bespoke piece of furniture.  But he gets satisfaction from creating these things for people that he knows and appreciates that that’s him giving back to them.  And they’re so appreciative of it.  It’s just something really unique and thoughtful.

And something also I’ve picked up that he does, which is really brilliant, is he’s actually mentored a few people.  And he’s got a young bloke that he’s helping to finish of a table.  And he’s only near 12, I think, or he’s 18 years old and he’s done a table project for school.  So he’s giving back in a way to the community a little bit as well.  And he’s not highly involved in like the men’s sheds or the woodworking clubs and things like that, but he spends a lot of time on the woodwork forums and a lot of time answering people’s questions and chatting people about what they’re doing and helping them with problems, and really becoming a part of that online community which is completely accessible for him.  He’s in Victoria which is part of Australia that, okay, there might be a certain number of people there who do woodwork but he’s got access to talk to hundreds of thousands of people potentially on the woodwork forums.

And for someone that is in their senior years, just to see him make use of the technology, and he’s got his website set up, and really participate in that is great to see.

And we talked a bit about tools like where to buy the best quality tools.  And probably if you’re looking for a really good woodworking turning equipment, then the big hardware store is probably not the place to go.  They’ll have things at a price point that are not probably going to last you for a long time.  And so the place to buy these kinds of tools, if you want a lathe that’s going to last you for a decade, is like a commercial type tool place where tradespeople shop.  They know their product and they have high-quality products and still like some of the best equipment comes out of the U.K. and Germany.  And he said there is some products coming out of China now which is very high-quality but you need to be careful about what you’re buying and know what you’re getting so that you get good quality stuff.

So if you are in Melbourne, in Australia, and you are somewhere near Eagle Point, then Rob does see people by appointment and he does do commission work.  You can find him on his website at and he’d be happy to have a talk to you if you are looking to get some furniture made.  And I think, look, he doesn’t run courses and classes as such but if you’re a good honest person and you’d like to talk to him about a certain technique or maybe get some advice on how to do something or get him to help you finish a project, have a talk to him.  It’s not something that is his sort of main preoccupation but I get the feeling that he does like to help people especially if you’re new to the woodworking and just getting started and you are really enthusiastic about it.  I mean, he had a less than exciting experience with one person that he tried to help but his heart’s definitely in the right place.

The work that he does is really fantastic and for someone that has only picked up this as a real full-time occupation in the recent years, these are some fantastic work.  He really obviously wanted to master it.  And he’s always trying new techniques and pushing himself to learn new methods and work with different timbers.  You know, he had a client who wanted to get a table made of Huan Pine.  The client went themselves to Tasmania to a store and bought the timber and had it sent back to him.  So he’s quite of open to doing that kind of thing too.

So I definitely will get back on to Rob soon and have another chat with him.  I hope this has given you a bit of an insight into the kind of person he is and what he does and yeah, we’ll get him back on soon.  Thank you.

You can find Rob at

Woodwork with Brendan Stemp and What’s It Like to Have a Woodwork Business

Brendan-Stemp-lathe-maskI’ve got Brendan Stemp with me and we’re talking about woodwork and how to get started.  So what kind of equipment you need to get into turning wood and the sort of cost involved in that, and also what it’s like to run a full-time woodworking business.  How people buy his products and where he sells his work and the kinds of issues that come up in terms of competition and profitability.  But also just a bit of a look at the woodwork industry and the kinds of clubs that there are for woodwork.  And we talked a little bit about things like men’s shed and the woodwork shows.

So really interesting chat just covering a lot of different angles and I’m sure you’ll enjoy this.

You can find Brendan at

Wood Turning and Teaching with Richard Raffan

Richard Raffan is a remarkable man, he travels to the USA regularly to speak, teach and promote his books. He is highly regarded in the wood turning world and a sought after mentor.

an excerpt from the podcast

Jeremy:  Yeah.  Like it seems you’re pretty prolific in terms of your publishing and people looking to you for sort of advice as the expert in the industry and you’ve got quite a profile.

Richard:  Yes.  Well, I was in the right place at the right time.  It just happened to get going in the early 70s when kind of the cross revival were just going on.  And I was in Britain then and yes, more a question of being at the right place at the right time, I think, than anything.  And then the books started coming out nearly 30 years ago now.

You can find Richard at


Colour Coded Sandpaper

If you would like to buy the colour coded sandpaper that was discussed in this podcast you can get it from – where you can buy all sorts of unique Hardware for Creative Finishes.

Photos of Richard with the sandpaper:

IMG_5168 IMG_5158

Box making for galleries and commissioned works with Alex Springall

alex springallIf you have ever wondered what the process of going from working full time to becoming a full time wood worker is like then you may find the experience that Alex had interesting…

An excerpt from the podcast…

Jeremy:  …So in around 2000, you were starting to feel like maybe you didn’t want to be a full-time hydrographer and maybe it was time to do something a bit different.  Was it just a gradual sort of feeling or you had a sudden snap one day?

Alex:  Oh, no.  I’d planned on retiring in early 2000 and then going to Sturt.  And so on the work site I was in a meeting that I didn’t want to be in and decided that I had enough for a while.  So I took a year off from work and went to Sturt and came back and finished up a couple of more years at work and then sort of went into the woodwork more or less full time.

Links related to this podcast

Also mentioned was the woodwork forum

Here is the full transcript of the audio: 

Veneer Inlay_Alex Springall_transcript

If you are looking for box making supplies be sure to checkout

Hardware for Creative Finishes with Michael Mogy

Michael MogyIn an interview with the founder of Hardware for Creative Finishes we interview Michael Mogy, this podcast will give you an insight to where it all began and how the son of a hardware store owner born in South Africa went on to start a very successful box making hardware business in Australia.

excerpt from the podcast…

Jeremy:  Where did your interest in hardware for creative finishes and all the things that entails begin?

Michael:  Well, I was born into the hardware business, number one, and I made a transition from doing agricultural shows, field days and metal-working shows and I made a transition towards the woodworking and then started to procure all the different products.  And it’s also a passion for timber.

Jeremy:  So when you say you were born into it, did you have like a family business with your father?

Michael:  Yes, I did.  I worked for my father when I was young.  It’s in my family.  It was a little bit different the business that I was with my father.  It was more a hardware and engineering business, but I’ve always had tools and hardware in my life, sort of.  If that makes sense.


Contact Michael Mogy

If you would like to ask Michael Mogy any questions you can contact him at

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