Fish Glue still holding strong!

Well I promised to do an extreme test of this lower grade Lee Valley Fish glue I’ve had for a number of years.  I’ve place the glued up test pieces in the laundry when my wife had the dryer on and place them next to the dryer where the moisture levels are at their extreme.  I left it there overnight and much to my surprise they were still bonded with no movement of trying to pull them apart.


So with everything I have read, all the negative hysteria of joints falling apart placing all the blame on the glue for it’s failure, I am not convinced it was the glues fault at all,  and will not speculate as to why it failed for others other than the strong possibility it’s the users fault.  There are many factors at play to cause glue failure and some of which I noted in my previous post, if people choose not verse themselves well in the products they use then they simply cannot put blame on the product but themselves.

Why am I being Stone Walled

Ever since I posted the idea of starting up a magazine that involved woodworking by hand, I’ve had nothing but headaches.  I really need to clarify some points as many are not reading the comments, I want to be open and transparent with my intentions and actions for this magazine.

Two days ago I’ve discovered that tools for working wood posted 200 issues of WORK, which is fine but so what.  WORK is owned by no one, there is no copyright claim to it, the magazine that existed in 1889 is 128 years old which obliterates copyright claim or anyone claiming to have copyright on it.  Tools for working wood scanned the pages and posted it, another words its a reprint.   This is no different than other publishes who do the same thing on ancient books.  When a publisher reprints a book from ancient book they put their own copyright on it to corner the market, they say no part of this book may be reprinted, published etc etc without the express permission of the author.  But that only pertains from their book it doesn’t apply if you reprint from the original source, why because there’s no copyright on it.  No one can claim copyright on ancient books, same applies to classical music.

I wanted to begin a magazine using one or two articles written in WORK and the rest to be my own contents, just because TFFW already reprinted that magazine and made it available for download means nothing.  They even said everyone can use these copies and publish them on their website for non commercial use, they can say non commercial but they have no legal standing in stopping anyone from commercially reprinting and selling the entire collection of WORK.  Their versions are poorly scanned copies, my few articles are rewritten and high quality re-prints that I painstakingly sat for hours doing so.  But like I said it’s only one or two articles that pertain to woodworking that would be included in every new issue released or published.  I want this magazine to be within the spirit of that then magazine.

I’ve written to Christopher Schwarz and Meghan and presented in short my idea to them and did ask for their blessing and support.  To this day, I haven’t received a reply,  I’ve sent Paul Sellers an email if he would be interested in becoming a contributing author, I have not received a reply and I have noticed for the last two days none of my posts are being made through the unplugged shop.  What is going on here, why am I being stonewalled.

More and more people are switching to hand tools, like it or not hand tools are going to be the way of the future, and I’m not going to get into the reasons for it,  but the facts are that more people are switching to hand tools than ever before.  People are fed up with their corporate lifestyle, people are fed up with everyday stresses, hand tool woodworking is their moment of release from the current hectic world, its where they find their zen in life, their ground zero.  Current woodworking magazines don’t want to acknowledge this, but throw in a bone now and then to keep the masses happy.  So, why then don’t they want anyone to start up a magazines purely based on handwork, because it goes directly against their financial interests.  Switching to hand tools would be detriment to many businesses, but it would not lead to a collapse, because there will always be a market for the machine users.  But the facts are clear that more and more people are switching to hand tools than ever before.  Paul Sellers has proven this over and over again, look at the reaction from his own followers.

This idea of mine to introduce to the market a hand tool, handcraft magazine is based upon an idea and principles that the originator of WORK 128 years ago had, he and I are one and the same separated by 128 years.  I wanted to cover real woodworking, teach real knowledge, work with everyday artisans around the world without the bombardment  and influences of tool makers and other advertisers of machinery and paint products.  I wanted this to be a community based effort, of everyday people contributing their work and their ideas and their discoveries for all to be published in this magazine for everyones benefit worldwide.  This not about cornering the US market or the Australian market or any other countries market, it’s about you and I as craftsmen artisans wanting to contribute, wanting to do their fair share of the work who would be more than happy to do so.  Imagine people like Don Williams contributing and Bob Rozaieski, Mack and Jeff Headley, imagine you and I and everyone who have many things to offer.  Imagine the possibilities, the knowledge and insight that can be gained from such a magazine.

I don’t intend and never intend to step on anyone’s toes, I don’t intend God forbid to take bread away from anyones mouths.  But don’t we deserve a magazine that suits our interests? That pertains to what we do and how we work?  I must admit to one sad fact that I can’t do this alone, I don’t have the financial means nor the time to invest because of the lack of finance to make this magazine the most sought out woodworking magazine in the world and believe me with proper financial backing, investment, this magazine would reach serious heights.

I will say this though, that I am completely disgusted in how much politics is involved with all the woodworkers I believed were promoters of the craft.  Shame on you.

Handwork new title

Even though it is 128 years old and free from any copyright according to the law I still felt uncomfortable using the title WORK, so, I’ve changed it today to HANDWORK.  I think its better suited and will help me sleep better at nights.  The theme is still basically the same, I will still use some of the content as I think its brilliant, but obviously there will be plenty of new and modern day hand work from myself and other contributing authors.

I’m not really sure why but I haven’t received much feedback at all on this, I thought everyone would be excited about it, am I wrong or is this the norm for the net.

Australian Woodworking and Timber Show

I attended the show last Friday as I do every year, its an exciting part of the year for me as I guess it would be for any amatuer and professional woodworker.  We get to meet old friends and catch up, you see loads of tools for sale that are mouth watering but the best part for me is the timber.

This year I was pretty selective and had to choose carefully, unfortunately not all the stuff is dry and guess who forgot to take his moisture meter.  Yep and boy did I pay the price for my forgetfulness.  But that’s what happens when you’re in a rush, I headed up the highway in my  beat up van travelling 80 km per hour in a 110k zone.  I wasn’t anyone’s favourite on the road but hey, my fuel injectors are clogged and if I do the speed limit it will stall and not start up for 15mins.  As I was travelling up there like an old man with a white hat in the rear window, you guys know the type, I watched how everyone just zoomed passed me.  Some looking annoyed at me as they pass me by, others sticking their finger out the window, but I just plotted along like the old Beverley Hillbillies.  hillbillies  It dawned on me then,  just how much people are in a rush and I’m sure it’s work related, but everyone is annoyed with everyone on the road.  Speeding up, pushing the car in front to go faster, others taking over as if there’s some massive pot of gold waiting to be taken on the other side, and then, all of a sudden out comes the revenue collectors.  Blue and red flashing lights pulling them over one by one, handing tickets and not to some police ball.  There goes their weekly earnings, while I continued to pass them by, glancing in my rear vision as they diminish into a spec and then nothing.  I thought about my hand tools and how much slower they are compared to machinery, and how everyones in such a rush to get production done and out of the shop both amateurs and professional like.  It put a smile on my weathered face and made appreciate even more the way I work wood.

So I arrived on time, with no speeding tickets and walked straight over to the Tasmanian timber section.  IMG_0224

I knew what I wanted, and what I wanted was pretty darn expensive as they always bloody well are. Sassafrass.IMG_0225

I paid through my you know what for it but I got it and will end up making a box for myself to store my wax and seal and make some other useful things for charity.  Then I headed over to another section where they had even more exotic timbers.  Huon Pine is great for carving, but get a load of the prices.


Well a little way out of my price range.  So, I turned my direction to the great outdoors where the most timbers are.   This is where I needed my moisture meter and now I had to rely on my hands and their word for it.  I can usually tell just by feel in a ballpark figure how wet or dry it is.  I headed over to a trustworthy source I know air dries his stuff, he doesn’t say it like someone I know, but actually does it.  So I picked up some African Tulip which is light as a feather and has a nice texture to it,  will look great as draw fronts, and along side it is my favourite Hoop Pine.  IMG_0221

Here’s a closer look.IMG_0223

I went back inside and stumbled upon a slab of birch and bought that as well, unfortunately for me when I slapped the moisture meter on it when I got home it was at 28%.  Holy crap 28%, so I texted the guy and thanked him for it.  It all turned out to be an innocent mistake, he said he built furniture from it 6 months ago and dried it himself in his own kiln, some guys are just spoilt rotten, and he couldn’t understand why it was so green.  Nonetheless he refunded me the money and said keep it, I felt bad about it and insisted on him to pick it up, but as it turned out it wasn’t worth travelling the distance for it so he insisted that I keep it.  It will be ready for use in a couple of years, sorry I didn’t take any pics of it.  Here’s another pic of a beautiful timber, another favourite of mine Camphor Laurel.IMG_0220

This is considered a weed in Australia and is most poisonous to other surrounding trees, but is gorgeous and takes an oil finish really well.  The last time I bought timber from this guy I’m still drying it, yet the same old story it’s all air dried.  There was another massive slab  to the right of it, it was so big and wide it couldn’t fit in anyone’s pick up nor van, and that too is apparently air dried yet it was cut down only 6 months ago. None the less you learn these things over time and you make a judgement call.

Then I went over to Steve Hay and said g’day, he’s demonstrating one of Terry Gordon’s plane.


I finished off the day by saying g’day to some of my other old timer mates and talked nothing but wood.  Since our wives are not interested in listening to us,  at least the show gives us the opportunity to get together once a year and let out a year’s worth of unspoken wood talk to each other.

And so my day ended with a smile, as I chugged back home in my old beat up van down the highway watching fingers out their windows at me as they pass me by,  and then waving back at them as I pass them by as they pull over to be greeted by their friendly over zealous neighbourhood revenue collectors.

“Work” a new magazine for the hand tool woodworker


Work was first published in London by Cassel & Company limited on 23 March 1889 and ended on January 14 1893.

There were four volumes released and was named “WORK, An Illustrated Magazine of Practice and Theory.”

There were many authors but the man who begun it all was the first author Ed Francis Young.   The Work magazine filled a hole in the market and that was to create a magazine that covered all trades of the working class man, in modern times this would be regarded as the blue collar worker or tradesmen.

I felt a need to bring this magazine back to life once more, but not entirely with all the contents of the yesteryears, but mostly the parts pertaining to woodworking with a hint of metal work as well.
I will cover most topics I have covered in my blog. As all blogs you have to scroll forever to see all the topics covered, unless your organised and have each topic categorised which I didn’t.

I have spent a great deal of time writing blogs, never ending research and so forth, while, my own work behind the bench diminshed to an almost stop.
I’m hoping that this magazine will free me up from the responsibilities of the blog but not entirely neglecting the blog, just free me up to devote more time to the craft I love so much.

Education is important, and I believe it should be free, we all have a responsibility to pass on the knowledge we learn along the way. By doing so, we keep the craft alive, teach others skill, be that for the amatuer, or professional. To earn a living for himself should he pursue that avenue. This is a responsibility we all share equally and its not just for the privledged.

This magazine will only be available in pdf format and will be available for download through my blog. As I said above, I intend to cover many topics and many projects. It will be much like my blog except in the hope it will be fairly detailed. Every write up will be accompanied by an illustrations and or photographic pictures, and possibly videos embedded into the page.

I have no intentions of charging for this magazine but I cannot say for sure if there will be a charge later in the future, or if I will continue with it at all.   All I know for now, is that I want to bring a first ever hand tool magazine for woodworkers.

I invite anyone who wishes to contribute to this magazine to do so.  Please send your write up in PDF format with your full name so it can be accredited to you to
As the original work magazine is to this date is 128 years old there is no copyright on it. Legal advice has been sought and I have been given the go ahead with it. This means I can repost word for word everything that is written in it. Its wonderful to read into the mindset and work practices of the old. There is much we can learn from them.

As you can see from the screen shot above, I’ve already begun the first write up.

As for now, I also cannot say how often a new issue will be released. Let’s just take one step at a time for now.


Preface to Fish and mammalian glues

This article is an in depth study I have researched on animal protein glue, I don’t believe even with the information I’ve compiled is merely enough to scratch the surface. Sourcing information through the net is proving to be increasingly difficult on this subject. There isn’t much information available besides the usual synopsis you can find in any woodworking catalogue.
I must say the internet has developed or leaned more towards marketing of products rather than being a source of information that’s geared towards real learning. This marketing revolution reminds me of the industrial revolution seeds first planted in England in the 18th century, but didn’t see it blossom and the negative effects it had on society till the 19th century.


This poisonous blossoming effect brought about a radical socioeconomic change to the developed world and the demise of human skill through the introduction of machinery in the workplace.
Much like the Camphor Laurel tree which originated in China and exported to other nations because of its beautiful grain, poisoning and eventually killing off other trees in its surrounding, so did the lure of mass production. Once more China through the greed of western corporations and medium sized businesses has killed off many jobs in the western civilised world.


The industrial revolution of the 19th century led to low quality, high yielding profits bringing benefit to only some, but often resulted in mass unemployment, low wages, poor working and living conditions for both the working class and the poor.

While now in the 21st century working conditions in the developed world may have improved but we still see no change in employment opportunities. No wage increase to meet the current cost of living, housing is now unaffordable in major capital cities around Australia, rental increases has exceeded a single person’s income, universities wanting to increase their fees even more, limiting more young people from obtaining an education in the hope of a better life while gearing towards reserving education only for the wealthy as it was in the early part of the 20th century. Zero plans in supporting any additional apprenticeship programs and bringing about further tax cuts for corporations while increasing tax levies on the working class.

The internet which was once a great source of limitless information has developed into a new revolutionary marketing tool which has been cleverly masked by the word “information age.” A word with a hidden motif and motive. This information is not about giving but collecting personal information about you, to help them better market their products to you.
So, rather than help Mr. Googlegoogle-evil-1200x900 further their exploits of this revolutionary and evolutionary degeneration of the human intellect, I aim to put a black spot or stain or even a dent in their plans by placing as much educational material as I humanly can on the subject of woodworking, in the hope that it will inspire many and restore some level of balance to your lives, and get the children and adults off the PlayStations and generally off their mobile phones.


That’s me when I was a young rooster but long gone are the days of my youth, and equally so my generation who’ve forgotten how to live. Isn’t it time we started to remember?
There are a great many more blogs out there and unfortunately some of the better ones are long gone, but together we can build them up again to better serve the community. I urge you all, to create blogs, contribute and support one another and make a stance against this modern degeneration of society. If you think you have nothing to share or your skill level is not worthy of posts, think again.

Everyone has something to offer and gain as learning is a never ending process.

This introductory post has been more a form of release of the mental anguish due to the frustrations I’m currently undergoing of researching, gathering and compiling of information on fish glue, whilst endlessly and tirelessly trying to avoid the constant bombardment of “where I can buy fish glue.”   As this research is far from over and without going into any further discussion of the demise and evolutionary degeneration of the human race, I will in my next post release my findings.

I’ll begin with a very brief look into the historical accounts that’s been documented on fish glue. As I have written some on the historical uses of hide glue in my earlier posts, I don’t believe it would be beneficial to repeat it here. As I cannot possibly cover every aspect of this glue or mammalian glues in general in a single post, I will release further information as I come across it in other subsequent posts.

Before I end this introductory post, I would like to make a brief clarification on Camphor Laurel.  Even though it is considered a weed in Australia due to its poisoning effects it has on other trees, it is a most beautiful and sought after timber by many woodworkers in all fields of the trade.  It gives off a wonderful strong scent and is great for keeping cloth eating insects out of your wardrobes. Its easy to saw but planing is difficult with standard bevel angle planes, no less than a 50° bevel is needed to plane without causing tear out and the grain is drop dead gorgeous.  I used this tree as an example only to clarify a point.

Take care