Thursday, August 27, 2015

Staff Woodwork Comp Winners 2015

Made by Steve Marsh

Steve is the Financial Controller at Arbortech and has discovered his love of woodworking after  using Arbortech tools, he has won the staff competition 2 years in a row.  His piece started out as a piece of Sheoak (West Australian timber) which he salvaged from his brother’s property many years ago so the there is a lovely aged colour to the wood.

The shape of the wood basically dictated shape of the sculpture and he started to play with hollowing out the log by using the Mini Turbo.  He then used the TurboShaft to get into those hard to reach places and create the deep channels as well as gently smoothing the shape of the wood.
Once he was happy with the overall shape he used the contour Sander to sand the piece together with some hand sanding where needed.  Steve had always intended to put on some metal off cuts from the Arbortech Brick & Mortar Saw blades to represent his family however during the making of the piece it became more about life’s experience and journey. 

Putting these metal pieces onto the piece proved to be one of the most difficult tasks due to their size and the way he wanted to attach them to the wood.  Steve pre-drilled all the holes and each piece of metal was screwed with 2 screws.  He then finished off the whole piece with oil.     Steve plans to mount the piece on a metal square with a supporting bracket to hold it upright in the garden.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Well it’s that time of year again when all of our staff are encouraged to make something using Arbortech tools.  The idea was to help everyone understand how the tools work and what they can be used on so we can all help our customers questions and queries with real experience and knowledge.  This is now the third staff competition we have had and the benefits have far outweighed our expectations and any hesitation anyone might have had before starting their project has gone.  We now have people planning their project way ahead of the start date and hear stories of working late into the night sanding and shaping.   All new employees are encouraged by others to get started so creativity and healthy competition is well and truly alive and well.   We are very proud of everyone for participating in this competition and producing such a wonderfully high standard pieces.  I am going to write up some blogs about each piece over the coming months and while I am getting the photos and stories together for these I thought it was probably easy for me to write about my own entry first.  As a Director of Arbortech, some people think that being married to Kevin and being around woodworking for the last 30 years that I would be quite good at using our tools.  The truth is that I am not and can be considered as much of a novice as most other staff.  So onto my entry which won runner up prize from the independent judging panel……….

 by Kristine Inkster 
We recently picked up some lovely wood called Sheoak which was cut down by mistake by the local council who had left several logs of approx. 30cm  (12”) diameter.
I chose a piece which I estimate to be approx. 60cm (24”) long and decided to carve a bowl.  The wood looked like it had been cut a couple of months previously so it was still quite green.  I first started by using the Turbo Plane to  smooth the surfaces and give me a nice surface to work with.

Once I had a block to work with I marked out the rough shape of the opening I wanted in my bowl and started with the Turbo Plane and then continued with the Mini Turbo due to the tight opening I had pencilled.

The Mini Turbo was great and easy to use and as I had made a bit of a wave shape on the top of my bowl so I could get in and under this.
The shaping part of my bowl was done in about an hour and a half so I then started using the Mini Grinder sanding discs with 60 grit.  After the rough sanding was finished I used the Contour random Sander with some finer sanding discs attached and this was great for getting up under the lip and into the bowl.

After I had finished the sanding there was some splitting in the wood happening as it was still a little green so I started filling it with some resin and waited for it to dry.  After a day or so it was cracked some more so I filled it some more.  This went on for several days until I decided that I would never end up filling all the cracks and knocked out the resin and sanded back the crack to make it a feature.

I then painted a Black Japan stain onto the outside to give it a point of difference which I am happy with and hence the name seed pod.  I finished it off with some wax on the outside and oil on the inside.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

AS170 Tool Review in BCM for Tradies

Whether you are a restoration specialist, building contractor, renovation specialist, plumber, electrician or love doing some DIY renovation, here at Arbortech we are always trying to the benefits and features of our innovative AS170 Brick & Mortar saw known to you.  If you are running your own contracting business the benefits of using the AS170 have shown that time saving vastly outweigh the costs.   So whether you have a few projects on the go or just one you will love the versatility of this high quality professional tool.  Check out the latest review

Thursday, April 23, 2015

THE TRADIE MAGAZINE April 2015 issue has done a very informative article on the AS170 in their "Tagged & Tested" section.  Have a quick read and you might learn how to save time and money on your next job!  By the way a "Tradie" is an Australian term for Tradesman, otherwise known as a Contractor to the rest of the world.. "a person or firm that undertakes a contract to provide materials or labour to perform a service or do a job"... where would the world be without them :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Carving a Stylish Wooden Side Table With The Arbortech TURBOPlane

Grab a bunch of dried branches about  30mm – 50mm in diameter, enough to make up the perimeter of your table when layed side by side.  Cut them to desired length (at the height of the table) plus approximately 10 mm to allow for planing the surface level .  You can use any type of saw to cut these to length including a handsaw, bench or radial arm saw.

Now cut 2 plywood sheets to size 300mm x 300mm and cut approximately 6cm off the corners so that you can place the largest branches on the corners.  Mark out a large circle on the bottom piece and cut out.  Leave the top piece intact with corners cut as small rounds will be glued directly on top of this piece.

Make a small jig to hold branches for cutting slots by using a small piece of milled wood and screw or nail small pieces of V shaped board at each end.  This will then give a stable base to cradle each branch and cut a slot.

Place each branch onto the jig and mark where you want to make the slot cut on top.  Then turn the branch over and set your saw to the required depth by running your branch in the jig against the blade of the saw before turning it on.  Make sure your first cut is 20mm from the end of the branch and use an offcut to determine the width of cut.

It is best to cut the largest branches for each corner first and then glue to the top and bottom pieces of plywood.  Clamp diagonally to hold square shape while glue dries.

Now select and place the rest of the branches around the edges so that they nestle into each other. Then cut a slot for the top fit and place again to see if any excess wood needs to be shaved to make a close fit.  With the top slot fitted to the top plywood, mark and cut the bottom slot. Use the turbo plane to shave and trim any excess wood from each piece before gluing.  It is best at this stage to number each piece on the top.
Once you have cut and shaved each piece to shape and are happy with the final shape you can glue each piece into place at both slots to the plywood.  While the sides are drying you can cut some small pieces of approximately 20mm thick and start gluing them onto the top of the table including some very small rounds as well as large ones trying to fill in all of the gaps.
When your glue is dry you can start to plane the sides using the TURBOPlane so that you get a nice flat finish.  Start by marking out a line in pencil on the top of your table showing where the plywood panel below as this will give you a guide where to plane.  You can plane the sides up to 20mm from that line. Mix up either epoxy with woodchips or wood glue with woodchips and spread over the top of the table forcing the mixture down between the gaps to overflowing if necessary.  Once this is dry you can use the TURBOPlane to finish the top before sanding.

Sand any sharp edges of the sides with the Contour Random Sander and finish off sanding the sides and the top of your table either by hand or using a random sander.

Now you can finish with either oil or varnish whichever finish you prefer and enjoy using your table.

What do you think of this wooden side table? If you've made your version of this table, do send us a photo your table! 

Want to watch the video of this project? This project video is comprises of a 2 part video series. 
Watch the YouTube videos now; Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Carving An Easter Bunny From A Tree Trunk Using The TURBOPlane

This woodworking project of carving an Easter bunny from a tree trunk is courtesy of Arbortech's German dealer/distrubutor, Bengs.This is a translated version from the original German version.

Read on to see a guide on how to create this Easter bunny project and also watch the video of the project in progress. 

The shape of the Easter Bunny is very simple so that is also for a beginner with no experience in carving sculptures feasible.

Arbortech Tools Used: 

For German customers, you can purchase Arbortech tools here
For Australian, US and international customers, Arbortech tools are available here

Project Completion Time:  2 hours
As the material we use this time a trunk made of wood. It is advantageous if the timber is already dry otherwise the rabbit could get through the drying cracks later. The log used by us was still very fresh and very humid. The log should be initially divided by pencil marks in four areas.
  • Base
  • Hull of the Rabbit
  • Head
  • Ears
Now, it is advisable to individually edit each view. I've been using the Arbortech TurboPlane started to carve the back part, and then the page views was made ​​and at the end of the front view. Thus, at some point A square hare. By doing so, you can very well correct and check if it looks good, the shape of hares. If you are happy with all views, the edges are broken and you can set individual body parts molding.

The ears I have done as a precaution the very end because I was worried that you could give me to cancel it by mistake. With the Industrial Woodcarver the shape of the ears will end up caught up and removed the connector between the two spoons. The Woodcarver is also well suited to shape the ears. The delicate ears I then worked up by Arbortech TurboPlane. Since the TurboPlane cutter disk is not only suitable for rough work but also for fine finishing work was also this work slight of hand. As a last resort, we could not indicated by the Industrial Wood Carver front and rear paws.
Finish the decoration is Easter Bunny! 

Click on the image to watch the video of this project below.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Sampson Flat Fire Bushfire Woodcarvings - A Fundraiser for Kersbrook CFS

By Ruth Quick, Avid Arbortech Woodworker Enthusiast

Two days into the start of the new year of 2015, communities in the North Eastern rural fringe areas of Adelaide were savaged by a fire that started from a small spot fire on someone's property to a raging inferno that took several days before it be could be brought under control and burned out thousands of hectares of land.  The fire front itself was over 200km in length .Several properties including those of local CFS members who were helping to fight this fire were destroyed.  The whole landscape was transformed into an eerie blackened alien mess.

I lived approximately 30 mins away from Kersbrook, the hardest hit town in the fire.  For the first time ever we too were put on alert to prepare to evacuate, something none of us had ever had to experience.  I live in the suburbs and this was just so surreal.  We could see the glow of the fires, the smoke was even choking at times to us and a few days later I found bits of burned out embers in our backyard. It just demonstrated to us how wide ranging this threat had been.

I thought I had an idea of what it would be like. I thought I could comprehend it but it was just indescribably MASSIVE.  It took a few weeks for even the roads to be open to get through as the trees were still burning inside themselves and were suddenly collapsing into the roadway causing danger to traffic.  You just don't understand it until you have seen it.

I just had this idea after I saw an urgently set up group looking for people to help fundraise to get some money and equipment to support and replace the equipment that they had used or needed such as a defibrillator.  I contacted one of the organisers and put forward my idea that if someone could spare a few pieces of burned wood I could use my Arbortech tools to make up some simple carvings they could perhaps be auctioned off and use the money to help them with what they need.  

I was then invited up to have a look around this person's property to collect some wood and do just that. I knew I would need something with real grunt to work my way into these piece and that's when I contacted Arbortech's CEO and woodworker, Kevin Inkster and asked about the donation of the Arbortech TurboPlane blade to be provided to me as I didn't have one. This blade would be the ideal tool and I only have the Arbortech Mini-TURBO

I used the Industrial Woodcarver blade to dig out pockets of burnt out wood and grit (from where it had fallen into the ground, often from great heights) and also to help make channels/recesses that I could then  use the TurboPlane blade to scoop and plane the wood out with.  I simply couldn't have done this with the smaller tools.  The burned wood was full of surprises, the heat had caused the wood to rupture internally in unexpected places.  You imagine that when carving on a piece of unburned wood that it would be pretty well solid all the way through.  I found that I would come across splintery dry fragmented pieces where the heat had travelled in literally caused the wood to rapidly blow apart and dry out so when I was using the TurboPlane. The whole feel of the wood would change and splinters would suddenly fly off in all directions.  Both the TurboPlane and Industrial Woodcarver made short work of all the charred wood on the surface that often covered these pieces.  I was covered in fine ash but it did the job beautifully.

The TurboPlane is now my favourite tool. It worked fabulously and there was a good amount of control and power when using it.  This wood was hard eucalyptus, it was like carving a brick at times but the TurboPlane just ate it for breakfast!  It didn't grab like the Industrial Woodcarver as it sometimes does, but again these are two different blades and each has their own way of doing things.  It was fun, messy and always a huge learning experience for me to do this.  You really need to play around with them to get a good feel of the tool's capabilities.

I used the remainder of my sanding discs I had left on the angle grinder attachment to sand down the wood and THEN I used the Arbortech Contour Sander over that to help get rid of some of the swirl/gouge marks. This seemed to work the best for me.  I found that the new screw and flange addition to the Contour Sander helps keep the discs on SOOO much better. It's annoying having to go through the shavings trying to work out where it flew off otherwise.  I am going to try a couple of things myself with the sandpaper replacement rather than always having to buy discs.  I'll keep u posted on this if it works.
I finished up the rest of the pieces with my own pyrography, engraved sayings, paint additions and clear coated them all with a tungoil/resin finish.

These pieces were auctioned at the Kersbrook Fire Fighters Support Group Fair (along with other donated items etc) which was held on the 15th March, 2015 at the Kersbrook Soldiers Memorial Park.  I have since been approached and am currently completing some more items for some residents who were affected by the fire and who want a personal memento to keep and pass on to their own children as a reminder of not just the fire but more importantly, the fact that they survived it. Someone said to me "it's making beauty from tragedy".  I dont think I could ask for a better statement than that and it makes me feel so good to be able to bring that into their lives after what they have experienced.

It's funny isn't it....I wouldn't have been able to do this without these tools and wouldn't have had these experiences and met these people as a result.  It's amazing to see how much it has helped .
Thank you Arbortech so much for supplying me with the TurboPlane blade. I should add that I actually have bad tendonitis in my right hand ( I'm right handed) yet it coped ok with using these tools whereas if I had tried to use hand tools there was no way I could do this.  That was a revelation for me! Thanks again Arbortech!