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 I would like to introduce to you, a new product that has just landed on our shelves.

The live centre set from Nova. This thing is indeed brilliant and is rated very highly on most knowledgeable woodworking websites.

If the above video is too long for your liking, we recommend  a slightly shorter one


What impresses me with this set is that the fittings or attachments all fit using a taper fit.

What ‘s more, is there are three bearings in the housing, ensuring stability with zero run out or wobble!


It is an incredibly well thought out and nicely designed live centre set, perfect for an improved lathe use experience keeping us wood turners in mind.


All the attachments also lend it an ability to be way more than just a standard live centre.

It is definitely not the cheapest, but it is by far the BEST option..

Nova live centre system and step cone


Your favourite tool breaks, what now.

Your favourite tool breaks, what now.


The unthinkable happens while you are happily engaged on your project in your workshop.

The tool (let’s call it your router for now) starts making a horrible screeching noise and starts slowing down.

You now need to get this thing fixed as your project is standing still and there is nothing you can do, short of buying a new one that will get things going.


Off you go to your favourite store to hand in the router.

Now, before you do this – follow these steps;


1) If this is still covered by your guarantee, get hold of your slip or proof of purchase.

    This just makes the process a whole lot faster, as the repair centre may not process this repair until the importer gives the authorization.

2) Remove all the loose bits and accessories i.e the fence and the router bit in the bit holder.

    Sometimes it is advisable to remove your collet and nut.

    By the same token you do not hand the chuck key in if you are taking a drill to be repaired

    It really is not necessary to remove the plug from the machine.

3) If you have left something on the machine make sure they note it on your receipt and on the job card.

    This is entirely your responsibility


You will get a receipt as proof from the repair centre, at the same time ask them for a lead time for the particular repair job.

If you are in doubt about the severity of the damage on the machine, you can provide the workshop with a maximum figure that

 you are prepared to spend on the machine or request a formal quote.


Remember that there will often be a quote fee if you do not accept the repair cost (the repair guy also has to eat)

Most repair centres will put a mark or a job number on the machine to identify it if it is returned.

The reason this is done so that the workshop can re-trace the history of that particular machine.

It is also your right to ask them to run the machine before you take it home as proof that it has in fact been repaired, and you can set you mind at ease.

You will get a mutter or two about trust or some such nonsense, just ignore that and smile politely and insist you want to see it run.

The workshop will also give you a rough time line as to how long this will all take. Again this is also dependent on make and model.

When you are buying a machine ask the salesperson about the availability of spare parts, services and repairs etc...


One last thing, please tell them what happened and how your machine got sick.

The repair guys have a lot of experience in this field (averaging 10 machines per day).

The more info they have the better the judgment call on what to repair and replace.






 Sharpening stones have been used since we started making furniture, the more proficient you become in sharpening your tools  the more fun you will have with your woodworking.

The stones are very brittle and break very easily, so try not to drop it.

Sharp tools are a joy to use and just make the job easier and faster. The bonus being that your finished job will look better, no torn grain etc.

Remember dull tools reflect the light from the edge, sharp ones do not.


Heat destroys the temper in your cutting tools, that is why using a good sharpening stone makes good sense.

Remember tungsten tipped tools are not honed or sharpened using natural stone.


just a few and most common types that come to mind below.

All decent woodworking stores should have a nice selection of various types of the stones below.

Like most things woodworking, some find better favor than others, but you should have at least a few of these in your workshop.




These are often called carborundum stones or oil stones and are often married to each other. 

One side being coarse and the other a finer grit.

The lubricant used with these stones is a fine to a medium grade oil.

This floats the metal shavings and particle dust away. The life of your stone will be very short indeed if you forget to use a lubricant.

The stones vary in price, from very cheap to medium. They are probably the most commonly used stone in workshops around the world.

TIP: If your stone is old and gunged up, give it a rinse with some brake fluid, this is a natural degreaser.


 b) Water stones


As the name implies NEVER use oil, only water as a lubricant.

Water stones were originally found in the Japanese woodworking culture.

They are both natural and manufactured.

They can also be found with two grits on one stone. 

The particles are not as densely bound together so are constantly washed out. This keeps the stone nice and sharp, getting the job done in record time.

These stones go down to an extremely fine grit. You can get finer than 8000 grit but you will not see a noticeable difference in  the finish.

This has over the years found favor with the more traditional woodworker. They are also very expensive and need to be maintained to be kept in tip top condition.

If used a lot they are kept in a special bath in water. The top is turned over and placed on the top of the bath ready for use.

Often there are three or four stones fitted next to each other, so all your grits are immediately available for use. 

As they are used the top is flipped over every few minutes to keep the stones wet and well lubricated.

They cut well and fast, but must be regularly dressed to keep them true.

A nuguro stone is used to dress a water stone


 c) Diamond stones


These are manufactured on a composite (plastic) or aluminium base.

The grit is just differing coarseness of diamond dust bonded to the substrate.

These stones can be used to hone your TCT(tungsten carbide tipped) tools

Most people believe diamonds are forever, this is not so in the case of diamond sharpening stones.

They need to be maintained and kept clean to continue working for a number of years.

Their big advantage is the ability to maintain a perfectly flat surface, so important in the sharpening process. 

Some manufacturers prefer you to use them dry(Eezy lap) and some need water to be most effective (DMT)


 d) Natural stones.



The first stones used were the natural stones. The harder finer stones for the finishing work and the softer coarser stones for shaping work.

They vary a lot in color. Black being the super fine and the softer coarser ones are a whitish color.

This is not always so,so be careful when buying these stones. Try not buy a multicolored stone as it could well wear down unevenly.

These are often much sought after and can be the most expensive stones you can buy.

As we have mined and dug up mountains of these stones they have become smaller.

There was a story doing the rounds a few years ago that some bright spark decided to mine the Arkansaw stones using dynamite, hense the small stones.

Though not sure about this, is would explain why the bigger stones are pretty scarce.

A 200x60mm Arkensaw stone is very difficult to get hold of these days and even if you could obtain one it will be exorbitantly expensive.

They do a fantastic job of keeping your tools in tip top shape.


 Please call John on 041 585 6996 should you be in the market for Sharpening stones and want to be sure that you purchase the correct stone for your application.




Mitre settings for a table saw

Mitre settings for a table saw

Where accurate 45 degree mitres are needed for framing or segmented wood work there is a way of creating a shop made jig to give the required accuracy. The jig is not difficult to make but there are some safety aspects to consider

Construction is as follows

  1. Using your woodworking machinery available, machine 2 pieces of hardwood that will fit  into the two grooves milled into the saw table but about 1 or 2mm narrower.The left hand one is screwed and glued into place. The right hand one has elongated screw holes to allow for sideways adjustment. The strips must rub against theoutside of the grooves. Apply wax to the runners to ensure a smooth action.  If you only have one groove that will work.
  2. Supawood makes a good platform for the jig as it does not warp. Cut to approximately 500x400
  3. Fit the two hardwood strips into the grooves then screw the supawood onto the strips
  4. Now mount two pieces of 25x60mm  (approx.) to form a right angle. These should be as near to 45 degrees to the blade as you can get
  5. Place a square in the right angle formed and check that the pieces are exactly at a 90 degree angle before the screws are finally tightened. This is important as the whole accuracy of the jig depends on this.

For safety it is a good idea to fit a box over the blade as shown in the illustration above. The Perspex cover is a good idea but will require cleaning.

For segmented work a variation of the jig is shown below

Mitre settings

Framing and segmented work demand absolute accuracy when cutting. These jigs will solve your problem.


Today, i post this with a heavy heart - Brian Jolly is at the heart of all our techinal information - and I am so grateful for his extreme enthusiasm and organisation, it is for these reasons that i have something to post for you today while he recovers gently in hospital.



It’s an old adage that you can never have too many clamps. They are a vital part of gluing and assembly and the bigger the job the more clamps are needed.


Here is a list of various clamps and their applications



G Clamps


This is the most widely used category. Available in sizes from 50 to 300mm

These clamps are strong. They can take years of abuse and even after 50 years they will be working fine. When purchasing it is better if the threaded shaft has a square profile similar to the illustration below.  Cheap clamps are known to strip their thread so buy the well-known brand names. When clamping wood it is a good idea to use a piece of timber as a pad to reduce the risk of marking the wood.





These are used when a longer reach is required.  They are just as strong as G clamps and have the added advantage of being available in longer lengths. They are usually supplied with pads on the jaws which reduces the risk of marking the timber




Used for assembling large items such as cupboards and also for gluing up planks to form a large surface such as a table tops. When gluing up a table top it is good practise to alternate the clamps one above the wood and one below to avoid the wood bowing. Be careful that the metal can leave corrosion marks on the wood if the wood has been wiped with water to remove surplus glue. The solution is to put plastic sheeting between the clamp and the wood if the wood has been wiped down.

If extra length is required two clamps can be bolted together to almost double the length. Popular sizes are 910, 1200 and 1600 mm for varying clamping requirements, 1200 being the most popular.




These are stronger versions of sash clamps. Sash clamps can bend when tightened and the “T” section is less liable to bend. The longer the clamp the stronger the argument for a more rigid backbone. Popular sizes are 1200 and 1800 mm





The advantage of these clamps is speed. The head slides quickly and easily and can be tightened by pulling the trigger lever. Not as strong as a sash clamp.




Light duty clamps for small jobs. Relatively cheap but clamping action is light




Uses a nylon web strap. Ideal for frames and boxes as it holds all 4 sides at the same time. Provided the mitres are accurate the box will pull up square. Strap clamps that use a metal strap are stronger. Can also be used for assembling cupboards.




These have a number of advantages

  •          When placed on the bench they do not fall over
  •          Large clamping area that does not leave marks on the wood.
  •          Easy sliding movement and strong clamping action
  •          Head can be reversed to make a spreading clamp
  •          These clamps do not use pins to locate the tailpiece which adds to convenience

Can use clamp blocks to make a framing clamp out of 4 clamps. 


Can use clamp dogs to fasten clamp to a workbench. Requires 19mm hole in the bench to form a stable bench mounted clamp. 





Has 3 way clamping action and can be used for veneers and edging. Needs wooden blocks to prevent marks on the wood.




Sold as head and tail piece only. User supplies own pipe.

The advantages are

  •          Can make the clamp any length
  •          Pipe is rigid and less susceptible to bending
  •          Cheaper way of making a long clamp

Be aware that cheaper clamps can slip on the pipe. “Pony” brand is the one to get. Available for ½” and ¾” pipe





These clamps are useful for assembling chipboard structures. They hold the boards together allowing  them to be screwed.


This simple corner clamp is popular because it is cheap. Suitable for material up to 100mm wide. It is really suitable for light frames.




These are used for holding wood down on a bench or jig. A common application is for use with shaper or routing machines. Also used on saws. Good for repetitive work




These clamps have a long history and were used before cast iron clamps became popular. They are still popular in Europe and will not damage the wood because the pressure is spread over a larger area.







Dust is a significant by product of woodwork, made progressively worse by the use of high power woodworking machinery & powertools. Anyone who spends a lot of time in the workshop needs to take the treatment of dust seriously.

The befits of correctly handling dust are

  •          Clean work environment which reduces the risk of accident and is more pleasant to work with.
  •          Clean air is much better for your lungs. This is especially in the case of woods that carry health risks such as spalted wood or wood that causes allergies

Dust capture is done by means of

  •          Face masks
  •          Vacuum machines
  •          Filter machines that hang from the ceiling


Face Masks


The paper disposable masks are not recommended as they are not effective. The double filter shown above costs more but is far better. Filters are available for dust and for spray painting and one will not work for the other application.


This filter is a variation of the first image. The filter is a larger surface area and the mask is comfortable to wear for long periods. Not suitable for spray painting.


Vacuum Machines

Machines suitable for Portable machines such as Sanders, saws


These connect via supplied connectors direct onto the tool. Electric power is supplied from the vacuum. It is connected in such a way that the vacuum switches on when the tool is started and switches off when the tool stops. A nice convenient feature. Can also suck up water and has wheels which allows the machine to follow you as you work. Pipe diameter usually 60mm. Not suitable for larger stationary machines such as thicknessers and saws as the wood chips are too large to handle and also the volume of air is inadequate.


Dust extractors using 100mm diameter hose


Suitable for stationary machines such as table saws thicknessers and sanders. The wood chips and saw dust fall into the lower bag and the top bag serves as an air filter to stop the dust re-entering the atmosphere.

The upper bag is available in different materials with varying degrees of effectiveness

  •          Normal cloth bag which will filter dust down to 30 microns.
  •          Fine weave cloth. This has a different texture and is thicker. Filters down to 5 micron


  •          Paper filter cartridge as shown above which filters down to 2 micron. It also has a paddle controlled by a handle which agitates the inside and causes the dust clinging to the sides to fall into the bag. This agitator mechanism prolongs the life of the filter so that it will last years.



Having the machine on castors  is convenient. Having 2 inlets is also convenient but there is only enough suction to operate for one machine at a time. The air flow can be controlled 




Cyclone dust extractors are the most efficient. The intake cylinder creates a vortex which separates the chips and they drop into the drum. The residual air and dust then pass into the filter chamber which is a paper unit for the most efficient separation.

Cyclone units are expensive and are usually supplied with 3 phase motors. Also they are quite tall  and it is advisable to check the ceiling height to make sure it will fit.


Air Filtration Systems


There will always be some residual dust in the air and these filter machines seek to reduce this. Anecdotal evidence from users who have windows in their workshop which allow sun beams to enter the shop is that they can see a marked difference in dust levels when the filter is used.

Because the machine is ceiling mounted it is supplied with a remote infra-red controller. This allows speed change as well as a timer so that it will switch off after a selected period.  If you want optimum dust collection use this in conjunction with a dust extractor

The filter has a course and fine filter arranged as in the picture below. Both filters can be effectively cleaned by use of a vacuum cleaner and have a long life



As an alternative to spending large amounts of money on a once off professional framing job, Strand Hardware provides affordable DIY framing tools for professional looking framing jobs. 

Surrounding a photograph or painting with a complimentary coloured mount board enhances the picture and makes it more appealing to the viewer.

Here are steps to make this happen in an easy way

Measure the picture allowing for a margin of about 3mm from the edge inwards. This will make the mountboard crop 3mm off the edge of the picture and so conceal the edges and the white margin of the photo.

Assume you have measured 200 x 150mm. Now decide how wide you want the margins. Say we choose 50mm margins. So we add 2 x the margin width to each dimension and finish up with 300 x 250 mm. This is the size we must cut out of the sheet of mount board

  1. Next step is to mark out the lines where we are going to cut the board. The lines are going to be 50mm from the edge (see above). So using a ruler make dots 50mm from the edge and join the dots. See pictures belowSTEP ONE IN PREPARING YOUR MOUNT BOARD       Next step is to cut the board. Before you start put a piece of sacrificial board underneath the card you are going to cut. This will ensure that the cut is clean with no tearout.    The best way is to use a purpose made cutter which presents the blade to the card at a 45 degree angle. Not only that but it has a groove which locks onto the matching ruler so that the cut is straight with no wobbles.  Start by aligning the mark on the tool with the line you have drawn and push the cutter forward until it reaches the next line. See picture below  STEP 2 IN PREPARING YOUR MOUNT BOARD
  2.  Next step is to cut the board. Before you start put a piece of sacrificial board underneath the card you are going to cut. This will ensure that the cut is clean with no tearout.    The best way is to use a purpose made cutter which presents the blade to the card at a 45 degree angle. Not only that but it has a groove which locks onto the matching ruler so that the cut is straight with no wobbles.  Start by aligning the mark on the tool with the line you have drawn and push the cutter forward until it reaches the next line. See picture below  STEP 3 IN PREPARING YOUR MOUNT BOARD

    After the 4 sides have been cut the finished piece will look like the image below


    The last part of the process is to tape the picture into the mount board. This is done from the back of the board. Use proper framing tape as it is acid free and does not yellow and go brittle with age. Also only place the tape along the top edge of the picture. If you tape all 4 sides this will not allow for expansion and contraction of the paper and it will warp.

    Now you have a well presented picture which is ready for framing


Correct blade selection makes a big difference to the success of the project. Whether it be, woodwork or Alluminium, one needs to ensure that the selcetion is made specifically for the project in hand.

First determine the size required

  •          Blade diameter as specified for the machine
  •          Bore size required

Other factors to be considered are as follows

  •          Number of teeth
  •          Kerf width
  •          Tooth rake angle



Assuming blade size from 180 to 250 mm diameter

  •          24t for rip cut
  •          60t for cross cut
  •          40t for combination


Normal width is 3.2mm, smaller blades 2.5mm

250mm blades are available with 2.5mm kerf. This uses less power  and saves wood as less material is cut away



See illustration below.

Blades with negative rake angle are used for cutting non ferrous metals such as aluminium. When cutting aluminium, the blade must be lubricated with animal fat to prevent binding.

Aluminium blades with negative rake and alternate diamond shape and square teeth can be successfully used to cut melamine boards without chipping. The blade needs to be sharp and the feed rate slow.

Blade tooth ANgle

A common mistake people make is to use the same blade in their table saw and in their radial arm saw. A table saw will require a blade with a positive hook angle while a radial arm saw will need a blade with a low or even a negative hook angle. If you find that the blade on your radial arm saw or mitre saw  tends to “climb” onto the wood when cross cutting, then you are using the wrong blade.

Blade height above the wood when ripping is also an issue. When ripping, set the blade height so that the bottom of the gullet is just above the wood surface. This will provide the minimum resistance and will be a safe situation. A blade set too high above the surface creates a dangerous situation because more of the blade is exposed  and does not make cutting easier.

And remember to only use sharp blades. Blunt blades require a lot more force from the operator to push the wood through the blade, often resulting in an accident.

All saws are supplied with safety guards and it is important to use these. Visits to casualty with severed limbs do not happen if you are using a blade guard.



Replacing blunt blades on a jointer/thicknesser is a job we tend to postpone as much as possible. But working with blunt blades is a no brainer. Rather set aside 30 minutes to do the job and then your machine will perform at its absolute best ensuring quick and accurate woodwork.

First step is to remove the blunt blades and clean out the slots in the cutter block to remove dust, chips and resins which may have accumulated

Below is a picture of how the new blades should be positioned. The maximum height of the blade should be about .2mm above the outfeed table surface (newspaper thickness)



There are various ways of getting the height correct. The commonly used method is to use a straight edge  with 2 marks on it about 3mm apart. See picture below. The height should be set so that as the cutter block is rotated the straight edge will move from one mark to the next. The marks should be 3mm apart. This must apply to all three blades. Test the height by surfacing and then check to see if there is any “snipe” when surfacing. (Snipe is a slightly deeper cut which occurs at the last 50-70 mm of the wood being surfaced). The blades must be lowered until there is no evidence of any “snipe”. However if the blades are set too low, then a tapered cut will be the result. So time must be taken to get an absolute correct height setting. This is why some surface planers (also called jointers in American terms) are fitted with an adjustable back table. It just makes setting the blade height correct in relation to the back table so much easier




Another method is to use the blade setting gauge shown below. The feet and the probe are magnetised. Assuming the old blades were correctly set take a measurement with the jig before removing the old blades. There are 2 gauges in the set so each one is placed near the end of the blade. When the new blades are inserted you use the same setting and that speeds up the operation a lot. Because the probe is magnetised the blades will stick to the probe and that makes it easy to set


The same jig can be used for thicknesser blades. See below. Take the measurement while the old blades are still in position. Then it is easy to fit the new blades and the jig will hold the new blades in the correct position while you tighten the screws.






The table saw is at the heart of a woodworking workshop. Preparing timber to the correct dimensions is essential to the creation of any project and accuracy of this machine is crucial.


There are 4 basic adjustments that need to be attended to  ensure success


Blade parallel to mitre slot groove

When the machine is assembled in the factory care is taken to ensure this is set correctly.

The easiest way is to lay a straight edge next to the blade and then use a Vernier to check the distance from the groove to the rule. See   PICTURE



If the blade is not parallel the adjustment involves loosening the bolts that hold the trunnion assembly to the table and moving the assembly until it is correct.  On some saws the trunnion is fixed and the table is moved. This involves loosening the bolts that secure the table to the frame.

The good news is that this adjustment is seldom necessary so just checking the alignment is usually a formality.


Fence parallel to mitre slot groove

Fence assemblies vary a lot between different saws but the principle is the same. Adjustment is done by screws which alter the angle between the fence and the fence rail.  See pictures

Fence parallel to mitre slot groove 1

Fence parallel to mitre slot groove 2

The above fence is adjusted by means of the two cap screws



On the above machine the position of the rails is adjusted to make the fence parallel to the mitre  groove


Blade perpendicular to the table

This is measured by means of a square against the blade. See picture


The adjustment is under the table. See picture


 The tilt mechanism has a casting which comes to a stop against an adjustment screw.  When it stops the blade must be at 90 degrees to the table. See picture. Same applies for 45 degrees (which is shown in the above picture).


Mitre Square at right angles to the blade

This is also checked with a square. Adjustment screws are on the mitre square. See picture  

Mitre Square at right angles to the blade