Woodturning a Pants Changing Macrocarpa Bowl/Platter
By Dennis Suitters on Sep 10th, 2019 12:55 AM

Woodturning a Pants Changing Macrocarpa Bowl/Platter

The process of how I turn Bowls and Platters. This one is made from Macrocarpa Pine from an old burnt log that was on our property when we moved in, and I've been cutting bits from it every since. Music after the Introduction is Lords of Iron (Celtic Music) by Antti Martikainen Music, if you like his music please show you support by purchasing his album/s: Antti Martikaine
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Timber Finishes and looking after Timber Products
By Dennis Suitters on Sep 5th, 2019 12:09 AM

Timber Finishes and looking after Timber Products

Timber care is something that a lot of people neglect or forget about after they've purchased one of our Woodturned items so to help makes taking care of your bought item a little easier I thought I would put this little article together as a guide. Now, I am well aware that there are a lot of different ways to finish and protect timber, below is our way, that works for our products. Timber care doesn't have to be a long convoluted process, but there are things that we should, and shouldn't do, and that care will depend on a lot of different elements, such as sun exposure, the timber species, and even the finish that was used on the timber. Most timbers can be simply wiped with a damp, not soapy cloth to remove dust, much like dusting furniture. Keeping timber out of direct sunlight will help to reduce discolouring particularly bleaching and whitening, but some timber species will change over time regardless of the finish used. Timbers such as Purple Heart will continue to darken and become a deeper purple over time and faster if exposed to direct sunlight. If the timber is finished with a UV Inhibitor this will greatly reduce the discolouring time. Here are some finishes that you may come across on Woodturned items: Wax: We use mainly a Bee's Wax, Carnuba Wax, or combination of Bee's Wax and Boiled Linseed Oil. Most wax can be easily repaired if damaged, but most of all, it feels nice to handle. Martin Saban-Smith of Hampshire Sheen has a great article on why he uses and prefers a Wax finish. Maintaining a Wax Finish is done by simply wiping gently with a clean cloth to remove dust and grime. Using detergents or cleaning agents may remove the wax in some cases, leaving an undesirable result, and possibly leaving the timber exposed. In most cases, and as long as you know what wax to use the wax can be replaced and repolished to bring back the lustre of the coating. BLO (Boiled Linseed Oil): Linseed oil, extracted from flax seed, is one of the most useful natural oils. It makes for a great preservative of wood. It's used as an ingredient in paints, varnishes, and stains. Boiled Linseed Oil is used to seal timber, protecting indoor furniture and cabinets, and artist's use it as a thinner for oil paint. Over time BLO gets harder creating a great protective layer. Generally, using BLO, by saturating the timber will produce a pleasing golden glow, which over time will darken to an amber colour. Maintaining a BLO finish is achieved by simply wiping over with a damp cloth as with a Wax Finish, again without detergents. Unlike Wax, as BLO is usually used by saturating the timber, the piece can be handled more, and scratches will be less evident. A coat of BLO (as long as other finishes haven't been used on top of the BLO), will help maintain the finish once a year, and will only help the timber soak up more of the BLO. However, on some timbers, the finish can feel oily to the touch, and not feel nice to handle. Oils: There is a large range of types of oils such as water-based ones and they are for both interior and exterior use. These finishes are similar to wax finishes only they are thinner so timber can absorb it much more easily than wax. Oil finishes are rubbed or brushed onto the timber like wax and they are easy to apply and maintain, though more coats may be needed than a stain because of how light and thin most oils are. Polyurethane: Polyurethane is usually intended as finishing coat once a stain is applied, more often though they are used as a finish that is easy to apply and increases the appearance of the natural bare timber. Care for this finish is probably the easiest, and most durable, as essentially the finish seals the timber like a plastic coating. Wiping with a damp cloth like other finishes is usually the easiest, and you could use a soft soap to remove dirt, though Polyurethane can be easily scratched. CA Glue (Cyanoacryolyte Glue): A CA Finish is very similar to Polyurethane, and a coating we often use on our pens. Generally, cleaning and maintaining the wood products we sell and supply, only need to be cleaned with a soft cloth to remove dust. To remove built-up grime we recommend a damp cloth and gentle rubbing, as the majority of the finishes we use could be damaged if harsh cleaners and soaps are used. Though, we do try to use finishes that allow you to use (particularly pens, or products that would be handled often), without damaging them.
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Woodturning a Tasmanian Pepperberry Pepper Grinder
By Dennis Suitters on Sep 4th, 2019 1:21 PM

Woodturning a Tasmanian Pepperberry Pepper Grinder

Woodturning a Tasmanian Pepperberry Pepper Grinder Long awaited Pepper Grinder made for a friend out of Tasmanian Pepperberry that's been felled for over 5 years. We'll be making a lot more Pepper Craft products and items. The music is called El Magicia by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Artist: Incompetech Pepper Grinder kit supplied by Timerbits
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Making Multiple Woodturned Rollerball Pens with various Timb
By Dennis Suitters on Sep 1st, 2019 3:39 PM

Making Multiple Woodturned Rollerball Pens with various Timb

This is a sped-up process of making Multiple Rollerball Pen kits. The pens shown in this video have already been sold, we'll have more available soon, and will appear at the bottom of this page when they do, The Pen Kits in the video were supplied by Timberbits. The Music in the video was supplied by AmpleTunes.
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AuroraCMS
By Dennis Suitters on Aug 30th, 2019 12:11 AM

AuroraCMS

AuroraCMS is Diemen Design's premiere Australian Open Source Content Management System. It's built to be lean, fast, and easy to use, including built-in features that other platforms need Addons or Plugins to achieve.Built using PHP7+, PDO, Bootstrap (Administration). Let me, just for a moment, explain why AuroraCMS is different than other platforms. Size, it has a smaller footprint compared to other CMS's, esp. considering its features. AuroraCMS is not only Blog/Article capable, it also has a lot of other built-in features, such as: Pages. Portfolio. Client Proofs. Messaging (Full Email Client built-in) with storage of Contact Page Messages. Inventory. Shopping Cart. Rewards System. Services. Bookings. Full Invoicing System. Content Scheduler. News. Events. Testimonials. Portfolio. Newsletters. SEO including JSON-LD Built right in. Accounts with User Ranks with Permissions Options. Content can be reverted if other Administration Users change the content. Content Editing Suggestions. SEO's or other Permission enabled Administrators can suggest edits, that if accepted can simply be changed with an approval button Comments and Reviews require Approval before they are displayed on the Front End, and are also put through the Spam and Honey Pot Test. Built-in Security that checks submitted form data for spam, and checks users IP against Project Honey Pots Blacklist and can automatically block IP's with a 30day option to clear blacklisted IP's. Security options can also block IP's if known Wordpress attack attempts are made, to reduce hammering of the Website and to stop brute force attempts. Front end can use any pre-built CSS Framework, or you can roll your own. The front end uses simple HTML Style tags to indicate where database content should be used. You can view and download AuroraCMS for our GitHub Repository.
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How much should I pay for a Website?
By Dennis Suitters on Aug 29th, 2019 10:06 PM

How much should I pay for a Website?

How much does a Website Cost? How long does it take to build a Website? These are questions that Web Designers and Developers get asked often. The costs in today's world for a Website can vary greatly, and you will get different mileage depending on what you pay, and what options you want to take, and not really something that can be answered with a definitive cost. The biggest thing is to make sure you're getting value for money, and that value can be determined whether your Website is giving you a return on your investment. In today's world, it is important that most businesses have some sort of online presence to help bring in customers and earn money. Not having a Website in most cases can hamper your business when competing with others in the same industry. A Website can be the first impression to customers, of your services and products, and most importantly, if your business can be trusted, and determine if that customer wants to deal with you. Some things you should have in place, or be working on before undertaking to build or having someone build your Website: Branding, Business Name and Domain Name: These things go hand in hand. Branding of your Business will include things like Colours, Logo, and those will be determined by what your business does and the Services and or Products it provides. And will also include your Logo, which you should have in mind how you want it to look online, and if it's readable easily by customers, as well as memorable. Your Domain Name needs thinking about along with your Business Name, again you want something that's easily remembered, instantly recognisable. Target Market: By this I mean, research your competitors. What Keywords are they targetting? What Keywords you want to target. How you want to implement your marketing strategy, like how much you want to spend on marketing, what your monthly, yearly limits are. This will also help determine what kind of content, and the frequency of adding content like Blog Articles to your Website. If you decide to include video's, like embedding YouTube Content, consider also adding a Transcript for Visually Impaired visitors, or for those that find it hard to follow verbal content in your videos. Website: Knowing what you want your Website to do for your business before undertaking the build process will actually help map out what tasks need to be done, whether that's for yourself or your web person. Researching your competitors will help you determine what works for them, and how you should proceed design-wise. Here are some things you should be asking: Will my Website be Secure? Having security in mind is usually the last thing a client should have to think about but is something your Web Designer or Developer should at least discuss with you to create a plan that you can both implement and know what roles each should be taking. Your already busy running your business, you don't have time to fix security issues. A regular backup plan and storage of that backup should be something the Designer or Developer implements as part of negotiating and undertaking to build your Website. This should also include steps to help make your Website secure, including any additional Addons they recommend, and also discuss the update and upgrade plans. That said though, they should not try to convince you that their setup is secure and hacker-proof, there is simply no such thing. Will my Website be Standards Compliant? Having a Website that follows W3C's Standards of Compliancy, will go a long way towards helping your Website be crawled by Search Engines, as having the underlying code of your Page easily crawlable by not having out of date techniques that are deprecated (no longer in use), or code that is full of errors. Just think how difficult it is to read a page of text full of errors where you have to try and guess what the text is trying to represent. Will my Website be Accessibility Compliant? Having a Website that is easily used by Visually Impaired or other Disabled people is very important. In some countries, there are laws to try and encourage Website owners to make sure their Websites are usable by the Disabled. Does the Copyright of any of the Content, like Graphic Images, Logo (if created by the designer) and Website Template or Theme belong to me? This is actually something that I have seen a number of times, where Designer's, as they created the Graphic Content and other Media for a Businesses Website or other Media, have claimed that the Business owner does not own that Content. Most of the time though, once full payment for the work has been made, the Copyright is transferred to the Business Owner. Who does (you, them, or outsourced) the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for the Website? SEO is something you can do yourself and doesn't take as much time as you may have been led to believe. However, if you decide not to undertake doing your own SEO, then this is something you can discuss with who you are negotiating your Website with. Most Designers or Developer's don't do the SEO side of things, and you don't have to use who they recommend. There are links at the bottom of the article for resources where to learn to do SEO yourself, or where you can find someone to do it for you. Who does the Content, and can I easily Edit the Content myself? This is something that often causes issue's between Clients and Designers/Developers, and should be discussed from the beginning so it's clear who, whether it's you, or them that does the Content and Editing. It used to be, that a client would contact their web person with what they wanted to be changed, and be charged for the web person to make those changes. These days with a lot of Websites being driven by a Content Management System, Client's (You) have a login that allows them to add, change, or remove the content as they see fit. Usually, though, you can't make changes to the Theme of the Website, which still falls to the web person. If the content is up to the client (you), and something you feel you aren't capable of doing yourself, you can hire a Copywriter, and there are some great ones available. There are links at the bottom of the article where you can source a good copywriter or learn to do it yourself. There are a lot of factors, including, using a custom-designed Website (more costly and takes longer), or a pre-built Website (Quick, Cheaper, but fewer features and less customizability). Free Websites such as Wix, Weebly, Yola, while great to get you online and get your business, services and products online, do have a severe caveat when it comes to customising the underlining code of your Website, which can make getting your Website Search Engine Friendly (SEO) a nightmare. Things like specialised payment facilities, custom forms, or being able to tailor pages to suit exactly what your business does, can be very difficult to achieve. Free also means using pre-defined Website Templates, that can be very difficult to modify. The biggest hurdle though is SEO and making changes to things like speeding up your website as you are at the mercy of the hosting provider, and how they've built the underlying code of their product, as well as the technology they use to make your Website available online. Another issue can be the copyright of uploaded and edited material. Some Licensing of Free Website options can be worded in such a way to allow them to onsell or even take over the copyright of your content, check the Terms Of Service before undertaking this option. Paid Hosted Services, such as Squarespace (who have just made improvements to the SEO of their Websites, but time will tell how good that is). Much like the Free explanation above, these services also leave their customers at the mercy of what they provide. While Squarespace has a lot more that can be customised, and it can be a good starting point if all you need is to get your brand out there, there are limitations, esp. when trying to rank against other businesses that have much better custom-built Websites. Squarespace currently charges between $ 12 to $ 40 per month billed annually depending on the plan you require. This can be a good option if you don't want to be bothered with updating the underlying Website system, however, you are at the mercy of the service. If they have a serious security issue, this will not only affect your website, but all the website's on their service, but it is something they will have to fix at their convenience. Wordpress. I've made this its own section, as a lot of Graphic Designers, or Web Design businesses these days, are simply using Wordpress, with an Addon Theme, and plugins that can be purchased and installed. There are some developers that custom-build a Wordpress Theme, and modify Wordpress to behave how you need for your business, which usually requires a lot of back and forth with the Developer (Designers and Developers are two different categories), but you will end up with something close to your needs. Both can be a quick turn around time to get you up and running. There is a risk, as with anything, most of which are security issues due to plugins, bad updates, or the lack of security plugins being installed to protect the Wordpress Installation. Making changes to the underlying code can also be difficult, esp. if you need to make changes to how content is output and displayed. Costs can vary greatly, from the very cheap to thousands. The most I've seen someone charge for one of these types of Websites is about $ 12,000, and this isn't even including the Domain Name Registration or Hosting. Wordpress, however, is primarily and was originally a Blogging System, that over the years has had addons to force it to behave like a CMS, under the hood though, it's still primarily a Blogging System, and depending on what your requirements are for your business, it can be difficult to have Wordpress fully behave as required without extensive workarounds. Custom Coded Websites, are the most versatile, customizable option. Though they too have pitfalls, the main being development time, and costs. It costs a lot more to pay a developer to build something from nothing, but the result is that you get exactly what you need. Costs can vary greatly, but you will find the cheaper the developer usually means they are inexperienced as more expensive developers know what their time, knowledge and experience is worth. Lastly, (and yes this is kind of a plug for the way I build Websites), is a custom-built CMS, and there are quite a lot of Open Source Projects, some being osCommerce (one of the oldest) Shop type system, Drupal, Joomla, or my own project AuroraCMS. As with any CMS, templates/theme or plugins can be installed to extend the functionality. Addons and Plugins in any system can be fraught with security issues. Especially if developers outside of the project create addons, and don't follow security procedures, or it could be that the developer is just not experienced enough to take security into account, one of the biggest issues with Plugins with Wordpress. There is also the issue that malicious code can be purposely inserted into the addon. Costs for these systems, as with Wordpress, can vary depending on the Designer/Developer. Let me, just for a moment, explain why AuroraCMS is different than other platforms. Size, it has a smaller footprint compared to other CMS's, esp. considering its features. AuroraCMS is not only Blog/Article capable, it also has a lot of other built-in features, such as: Pages, Portfolio, Client Proofs, Messaging (Full Email Client built-in) with storage of Contact Page Messages, Inventory, Shopping Cart, Rewards System, Services, Bookings, Full Invoicing System, Content Scheduler, News, Events, Testimonials, Portfolio, Newsletters, SEO including JSON-LD Built right in, Accounts with User Ranks with Permissions Options. Content can be reverted if other Administration Users change the content. Content Editing Suggestions. SEO's or other Permission enabled Administrators can suggest edits, that if accepted can simply be changed with an approval button Comments and Reviews require Approval before they are displayed on the Front End, and are also put through the Spam and Honey Pot Test. Built-in Security that checks submitted form data for spam, and checks users IP against Project Honey Pots Blacklist and can automatically block IP's with a 30day option to clear blacklisted IP's. Security options can also block IP's if known Wordpress attack attempts are made, to reduce hammering of the Website and to stop brute force attempts. Front end can use any pre-built CSS Framework, or you can roll your own. The front end uses simple HTML Style tags to indicate where database content should be used. Other costs to take into consideration are: Domain Registration: This is an ongoing cost, just like car registration, and can vary depending on the domain name extension (the .com, .com.au, .design, or any other of the many options now available). We recommend and use VentraIP. Hosting: This too can vary greatly. We recommend and use VentraIP for Hosting as well. Outsourced SEO Consultant: This cost can vary greatly as well, we, however, recommend the option of doing it yourself, and one of the best courses we recommend are Kate Toon's. Outsourced Copywriter: Another variable cost, and as with the others, mileage will vary. Kate Toon also does Copywriting and has a list of people she recommends on her Website, another great Copywriter I recommend is Belinda Weaver of Copywrite Matters, she also runs courses. And to finish up, the differences between a Web Designer, and a Web Developer to help clarify who you may be talking too when negotiating the design and costs of your Website. A Web Designer is, at the basic level, a Designer, someone who creates the look of your Website, and in most cases doesn't write code (the stuff that makes your website work). A Web Developer, on the other hand, writes the underlying code that makes your website work, for e.g. the HTML, CSS, which is the structure of your Website, possibly the Javascript that helps with the client-side functionality, and they may also write the software that creates or modifies the content and HTML of your Website (PHP most commonly), and generally usually does some of the backend magic. The person who administers the server where your Website is hosted is called a SysAdmin, or Web Master (Old Skool name), sometimes and quite often the Web Developer may perform this role as well.
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