Arbortech Celebrates 30 Years!

As Arbortech turns 30 this month we are reminded of the humble beginnings, innovation and perseverance of founders Kevin & Kristine Inkster.

A lot has happened in the last 30 years. For a start, the company has grown from a 2 person operation to requiring 30+ staff spread across 3 different countries. One product has multiplied to 10, and distribution retailers are now in the hundreds. There have been struggles, near bankruptcies and of course the challenges that came with weathering the GFC back in 2007. But Arbortech still stands strong today and continues to grow and dominate the categories it has redefined. The company is set to continue challenging the norm with clever engineering, but for now let’s take a walk down memory lane…

Arbortech Head Office in Perth

Arbortech Head Office, Perth

 

About Kevin…

From a very young age, it was evident that Kevin had an intuitive, inventive flair. At the age of 18, he came up with the design concept of self-lighting cigarettes which was pursued by unscrupulous investors who told him the idea was unpatentable. However, this didn’t stop the ideas flowing as inventing has always been a love of Kevin’s and he spends much of his spare time experimenting with all sorts of design and concepts.

He is a mad keen follower of all things science and technology related. He strives to stay on top of all the latest news in medical and space research, but enjoys getting the latest Apple product and is truly in love with his Tesla which he has had for 2 years. Since Kevin bought his Tesla, more than 16% of Arbortech staff has bought Electric vehicles which they can charge while at work.

He is also an avid musician who currently plays the ukulele for fun and takes it with him while traveling as it fits easily into his carry-on bag. He has managed to start up an Arbortech band with the General Manager, an R & D technician and some factory supervisors who play regularly at company functions. All of Arbortech’s products are a result of his ideas and his passion for following through until his vision works. “Inventing has always been a love of mine and most of our tools are a result of experimentation. When we formed Arbortech in 1988 to commercialize our first successful product the “Woodcarver Blade” we promised ourselves that we would continue with this philosophy and make sure that the people who work at Arbortech also enjoy their work.” – Kevin Inkster.

 

The Arbortech Band

 

Enter the Original Woodcarver Blade

In 1984 Kevin and Kristine were joint cafe owners with another business couple. The building required complete renovation and it was decided the cafe would go through a fit-out. With limited funds to hire a professional to do the work, Kevin became hands on with the entire fit-out. This project fueled Kevin’s interest for invention and woodworking as he felt there was a distinct lack of tools on the market for woodworking.

Kevin continued with his passion for woodworking and making a bit of extra income from making wooden chairs, in partnership with another craftsperson, Peter Godden who was making tables with wood sourced from the forest floor.

Kevin became frustrated by the lack of woodworking tools to freehand shape the seat bases he was working on. That was when he decided to try his hand at making a tool to suit his needs. A new contraption made from wrapping a piece of chainsaw chain around part of an old Volkswagen cover he found in his workshop. The idea was to mount this attachment to a grinder to provide an efficient carving option for his wooden seat bases. This was the very first prototype of the Woodcarver Blade and the start of a completely new woodworking category termed “Power Carving”, a revolution was brewing.

Between the years 1984-1987, Kevin experimented with many prototypes and eventually the design evolved through a series of improvements and testing.

In 1988 Kevin decided to enter his creation of a Sculpted Reclining Chair (made using a Woodcarver prototype) into a woodworking competition which won the South West Arts Festival’s woodworking prize of $3,000. From here on the decision arose as to whether Kevin would continue with his love for woodworking or venture into manufacturing of woodworking tools. The choice was to commercialize the Woodcarver Blade after receiving a $5,000 government grant in June of that year, with an office being set up out of Kevin and Kristine’s home to run their business.

 

Kevin Inkster with an original Woodcarver Blade Prototype

 

Arbortech Incorporated

As such, Arbortech was officially incorporated. In October 1988, Arbortech attended its first “Timber & Working with Wood Show” in Melbourne. The Woodcarver made its debut appearance; the live demonstration intrigued the masses and generated much interest from the woodworking enthusiasts who attended and had never seen anything like it before. The Woodcarver was sold for $50.00 a piece and completely sold out by the end of the show weekend. Having netted sales of $14,000 from the Woodcarver sales, it was a big achievement for Kevin and Kristine, and it was clear the teamwork between the humble couple paid off.

The following year, an office was set up in the main street of Nannup. Further success followed when the Woodcarver Blade was awarded the BHP Steel Award.

In 1990, Kevin and Kristine were able to move from their home office to a building in a popular industrial zone at number 50 Westchester Road in Malaga, Western Australia.  That same year, the demand for the Woodcarver grew and Arbortech received an order of 50,000 Woodcarver Blade’s from Ryobi in the United States.

 

Kevin and Kristine preparing Arbortech big US order

Kristine, Kevin and their son preparing the 50,000 unit Ryobi order

 

This drastic increase in demand meant there was now a need for a larger office to facilitate the business operations and activities. In 1993, a purpose built corporate office and manufacturing facility at 67 Westchester Road, Malaga was built. Business activity went from strength to strength from here, as Kevin continued his passion for woodworking and developing woodworking tools out of his love for design and experimentation. In 1996 the woodworking range expanded to include more Power Carving tools which have translated to the preferred tools for many woodworkers today.

 

Venturing into International Markets

Whilst Arbortech had always included the rest of the world in its sales territories and established distributors throughout North America and the UK, the appreciation for Arbortech products was growing. The increased demand for woodworking tools beyond the Australian market together with new demand for the AS170 Restoration Mortar Saw, saw Arbortech expand business operations and open a USA office in 2007 and European office in 2011.

Arbortech Trade Show In Germany

Udo Aren, Sales Representative in Germany attending a Trade Show

Arbortech Team USA: Joe, David, Troy, Larry

Whilst woodworking tools are a big part of Arbortech’s product portfolio, Arbortech’s name has been associated with engineering excellence and innovation for the award winning Brick and Mortar Saw, which today is known as the AS170.

A renewed focus on woodworking products saw the release of the TURBO Plane in 2012 and following its success, the release of the Mini TURBO to the Australian market in May 2013 at the Maleny Wood Show. The Mini TURBO was released to the international market in September 2013.

 

Arbortech Today and into the Future

Today, Arbortech is an internationally recognized brand that is renowned for pushing the status quo. At our core, we are makers and innovators with a drive for creating unrivalled products that allow better, easier and more enjoyable work and leisure in both the woodworking and masonry restoration markets.

We all strive for a common purpose which is to make tools that are a joy to use with marked improvements in performance and safety over existing tools. Our company culture and brand is very much based on innovation. We are open to new ideas at all times, because it is only with new ideas and new ways of thinking, that change can start to come about. We believe that everyone has a creative spirit and we continually get enjoyment and inspiration for new product development from seeing our customers creativity come to life from using our tools.

When asked about his vision for the future of Arbortech Kevin says, “We still have a long way to go but we believe we can completely transform all that is “known” or thought to be of “cutting” as a dangerous activity. We plan to continue challenging this with our woodworking cutting tools, masonry cutting tools and even concrete cutting tools to bring about a new generation of safer, efficient cutting tools and methods.”

Of course we would not be here today without our loyal customers who we must celebrate as well. Some of customer still send us photo’s of their original Woodcarver Blades that they purchased 25 years ago and everyday we still receive photo’s and stories from Arbortech customers that we try share on our social media pages to help share and celebrate their creativity. We are often in awe of our customers creations and we are proud of what they are able to achieve. So we invite you, our customers, to please leave a comment about what creativity you have achieved in the last 30 years and what you hope to achieve in the years to come!

 

4 Amazing Power Carving Projects from the 2017 Arbortech Power Carving Competition

 

Our staff competition was held again recently and once again we were blown away by the level of creativity and imagination from everyone.  It was a bit of gamble when we first started this competition to get everyone involved in power carving.  We wanted all of our staff to build an understanding of how the Arbortech tools work and how to use them, but we didn’t expect such a high level of creativity, from the accounts department through to production! Of course they are all very lucky to have the complete range of Arbortech tools available for their use!  

Drum Roll, and the winners are………

 

Monitor Stand 

made by Matt Cormack, a designer from our Research & Development office

Power Carving Project | DIY Wood Monitor Stand | Arbortech Tools

Matt wanted to make a wooden “groovy monitor stand” by using  Glulam off-cut (glued laminated timber). The power carving tools of choice included the Industrial Woodcarver and TURBO Plane to get the rough shape.  Matt then he used the Mini Grinder and TURBO Shaft to create the hollow section of the project and get into those tight curves before finishing off. He used an orbital sander on the flat surfaces and the Arbortech Contour Sander on the internal curves before adding the decorative detail of the small chrome nuts, a great feature.

 

Tree Hugger 

made by “Junior” George Linke, Blade Production Supervisor

Tree Hugger Sculpture | Arbortech Tools

Junior has a great love of nature and found this lovely old piece of “Jarrah” tree branch. Juniors inspiration for this piece stems from his appreciation for the timbers journey from seed in the earth to falling rotten wood, and he wanted to bring the piece of Jarrah back to life.  He decided to make a sculpture for his garden that highlighted the natural elements of the wood and also expressed his love for nature. The first thing he did was trace the outline his arm and hand with a carpenters pencil to guide his free form carving before using the Mini Grinder and TURBO Shaft – his power carving tools of choice to shape the wood and form the “Tree Hug” image. He then used the TURBO Plane and Mini Grinder on the inside of the log to smooth out the wood where necessary, before reaching the sanding stage where he used the Contour Sander and Decking Oil to finish the piece. Junior opted for Decking Oil due to it’s ability to withstand harsh outdoor conditions as the piece would be installed permanently in his garden. He finally used the Power Chisel to rebate some rectangles for attaching the metal plates for mounting rods.  

 

Surf Sunset

made by Sven Blicks, General Manager

Power Carving Project | Beach Sunset Wood Relief Carving | Arbortech Tools

Sven loves to surf and was always talking about doing this piece, so it was great to finally see his vision come to life.  He used a nice piece of Camphor wood and penciled in the horizon with the Power Chisel to get the proportions right before shaping the wave with the ultimate power tool due – the Mini Grinder and Power Chisel.  He then used the Contour Sander to shape and sand down all the surfaces before adding the final detail with the Power Chisel.  Although Sven is not a beginner anymore this would be a perfect power carving project for beginners.

 

Fido

made by Steve Marsh, Special Projects Accountant

 Power Carving Project | Sausage Dog Serving Tray | Arbortech Tools

Steve always has some great ideas for the competition and this was another one of those winning ideas.  He was inspired by another staff member who has a real love of Dachshunds or “Sausage Dogs”. He used a piece of Eucalyptus found on a road verge and started shaping the basic shape in the top 2/3rds of the log before working more of the head features with the Mini Grinder and TURBO Shaft.  Once he had the basic head and tail shapes he could flatten and plane the tray with the TURBO Plane and carve the legs into the base.  He first left the legs as two long platforms on either end and then decided to make them into 4 basic feet. We re-created this project and filmed a short How-To video: watch the How To Power Carve a Sausage Dog Tray Video.

 


 

We don’t have a high turnover of staff at Arbortech, so those who were beginners when we started running the competition 6 years ago are now considered experienced power carving experts and everyone starts planning their project months in advance. Some start looking for wood by the side of the road, others draw up ideas or start practicing their wood shaping techniques with the latest tools.  We love that everyone at Arbortech has embraced the competition which really works for everyone as our customers get great customer service from real users of the tools.

Arbortech power carving tools are designed to inspire and enable people’s creative ideas for woodwork to come to life, efficiently! We hope these projects inspire you to turn any vision you may have for a piece of wood into a reality. Whether you have a question for one of the artists about their project or a query about one of our tools, please leave a comment.

 

 

You may also be interested in

Arbortech Woodworking Competition entries 2017 Blog Post: Arbortech Woodworking Competition 2016!

Independent Ball Gouge Reviews are in!

 

We have combined a few independent Ball Gouge Reviews in this blog post. So you can read, watch and hear what industry professionals have to say about it – in one place! We are hoping to add additional reviews as the Ball Gouge becomes more widely available but for now please enjoy reading a Ball Gouge review from the Australian Wood Smith, Australian Wood Review, or watch Paul Jenkins (aka The Wood Knight‘s) first impressions video.

 

Australian Wood Smith – Ball Gouge Review

READ FULL ARTICLE

 

Ball Gouge Review Australian Wood Smith

 

 

The Wood Knight – 1st Independent Review of the Ball Gouge

WATCH VIDEO

 

 

Australian Wood Smith – Ball Gouge Review  

READ FULL ARTICLE

 

Australian Wood Review Ball Gouge Review

 

 

WANT TO BUY A BALL GOUGE?

If you are looking to add a Ball Gouge to your power carving collection, you can choose from these shopping options here.

 

YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN…

Ball Gouge Prototypes Evolution

Blog Post: The Evolution of the Ball Gouge by Kevin Inkster 

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. You can view both of the projects and how to make them on our Power Carving Project Page.

 

Wooden Side Table - Arbortech Tools

 

 

 

 

 

 

A chat with Australian wood sculptor Ian Bell
We talk to professional wood artist and sculptor, Ian Bell about his passion for woodwork, power carving, 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 power carving 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/
To learn more about Arbortech’s power carving tools and attachments visit our Power Carving Page.

 

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.