Sydney, NSW, AU

I'm an industrial chemist by vocation that covered my working life, but over the last 30 years I've been a woodworker in different capacities. In the early 1980s I was an owner-builder, constructing our family home, a 4 bedroom brick clad cottage, and I did all the woodwork (frames, roof, drywall and fix-out). I went to Technical College and completed the trade course in Carpentry & Joinery in the 1980's for this qualification. From 2004-2006, lust before I retired, I again went to Technical College and completed Cabinetmaking. Since retiring, I completed Furniture Finishing, again at Technical College. I do any kind of custom woodworking and furniture, mostly for friends and family, and have done a few commissions.

Recent comments

Re: Centering the Festool Domino on Imperial Based Materials

Australia converted to metric in the 1960's I urge USA to now catch up with the rest of the world. The metric system is so much easier. All you need is a tape that is graduated in both systems and you have a ready metric converter for use when changing information either way. Trust me, it's great. As someone who was trained in both systems from school (I studied both Chemistry & Physics, where all readings were metric) I had little trouble anyway.
I imagine that USA schools also teach science subjects in metric, so there should be quite a number of people there familiar with it.

Re: UPDATE: Wooden Boxes, by Doug Stowe and Strother Purdy

I haven't done much with small projects such as these, so smaller ones will bring an ideal time usage, with gifts the main objective of such jobs. And this book would be an ideal companion.

Re: What hand tools can't you live without?

Hi, Mike. I would have the planes at the bottom of the case -- they're the heaviest items, and the contribute to the stability of a loaded case by being there.Cheers,
Ian Stewart

Re: How to Mortise Brass Ring Pulls

Good advice. I also like the round recessed pulls although I haven't used them in a project. They could be easier to mount using the correct sized Forstner bit for the respective pull or even an adjustable Irwin bit and a brace. With that you'd get the exact size that you need.

Re: Free Plan: Cherry Chest of Drawers

Thanks for posting this plan. Christian Becksvoort is one of my two favourite authors in FWW, and this project is right up there with his best.

Re: Cutlists are a waste of space

I disagree with the dismissive tone of the reply by the Editor to Austin Wade's enquiry re cutting lists.
As s former student of the TAFE (NSW, Australia) Technical College Cabinetmaking course we are taught to develop a cut list from the plans we have or draw ourselves. This is at least to ascertain the wood quantity/cost for the project.
Some correspondents have mentioned non-fitting drawer fronts as an example of erroneously cutting everything before you start, obviously a bad idea. After you do a cut list, the next thing you do is a job plan. On the job plan you can say what/when you cut parts that MUST fit. This solves the no-fit problem.
As to whether FW should include a cut list, I agree with at least one correspondent who said that it can be put on your web site for web subscribers under additional info. or a similar heading.

Re: The 3 Hour Cabinet

Well done, John. It would take me at least 3 days, never mind 3 hours.

Re: Official Rules: Show Us Your Drawers Contest

I would like to see only hand-cut dovetails eligible to enter, and you accept entries from all over the world. It's OK for Leigh to sponsor the event because the winner will then receive a Leigh machine. If the winner has used a Leigh machine the contest looks rigged.

Re: Advanced Dovetail Box

Great work. Love the hand-cut dovetails. Isn't hand-cut the focus of the contest??

Re: Shaker Hall Table

Great Job!! And seemingly one of only a few that have hand-cut dovetails, which I thought was the whole idea of the contest???

Re: Free Plan: Sturdy Footstool

Looks a great item to make. I have some timber set aside for it and am looking forward to getting stuck into the project. Mario is a great contributor.

Re: How to Use Bamboo for Fine Furniture

I've never used it but I've seen some nice (imported) items made from it. I don't have a project in mind but I'll give it a try in future, if any is sold in Australia.

Re: What are The Turning Points Along Your Woodworking Path?

I had my first taste of woodworking helping my Dad build a holiday cottage starting in 1959 at age 16. It took a few years to complete but I experienced stick frame construction, sheet roofing and some finish carpentry.
Then I didn't do much until 1980 when as an owner-builder I built my first home, now with the help of my Dad for a few years. I learnt how to do it at technical college, 3 years, 8 hours per week. It was the course that apprentices take, but I could do it at night. On our home I did everything except excavations, concreting, brick laying, plumbing and electrical.
In 2004 I returned to technical college, again for 3 years, going at night again now doing Cabinetmaking (apprentices' course), because I was to retire in 2008 and I wanted to get ready for it. I have since made quite a few items and I have a small workshop (250 sq.ft.) at the back of my garage.
Last year I went back to college again, now attempting Furniture Finishing including a full training on French Polishing, colour matching and spray lacquering, again for 3 years at night, and the apprentices course.
For me the turning point for obtaining information is the FWW on-line subscription, of which I make full use. Cabinetmaking took me down the hand tool route to start with and I always do quite a bit of hand work in my projects.
For more hands-on I came to USA in November, 2008 and went to a hand tool conference in Kentucky, Then I went to a woodworking school in Indiana and made a Morris Chair. Both of these events have been real eye-openers for me.
Could I do any more courses at College? Yes -- Wood Machining, but I think that I'll have had enough by the time I complete my present Finishing course.

Re: Dovetailed drawers are overrated

The pinned rebated joint is fine as an alternative, but lesser joint to dovetails for drawers. I intend to try them one of these days. But there's no harm in aspiring to improve your skills to do hand-cut dovetails yourself one day. On the other hand, there's nothing that can replace the hand-cut dovetail for a blanket box, or similar piece. Although dovetails made with a Leigh or similar jig come close.

Re: Arts & Crafts Collection From Recycled Oak from Restaurant Going Out of Business

Nice looking set. Well done. How come the restaurant had the oak timber apparently lying around, or did you dismantle something to get it?

Re: Calling all benchtop warriors

I have a Bosch 10" tabletop saw. You call it a series 4000 but it has a different identifier here (in Australia). I have made a number of cabinets with it and it has performed above expectations except that the blade angle has to be set with a square to have it at 90 degrees. The pointer does point to 90. I have re-sawn up to 6" wide timber (by reversing the board) good results. I don't use it for cross cuts, I use a Makita 12" sliding compound mitre saw for that and get good results with it also. I have a 12" drill press that does OK, too.

Re: Future Period Furniture Articles

I like Arts and Crafts, particularly Stickley inspired, of which there are always a number each year. I am part-way through making a bow arm Morris chair right now. I also like Shaker design for it's simplicity and first class joinery

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