The Ian Key by Kevin Inkster

 

The Ian Key is an ingenious solution invented by my brother, Ian Inkster. We have just recently launched the Ball Gouge and part of the pack includes this unusual looking tool alongside it.

 

Many people know about the Allen Key, (I have no idea who Allen is) a small L-shaped tool commonly used to tighten screws and bolts in self assembled furniture. The Ian Key provides a similar function that is unique to Arbortech tools, and it ensures the correct amount of torque (18Nm to be exact) when tightening bolts in both the Ball Gouge and our masonry Allsaw the AS170.

 

It is longer than an Allen Key and has an unusual ‘pig-curl’ tail which is the secret to being able to tell if you have tightened bolts to the correct level of torque. When the gap between the two straight portions of the Ian Key closes, you have reached the right torque. The bolts are now tight enough to perform, but not so tight that it is almost impossible to unscrew later with the opposite end of the Ian Key.

 

The shorter length is designed to be inserted into the socket head while the longer length is designed to be hand held and makes the tightening easier for the user.

 

Watch this short video where Kevin talks about the Ian Key

 

I feel this tool deserves special mention and a bit of explanation as it epitomizes the approach we at Arbortech like to encourage and embody in all of our tools.

 

Best regards and happy woodworking!

Kevin Inkster

Kevin Inkster

 

The Evolution of the Ball Gouge by Kevin Inkster

Dear Arbortechies,

 

By the time you’re reading this you are probably very much aware of our new product the Ball Gouge. While it now seems surprisingly simple and effective, this tool is the product of countless prototypes and experiments often leading to dead ends.

I would like to share with you some of the thoughts that went into its design.

I usually start my tool projects with a vision and try to work towards that. The idea I had in mind was that of a ball shaped cutter that could effectively cut in any direction whilst leaving a smooth cut. Such a tool (as with all our shaping tools) must be able to willingly cut in any direction but not grab or catch.

 

drill bit

Countersink drill example

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I was pondering on how to achieve such control, I noticed an old style tool that was used to produce a counter sink at the top of a hole. Essentially a cone shaped mandrel with a hole drilled at an angle, that when pressed into a pre-drilled hole, will cut the countersink but only to the point that the circular shape prevents it cutting any further. I reasoned that the same principal might work with ball shaped cutter and so began a bunch of experiments.

In collaboration with our Product Designer Matt Cormack, we started with several prototypes with a shape similar to this:

 

prototype2

One of the first prototypes

 

There were several problems with this design however not the least the fact that as soon as it formed a shallow spherical hollow, it would no longer cut. Also, it was difficult to sharpen and the large hole allowed a finger to be inserted making it not meet our safety standards. I liked the fact though that the holes scribed a perfect sphere with no kickback or grabbing. We progressed through about thirty designs including holes, slot and spirals, all of which had their inherent problems until we finally realized that the inverse i.e. a disc set at an angle would also scribe a perfect sphere.

 

A few of the many initial prototypes

 

By adding the sphere (with cut away for swarf) the exposure of the cutting blade can be limited and tuned while the trailing edge of the cutter prevents the leading edge from grabbing. We like to call this feature “Anti-Grabity” and it is unique to the Ball Gouge.

 

anti-grab

Anti Grab diagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final design solved all our problems with control and the circular cutter being set on an angle produced beautiful shavings. One unexpected feature was that the rubbing of the trailing edge actually polishes and sharpens the edge, which can be rotated to be the cutting edge. i.e. self-sharpening.

 

So that’s a much abbreviated explanation of the design process without going into the nitty gritty of testing etc. I hope you found this aspect interesting.

 

The final tool is in your hands now and I am truly looking forward to receiving your feedback and seeing what you create with it. Many of our staff are eager to get their hands on the new Ball Gouge for our in-house staff woodworking competition but they will have to wait until the limited edition is sent out. We will be posting videos of projects on our YouTube Channel and I welcome any photos or videos from yourselves.

 

 

Once again, thank you for your support and I look forward to your feedback.

 

Best regards,

 

 

Kevin Inkster

Arbortech CEO & Founder

Arbortech Power Carving: 5 Tips to Recycle Wood Chips & Shavings!

As a woodworker, you’re likely to have piles and piles of wood chips every time you do your woodworking. Especially if you are into power carving with Arbortech tools! One huge benefit of using Arbortech power carving Blades such as the TURBO Plane, Mini TURBO, TURBO Shaft and Ball Gouge, is that they create wood shavings. Wood shavings are bigger, a lot safer, more manageable and more useful than wood dust which is actually quite dangerous to peoples and animals respiratory systems. Another great thing about wood shavings is that there are plenty of ways to recycle them to benefit the environment!

Once you’ve finished power carving, it’s easy to sweep up your wood shavings into a Hessian bag and reuse them straight away, or store away for when you might need them next. There are plenty of ways to recycle wood shavings, here are our top 5 methods:

 

Uses for Arbortech Wood Shavings & Chips

1) Use to soak up spills

Arbortech Wood Shaving Soak Up Spills

 

2) Use in your garden as mulch

Arbortech wood shavings recycle for mulch

 

3) Use as bedding for animals such as chickens, horses, lambs

 

4) Use as a fire starter

Arbortech Wood Shaving Fire Starter

 

5) Or simply make something beautiful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arbortech blades are designed & made with the environment and safety in mind. Not only do they last but they produce wood shavings that are safer and easier to recycle than the wood dust commonly produced by other wood shaping blades and burr discs.

 

Learn more about Arbortech’s power carving Blades by clicking the links below:

 

What do you use your Arbortech wood shavings for?

 

 

Arbortech Woodworking Competition 2016!

On the 20th of August, the Arbortech courtyard in Perth Western Australia was once again transformed into an outdoor art gallery, with staff members showcasing their talent and pieces of work in the 2016 Arbortech Woodworking Competition. Family members, friends and colleagues gathered to view the wood creations that were all crafted using the Arbortech Woodworking range of products. To say “woodworking revolution” is an understatement, as the pieces in this year’s competition were nothing short of stellar. So much so, that a number of pieces have already been sold to the public.

 

Among the experienced staff woodworkers, there were a few new and nervous additions to the Arbortech family this year Max, Ramesh, Jana, Ade, Patricia and Alicia –“The Novices”. Although new to woodworking, they all gave the tools a go and where all equally shocked by how easy the Arbortech woodworking tools were to use and even more shocked at what they could do with the tools.

 

Plywood serving tray - Arbortech Tools

 

“We aren’t kidding when we say the Arbortech tools give their users the “Freedom to create the Impossible” says Patricia, our talented Graphic Designer and creator of the “Lagoa”, a beautiful, layered plywood tray.

 

Surf Board - Arbortech Tools

 

Max, another Novice and the company Management Accountant goes on to say “I was a little nervous before using TURBO Plane, I have not had any practice using it. I was afraid I would take too much wood off and there would be no way to fix it. But I was very surprised at how fast I got the hang of it – it was actually the most enjoyable part of the project: using the TURBO Plane.  I also used the Power Chisel to carve the design and TURBO Shaft to carve the holes to install the fin – they were also fun to use – surprisingly, it all went as I envisioned (it is a true testament to how user friendly the tools are – I have never made anything out of wood before).”

 

wooden Manta Ray - Arbortech Tools

 

On another note, the more experience staff woodworkers did not fail surprise either, showcasing their perfected techniques, talent and creativity.  A testament to this is Matt Cormack, our Product Designer who has been with Arbortech for over 20 years. He carefully sculpted his piece out of Plywood. The challenges lay in the fact that the project was small and the wood was fairly unstable which resulted in small pieces breaking off. Despite these challenges Matt managed to pull off a beautiful piece of woodwork called “Manta”.

 

Now take a look at for the rest of the pieces…

 

Flame by Sven - Arbortech Tools

Cheese Board - Arbortech Tools

Gadget Tray - Arbortech

Wood carved wine holder - Arbortech Tools

Wooden clock - Arbortech tools

Wooden Book Ends - Arbortech Tools

Wood desk organiser - Arbortech Tools

wooden shark sculpture - Arbortech Tools

wood peanut bowl - Arbortech Tools

wood vessel sculpture - Arbortech Tools

Wooden Sculpture - Arbortech Tools

Organic Wooden Bowl - Arbortech Tools

Walnut Wood Tray - Arbortech Tools

Wood chisel fish picture - Arbortech Tools

Wood Beer Carrier - Arbortech Tools

Plywood Sculpture - Arbortech Tools

Pine Totem Pole - Arbortech Tools

Cat Tree - Arbortech Tools

Chiseled Name Sign - Arbortech Tools

Koala Sculpture - Arbortech Tools

Wooden Emblem carving - Arbortech Tools

Candle Holder - Arbortech Tools

Paella Tray - Arbortech Tools

 

Saving the best for last – obviously this piece won 1st place, but I bet you wouldn’t believe this won first place in the NOVICE category!  Jana was initially inspired by the Arbortech creation of the Twist Candle.

 

Wooden Side Table - Arbortech Tools

 

 

 

 

 

 

A chat with Australian wood sculptor Ian Bell
We talk to professional woodcarver and sculptor, Ian Bell about his passion for woodwork, Arbortech and his new found adventure with Sculptures at Killalea.

 

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into wood carving and sculpture?

Years ago I lived in Tasmania and worked as a ship builder and gained lots of experience using every type of hand/power tool available .I was looking for something creative to do in my spare time and in 1995-96 completed an associate diploma in art craft and design and have been hooked on wood carving ever since.
How does your life of woodcarving compare to your life before? Do you ever miss you previous career’/s?I have much more freedom now and can structure my days around creating artwork. As far as my previous career goes, it was a means to an end and has now allowed me the opportunity to pursue my passion.
What is the inspiration behind your work? Can you tell us a bit about your artistic style or technique?I love nature and particularly the ocean and try to echo the shapes and patterns I see into my work. I would describe my style as free-form and try to always incorporate texture, form and contrast.

 

 

 

You have your own gallery now, how did that start?

I supply quite a few galleries with my work and have a gallery section on the website. It takes hard work and lots of time.

 

How have our (Arbortech) tools played a role in your sculpting process? Do you have a favourite tool?

I have been using the Arbortech woodcarving attachments on my grinders for many years and find that they allow me to move lots of material very quickly which means I have more time and energy to produce even more work. All the tools serve a purpose but if I had to choose a favourite…it would have to be the Industrial Woodcarver.

 

What is your favourite piece and why?
Hard question to answer…they are all my favourite pieces while I’m working on them because that’s when I’m learning the most as every piece has it’s challenges and no one piece is the same.

 

You are a co-founder of the Sculptures at Killalea festival that’s making its debut later this year in NSW. Has your passion for wood carving played a part in creating the Festival? Tell us what sparked this idea and what you hope to achieve with this event?
Definitely, and the idea to create this type of event stems from one thought, which was “How good would sculptures look in this beautiful area.” My hope is that people and particularly kids get that light bulb moment that starts them on their own journey with sculpture or any other creative pursuit.

 

To visit Ian’s gallery online: http://www.ianbellcreations.com.au/

To find out more about Sculptures at Killalea please visit http://www.sculpturesatkillalea.com.au/

 

Candle stick holder out of waste wood by Kevin Inkster:

Right from the beginning, Arbortech tools have been designed with salvaged wood, recycled wood and waste wood in mind.

The very first tool I developed was what I now consider to be a crude form of the Woodcarver blade. As rough as it was, it removed wood incredibly fast so I took it to a piece of Sheoak and freehand carved a bowl which I still have and love.

 

Sheoak bowl

I refined the blade for better control and then looked for larger projects. My specialty as a woodworker was in making chairs. To supplement my income in those days, I drove a country school bus. I had noticed a fallen Marri tree on my run so I took a chainsaw along one day, and got the school kids to help me drag a section of the trunk onto the bus. My intention was to carve a whole chair directly from the tree trunk using the new tool that I had developed. Not a particularly practical chair but it did have some charm. I noticed that when carving smooth free form shapes into the wood, that the grain and features of the wood would reveal beautiful patterns that would not be apparent in normal milled timber.

 

Chair carved from a Marri tree trunk

 

The result was that it won a major prize at a local Wood Festival and kicked off the beginning of Arbortech.

Since then, almost all of Arbortech wood working tools have been developed with either salvage or waste wood in mind. The TURBO range of products are ideal for machining wood in the round such as tree branches, roots or stumps. Of course they can be used with milled timber and I have done a lot of work by blocking up milled or dressed timber, but I always made a point of using waste or reject wood. Below are some examples of furniture that I made using a whole truck load of paneling wood called Scribe. Each piece is an off-cut that has been rejected because of a flaw such as a sap pocket. As it happens, such flaws become features when sculpted and do not affect the strength of the finished article because of the blocking up process.

 

Chair made from scribe

 

For our annual Arbortech staff competition, we encourage the use of salvaged or waste wood. We collect interesting wood from street verge throw outs and use every thing from small branches to wooden pallets.

 

Stylish coffee table by Kevin Inkster

‘The contemplation bench’ by Sven Blicks

 

Beach house sign by Kevin Inkster

Watch the tutorial here

 

‘Stretch giraffe’ by Steve Marsh
Buddha face by Kevin Inkster

 

 

 

Artist Interview – Steampunk Gun by Vince Austin

 

Our main purpose at Arbortech is to provide you with the means to get creative. To produce beautiful works of art with our tools using your creative genius. We love to see artists using our tools on a variety of different pieces and then showing the world.

Meet Vince:

 
 
A wildly ambitious creative artist in Western Australia. Vince has a fascination for the steampunk genre and has created an absolute masterpiece called the “Elephant Hunter Hunter” which we had to share with you. And naturally, we had to pick his brain to see how he thinks when coming up with his creative pieces:
 

 
1. What inspires you to make steampunk guns?
As an artist I’m driven by many variants, in the case of the steampunk ethos it is an affinity with dark timber, leather, brass and copper. Victorian futurism is one of its definitions and the idea of making a gun that has functions other than firing bullets appeals to me greatly. To handle a weapon with the weight and apparent function which is completely harmless is thrilling! The Elephant Hunter Hunter is its own statement in this regard


2. When did you first make one?

I made a couple of large sci-fi guns in 1999 and they were purchased and used to dress a local club for the turn of the millennium, giving it that futuristic feel. 
My first steam punk pistol was a fractional tethering modulator called the ‘turtle boner’.
3. How long does it usually take you?

Depending on the complexity, from 7 to 10 days for smaller items up to 2 or 3 months for larger ones.
These puppies are built on a whim as it were and often a found or given item can facilitate a whole offshoot of additional aspects. They truly evolve with me.
4. Are you fascinated by the steampunk theme and why?

This is where I’m at present, I’ll change and grow like many artists do, but right now, this blend of form and function, suggestive of a traditionally crafted piece of archaic technology simply floats my boat.
5. You’re spending quite some time on these items, does it hurt to let them go to a buyer?
Yes it’s my puppy, it’s a real piece of my life, unique and for sale, a process, a journey. When it’s gone there is a void. So I take lots of construction photos and finished pictures to see me through the darker mourning.
6. How did you come up with the Elephant Hunter Hunter name?

Live by the sword die by the sword, as we sow so shall we reap, hunt as you too will be hunted, do to others as you would have done unto yourself, karma. There’s more. I could go on for days!


7. How much are you selling the Elephant Hunter Hunter for?

Currently $30,000. Keeping in mind it is and will be the only one in the known universe.
8. Did you use Arbortech Tools and where?

Yes of course, the butt of the gun was carved from a jarrah roof joist with the TURBO Plane; it’s perfect for those fluent curves. The Mini Grinder and Turbo Shaft were also used for some other more detailed handles on the pistol grips.

9. Would you recommend Arbortech for future use?
Absolutely, reliable robust and they do what they claim to do. This is not always the case with many tools on the market!
Thank you Vince for your time and keep on creating.
Arbortech Staff Woodworking Competition Entries 2015

Mahi Mahi

by Matthew Cormack

I used leftover 12mm marine ply from the floor of my boat.  I traced the fish off a photo by eye onto one of the pieces and roughly band sawed it out.  I used that as a template to draw it onto three more pieces and band sawed them all out.

The four fish shaped pieces of ply were laminated using Aquadhere, a wood glue.  I used the TURBO Plane to rough out the form of the fish, using the layering in the wood to help with the contours (see unfinished picture showing the contours).  It was finished with the Mini TURBO and Contour Sander prior to using diluted food colouring to add the colour.

 

Winners of the Arbortech Staff Woodworking competition 2015

Winner of the judging Panel Prize was won by Junior Linke (Blade supervisor) for his lamp which he  called “Natural Light”.  Junior was inspired to make this after seeing a guy carve a cowboy hat  in the States while working at a Wood Show.  He used a lovely Mallee Burl piece for the shade which is a very hard West Australian wood and a piece of Olive wood for the base and centre pole.
 

1) Junior’s first step was to rough out the centre of the burl with the TURBO Plane checking the depth regularly so as not to go through.  Then sand the outside and Junior used the Contour Random Sander.  He then started planning down the piece of Olive wood to eventually make a cylinder for the stand which he then sanded.

 2) Once he was happy with the thickness of the burl shade he used the TURBO Plane to start taking the thickness down.  The best outcome would be to end up with a very thin layer of wood which will allow enough light to penetrate when illuminated.
 
3) After sanding the inside of the shade, Junior then started work on the base of Olive wood.    He basically followed the shape of the wood using the TURBO Plane and TURBO Shaft before sanding off with the Contour Sander. You might also notice his very inventive way of holding the shade in place which was scraps of high density foam glued together with the basic shape left hollow and a great “clamp” for the shade.
4) He then used the TURBO Shaft for drilling a hole suitable for slotting in the stand.   Once he had done this, he glued the stand into the hole.  Before gluing he drilled a centre hole in the stand for the wiring and fitted the electrical fitting to the end.

Staff Woodwork Comp Winners 2015

THE JOURNEY

WINNER OF PEOPLES CHOICE AWARD

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 TURBO Shaft 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.