Can We Inspire You…?

Arbortech Staff Woodworking Competition  

Commercial gist aside, we have a lot of fun doing what we do here at Arbortech. Our have a fantastic team who are passionate and great at what they do professionally, as well as sharing a common interest for woodworking. Did we mention FUN as well? Ahh yes, fun is what we love.
What better way to adjoin fun and woodworking together? That’s when we decided to run a woodworking competition for our staff. 
The competition was announced in early May and it entailed the staff to create a woodworking project to any extent they desired in which creativity and participation were encouraged.
The winning woodworking project were awarded prizes in the categories of; 
  • Best in Show 
  • Most Creative 
  • Best Novice 
  • Most Practical


The competition announcement fuelled excited chatters in the Arbortech office hallways and lunchrooms as ideas were flying around as to who’d be working on what, what tools to use and a general bustling of enthusiasm.
Many of our staff have never attempted a woodworking project before and it was delightful to see first timers having such a fantastic time of rolling up their sleeves and getting into the spirit of having some fun at a woodworking project.  The bustling amplified as the weekend approached as staff talked amongst themselves about the progression of their projects and sharing handy tips with each other.
We also ran weekly woodworking workshop Fridays in which our CEO woodworker, Kevin would provide a helping hand to staff’s in progress project, providing tips and tricks and just another excuse to gather around and have a beer (or two) after a couple of hours of project work.
We held our social gathering to announce the woodworking project competition on Saturday 30th June and there was a fantastic turnout. Here are a few photos we snapped from the day.



After the initial mingle, everyone was keen to view the woodworking projects on exhibit. There were an impressive array of projects and the winning woodworking pieces were “People’s Choice” winners.The crowd excitedly examined the projects on display and placed their votes with the winning contenders being; 

Winner “Best in Show” 

“Contemplation” bench 

Created by: Sven (General Manager) 

Sven’s creation of the “Contemplation” bench was voted “Best in Show”. Sven drew his inspiration from a project plan from the Woodcraft website and the bench was created with the intention of being an outdoor bench but now has established it’s new-found home indoors as a practical piece of furniture. 

Wood used: Reclaimed Tuart and Jarrah

Tool used: TurboPlane 

“Contemplation” Bench


 Winner “Most Creative” 

 “Flow” Interpretive Piece

Created by:Christopher (Sales Representative)

Christopher’s “Flow” creation took out the title for the “Most Creative” piece. This project had the crowd in awe as to what the piece represented, but being an interpretive piece it is really based on what the piece means to the individual so in that sense it could really be anything!

Wood used: Camphor Laurel Wood

Tools used: TurboPlane, Mini Grinder, Mini Grinder Sanding Discs, Arbortech Oil 

“Flow” Interpretive Piece


Winner “Best Novice” 

“The Last Leaf of Autumn” tray

Created by: Nora (Sales)

This was Nora’s first attempt at woodworking and we are mighty impressed with her creation of a piece that doesn’t fall short of what a more experienced woodworker would produce. Votes went to Nora’s tray for “Best Novice” and everybody agreed this was a fantastic creation for a first timer. Great piece in terms of being a decorative item as well as functional. 

Wood used: Camphor Laurel wood 

Tools used: TurboPlane, Mini Grinder, Mini Industrial Blade, Mini Sanders, Arbortech Oil

“The Last Leaf of Autumn” tray

Winner “Most Practical”   

“Apple Tree”

Created by: Bela (Graphic Designer)

Bela’s Mac computer screen was originally rested on a pile scruffy yellow pages and his desk was resembling something of a clutter fest. So what a bright idea it was to give his desk and workspace a makeover with an ever so practical computer stand with inbuilt stationary holders. Great idea and being very practical Bela’s “Apple Tree” computer stand claimed the title for “Most Practical”. 

Wood used: Jarrah 

Tools used: TurboPlane, Mini TurboPlane

“Apple Tree” computer stand

Our staff woodworking competition encouraged team spirit, participation and above all, fun with woodworking. We wanted to encourage our team to have a go at woodworking and it was fantastic to see what our staff could do with a bit of wood, some tools and a drive to create a woodworking project. As a result we had fabulous competition entries and a fun, social day. 

As a roundup the Arbortech band entertained the crowd with their rendition of a few classic melodies. 





See the band’s performance on video here at our Facebook page. 

New to woodworking? Click here to check out our free project plans.
Stay tuned for our next blog as we will be exhibiting other entries from our Staff Woodworking Competition!

Hello. Welcome to the Arbortech woodworking blog. I’d like to kick it off by telling you about the new Arbortech TurboPlane and why I designed it. I’m also very keen to get feedback on whether others find it as useful as I do.
Essentially the original Woodcarver blade came about because of a need I had to sculpt the seat bases of a bunch of chairs I was making to fill an order. I saw how others were using the tip of a chainsaw to rough out shapes and because I had had an accident trying to do the same, I decided that if I put the chainsaw teeth on a small disc, I could fit it to an angle grinder and have better control. This evolved into the Woodcarver , Industrial Woodcarver and similar blades that we have today.
Of course they do have much better control than a chain saw however the very fact that they so easily remove wood makes it difficult to freehand produce smooth curves or flat planes. One also has to be very careful when getting close to the final shape desired because the slightest movement can ruin the final piece.
Because standard Woodcarver blades cut on the edge like a saw, they require guarding like a saw blade. I decided to design a blade specifically to be used flat with no cutting edge on the perimeter so it would not require extra guarding on the angle grinder.
The Turbo blade has three very wide carbide teeth which are set at an angle and protruding much like a plane such that they cut wide shallow shavings. The result is much better than I expected and I think it is not an over statement to say it’s the best blade we have ever produced.
I am keen to hear what others think and discuss some of the ways I and others have begun using it.

Kevin Inkster
Arbortech CEO

Carving a Stylish Wooden Side Table with the Arbortech TURBO Plane
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 off cut 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 TURBO Plane 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 wood chips or wood glue with wood chips 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 TURBO Plane 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.