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Aug / Sept 2012
Making a ring roller PDF Print E-mail
Written by Geoff Merryweather   

Making a ring roller

This project started when a wooden gate beside the house fell apart. I needed to make a metal bow for the top of the gate and after ignoring it for five years, I now have to do something about it. I had a few short lengths of 40 mm x 40 mm x 3 mm steel hollow section (SHS) from the scrapyard and a zero budget, so it was obvious what material I had to use.

I originally bought the 2.4-metre lengths of 40 mm x 40mm steel from Omega Metals (New and used steel) in Onehunga in Auckland. The scrappie sells a lot of new and good condition steel all for $1.60/kg and my project wouldn't have happened at the retail price of steel so he is a great resource. The steel I am using apparently used to hold big bags of sugar in place in containers at Chelsea Sugar and becomes surplus when the container is emptied.

But making a curved top was more difficult than my usual approach of bending a piece of steel around a wooden former. The solution was to use the offcuts and a cheap bottle jack to make a set of rollers that can bend the material into wide arcs. Since I had to buy the $39 jack, the budget was well and truly blown. But this ring roller will be useful for future projects.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Arduino 101 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry King   

Arduino 101

This is the first in a series of articles to introduce the versatile and extraordinary Arduino system to people with no prior knowledge of programming or electronics. We will take you step-by-step through how to set up, program and use the Arduino and provide a series of projects that will help you gain the knowledge you need to free your imagination and work with this revolutionary device.

The instructions make use of what we believe is the best starter kit we have seen on the market and now available through The Shed magazine. The starter kit will take you to intermediate level and leave you proficient to tackle your own more advanced projects. It includes an Arduino clone board, a breadboard, LEDs, cables, sensors, relays and even a servo motor. All you need is imagination.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Marquetry PDF Print E-mail
Written by Katalin Sallai   


Once upon a time, marquetry was only for the seriously rich. Marquetry now, though, is easy to get involved in and we can take advantage of modern technology. The veneer industry today is producing very thinly sliced (0.6 mm) natural veneers that overcome the historically difficult part of marquetry making—accurate cutting and fitting. This turns it into an easy and rewarding task for just about anyone and is revitalising the relevance of marquetry to modern craft woodworking, especially furniture-making.

Generally unless you have some basic understanding of the principles of veneering, your chance of meeting problems is high. Also, it is not a craft that you can easily improvise in to overcome problems. In fact it is often counter-intuitive or appears to contradict common sense, and this has impacted on its popularity. But fear not, with step-by-step instruction I will dispel the main hurdles to marquetry-making and enable you to achieve high-quality work, first time, every time.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Multitools test PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jude Woodside   

Multitools test

Since 2009 there has been an explosion of oscillating multitools on the market.
and it was these tools which are the subject of the first independent tool test arranged by The Shed magazine and carried out by Auckland University UniServices.

We have attempted to show the tool in use in conditions that were ostensibly the same for each machine with little human input. For the purposes of this test we assembled some of the most common multitools on the market. We were fortunate that Makita were just about to release their first multitool the TM3000C and Bosch are about to release a 300 watt successor to their GOP 250 tool. To these we added the Fein FMM250Q, the SMART SMT 250P and the Renovator Deluxe from Brand Developers Ltd as sold through the Warehouse.

Tests were made on cutting wood, cutting nails, sanding and for vibration, noise and heat. The battle of the oscillating tools has just begun. We thought it would be a good time to have a close look at these tools to see how they stack up against each other.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

House of straw PDF Print E-mail
Written by Helen Frances   

House of straw

Straw bales can insulate and reinforce a house. Eight o’clock Saturday morning and a small group gathers inside the frame of Geoff and Nicola Wright’s house along Ormond Valley Road in Gisborne. Our job: to raise straw bale walls.
The house we are tackling uses straw bales as insulation and reinforcement in an existing wooden frame, which has standard 2.3 m high, 4 x 2 (100 x 50 mm) studs at 400 centres. The bales are essentially stuffed between the studs of the frame, cut and shaped to fit around the house elements, then plastered for cladding.

The Wrights are winemakers and their biodynamic, organic vineyard and winery is a just few metres down a slope in a large shed next to the vineyard. For some of the group it’s going to be a matter of learn-as-you-build for the next couple of days as we help the Wrights build their house. The exciting thing about this stage of straw bale house-building is that anyone can do it with an experienced tutor in charge.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed