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Australian Woodsmith

Australian Woodsmith Issue 159

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Australian Woodsmith is packed with all the tips and tricks from experts with years of experience. We include templates, plans and projects that will keep you busy in the workshop for hours, or at least until the next issue hits the newsstands. Australian Woodsmith is a woodworking magazine that brings exploded illustrations, step-by-step instructions and techniques to the dedicated timber hobbyist.

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6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.

I spoke to Chris Vesper from Vesper Tools recently and asked what tools were popular at the moment. It seems a lot of folk are carving spoons, ladles and scrapers. It is a very therapeutic activity carving something useful from an off-cut or a branch that you picked up on a bushwalk. You don’t need a workshop, just a comfortable place to sit and some sharp tools. In this issue we take you on a journey into the world of incise carving. Once you get a handle on slicing away the serifs on a letter you will appreciate the nature of the timber you are carving. Joining the serifs and making the letter pop out of the wood is just magic. Talking about magic, I spent a day apprenticed as a…

3 min.
tips & techniques

BRUSH SAVER I used a trick to keep my brushes from drying out while applying finish. I used a silicone iceblock mould to hold foam brushes. After applying finish, I can put the used brush into the tube and seal it. Then, when I need to apply another coat, I simply pull the brush out and it’s ready to use. Manus Cline BEYOND SMALL BOXES The Gifkins jig is constantly being used in our school workshop to create elegant dovetailed boxes. I had an epiphany one afternoon while pondering how to machine dovetails into wider boards so a student could build the dovetailed cabinet she had designed. As you can see, all it took was removing the stops from either side of the jig, inverting it and locking it down on the Tassie oak panels…

1 min.
next issue of australian woodsmith on sale 8th oct. 2020 – issue no. 160

In our next issue we focus on clock mechanisms and what to look for when you are designing a clock. We review gloves in the workshop and share our insights into fence design for router tables. In our techniques section we show you how to use a chisel to carve numbers and letters in hardwood. Our weekend project is a set of coasters cleverly routed so they look like wooden waffles! Our designer project is a striking set of drawers to store your memories in. The standout heirloom project is a pendulum wall clock. In our turning section we showcase the dangerous craft of therming (barrel turning). Our next issue also includes an extensive index so you can quickly reference the projects, techniques and tools we have featured in the…

6 min.
boys’ toys, books & gear

CARVING KNIVES Incise carving is addictive! Once you learn how to slice the serifs on a letter in the form of a V a whole new world of woodwork will open to you. On page 58 Murray Taylor presents a master class on carving Art Nouveau letters. One tool he uses to make the magic happen is the continental-style bent aside knife. If you are new to chip carving, I highly recommend that you start your tool collection with a straight and a bent aside knife. The straight knife is just right for slicing out the serifs of a letter, while the bent aside knife allows you to accurately guide the blade from serif to serif. This is done by taking a choke hold on the handle while resting your thumb on…

4 min.
lignum vitae

One aspect of woodworking that I particularly enjoy is the opportunity to work with different species of woods. And when it comes down to interesting woods, lignum vitae has to rank near the top of my list. Lignum vitae is a tropical hardwood that grows primarily on the islands of the Caribbean, such as Haiti and The Bahamas. However, it can be found as far north as the southern tip of Florida and as far south as the coastal regions of Central and South America. The trees are generally small and slow-growing, with tiny purple or blue blossoms. Typically, the trees only grow to a height of 3 to 16 metres. The name lignum vitae is Latin for “tree of life.” It’s so named because the resin extracted from the tree has…

3 min.
upgrading to spiral cutters

In a previous life I taught Evening College woodwork out of the Mosman High School workshops. Lots of fabulous stuff got built, a lot of it from recycled and rough sawn timbers. The workhorse that made it all happen was an Australianmade Davden 20" thicknesser. As you can see the Davden is built to last at least 100 years. The weak point in its design is the use of three parallel blades in the cutting head. Not only does the percussion of each blade striking the timber create a huge amount of noise, they also leave telltale scallops in the machined face that have to be sanded out. Another issue is that the machine creates shavings as wide as the board being planed. These shavings clog up the dust extraction…