Yesterday’s Hero

WINNER 2014 Arbortech woodworking competition


Created by Steve Marsh, Arbortech Financial Controller


Novice woodworker? No 


Description of your wood art?
Scrap wood rescued from a tree which was being cut down. It was left outside to season and rot before being rescued and preserved. Showing contrast between extremes of condition within the torso. 


Where did you get your inspiration for your wood art piece?
The wood before rotting looked like a “complete” male torso. The wood itself was the inspiration.
I salvaged the wood when a neighbour cut down a very large Marri tree, originally the wood had an extra small branch which made it look much more like a male torso than it does now. The “natural” shape was displayed in my outdoor area for many years and provided habitat for many creepy crawlies and bugs. I noticed that the wood had started to rot, and I was keen to not lose the piece altogether. This coincided with me looking for a project to complete for the woodworking competition. Voila!  I decided to try and make a sculpture from the wood. I have many more pieces of wood in my yard from the same tree and hope to be making more items using this wood.


What type of wood did you use?


What Arbortech tool/s did you use to create this piece?


What was your process in the creation of this project?
Firstly I started to remove any rotten wood, this was much more extensive than I had originally thought and ended up with the almost the entire core of the branch being removed, I then decided to finish the job and hollowed it out entirely. I wanted to highlight the affects and patterns in the wood caused by its long term exposure to the elements. Even quite late in the process there small inhabitants were fleeing their homes! and yes I did feel bad!
The process was quite organic and the style of the piece changed quite significantly while working on the wood. I ended up doing far less work on some parts that I had originally intended (mainly the legs) and other parts ended up being worked much more in order to show up the contrasts in the wood. This was a much different process to the other pieces I have made, where I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to achieve before even starting the work.
Once the piece was finished I decided that it should be mounted in such a way as to highlight the contrasts between the various surfaces, so I used a piece of salvaged building timber and iron rod to mount the torso. The process was very rewarding in itself with many creative ups and downs and at one point quite late in the process I was on the verge of starting a new project, but I am glad that I saw it through and am ultimately very happy with the outcome.


How long did it take for you to complete this project?
Overall the project took about 10 hours spread over a couple of weeks. For the sanding I was able to use the new Arbortech Contour Sander which saved me an enormous amount of time, and allowed me to achieve a finish which I would have struggled to achieve otherwise. I did spend significantly longer time during the process thinking about the progress and where to from here.


How did you feel about being the winning piece for this year’s staff woodworking project?
It was great, it was especially rewarding as I had been very unsure about the piece when I was working on it and it was not until close to finishing it that I could see where it was going, even when finished I was a little unsure about it. So receiving the recognition was great, and it is always nice to receive positive feedback from colleagues and friends.


Where does this piece reside now?
The piece takes pride of place in entry hall, and does sometimes double as a hat stand. I have an old house and the hallway is quite dark so I am currently thinking about adding some lighting to the piece. If I do it would be an up light recessed into the stand.


Final comments?
When I attended high school it was compulsory for boys to do woodworking and metal working. I was never good at either and spent my entire year of woodworking trying to make a table (which my mother loved, as only a mother could). Since I have been working with Arbortech I have been inspired to try a different approach to working with wood and this has allowed me to produce a number of pieces which I have given as presents and also have around my house. This has allowed me to explore and develop a creative side which I previously would not have done. Thanks Arbortech!

Wooden Bowl


Created by Boro Trpevski,
Arbortech Production & Quality Control Engineer



Novice woodworker? Yes. This was my first woodcarving piece and I have learned some new skills in woodworking with great help from my colleagues. I enjoyed this project very much. Understanding what I can achieve with the Arbortech tools, I will test my artistic skills with my next woodworking project (next time will be something more complex). 


Description of your wood art?
A bowl in the shape of a heart.


Where did you get your inspiration for your wood art piece?
The shape of the wooden off cut piece. It was natural to follow the shape as is with small modifications. The natural shape of this wood piece and it’s size dictated what I could carve out of it. I wanted to preserve the outer spiky form in particular and the outline of the off cut already had a triangular/heart looking form which I more or less followed and created the heart looking bowl.


What type of wood did you use?


What Arbortech tool/s did you use to create this piece?


What was your process in the creation of this project?

1. I started with the Arbortech Mini Grinder and the Woodcarving Blade only to realize the wood was too hard and it would take too long. I decided to switch to the TURBO Plane for a rough cavity shape on a dipper side of the bowl, then continue with the Mini TURBO to carve the internal shape.


2. Next, I used the Arbortech Mini Grinder and the mini Industrial Blade to make a more pronounced “heart” shape out of the bowl. For sanding, I used the Arbortech Contour Sander with several grits.


3. The last step was waxing and polishing.


How long did it take for you to complete this project?
Approximately 1 hour and a half to complete this project.


Where does this piece reside now?
It is on a dining table in my home, radiating love for all.


Rustic Entertainment Tray


WINNER 2014 Arbortech woodworking competition
Created by Barry Fitzpatrick, Arbortech Production Manager



Novice woodworker? No 


Description of your wood art?
A portable food and drinks tray.


Where did you get your inspiration for your wood art piece?
This was an original piece that is something practical to use to transport wine, glasses and finger foods from one area to another safely and securely. To my knowledge, I have seen nothing else like it.


What type of wood did you use?
Marine plywood and timber dowels.


What Arbortech tool/s did you use to create this piece?


What was your process in the creation of this project?
1. Draw a card template for the top tier.
2. Cut two identical sheets of marine plywood to desired size.
3. Transfer the shape and hole centres through the template onto the top tier.
4. Transfer the hole centres through to the bottom sheet of plywood.
5. Drill the 6 holes for the wine glass stems, and cut the top tier to a shorter length for access for the food items on each end.
6. Bore the pillar holes 50% of the thickness of the plywood sheet using the transferred spotted through hole centres from the template with brace and bit.
7. Cut slots with tenor saw to meet up with the wine stem holes and drill and cut centre wine bottle hole roughly smooth with drill bit and rasp file to round.
8. Cut pillars to selected height and end handles from the same 20mm dia dowel rod.
9. Clamp top and bottom tiers to a flat surface and using Arbortech TURBO Plane, shape and wave bevels around the edges, while clamped shape recesses to join wine glass stem holes along two sides.
10. While clamped using the TURBO Plane, plane the top surfaces of both tiers to achieve the desired pattern to achieve the rustic look and cut top tier end bevelled semi-circles.
11. With an Arbortech 50mm Woodcarver Blade shape the utensil, wine bottle base and tile receptacles to prevent movement of items when put onto the tray.
12. With a Woodcarver, cut a slot along the handles to the thickness of the bottom tier.
13. With the Arbortech Power Chisel, form 6 x round recesses at the holes that will accept the and locate the wine glasses securely
14. With the Arbortech Contour Sander, sand all surfaces starting with 80# and working up to 600# sanding discs for a smooth glass finish.
15. Glue the pillars into position into the 50% blind holes, hold in position with the aid of inserting an empty wine bottle for centring the top tier in line with the bottom.
16. Glue the slotted handles onto the base tier each end.
17. After adhesion complete any further last sanding to perfect, clean off any excess glue.
18. Oil with a rag using olive oil.


How long did it take for you to complete this project?
It is difficult to give an exact time as I did not start and finish at one time. I estimate it took me about 8 hours.


How did you feel about being the winning piece for this year’s staff woodworking project?
I was obviously delighted in winning with the knowledge that people liked my idea and piece enough to vote for it, but I was also surprised as there was a lot of other deserving pieces in this staff competition. 


Where does this piece reside now?
My piece is currently residing in my meals area waiting for the weather to change for some BBQ’s where I intend to put it to some good use.
Since all my family members have seen the tray they all want one! The trouble is I have no time to make them. It has also crossed my mind to set up and make them on a commercial basis. If I make more, it would be with two bottles of wine instead of one to coincide with the number of glasses.



A bit of a flashback to Flint’s earlier work.



Location: Nannup, Western Australia

Inspiration for sculpture:
There are eight Totem Poles in total and each is 7 meters high which was completed in 2008.
The local council purposely cut down the Jarrah trees and Flint was asked to do work his magic on the trees.

Tools Used:



With most of Flint’s work, the process is very similar from one project to another. The amount of work depends on the complexity of the tree and end carving.

  1. Debarking
  2. Chainsaw work – This step took a whole to talk the bulk of the wood out and working out the proportions. The time for this process really depends on what project it is so therefore, timing varies. The main chainsaw work here is to take the main bulk of the timber away.
  3. Proportions – When Flint carves out the proportions he is careful to not add too much definition so he has room to move with proportions if needed. Once he is happy with the proportions he works on the definition and hard cuts. Once it is down to this stage he will then look at the finer details and works from here.


Completion time:

One week for each Totem Pole. Flint did about another dozen Totem Poles and there will be more coming Totem Poles which Flint will be working on for the remainder of 2013.

Sergei’s work of wood chip sculptures continue. If you didn’t see the first blog post of this series, we suggested using left over wood chips and shavings from your use of Arbortech tools to start projects such as these. Not only is this a great way to recycle wood chips but it looks like a good challenge for those looking to make something different. If you are looking to try something like this for the first time we recommend you start small and aim for a rustic appearance. These particularly intricate and extremely precise sculptures take over 6 months to complete, so if you want to simply test the waters remember – start small. Good luck!


We welcome your comments below.

In our previous blog post we featured the Arbortech staff woodworking competition winners.
If you missed our previous blog post on the competition winners you can check it out here.
We had some great submissions from our staff and we’d like to share these projects with you to showcase their fantastic work. Check out the woodworking projects below.


Plywood Cluster Table
 This table will be one of six, creating a cluster table.
Created by: Kevin Inkster (CEO)
Wood used: Plywood Cluster Table

Arbortech tools used:

Kevin at work on his cluster table


Myrtle Turtle 

Created by: Kristine Inkster (Executive Director)

Wood used: Queensland Myrtle wood
Arbortech tools used:

Kristine carving the details on the turtle


Celtic Door
Created by: Matthew Cormack (R&D)

Wood used: Pine wood

Arbortech tools used:














Celtic Door was milled to size and doweled


Perth Skyline
Created by: Nora Redzwan (Sales)

Wood used: Camphor wood

Arbortech tools used:



Representation of Perth Skyline
My Grand Daughter’s Clock
Created by: Peter Tashjian (Production)
A photo calendar with monthly and yearly photos were inserted into round pockets into their appropriate location. A clock was mounted, chiselled letters and the face of Peter’s grand-daughter were inscribed.

Arbortech tools used:














Peter’s clock for his grand-daughter



Created by: Steve Marsh (Finance Dept)

Wood used: Pine wood

Arbortech tools used:



“Stretch” giraffe


The Golden Dragon

Created by: Barry Fitzpatrick (Production)

Wood used: Jarrah

Arbortech tools used:

Using the Power Chisel to carve out the dragon


Stool With Sad Face
Created by: Rocky Xu (R&D)
Wood used: Pine wood

Arbortech tools used:


Carving from the wood using the Mini TURBO


Pagan Cross

Created by: Bill Ginn (Manufacturing Team)
Wood used: Curly Jarrah

Arbortech tools used:



Using the Power Chisel to carve out the cross



Live, Love, Laugh
Created by: Christine Taylor (Secretary)

Wood used: Sheoak

Arbortech tools used:



Christine’s piece and message was inspired by Vicky Galbraith’s attitude to life

Created by: Peter Godden (Arbortech shareholder)Turbo Fossil

This was Peter’s first time using the TURBO Plane and he said that “the TURBO Plane allowed me to express my creative desires in a way that gave me the freedom to explore different techniques, textures and shapes which were previously difficult to achieve. Whilst the convex of this piece invokes the observer to experience texture, shadow, form in contrast, the concave face offers the subtle qualities of colour and grain patterns. So it is with this sculpture I have looked at opposing surfaces, allowing a deeper appreciation of my creative process, the wonders of natural wood and the great tools to carve it with.

Wood used: Sheoak

Arbortech tools used:



Peter’s first experience using the TURBO Plane and he loved it
REMINDER: We hope you have enjoyed viewing our staff competition woodworking projects and stirred some inspiration in you to use Arbortech tools to create some amazing woodworking projects and sculptures.
What are your thoughts on our staff’s woodworking projects? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave your comments below in the comments section.


The public Woodworking Competition has been extended and closes on Monday 22nd July 2013 by 4.00pm WST.
We are still accepting entries so please send through your entries by clicking here.
Enter your woodworking project today for a chance to win a fantastic Arbortech tools pack up to the value of $1,000 AUD!
For all competition details and entry forms please click here.
Best of luck!!

Arbortech Beginnings

The story of Arbortech truly started from humble beginnings with CEO and Arbortech original tools inventor, Kevin Inkster and his wife, Kristine living in Nannup – a small country town in the South West of Western Australia. Kevin and Kristine made a living from a combination of driving school buses, mechanical repairs and woodworking.



About Kevin Inkster

From a very young age it was already evident that Kevin had an intuitive, inventive flair in him. At the age of 18 he came up with the design concept of self lighting cigarettes.  The idea was pursued by unscrupulous investors who told him the idea was unpatentable.

Designing had always been a love for Kevin and he spent his spare time experimenting with other different design and concepts. In fact, most of Arbortech’s woodworking tools are a result of Kevin’s experimentation.


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 further fueled Kevin’s interest for invention and woodworking as he felt the 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 craftperson, Peter Godden who was making tables from wood sourced from the forest floor.

Kevin became frustrated at the lack of woodworking tools for freehand shaping the seat bases. That was when Kevin decided to try his hands at a new contraption by wrapping a chainsaw chain around part of an old Volkswagen cover.



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 the decision arose as to whether Kevin wanted to continue with his love for woodworking or venture into manufacturing of woodworking tools. The choice was to commercialize the Woodcarver 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 Reclining Jarrah ChairKevin Inkster First Marri Chair


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. The Woodcarver was sold for $50.00 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.


Original Woodcarver Blade packaging 1988


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 an office building at number 50 Westchester Road.  This same year, the demand for the Woodcarver grew and Arbortech received an order of 50,000 Woodcarver blades from Ryobi in the United States.


The increase in sales and business ultimately lead to the expansion of Arbortech. 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 only 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 woodworking tools which have translated to the preferred tools for many woodworkers today.


Arbortech Ventures into the International Market

With the appreciation for woodworking growing and the increased demand for woodworking tools beyond the Australian market, Arbortech expanded business operations and ventured into the export market with the opening of a US office in 2007 and European office in 2011.

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 known as the Allsaw, which today is being market as the AS170.


Kevin Inkster_ Newspaper Clipping Venture foreign markets


Arbortech continues to focus on research and development to bring the best and most innovative products to the market.  A renewed focus on woodworking products has seen the release of the TURBO Plane in 2012 and following it’s success, the release of the Mini TURBO to the Australian market in May 2013 at the Maleny Wood Show. The Mini-TURBO will be released to the international market in September 2013.

A renewed focus on woodworking products saw the release of the TURBO Plane in 2012 and following it’s 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.

Today, Arbortech still continues to focus on research and development to bring the best and most innovative products to the market. The most recent product release the Ball Gouge, was launched at the Sydney Woodworking Show in June 2017. It is a spherical, ball shaped wood cutter born from the concept of a countersink drill. While the Ball Gouge appears simple and slick in it’s design, it is in fact the product of countless prototypes and experiments to achieve exceptional balance and performance.


Celebrating 25 Years

Arbortech 25 Year Anniversary


Having started from humble beginnings and evolving to an internationally recognized brand name, we thought such achievement needed to be celebrated at our 25 year anniversary. As part of the 25 year anniversary and annual woodworking competition, one of the highlights of the party was judging the staff woodworking projects.

This marks the 2nd year of the staff woodworking competition and we covered this in a previous blog post of last year’s staff woodworking winners and projects.

Arbortech staff worked hard on their woodworking project and this year’s entries were equally as impressive as last year’s submissions.

Stay tuned for our next blog post for coverage of the staff woodworking project and the winners.


Before we close off this blog entry we wanted to express our appreciation to our customers who have supported us through the years and been loyal Arbortech tool users. We look forward to serving you for many more years to come!


If you have any comments or suggestions about Arbortech tools, our company or anything else, we welcome your thoughts and would love to hear from you.


Until then, happy woodworking!



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