Australian Wood Review

Australian Wood Review Issue 97

Australian Wood Review is Australia’s premier woodworking and woodcraft magazine. Step-by-step projects and articles on technique for all skill levels offer up to date knowledge on designing, joining, carving, turning, decorating and finishing wood. Our stories are authored by Australian master craftspeople and wood artists. Each issue includes reviews of all the essential hand and power tools and machinery, specialist fittings and products that woodworkers need to successfully complete projects. Australian Wood Review also profiles local and international makers, giving an insight into their working methods. Australian Wood Review is a magazine for all woodworkers and people who love wood.

Yaffa Publishing Group PTY LTD


editor’s letter

Connections This magazine is in no way about investigative journalism but recently a few dots seemed to be connecting. At our AWR L!VE conference event last August (see p.86), it was interesting to hear about projects with Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory that Sydney’s Koskela retail outlet is involved with. Around the same time I heard about Manapan Furniture, an exciting collaboration led by Mark White between Melbourne designers and Arnhem Land makers who are creating a range of high-end contemporary furniture, see p.76. Meeting and talking with Melbourne designer maker Damien Wright a couple of months ago gave me insight into his work, and I also learnt how years ago he spent time in NT working with Aboriginal makers, and still maintains a strong connection with them. At a time when Australians,…

tormek t8 sharpening system

It’s hard to imagine a topic more divisive amongst woodworkers than sharpening. For some, the quest for sharpening perfection seems to be a pursuit in its own right. So, in the interests of disclosure I’ll confess at the start that I’ve always had a strong dislike for sharpening, and also that I’ve been a Tormek owner for some years and love the system. That said, how does the new Tormek T8 stack up? The T8 is the new flagship model in a long line of sharpening products from the Swedish company dating back to the 1970s. Few could dispute Tormek’s reputation for innovation and quality and the T8 is no exception. The unit comes with everything you need (photo 1) and the documentation supplied is the best in the business. So…

marcou chamfer plane

There are two types of tools that I absolutely love in my hand tool chest. One is my wooden planes, and the other my joinery planes. In the case of my chamfering plane, I get the best of both worlds. This plane, made by New Zealand planemaker Philip Marcou, is esoteric as it only cuts chamfers and this suits my style of work well. Based on the Japanese version of the chamfer plane (mentori kanna), the plane is simple to set up. The sole has two 45° sections (one fixed and one sliding) which allows the user to set the size of the chamfer. Once you get the size you are after, it’s as simple as locking up the jam nuts to keep the setting. The two sole pieces allow the…

whittle evolution hardwax oil

Hardwax oils have become very popular over the past few years as a great alternative polish to lacquers and polyurethanes. Personally I am slightly allergic to the latter and now solely use these hardwax oils. Whilst they are claimed on curing to be fully foodsafe and non-toxic I do find during application that the fumes are a little offensive. I therefore wear an organic vapour disposable mask and always polish in a well ventilated area, or weather permitting, outside. Evolution is a newer version of the Whittle hardwax range that is formulated to dry faster than earlier products. It is very easy to apply with brush or rag and suits flooring, woodwork and furniture. In my experience it is best to initially apply a reasonably wet coat with a brush and let…

hock knife kit

Making and fitting your own knife handle is a great use for those figured but too small for anything else pieces of wood some of us hoard. And if you’re going to the trouble, you might as well use a superior blade, and that’s where the kitchen knife kits made and supplied by Hock Tools come in (photo 1). The blades are made from O1 steel, which is what esteemed US toolmaker Ron Hock uses for his top quality plane blades, so you know already you’re on to something good. These are not dishwasher type blades however, and require hand washing and drying after use, not a big deal because you wouldn’t want to abuse those special bits of wood either. I was sent the 90mm paring knife kit for a test assemble.…

heartwood mybench

This bench is the culmination of seven years of R&D by Stuart Faulkner and one you now make for yourself during a three-day course at Heartwood Creative Woodworking in Sydney. When it was sent to me to trial, it was available as a kit that you assembled yourself. The bench I tested was 1800 x 600 x 1000mm high. It was made from CNC machined FSC certified white birch plywood with a very generous and heavy 75mm thick LVL top, ideal for use with dogs and hold-downs. The top has 19mm dog holes and a tool holder. The bench arrived flatpacked, however the legs and rails were pre-assembled with large tenons that have threaded rod running through them, making for very strong joins. Once assembled, I first checked the benchtop for flatness. Using…