Canberra Working With Wood Show – again

Posted by jerry on September 6th, 2004 — Posted in Journal, Woodwork

Well, Sunday I just had to go back to the Working With Wood show – catching up on the demonstrations I missed the first time around. I always learn heaps at these shows – there was an excellent demonstration on making small wooden boxes, using a router and four cutters.

Outside there was a demonstration of chain saw sculpting – and a bizarre but skillful sculpture emerged of an Islander in an outrigger canoe – an amphibious one!

wood sculpture

And there were the usual displays of portable saw mills, including the mighty Lucas mill – which turned my burnt ribbon gum tree into boards for me after the bushfires last year. But each year there are new innovations, like this one for smaller chainsaws for lifting slabs off lumber where it lies – great for reclaiming timber from dead trees or storm windfalls. This one doesn’t run on rails, but rather rides over the tree trunk while keeping the saw blade parallel throughout the cut. Simple, but effective.

chainsaw mill
This is at the start of the cut

chainsaw mill
and this is near the finish.

The result is a timber slab suitable for a bench seat or coffee table, and the size of the setup is ideal for reclaiming urban trees that are often not so large as forest trees, ones that would otherwise just be chipped when they grow too tall for the telegraph wires.

And yes I did pick up a couple more toys – notably a thread cutter for a wooden embroidery frame that my partner has been dropping subtle hints over…


Chisel Holder

Posted by jerry on September 5th, 2004 — Posted in Woodwork

Inspired by the Working with Wood show I thought it was high time I organised my turning chisels and put some of my new toys to good use.

I had a few bits of meranti sticks that I have been using to sticker my green timber, and thought I could spare a couple of bits to make a tool rest. It was a good chance to use the thicknesser (on its new stand) to bring the timber down from splintery rough-sawn to a reasonably dressed state. I chopped each in half and then took one half length and chopped several 2cm pieces and glued and tacked them starting with the outside ends of the uncut halves and worked inward keeping the spacing roughly equal, then drilled and screwed the ends and middle to the bench on which the lathe is mounted and gave the whole thing a quick oil wipe with organoil – instant organisation. Total time about an hour.

Tool rest
The finished tool rest – two layers


Canberra Working With Wood Show

Posted by jerry on September 4th, 2004 — Posted in Woodwork

Friday afternoon saw me heading off to the Canberra Timber and working with Wood show at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) This show is a woody’s delight with manufacturers showcasing their latest products, and lots of show specials. It is also the place to pick up specialist timbers not normally available – such as the bizarre purple heart and a good range of myrtles. And there are some great demos – how to sharpen your tools, new finishing products, how to use dovetailers and of course the great Triton work bench.


Timbecon, pictured here was one of my first points of call – I remembered from last year that they had a copy attachment for a lathe and headed over to see if they had any at a good price. They were apologetic that they couldn’t demo it as they had just lost power to that part of the pavilion, but I mainly wanted to see how it was fixed to the lathe to work out if it would fit my Chinese Rhino lathe…

lathe copier attachment

There were also some great displays from Bungendore wood gallery, the ANU School of Art – Wood workshop, Sturt University and Canberra Institute of Technology.

timber show

This delightful sideboard was part of the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) display


And Stan Ceglinski was back showing traditional bodger’s craft techniques – in this case how to build a bench using nothing more than a draw knife and a home-made chopping knife, an axe and a two-handled crosscut saw. Here is his bodger’s bench used for clamping components in position for shaping…

bodger\'s workshop

And to prove they sell timber at the timber and working with wood show:


I also had a long chat with an inventor who had developed a lathe attachment for turning ovals – this was at the stand for ornamental turners, and there were some amazing Heath Robinson lathe contraptions for making spiral patterns and scallops while turning. Here is the oval-turning lathe in action

oval turning lathe

So what did I wind up with?? Having saved my pennies for some time, I bought two major items and a couple of small things. Firstly, yes I did buy a copy attachment for my lathe – and it does fit the el-cheepo Rhino Chinese lathe (also marketed as GMC and several other brands) with a little timber packing around the clamping device.

lathe copy attachment

The other thing was stand for the Ryobi planer/thicknesser that I bought two years ago at the same show – this enables wood to be fed in on a roller and out on a matching roller, keeping long lengths under control. It also raises the thicknesser to a good height to use while standing – this one I bought from the CarbaTec booth. They also have a shop in the Canberra suburb of Fyshwick.


So that was another good working with wood show – and it continues until Sunday…


Paleolinguistics – early spread of Indo-European language group

Posted by jerry on September 2nd, 2004 — Posted in History, Writing

There appear to be at least three major competing hypotheses to explain the rapid spread of the Indo-European language group throughout europe at the conclusion of the Younger Dryas cold event around 10,800 BCE:

• the battle axe movement – through displacement by warlike activity

• the farming wave – as the climate improves more sparsely populated farmland becomes available relatively free of hunter-gatherers; and

• rapid population growth resulting from improvement in climate, previously decimated by a mini ice age

There is an excellent article on the early history of Indo-European languages written by Thomas V. Gamkrelidze and V. V. Ivanov that was published in Scientific American.

All of these can account for the spread and movement of language – by conquering, farming spread, or re-population of areas. But I wonder if there is a further explanation: namely the decimation of a population by a sudden cold climate event or natural disaster – or even the spread of disease. That is, language spread because of the need to preserve knowledge in a stressed or dying population. Among a static population, whether farmers or hunter-gatherers or more likely a combination of the two, once the main skills have been passed on, such groups would only need to exchange information that relates to change, because once you know the seasons in which to plant, or the signs of potential quarry, then there is little need for discussion. But in a stressed population, there is far more need to share information in case such knowledge is lost forever.

During the great bubonic plague outbreaks of the 14th and 17th centuries, up to a third of Europe’s population was wiped out – and locally it was not uncommon for between fifty percent and ninety-five percent to be killed by the disease. Both of these periods saw the emergence of two things: an increase in technology solutions in the increasing absence of ‘man’power; and the birth of instruction manuals for everything from blacksmithing to embroidery stitches – because there was such a risk of essential knowledge being lost that information had to be passed beyond the strict boundaries of the guilds.

– Just a thought


Crossing cultures

Posted by jerry on September 1st, 2004 — Posted in Journal, Writing

I just had to respond to something in Sara’s blog (Sara Splits Infinitives) As an Australian, I spent a little time in London, okay I suppose it was fairly central, and I needed a plumber – what with the pipes being of indeterminate age….

Anyhow the plumber turned up as I arrived home to grab some lunch, so I asked him if he’d like a coffee or tea. He looked at me standing there in my work clobber of chalk-stripe suit and tie as though I were from another planet, and started calling me ‘Guv’.

So I said ‘mate, the name’s Jerry, and what’s with the deference thing?’ I made him coffee and we talked a bit about how strange I was finding all this class stuff, so he asked me how I saw the situation.

I said ‘well, you’re a businessman, and you have a skill that I don’t have, and that I respect – and that makes me one of your clients… does it really matter that my overalls look a bit different? I’m sure we both like a beer after work…’ ‘Really?’ he said, ‘you know, I never thought of it like that!’ I’m not sure whether he was more surprised that I made him coffee, or that I had taken the time to talk with him!