by John

Stuart of gave a most interesting talk at last nights GSMEE meeting.

GSMEE, in case you are not familiar, stands for Geelong Society of Model and Experimental Engineers.  A select group of people who are interested in things mechanical, electrical, steam, internal combustion, boats, etc.   Mainly metal working, but sometimes involving woodworking.

Stuart generously gave his time, and drove several hours to show us some of his projects, and tools which were new and unusual to most of us.

He explained how when he was a very small boy, an uncle disappeared into his workshop, and a short time later reappeared with a simple wooden puppet toy which he had quickly made, and presented to Stuart.  Stuart says that event made a lasting impression, and was influential in his decision to make things for himself, have his own workshop, and eventually to study mechanical engineering and have a career in engineering.  And ultimately to start the hugely successful blog, stusshed, which to date has had 2.6 million hits!

He showed the puppet, which he keeps as a memento in his workshop.


To be honest, I had totally forgotten that I had made this, almost 40 years ago. The controlling strings did not survive.

Stuart then spoke briefly about his time in the navy, as an engine room engineer, running diesels, steam turbines, and gas turbines on frigates.  All too brief, and hopefully the subject of a more detailed presentation in future.


He then showed some of his recent projects, some of which I snapped.  Especially noteworthy was the Sopwith Camel, with a discussion about the origin of the roundels, the through propellor firing machine guns, and the huge torque which the radial engine produced causing the plane turn more easily to the right than the left (or vice versa- I cannot remember)..


Stuart recently acquired a CNC router, which he used to produce the inlayed roundels, and the engine details.

Quite a few other woodworking projects, mainly toys, but also some interesting furniture, including a chair made of interlocking strips of wood in the form of a tambour, as in a roll top desk tambour.  No photo unfortunately.

Then a small selection of tools from his incredibly well equipped workshop.  A few photos following.  I dont remember many of the brands and details, but most of these tools have been reviewed on Stuart’s blog, so check out if you need more info.

The Incra guides and measuring devices were particularly attractive


Saw guide, with one degree stops, and microadjustment within the saw bench slot.


An Incra ruler. Flexible enough to measure around a cylinder. The tiny holes accurately accept a 0.5mm pencil.


I really liked this Incra protractor. 150mm wide, and also accepts a 0.5mm pencil for accurate angular marking out.


Yet another Incra ruler. Sells for $22 in the USA. More like $50-60 here.


One of Stuarts favourites.. a dovetailing jig, made in Australia, compares more than favourably with a Leigh jig he says.


A really intriguing device for measuring saw blade kerf very accurately. Costs about $100.


Another of Stuart’s favourites, and an Australian invention, Superjaws. I think that this one will go onto quite a few buying lists after this demo.


Another Australian invention. This one for carrying panels.


A really neat device for supporting cables, and small round garments.


Another view of the kerf measuring device.

These are just a few of the many tools which Stuart had to show us.  2 hours went very quickly.  Thanks Stuart!