Thursday, 25 December 2014

12 Tips Of Christmas

Those of you who ‘like’ our Facebook page will have noticed that every day in the run up to Christmas, we posted a top woodworking tip from a host of woodworking experts who have worked with Triton in the last year. Those of you who missed any of the tips, don’t panic, as we've posted all 12 of our 12 Tips Of Christmas below!

Saturday 13th December – Nick Rawlings – Tip no. 1
Our first woodworking tip came from Nick Rawlings of N R Furniture, who came second in this year's Triton Woodworker of the Year competition with his ‘Shifting Sands’ table.
Nick's Top Tip: Use paste wax on the bed of a thicknesser to lubricate the beds and allow wood to pass through with ease. This helps to reduce the chance of injury from having to push too hard.

You can see Nick's entry and read about his inspiration behind the design on our website: http://www.tritontools.com/Images/News/News_PDF_128.PDF

Sunday 14th December – Ben Crowe – Tip no. 2
We first met Ben at Yandles Woodworking show, when he asked us to prove our claim that our MOF001 router was the best router in the world. Needless to say, we did just that and he’s been a true Tritonite ever since!

Ben's Top Tip: When using a piece of sandpaper folded in half, it can sometimes slip and slide over itself as you work (if you're not using a sanding block that is). I fold it into three so that two faces of the gritted side of the paper are touching and therefore grip together so you have a more precise tool to work with.

Ben made a video to demonstrate his tip above, which you can see here: http://youtu.be/DEsd9kU78cA?list=UUdD1Cqxr8aINzWs1agg3tEQ

Check out our blog to read about the specially commissioned Triton guitar (pictured) designed by Ben & his team: http://blog.tritontools.com/2014/03/we-first-met-ben-crowe-from-crimson.html

Monday 15th December – Yandles – Tip no. 3
Our 3rd tip came from the team at Yandle & Sons, home of the very first Triton Academy!

Yandle & Sons’ Top Tip: When drying freshly sawn timber, the rule of thumb is 1 year per inch of thickness until workable.

Head to our blog to check out the video of our time at the Yandles Spring Show earlier in the year (we'll be there in April next year, too!) : http://blog.tritontools.com/2014/04/a-woodworking-tradition.html

Tuesday 16th December – Anthony Bailey – Tip no. 4
Day 4 brought us a tip from Woodworking Plans & Projects Editor Anthony Bailey, who is a big believer in thoroughly planning a job to avoid problems.

Anthony’s Top Tip: While it is perfectly possible to just get stuck into a new project, I definitely favour planning the whole thing through from design, to working out material quantities. With larger items, it is crucial to ensure that transportation and access issues have been addressed. It isn't clever turning up to a client's property and realising that a tight winding staircase prohibits access or creates damage to both furniture and surrounding decor!

This is where knock-down or sectional pieces can be designed right from the start to be safe and easier to handle. Mouldings and other visual devices can be used to disguise joins effectively. I used to install a lot of fitted furniture: checking wall angles and shapes - and things like radiator pipework that could foul a piece of furniture - at the surveying stage, saved a lot of time and stress later, even if it meant using hand-shaped scribing strips to infill around the edges!

Earlier in the year, Anthony reviewed our Plunge Track Saw for the magazine, and you can read his thoughts on it here: 
Wednesday 17th December – Mike Booth – Tip no. 5
Our very own Triton Product Manager, Mike Booth, contributed our 5th woodworking tip!

Mike's Top Tip: When making larger pieces of work, there comes a point where you have to put the thing together and glue it up. Even with the best quality cramps, it’s important to make sure the job is pulled straight and square (even more so if you are using expanding polyurethane glue!). Try to keep glue off the cramps as this can cause a stain that might get transferred to your work and is difficult to remove - a sheet of paper between the cramp and the glued parts of the work can help, though worst case you can sand that off if it sticks. Wipe or scrape off damp glue before it sets, though once it starts to go off it is best left to set properly when you can clean up by sanding, either by hand or with a small sander such as the Triton Palm Sander.

Mike has had a very busy 2014 bringing us a whole host of new products which will be coming to a store near you soon (including the new T20DD 20V Drill Driver pictured above). You can read more about these new products in our ‪blog post from our time at the International Hardware Fair in Cologne earlier this year: http://blog.tritontools.com/2014/03/latest-triton-products-on-show.html

Thursday 18th December – Patrick Burnett Wooden Surfboards – Tip no. 6
We dropped in to visit Patrick Burnett from Burnett Surfboards in Kommetjie near Cape Town on our recent South African road trip, and he gave us the below woodworking tip on how to easily edge wood for clean laminations!

Patrick’s Top Tip: This is an easy way to remove unevenness, bows and curves along edges. It will mean that your pieces of wood will glue together seamlessly on any lamination project - tables, cutting boards, even wood surfboards.

Fit your router with a straight edge bit. If you're using a Triton router table, use the shims provided and place them in position on the 'out' feed side of the router fence. Using a ruler, set the cutting edge of the router bit against the ruler. The 'out' feed side of the router fence will also line up along this axis. The set-up is now such that the 'in' feed side of the router fence is slightly indented from the cutting blade of the router bit and the 'out' side of the router fence. This means that as you feed a piece of wood from the 'in' side of the fence, the blade will cut a thin strip from the wood before it moves onto the 'out' fence. As your stock feeds onto the straight edge of the router fence make sure that you maintain the pressure on the stock so that it feeds flush with the out fence. It may be necessary to do more than one pass, but after following this process you should have a clean, smooth edge that is gun-barrel straight.

You can see the video from our time with Patrick on our blog, where he talks about his work and the drive behind his creative process. There’s some pretty impressive surfing action too: http://blog.tritontools.com/2014/10/surfing-meets-woodwork-meets-art.html

Friday 19th December – Nigel Rose – Tip no. 7
Nigel was a runner up in this year’s Triton Woodworker of the Year competition and sent us our 7th tip.

Nigel's Top Tip: I have now come to the conclusion that a clean work area is best and therefore I tend to hoover after most operations  - I have a small hoover by the bench so it’s really easy to get the hose and pick up the dust / debris from the last operation -  just makes the environment much cleaner and easier to work in. Also means dust extraction on all machine tools. As part of that I put the tools away a couple of times a session - very easy to get a build-up on the work bench which clogs the work surface. So every tool has a home and I try to force myself to put it back after use. If I don't do it immediately then I do have a clear up a couple of times each session. It’s the old adage - little and often!

You can see Nigel's entry of Woodworker of the Year - his ‘Anne Marie Spider’ table - on our website: http://www.tritontools.com/Images/News/News_PDF_128.PDF

Saturday 20th December – Yandles– Tip no. 8
The team at Yandles are so knowledgeable, we were supplied with a number of woodworking tips, so we decided to squeeze in another from the Somerset timber wizards!

Yandles Top Tip 2:  When using an oil-based finish, apply the first coat and leave for 20 minutes, then use a soft rag to remove excess oil and leave to dry. Re apply second and third coats sparingly with a soft rag.

Yandles are running a series of woodworking and turning courses in the Triton Training Academy at their base in Martock, Somerset. You can see the full list of courses available on their website: http://www.yandles.co.uk/about-yandles/14-yandles-training-hub

Sunday 21st December – Blackdown Shepherd’s Huts – Tip no. 9
The Blackdown Shepherd’s Huts team, based in South Somerset, apply a blend of traditional craftsmanship and modern design to produce a range of unique, bespoke living spaces. We will be revisiting them in the New Year to look at their latest workshop upgrade.

Blackdown Shepherd Huts’ Top Tip: When joining multiple boards for a panel, such as a door or table top, make sure you alternate the end grain so the curve of the end grain goes in opposite directions.  This will help avoid warping and bowing of the panel.  See diagram below:

Check out our blog post from when we visited the team earlier in the year: http://blog.tritontools.com/search/label/Shepherd%20huts

Monday 22nd December – Ben Crowe – Tip no. 10
Our 10th tip was another golden woodworking nugget from Crimson Guitars’ Ben.

Ben’s Top Tip 2: When sharpening a gouge or carving chisel, use waterstones or slip stones to get your initial edge sharp. However, a truly sharp tool needs a polished surface and perfect intersection between front and back planes.  I use the half-sharpened gouge or chisel to cut a groove or bead into a piece of soft close-grained wood which obviously perfectly matches the shape of the tool.  I then put a spot of chrome polish, Autosol for choice, and use that perfectly shaped piece of wood to polish up the edge of the gouge or carving chisel to perfection.

You can see more of Ben and his team's work on the Crimson Guitars website: http://crimsonguitars.com/

Tuesday 23rd December – Alan Miller – Tip no. 11
Alan was our Triton Woodworker of the Year 2014 winner and provided us with our 11th tip.


Alan's Top Tip: For a job - in this case a guitar body, but it could be a large box for instance - which requires a number of cramps, I use a potter's wheel. The jig is on a board and the wheel is turned as you add the clamps. The space under the tip wheel makes adding the clamps very easy.

To find out about the inspiration behind Alan’s winning piece, head to our website and click on the PDF link: http://www.tritontools.com/en-GB/News/128 





Wednesday 24th December – Steve Hewson - Tip no. 12
Our final tip came from Triton's Brand Manager, Steve Hewson!

Steve's Top Tip: With the shortest day out of the way we are already thinking about summer in the Northern Hemisphere Many woods take on a very pleasing, deeper more subtle colour once aged in the sun, but did you know you can accelerate the process to achieve that look?  To do this, apply a generous coat of linseed oil and let it soak in for a while before wiping off the excess. Then put your piece outside fully exposed to the sunshine, turning it a few times to keep the colour change even. The effect will show within the day but keep it up for a week and you will have a deep finish that’s really pleasing. The outcome varies by species, with Cherry being one of the most effective

See Steve in action at the IWF fair in Atlanta earlier this year, where he talks about a product coming to launch next year. Hint: an Australian icon has been given a very big makeover!
http://blog.tritontools.com/2014/09/international-woodworking-fair-atlanta.html 




From a frosty UK, we are wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Woodworking New Year!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Quality Woodwork; Factory Tour of Fechters South Africa

Fechters furniture manufacturer in Knysna, Western Cape, is the latest stop in our series of visits to masters of wood in South Africa. Morné Smith is the operations manager for Fechters and showed us around their factory.  It is a fascinating place; one of the few yards where raw timber comes into the compound at one end and leaves the other end as finished goods.
Established in 1936, Fechters continues its commitment to the traditional “Cape Dutch style” designs and to training local young people to produce a high level of craftsmanship. 


That’s not to say this company is lost in the past: modern manufacturing processes and more contemporary designs coupled with old-fashioned skill and experience are producing some outstanding work.  Keep an eye out for the live edge table with a glass centre being finished prior to exhibition - the butterfly joint is a beautiful piece of work.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Best of the Woodworking Web - Shaped on all Six Sides: Wooden Boat Carpentry


Shaped on all Six Sides from New Canada on Vimeo.

Another golden nugget from the Woodworking Web. Andy Stewart is a wooden boat builder based in Washington. Boat carpentry is in Andy's blood, and the tools he is using today are the same tools his ancestors used in the craft generations before him.


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Woodworking Book Review : Complete Illustrated Guide to Finishing, by Jeff Jewitt

Complete Illustrated Guide to Finishing By Jeff Jewitt

It's not how you start, it's how you finish! OK, couldn't resist that, but for many woodworkers the finish applied to their work is the crowning glory for their efforts. However, achieving that perfect finish isn't always easy.


The Complete Illustrated Guide to Finishing by Jeff Jewitt is now ten years old but continues to be the reference guide for finishing techniques from the ever-popular stable of the Taunton Press. Though the book is written as a dip-in-and-out guide and a long-term reference to be used in the workshop, it makes no assumptions and is helpful for woodworkers whatever their skill level.

Much of the most important information is where you would expect it, at the start of the book with detailed instructions about setting up a suitable environment. Fortunately, the author recognises that, for most of us, a purpose-built spray room, in a separate annex wing of our extensive workshop is, though desirable, not always feasible, and he gives simple instructions for the mortals amongst us to achieve an effective working space within a reasonable budget. 

After the obligatory section on suitable tools required for finishing, where the general rule seems to be one more than you anticipated for your last project", the author gets into the meat of the subject.

Surface preparation: there is no easy way round this folks, if you want the very best result from your work before applying any kind of finish you have to prepare the surface thoroughly. For me, this is probably the best part of the book. All the basic techniques are covered, using both hand and power tools together with some great tips and techniques that on your own would take years to figure out.

The section on fixing defects will be invaluable for those of us who might be a little over-zealous with the glue pot or have to make do with less than perfect stock to make our projects. Recognising that a blemish must be hidden well before applying a finish coat is an important lesson and there are some excellent techniques here to help the woodworker master the art of concealment.

Using stains or adding colour, artificial or natural dye to your work can have a dramatic effect on the outcome especially for decorative / art pieces. Getting the dye to take with the shade you expect can be a trial and error process but this guide gives clear instructions helping you get closer to your goals with fewer experiments" on the way. 

The remainder of the book is a terrific work of reference to help you choose the right finish for each job, the materials you require and the application technique particular to each skilled operation. Not something to read cover to cover, but worth a browse as you contemplate how to finish that prize project you have been slaving over for months.

Would I buy this book? The short answer is yes; I can find no other reference with quite the depth of information on such a range of techniques in one place. Sure, there are books just about French polishing or applying a stain but this volume pulls all of the best information into a single place. Although it has been ten years since it was first published, this guide is as good as ever.


Complete Illustrated Guide to Finishing (Complete Illustrated Guides (Taunton Press))by Jeff Jewitt is available from thegmcgroup.com  and other retailers online.  ISBN-978-1-62710-767-9

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Sk8Shades - Making Wooden Sunglasses From Skateboards


Sk8Shades, based in Durban, South Africa, makes hand-crafted sunglasses with wood recycled from used skateboards. Dave de Witt, the man behind the company, came up with the idea when his sunglasses began falling apart and he decided to use the wood from an old skateboard to create his first pair of Sk8Shades.

On the Sk8Shades website, Dave describes the creation process: Once the used boards have their grip tape removed and have been cross-cut, ripped, planed, sanded, laminated, squared, veneered, sanded and sized, they are ready for laminating into a curve. This is done, one-by-one, using clamps and moulds made from off-cuts of birch plywood. Shaping edging and grooving takes place on one of the bench-mounted routers and comes 24 hours after being removed from the moulds. Temples are shaped from the tails and noses retaining some of the graphics. All moulds, templates and tooling is made in-house using basic tools, woodworking machinery and a few Franken-tools made up from various pawn-shop finds. With +250 laminated glue joints in our layered frames and up to 200 in our Dirty or Clean frames, Sk8 Shades are rebuilt layer by layer to create a strong, lightweight and comfortable frame.

We were lucky enough to be given our very own Sk8Shades by Dave made using Triton tools and these are now proudly on display at Triton HQ.


Check out Dave's website to see more of his designs : www.sk8shades.com

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Choose Woodwork for Life

Meet Alistair ‘Jock’ McConnachie - a man with a passion for nature, wood, and creating beautiful objects.
Having served time as a lawyer in Cape Town, Jock decided to change direction and get closer to nature.  The result is Timber Village - a truly unique part saw mill and lumber yard and part artisan workshops and show room for bespoke contemporary furniture. There is even a museum highlighting the history of the timber trade in and around the area.

Visitors can choose from an amazing selection of indigenous timbers, which includes some truly spectacular woods, due to the fact Timber Village is based in the Knsyna forest on South Africa’s Garden Route.  In this short film Jock talks about Timber Village as well as the motivation to work with wood creating custom furniture. Look out for the giant slab of Yellowwood - a jaw-dropping piece of exotic timber.


Timber Village played host to the recent ‘Working with Wood’ festival in Knysna, and you can see more about that in our earlier post working-with-wood-festival. We will be checking back with Jock at a later date to see how the Yellowwood slab develops.
If you would like to know more about Timber Village please visit their website: http://timbervillage.co.za/

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Surf meets woodwork, meets art.

The Triton blog has been showcasing exceptional individuals we would describe as ‘Masters of Wood’ for some time now. Our latest Master is Patrick Burnett from Kommetjie near Cape Town, South Africa. Patrick has a love of the sea and surfing, and he has combined that with a passion for working with wood – designing and hand-crafting stunning hollow wood surfboards. We visited Patrick to find out more about his work and the drive behind his creative process.



For those interested in learning more about Patrick’s work, his approach to sustainable craft, and details of how to book a course where you can make your own board, please see his website: www.burnettwoodsurfboards.co.za

Monday, 27 October 2014

Working with Wood festival, Knysna



Our Triton team recently visited South Africa to meet woodworkers and gather information to share on the Triton blog. We met some interesting and talented woodworkers, from an independent craftsman making beautiful wooden surfboards, to a modern factory reproducing traditional designs. We will share their stories with you over the next few weeks.

This is the first of our stories from Knysna, a traditional timber and woodworking town situated on the coast in Western Cape at the foot of South Africa.  Knysna originally developed as a timber town to support the growing colony in Cape Town,  and the ‘Working with Wood Festival’ was organised in support of the Knysna Timber Initiative (KTI), a non-profit association of stakeholders in the timber industry, including local government. The festival is held at Timber Village, an extraordinary woodyard and craft centre and a real melting pot of information and ideas for woodworkers.  We will take you on a tour round the Timber Village in more detail in another post.

In addition to the main site, festival visitors were also able to visit local timber factories in Knysna and surrounding areas to see how local wood products are made, and to buy locally manufactured items.  All aspects of timber production was on show - from young tree seedlings, timber harvesting and milling technology, to fine furniture and craft products - all made by local individuals or businesses.  The Working with Wood Festival hopes to inspire and grow interest in the town’s heritage, and to spread the word that specialist knowledge and skills both in forestry and fine timber production are still flourishing in Knysna today..

Fine design and craftsmanship from Fechters on display
Traditional skills from Timber village



Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Best of the Woodworking Web - Brass Tacks

Sorry we've been a bit quiet on the blog front recently, but we've been busy helping the team in South Africa with a couple of fantastic woodworking shows (more to come on those soon!).

Today we're bringing you a great video featuring the team at Brass Tacks, a furniture design company who use reclaimed bits of wood and craft them into beautiful pieces of furniture. Kevin and his team enjoy using only their hands and a select number of tools to carry out these incredible transformations:

"Picking out the lumber is my favourite thing that I do, just because it's the beginning of something that's going to end up really beautiful. We really put care and love into it, and it turns into something that was completely the opposite of what it started out as, and that's just what we get so excited about - the transformation."


Credit: Brass Tacks - Kansas City from Summer House Films on Vimeo.

If you've come across any interesting videos like the above, we'd love to see them! Just leave us a comment below.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Best of the Woodworking Web - Walking in a Wooden Wonderland

Henrique Oliveira is a São Paulo-based artist who uses recycled materials and returns them to their true natural form. This latest piece, titled Transarquitetonica, is a giant network of root-like tunnels which can be explored from the inside. Oliveira's largest piece to date, he sees it as not just an installation but an experience for the senses.



We love this creative use of discarded construction site materials and the way Oliveira's work returns the wood back to the beginning of its journey.

You can see more of Oliveira's work on his website: www.henriqueoliveira.com

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

International Woodworking Fair - Atlanta


Every two years the city of Atlanta plays host to the International Woodworking Fair, and the range of products and services on display this year was astonishing. From specialist manufacturers of the smallest carving tools, to demonstrations of factory-scale high speed processing of sheet materials, there was something for all to see. 
A particular crowd-pleaser was the growing number of displays with high specification CNC routers, which were able to reproduce designs with intricate detailing at simply the touch of a button.
Triton Tools exhibited with an impressive booth displaying the full range of equipment available, as well as a couple of special show previews. Whilst the award-winning Triton routers and a limited range of Triton Precision Power Tools have been available in the US for some years, the complete expanded range already distributed in other parts of the world will arrive in the USA for the first time from November 2014.

Due for release in 2015, the new Triton Workcentre WX7 attracted a lot of attention at its first showing in the US. Hands-on enthusiasts and experienced journalists alike were keen to learn more. Here is an interview with Woodworkers Journal that offers a bit more information.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Best of the Woodworking Web - A Day in the Life


Day in the Life: Furniture Designer/Maker from ConnectEd Studios on Vimeo.
A day in the life of Jared Rusten, a woodworker who creates modern furniture in San Francisco. We love the California coffee table and his modern take on the rocking chair!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Woodworking Book Review: Making Furniture Projects & Plans by Mark Ripley

This is a book that achieves a rare double; it has great appeal for the novice woodworker and the experienced cabinet maker alike. For the beginner it offers a glimpse into the world of the possible, aspirational plans and exotic joints with explanations that make it all seem very reachable given time and practice.  For those with well-developed skills it’s an exploration of form, function and design with some great insights into harnessing the natural properties of timber to make beautiful and functional furniture.

The book is set out in two parts; the first section has an overview of the principles of furniture design balancing the four essential elements of structure, function, aesthetics and economy.  It also looks at the process of batch production with a case study of a set of chairs the author created.

The second part of the book is where it can become your coffee time browse to muse over the 24 projects. They are really well written, rather than a list of simple instructions there is an easy to read narrative that talks you through the process in a conversational style. There are some excellent photographs of the details of each project and a full set of dimensions for you to work from.  What it is not, is a strict set of rules to reproduce what you see on the page.  You are invited to understand the process and to put your own interpretation on each of the pieces.

There is no doubt the quality and design of the furniture in this book will appeal to many, and those with real ambition, a quality workshop and plenty of time should be able to reproduce Mark’s plans to great effect. For everyone else this is a grand book that will give us all plenty to aspire to and an excuse to buy a few more tools in preparation for that “One Day” moment.

Making Furniture Projects and Plans is available from GMCbooks.com and other retailers on line.

ISBN-978-1-86108-560-3

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Best of the Woodworking Web - Custom Woodworking at its best

This post highlights the work of Erik Gustafson, a custom woodworker from Chicago. His work combines the best of craft skills with the latest technology and design.


Erik Gustafson Custom Woodworking from Chris Vanderwall on Vimeo.

If you have another great example you would like to share, let us know in the comments below!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Poltava ship building project now available in English

We had a lot of interest in the blog post on the Poltava ship building project in St Petersburg. Our friends at Jet have now produced an English language version of the video for you to enjoy.



Leave a comment below if there is a project in your city you think we should share with the world.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Book Review: One Plank Woodworking Projects by Andy Standing

What can you make with a single plank of wood and some imagination? This is the simple challenge that the cover of this book suggests, though there is quite a lot more to this intriguing book from the ever popular GMC publications stable.

The basic premise is a series of projects that are made from a limited set of materials, in general a single plank with the occasional fixings. The projects have a good range of skill levels and combined, produce several really good practical and decorative pieces such as a toolbox and a lamp base.

Early chapters give an overview of both hand and power tools that you can use, as well as some handy tips on measuring and cutting techniques.  So is it a beginner’s guide? Not really, in our opinion, though if you are thinking of getting into woodworking but have yet to take the plunge (no pun intended), it’s a reasonable starting point in terms of tools you might need and projects you could have a go at.
The project section of the book has well set out pages with clear instructions and excellent photography, and if you have a well-stocked workshop quite a few of your tools will get an outing as you work your way through. The level of skill and experience required does vary quite a lot, though not necessarily increasing in the order the projects appear in the book, so it’s definitely worth a thumb through to find a project that you are comfortable with as your starting point. Also, as the book makes clear, the end point of each project is a bare wood item that will need some finish applied to be both practical and pleasing.

We did like this book from the standpoint of some straight forward practice projects using the one plank limitation as the thread to join them together. Where it could go in a second volume is to really push this theme and explore the real design challenge implied in the title. For established woodworkers it is real food for thought and from Triton it’s an open challenge; just what could you make from a single plank? Contact us via the website or leave a comment on the blog with your ideas.

One Plank Woodworking Projects by Andy Standing is available from GMCbooks.com and other retailers on line.

ISBN-978-1-86108-898-7

Friday, 18 July 2014

Best of the Woodworking Web - Craft imitates nature

Today's post is another best of the web nugget that we found. Ok, so there are no power tools involved but the craftsmanship is truly astonishing and we thought you would enjoy it!



Within the vast arena of Japanese sculpture there’s a small niche category known as jizai okimono. The craft involves carving realistic animals whose bodies and limbs are all animated through joints just like the real living thing. Some common subjects are birds, fishes, snakes and insects. It’s a craft that originated in the late-Edo period (late 1700s) when metalsmiths and armor makers, faced with a decline in demand for armor, found themselves with plenty of time on their hands. But ever since it’s modest beginnings, the lobster, with its numerous joints and undulating back, has been considered to be the most difficult and challenging subject.
Ryosuke Ohtake, a young 25-year old sculptor, caused quite a stir recently when he boldly took on the challenge and created an immaculate and animated lobster from wood. What stunned many was that not only was the piece carved from wood (which is considered far more difficult than using copper) but the fact that this was Ohtake’s first official jizai okimono. The lobster was part of a wooden sculpture exhibition at Tokyu Department Store in Tokyo this April. Watch the video to see exactly how realistic this lobster moves.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Men's Sheds are changing lives in London

Continuing our tour of Men’s Sheds, the Triton team visited the Camden Town Shed, which occupies two rooms at the Maiden Lane Community Centre in central London.

Men’s Sheds originated as a response to rural isolation; however that problem is not confined to remote areas. Even in the heart of a major city, loss of social contact and isolation - for retired people in particular - can lead to emotional stress and debilitating physical conditions.  Happily, the Men’s Sheds offer a great opportunity for social contact and a sense of purpose - not to mention tea-drinking and some serious woodwork thrown in!

A Men’s shed does however offer more than a refuge for those in need of companionship. Most have a good range of tools and facilities as well as space to work in and access to materials that would be the envy of many a home workshop. For many members the banter and just working alongside others provides a high spot in the week.   In our short visit we met men and women supporting each other, sharing skills, laughs, and an enthusiasm for life, living and woodworking.  There can be no doubt that the Men’s Sheds Movement enhances  the lives of many of the members who attend - and long may that continue!

The Camden Town Shed encourages its members to work at their own pace and on their own projects, producing goods that can be sold at local fairs to raise funds to support the shed. The shed operates on the principle that men don’t talk about their worries face to face; they talk shoulder to shoulder, whilst working on a practical project. Some of the members arrive with skills to share, and others want to learn new skills from those they meet.
These are the stories of some of the Camden Town members:

Terry
Terry was a cabinet maker by trade. Having served an apprenticeship in London, he left the UK in 1968 as one of the ‘Ten Pound Poms’, to start a new life in Australia. He continued his trade successfully and as time went by, was promoted within the firm he worked for, eventually leaving the workshop floor to work in the purchasing department for a furniture and cabinetmaking company.

In 2010 Terry returned to London to care for his elderly mother. With grown up family still in Australia, Terry was keen to make new friends and occupy his spare time productively. Having visited a couple of Men’s Sheds in Australia, the Camden Town Shed was the perfect opportunity to rekindle his enthusiasm for practical projects.  Due to his skill set, Terry was quickly adopted as the Session Supervisor for the shed, where he now helps members get to grips with the various tools and machinery. Mike Jenn, Chairman of the UK Men’s sheds association, acknowledged his skills, saying: “Terry can often tell what’s happening just by listening to the machines. He steps in to help just when needed.”

Terry has a real talent for design and plans projects for the group. The Camden Town Shed has received commissions from local charities and other community organisations, such as a request for a model kitchen for the local children’s play scheme. Previous projects have included a set of specially-designed wooden toys to help educate children with autism; a wooden castle with knock-down targets for a local archery group; and lightweight folding chairs which were sold to raise money to support the shed. 
We hope to publish some of these projects on the Triton Blog very soon. All the projects have to be adaptable, depending on the materials available. With limited funds the Camden Town Shed makes use of mostly reclaimed and recycled timber from donations and building site waste recovered from skips - not that it limits their ingenuity or the finished quality of the projects, judging by the results!

Ray
Ray has been coming to the shed for around three months as part of a long-term recovery plan. He had a successful career as a dentist until one day five years ago. Whilst out playing golf, Ray was struck by lightning, leaving him in a coma, after which followed a long-term recovery in hospital. Now physically well, Ray has issues with short-term memory and remaining focused. He initially joined the Camden Town Men’s Shed at the suggestion of a social worker who thought it a positive way for him to get out of the house and meet new people. The engagement with physical tasks, and having projects to complete with the support of other members, has enabled him to manage these sessions without his support worker and regain some independence. When we met Ray he was on the home stretch of a stool project that was looking really great!


Mick
Mick joined the shed a year ago. He was spending a lot of time alone at home recovering from cancer, and his social worker recommended he try the shed. Mick spent his working life as a site carpenter, installing roof frames and general large-scale timber construction. With more time on his hands, he was determined to take the opportunity to produce the finer pieces of work he had never tried before. The Camden shed is pretty well-equipped, and this gave Mick the chance to try his hand at wood turning - a skill which he has developed amazingly well.  Much of the work he produces is developed from ideas on his favourite blogs and websites.  Mick recommended www.WoodworkingforMereMortals.com  - a great site with lots of videos and plans of simple, practical projects.


Olive
We visited the Camden shed on a Wednesday - the one official mixed day when ladies are invited to join. We met Olive, a retired English teacher, who has been interested in woodworking since taking part in an introductory course on woodturning. Since retiring, the woodwork has taken over and Olive is always busy working on projects or developing new ideas. Time at the men’s shed is helpful as she has access to tools and machinery she doesn’t have in her own small shed at home. Her current plan is to extend the size of her bed using recovered and reclaimed timber. We asked Olive what she enjoyed most about her days at the shed. “It’s the company,” she said, “and the lack of fussing from the men.”

Tell us about your Shed.

If you are involved with a community woodworking project, let us know with a comment below. We may even drop by for a visit! 



Thursday, 26 June 2014

Iconic reproduction



Today's post will resonate with anyone who remembers there was a life before CD's. For those who are still confused, a CD came before downloads. Take an iconic shape from your youth and precisely reproduce it into a new form and use. Great design, brilliantly executed.
Thanks to Jeff Skierka Designs for sharing this .
Mixtape - jeffskierkadesigns.com from Jeff Skierka on Vimeo.

We would love to see other scale up reproductions, so if you have some to share get in touch  Marketing@tritontools.com

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Triton Book Recommendation

Routing for Beginners by Anthony Bailey.

This is the second revised and expanded edition of the book published in 2012. For anyone who is getting into woodworking, a router is one of those tools surrounded by an air of mystery and legend.  You know it will advance your craft but just understanding the terminology around the seemingly limitless cutter variations can be off putting.  Coupled with the wide variety of machines, the optional jigs and tables and the potential safety risks from such a high speed machine, it is easy to see why many people take a long time, if ever, to get round to owning their first router. The aptly titled Routing for Beginners would then seem a great place to start and in short, it is.  

There is a really gentle introduction that gives you some background to this most versatile of tool and a clear and concise description of the main features and functions covering a wide range of manufacturers. The book is much more than a glossary of terms in that it explores these features and explains which are actually going to be useful, based on the type of work you might want to be doing, with the router you will inevitably be going out to purchase by the time you get to the end of chapter 2.

The section on safety also looks at the ideal workshop requirements but recognises that most of us have to start with a corner of the garage before we are able to progress to the ideal shed.  Basic rule of thumb being that your workshop floor space should be N x 2 (where N is the size of your current workshop). 

The section on cutters gives clear descriptions of all the major types and some sage advice on which to buy into as a beginner, noting that creating your first raised panel door should probably take place after you have mastered simple straight cutters. That’s not to say this book leaves you in router kindergarten. By the close you are guided through several challenging projects for both the workshop and home, leaving you eager for more.

For many people woodworking is a solitary pastime where skills are learnt by trial and error. This book will enable the novice to make a sound start into the immensely rewarding world of routing feeling confident that they have an acknowledged expert on hand to guide them.

Routing for Beginners by Anthony Bailey is available from www.GMCbooks.com and other retailers online.

ISBN-978-1-86108-839-0

Friday, 13 June 2014

Poltava, the amazing historic ship project

Building a wooden boat using modern techniques and equipment takes a huge amount of skill and precision woodworking. When you scale that up to a ship with displacement of up to 1,200 tonnes, the technical complexities that have to be overcome are enormous. What if your ambitious project is to faithfully recreate an Oak built fighting ship of the Russian Navy from 1712? Now you are on a whole new level of woodworking challenge! Check out these images of a work in progress right now in Saint Petersburg, Russia. This is no backyard weekend hobby, this truly amazing project is testing men, materials and machines to the limits, in a purpose-built facility.
The team are using extensively researched construction plans, with very little surviving records to start with. They have the advantage of some modern tools to ensure they can faithfully reproduce the original lines, though huge technical challenges still lie ahead.


The following Russian language video gives you a good look round the yard and some of the work going on there right now. Check out the Triton Tools going through their paces on a really demanding hardwood project. You can find the video here: The Poltava build Video


The website for this project is in Russian but the miracle of Google translate does make it easy enough to understand what they are working on! Find out more about the project here: The Poltava Website

We will be coming back to the Poltava project to check on its progress in the months ahead. Let us know if you're planning a project of your own that you think the Tritonites would be keen to see.
Contact us at: Marketing@tritontools.com



Thursday, 5 June 2014

Some of Our Favourite Woodworking Blogs

In the same way we hope you love reading the Triton Tools blog, we enjoy surfing the woodworking web for the latest blogs and we want to share what we’ve found with you! Below are a couple of our favourites…

An Australian woodworker, Stu’s blog provides honest tool reviews, woodworking plans (including some of our very own) and handy tips.

Primarily an online tool store, Highland Woodworking created their blog in order to bring together all their woodworking resources in to one place to share with fellow woodworkers.

Do you have a favourite woodworking blog, or a blog of your own? If so, leave a comment below telling us where to find it and it could appear in the next post!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Tri-Lox Woodworkers

Every week we're on a mission to bring you the best from the world of woodworking on the web. Our favourite post this week comes from the guys at Tri-Lox, who create custom furniture from reclaimed wood. We love the ethos behind the company, where they believe that designers need to be in tune with the materials they are working with to decipher what they should be crafted into.

You can see more of their work on their website


Tri-Lox Woodworkers from bigcitypix on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Best of the Woodworking Web - Woodworking Goes Large

Firstly, a confession; this isn't traditional woodworking fare for Triton, however we came across this video and couldn't resist sharing. If you are into woodworking machinery then it doesn't come much bigger than this Redwood processing mill in California. Huge trees go in one end and construction timber comes out the other side. Some of the technology is truly amazing. Look out for the high speed re-saw - awesome.



Many thanks to Dave Frane from Tools of the Trade for the original post.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The Highland Woodworker


If you have not come across this site before its well worth a watch. The Highland Woodworker puts out around six 40 min shows every year full of engaging content. There are twelve episodes available so far. In each episode there are feature stories and tool reviews with the host Charles Brock. "Generation Next" features talented young woodworkers and their amazing projects and the "Moment with a Master" spends time with woodworkers at the top of their game.

Its a terrific watch and all available online anytime you want to see it.
Check it out at www.thehighlandwoodworker.com

The Highland Woodworker

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Elegant Craftsman

Continuing our search for the best from the web this short film introduces George Nakashima. His connection between the living tree and the elegant woodwork he creates is inspirational. We would love to hear what you think.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

A Woodworking Tradition




The second weekend in April is an important date in the diary for British woodworkers -  it’s the Yandles spring show! 

This woodworking hotspot - based in a historic sawmill and working timber yard in Somerset UK – enjoys a year-round fan base, with people travelling great distances to visit the woodwork equipment centre and art gallery.
For most enthusiasts, the highlight is a visit to the extensive wood store, which houses both native and exotic timber species. From the smallest bowl blanks and carving blocks to magnificent large-scale pieces, visitors are sure to find just the right materials for even the most ambitious of projects. In preparation for the spring show, the entire site is transformed as woodwork suppliers and enthusiasts alike exhibit their wares and celebrate all that’s best in woodworking.

This short film provides just a flavour of the event, but for a first-hand experience, there is another chance in September when Yandles opens its doors again for the Autumn show. 

Friday, 28 March 2014

Latest Triton Products On Show



The Triton show stand at the 2014 International Hardware Fair in Cologne was the launch pad for a new range of products due for release later this year and created quite a stir on social media sites.
We thought we should give our blog readers the inside track, so here are some of the product highlights from this year’s show:
• The existing Triton T12 Drill Driver and T12 Impact driver are joined by new models to create a complete system, with the introduction of a Reciprocating Saw, Right Angle Drill, Oscillating Multi Tool, and a long life Flash light. All these products use the common 12volt battery platform available in 1.5AH or 3AH versions

 • An all new 20V Cordless system with 4AH fast charge batteries, including a Drill Driver, Combi Hammer Drill and the most powerful Impact Driver yet with 160Nm of torque. With the highest quality Mabuchi motors and all metal gearing these are a robust, yet great to use response for the most demanding situation.

 • In the sanding range, a Geared Eccentric Orbit Sander was revealed. This highly versatile tool provides both fine finishing in random mode and very aggressive material removal when switched to force geared mode, all in a single machine.

For more details of these tools download the new Triton catalogue from the website: www.tritontools.com 

However star status for the show from a Triton point of view had to be the unveiling of the New Triton Workcentre WX7. Originally designed in 1976 and the founding product for the Triton brand, the Workcentre is now in its fifth decade, following several evolutionary versions based on the key principles of accuracy and ease of use, the time has come for a radical redesign to bring the Workcentre into the modern era. At first glance, the Triton Workcentre WX7 breaks with tradition in that it has moved away from an all-steel construction in favour of the very latest lightweight, but robust, extruded aluminium sections supporting the innovative low friction work surfaces. The reduction in weight and the addition of rugged transit wheels and an easy folding frame give a clue to the intended additional market for the product. Whilst still aimed at the enthusiast woodworker, the WX7 is now a highly capable and mobile multi-purpose workshop for professional site use. Precision and accuracy are assured, coupled with high mobility, making the Triton Workcentre WX7 ideally suited for trades such as kitchen or shop fitters and other finishing trades, where the on-site access to workshop facilities and accuracy ensures the highest quality results.

The New Workcentre will be available towards the end of the year, but for those wanting a peak at the shape of things to come check out the video above. We would be keen to hear your comments!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Crimson Guitars

We first met Ben Crowe from Crimson Guitars at a woodworking show in the UK when he asked us to prove our claim to have the best routers in the world.Suitably impressed we then challenged Crimson Guitars to design and build a custom guitar to showcase at our recent exhibition in Cologne.
The result is the specially commissioned Triton Conspiracy Custom Guitar with echoes of the Triton tools used to make it. The body is made from Figured Sycamore with locally sourced Flamed Ash used for the front face. The neck and headstock are made from Mahogany with a Rosewood fret board. The headstock has a Flame Maple veneer.  At the twelfth fret is an inlayed image of Australia Tritons spiritual home. We hope you enjoy the film, watch this space for a chance to win this exceptional example of the luthiers art.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Wincanton Men’s Sheds

Our Tour of Men’s Sheds continues with a visit to a shed at the heart of a community in rural Somerset, England. The Wincanton Men’s Shed in Somerset UK, has found itself a slightly unusual setting. They are based at the Balsam Centre, a locally owned and run community centre in the town, which makes good use of a former community hospital. The Balsam Centre supports all aspects of the community, running several adult groups and classes as well as being Children’s Centre.The Men’s Shed is in an old store room and the disused hospital mortuary. Annette Yoosenfinejad is the volunteer coordinator for the Balsam Centre and works with the wide variety of local organisations that use its facilities, these include the Growing Space a terrific charity that supports local people who are recovering from, or currently experiencing, mental ill health, or whose disability or disadvantage can be redressed through developing a happier, more content lifestyle. Much of their work is hands on with horticulture. Annette saw a TV report about Men’s Sheds and decided this was something that could address similar issues of social isolation for Men in their area.
Unlike most of the UK Men’s Sheds the Wincanton group was founded by Women. They advertised the idea and organised an initial meeting to look for interest. They had certainly hit the mark with regard to local need, as 29 local men turned up for a breakfast meeting to express their interest. The shed was soon up and running, borrowing some tools and with a small amount of seed funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the help of an E-Bay search, they were able to buy former woodworking benches from a school in Kent. The dealer who sold them was so impressed by the idea that he delivered them for free. The group had a few of their early sessions organised for them, but are now setting their own agenda and working on projects for the local community. They have made planting troughs and a garden sieve to support Growing Space on their site. Following a visit from the Hawk and Owl Trust and a small donation from the trust the guys have made owl box’s to be put up locally. This however is just the start, taking a lead from other UK Men’s Sheds they are exploring a range of activities and hope to become involved with the other community groups based at the Balsam Centre. A real bonus for the group is help from a number of local sawmills and furniture making companies who have donated their offcut timber for the Men’s Shed to make good use of. When we visited it was clear from the men we met, that sharing their accumulated skills and experience with younger people in a mentoring role was something they were very keen to do. Given the unique structure and wide range of organisations based at the Balsam Centre this looks like the perfect match. Longer term plans are subject to securing sufficient funding, they are aiming to have a purpose built shed in a new facility alongside the Growing Space group and to swell their numbers overtime and share the support and comradeship they have experienced to more men in the local area. The UK Men’s Sheds Association offers practical advice to those wanting to set up a shed in the UK. There’s also the chance to link up with other sheds across the country. They can be contacted via their website; www.Menssheds.org.uk

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Best of the Woodworking Web - The Ox

Part of our mission with the Triton blog is to bring you what we see as the best of the web with regard to wood working. This link is to an inspirational video by Ben Proudfoot. Enjoy


SHOW YOUR SUPPORT:

Eric & Viviana Hollenbeck
Blue Ox Mill and School
1 X St.
Eureka, CA 95501
Phone: 707-444-3437
www.blueoxmill.com
eric@blueoxmill.com

FOLLOW twitter.com/breakwatermp // facebook.com/BreakwaterStudios
VISIT www.breakwaterstudios.com // www.blueoxmill.com
WATCH ink&paper - another craftsman doc by Ben Proudfoot - vimeo.com/33359230

Directed by Ben Proudfoot
@bgproudfoot
ben@benproudfoot.com
www.breakwaterstudios.com

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Blackdown Shepherd Huts, Modern Craftsmanship with Classic Design

The Triton team is always interested in talking to both woodworking enthusiasts and professionals alike, and the one thing they have in common with us is a passion for engineered precision.

We recently visited Blackdown Shepherd Huts, a rapidly-growing artisan business based in South Somerset, England.  The original shepherd huts have been around for hundreds of years, and were built as temporary shelters for shepherds to use whilst away tending the flock. Made from a variety of materials, local skills were utilised to build basic shelters and sleeping accommodation.
 Blackdown Shepherd Huts has taken this Victorian utility building idea and transformed it entirely - applying a blend of traditional craftsmanship and modern design to produce a range of unique, bespoke living spaces.
These basic farmers’ shelters are now being reproduced to the highest quality standards with modern luxury and comfort.  Fitted out with a compact modern bathroom and kitchen, the huts can be used as a home office, or even a luxury sauna or holiday let - the options are seemingly endless.
Quality construction starts from the bottom up, with locally-forged iron wheels and a robust oak frame chassis - hand-finished with Danish oil to an exceptional standard.  All of the materials are locally sourced, which together with the appropriate sheep’s wool insulation, help keep the environmental impact of each cabin to a minimum - both during production and for the years ahead. 
The exterior of each hut is clad either in feather-edged oak or metal sheeting, depending on the client’s request. However it’s the flexibility of the interior design and choice of quality materials that really shows off the team’s dedication to quality without compromise. 

“We would rather take time to explain to a customer the performance benefits of the quality materials and finishes than compromise simply to save costs,” commented George Bannister, one of the driving forces behind the business.  Looking at a sample of the huts and seeing frame and chassis work in progress in their well-appointed and expanding workshop, it’s clear they are winning the support of their customers in this regard.

From a start-up business just two years ago, Blackdown Shepherd Huts now employs five craftspeople directly, as well as providing regular support for the local forge that produces the metalwork.  Their reputation is spreading across the globe, with a new manufacturer based in Australia who works with local timbers, building huts to the original and exacting Blackdown specification and precision standards.  George explained that a rapidly-growing part of their business is the supply of kits to ‘self builders’, giving them the opportunity to construct their very own Shepherds Hut using the quality components supplied.
If you want to know more about Blackdown Shepherd Huts and the unique living spaces they create, visit their website at www.blackdownshepherdhuts.co.uk

We will be returning to them later in the year to see the ultimate workshop upgrade!




Monday, 10 February 2014

UK Men’s Sheds Association Launch


One thing that’s really clear to us from chatting to woodworkers at shows and events is that they love to share details of their work, tips for improvements, and generally natter about their projects and tools.
However it’s often the case that men over the age of 50 spend a good deal of time on their own in the workshop, garden, or home alone. In particular when gents retire they often lose their primary social contact with workmates and colleagues, and as a consequence can become isolated and lonely. And that’s not good for physical or mental health.
This was the issue that the Men’s Sheds movement – originally conceived in Australia - was set up to counter. Sheds are cropping up all over the world with the same primary aim: to give men an opportunity to socialise with a common purpose focused around practical projects and hobbies.  The range of activities they get up to in their sheds is huge and includes woodwork, metalwork, model making and photography, but there is really no limit. The key point is that a shed is set up and run by the members for the members.

There are over a thousand sheds in Australia, and more than one hundred and fifty in Ireland, and at the beginning of November the UK joined the party with the launch of the UK Men’s Sheds Association in London.  There are forty sheds already set up in the UK and many more in the pipeline, and the locations are as varied as their members. Gosport Shed is based in an old Royal Navy fort, whilst others are based in vacant shop units or community centres.  The activities reflect the skills and interests of those involved as well as the community around them. 
Triton attended the UK Men’s Sheds Association Launch and chatted to lots of the ‘Shedders’. They are an inspiring bunch and could quite literally be a life saver for those that get involved.   Over the next few months we will be visiting several groups to give you a peak behind the shed door. If you’re a member of a Men’s Shed Association from anywhere across the globe and would like to share what you’re doing with the Triton community, drop us a line - it would be great to hear from you!


The UK Men’s Sheds Association offers practical advice to those wanting to set up a shed in the UK. There’s also the chance to link up with other sheds across the country. They can be contacted via their website;   www.Menssheds.org.uk

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Triton Demonstration Workshops - Southern Africa

With many skills-based creative pastimes, it can take many years to perfect your techniques and woodworking is no exception. Choosing the right tools for the job as well as understanding how to get the most impressive results can take a long time to master.
For many years Triton Power Tools in South Africa has held annual workshop tours, both to introduce people to the latest technology from the range and to demonstrate how to get the best results from each product.
The most recent round of thirty six project workshops were held at local dealers across South Africa, where an invited audience were treated to detailed demonstrations on how to create a wall mounted cabinet with a raised panel door.
Hosted by Triton guru Greg De Villiers, a typical workshop lasted around 1 ½ hours in which time the project was completed from start to finish. Numerous tools and accessories were used including the Series 2000 WorkCentre and extension table.

The Triton Router Table was a highlight of the workshops, together with some of the associated accessories such as the Triton Finger Jointer (for the cabinet construction), Biscuit Jointer (attaching of the gable) and Jigsaw Kit (for roughly cutting out the gable profile). A number of core routing skills and functions were demonstrated each evening including template making, flush trim cutting and edge planning. Many people were amazed at the ease at which the raised panel door was constructed within the time. The Triton Router and accessories really make production of seemingly complex projects straightforward. The project plans for the wall mounted cabinet were made available to all customers attending so they can practice their new found skills in their own workshops.
The feedback from the more than 650 woodworkers who attended and the dealerships who hosted the project workshops was overwhelmingly positive. The series will continue from February to May in South Africa and then move to Namibia and Botswana in June.
If you would like to watch Greg creating the wall cabinet or portable toolbox projects from the roadshows check out our video archive www.YouTube.com/Tritonwoodwork