My biggest fear when traveling to Australia wasn’t the 16-hour flight, the change of hemispheres or the spiders that would make my *deleted* fall off.
It was the timber I’d have to work with.
Australian woods have the reputation of being the nastiest, hardest, most interlocked and silica-choked timbers on the planet. One stroke on a board of figured blackwood has been known to reduce an infill smoother to tears.
So I headed to Australia with my old block plane, 1/2” chisel and Tite-Mark gauge and hoped they wouldn’t be destroyed.
After four days, I can report no problems whatsoever. Of course, I haven’t gotten to work with any Australian timbers. To build this tool chest during my first session in Australia, we’re using Malayasian Kauri pine, which is fairly soft like radiata pine or a sponge cake. But it planes up just fine, as long as your tools are really sharp and finely set.
The classes in the coming weeks promise more fun.
I’m off to bed in a few minutes, but in the coming days I’ll show you some photos of the amazing woods in the racks at the Melbourne Guild of Fine Woodworking. So stay tuned.
— Christopher Schwarz