If you can’t find the tool for the job, then why not make it?

Oliver Mark opens up the workshop doors to reveal some ingenious ideas from Robin Humphries, a runner up in last year’s Farmers Weekly Farm Inventions Competition

Fence joiner

Mr Humphries’ 2013 Farm Inventions entry was a clever fence joiner with the back end of an everyday best cordless impact driver and a series of sprockets and bevel gears leading up to a spinning head at the front.

It was three years in the making. The original design involved a comparatively bulky two handed ratchet, which slowly evolved into the one handed, battery powered machine it now is. Bevel gears are sourced online and the entire joiner can be assembled for 50.

So, how does it work?

With the ends of two lengths of fence overlapping by 150 mm and ready to join, the two pieces of wire are bent through 90 deg (one pointing upwards, the other pointing downwards).

The machine has a sprag clutch which uses rollers on an inclined plane to let the disc head turn freely in one direction but not the other to allow the operator to turn the knob, and leading disc head, until the feed in channel lines up. At this point the two pieces of wire are fed into the machine.

Pulling the drill’s trigger turns the disc head until the two mini anvils mounted on it meet up with the two pieces of wire. Then it’s just a case of pulling the trigger until the wire has wrapped itself all the way round the opposing piece of metal. The faster it turns, the warmer the high tensile wire gets and the less draining it is on the 18V battery.

There’s no force required to operate it, either the machine finds its own centre and it’ll last several days on one battery.


Easily the most impressive piece of engineering on site is the two cylinder crankless Shane engine. It uses cams rather than a crankshaft to double the number of combustion strokes for every revolution.

Each piston in the patented motor hits top dead centre every 180 deg (or four strokes for each rotation), but there’s no conventional crankshaft for the piston’s big ends to connect to. That helps cut down on size and weight.

Instead, the stumpy con rods run on an internal cam assembly and only stray 5 deg either side of the centre line to improve efficiency.

The shape of the internal cams is designed to replicate the sinusoidal motion of an engine’s piston speed that means the piston stops at TDC and BDC and slowly increases/decreases in speed either side of this. But optimising the shape of the cam to replicate that crankshaft style motion proved difficult, says Mr Humphries, particularly making the profiles perfect during both induction and combustion (and compression and exhaustion) to keep the piston movements perfectly balanced all the time.

The wire cut cams are made of hardened tool steel because of its toughness and resistance to abrasion. They are connected to the pistons by rollers at the big end side of the con rod.

The cams run on rolled bronze bearings and, at the other end of a pivoting radius arm, push on bronze bearing pads to reduce friction and the wearing impact of both parts.

The radius arm is made of EN 36 steel the same material as you’d find in most motorcar components and joins the con rod’s cam rollers (the equivalent of big end bearings) to the rocker at the other end.

With four strokes occurring in each 360deg rotation, the engine produces double the torque of a conventional engine that fires once per crankshaft revolution. So a 600cc engine will produce 60hp and 125lb ft of torque.

Mr Humphries’s engine also has the advantage of a low shaft speed it means fewer gears are required to reduce the output speed down to a practical ground speed, for instance. It could also be extended to have more cylinders and more power, says Mr Humphries, so it’s potentially more efficient than a con rod and crank and is similar enough to conventional engines to share many of the advantages they have.

The last radical change in engine design was the Wankel engine. Its rotary design was simple, smooth and compact, but teething problems when it first hit the market put major manufacturers off experimenting with new designs.

Post knocker

Another novel idea from the Humphries stable was to attach a Bryce Suma post basher to a 6t dump truck, which Mr Humphries picked up for 4,500 with 900 hours on the clock.

The 400 Vulcan attaches to the Perkins powered Thwaites dumper through a new three point linkage bracket/headstock made by fabricator Martin Bushnell.

The original hydraulic rams are used to lift the knocker ready for road travel and a third was added to act as a top link to crowd the load.

Adding an extra spool with a detent for constant flow means everything can be controlled from the paddles on the post knocker.

Hand Sanding VS Electric Sanding

Sanding is an important step for your wood project. Sanding is one of the step in the finishing process to remove any unwanted marks or scratches on the wood. This step is supposed to make your woods smooth so it is nice to look at without any annoying stain or other marks.

Usually after you use planer to cut your woods into your desired thickness, they tend to leave marks so that’s why you need to do wood sanding. Tool that you need to do sanding is sandpaper. There are lots of sandpaper types they are called the sandpaper’s grits. There are two kinds of setting of those grits that are quite familiar:

  • 80, 120, and 220 grits.
  • 100, 150, and 220 grits.

The higher it is, the grit will be finer. Always start with the coarse grit because it shaves any imperfectness on the wood’s surface if you start with fine grit it would be very hard to remove those imperfectness. Some types of woods might need super fine grits to achieve really smooth surface.


While the machine that you could choose is either your hand or electric sanders. There is actually two ways to do it, either literally using your hands or use a block. So it named block sanding but your hand is the motor of it. Each of them of course will have their own advantages and disadvantages that would make you think which one should I do. Here I am going to give a little explanation about each aspect.


Those electric sanders have motor built in and use electricity so of course it will have more power than when you sanding using your hands. It will take less of your energy if you are using electric sanders. Those motor will make sanding faster, it becomes so handy if you deal with a lot of big woods and rough woods. If you usually just use small woods for small projects at home, then sanding with your hands is not really a problem. Those professional of course need the electric sanders because they have to work fast so it could raise their productivity.


Honestly, both of them are dangerous. Using electric sanders, you probably have a chance to get an injury if you put your hand on the pads while it is moving. While using your hands, if you do it for quite a long time of course your hands would feel numb and you might have chance that your skin is the one that got shave off with the sandpapers but this method will produce less amount of dust. Everything is possible, make sure to cover yourself.


Using the electric sanders of course would save a lot of time and less effort and less of your energy. Yes, if you do sanding with your hand it might take ages if you are working on big projects.


I might say that using the electric sanders is much easier than if you use your hands because you just need to move it around and it would do their job. Just don’t give it pressure because it will kick you back. While if you are using your hands, you have to non-stop rubbing the sandpapers to the woods which is harder and tiring.


Those that using electric sanders is less time consuming because it has the motor that moves it around while you have to non-stop rubbing the woods if you use your hands. So the electric sander is more effective in terms of time.

While in terms of effort, yet again because the electric sanders have a tool built in to move it around of course you could use less effort rather than those effort you have to spend on rubbing the woods until your desired smoothness. So, the electric sander is more effective in this term.

Ridgid Electric Sanders

But, on the other hand, in terms of the ability to reach those corner and small spaces, sanding with your hand is the winner. When you use your hands, it would give your more flexibility to reach those small corners because you could just fold the sandpaper or using a putty knife to help you reach that. While the electric sanders are big and stiff, only some of it that designed to reach small corner but even those are not gonna fully reach all of the isolated corner.


If you do great on both methods, the result would be pretty nice. You just have to learn how to operate the tools you have.


If you are going to use a lot of this machine, then invest in one of those electric sanders would be a great idea. But if you are not going to use the machine often, then hand sanding might do the job too.

Basic Knowledge About Planer

For those wood workers that often deal with big projects that need to work with big woods then you probably need this machine. If you want to step up your wood working game then this machine might be the answer. This tool or machine is a perfect addition to the finishing process.


While people talking about planer, they often connected it with jointer. Both of it are for wood working and both have different functions. A jointer is used to cut and level only some particular part or edges of a woods. While a planer is used for flatten out a woods so the whole woods, would have the same thickness, it would be parallel to the other sides. Which one to use first is based on what you need.

We are going to focus on the planer. So, do we really need to buy this machine? I think yes because it has quite a lot of benefits that would make such difference to your woodworking.

  1. Perfect for the finishing process for woodworking.
  2. Makes a perfect smooth surface.
  3. Makes a perfect parallel surface.
  4. Makes a perfect flat surface.
  5. Cut the woods into the perfect desired thickness.
  6. Create a nice grain wood’s surface.

There are several types of planer that you could buy. Each of them have different purposes too so you have to make sure which one is the best for your needs. Those five different categories are

  • Handheld planers
  • Thickness planers
  • Jointer planers
  • Portable planers
  • Benchtop planers

wood planner

Handheld planers are a planer that you can move it around with your hands. This planer usually used in the finishing process. Example if you need to shave just a very little tiny part of the woods, remove last wood’s strands, or smooth wood’s surface. Handheld planer would give you a precise cutting and thickness control as you wanted. It is easy to move around because you are the one who hold it, and you can cut the woods at the thickness level that you desired. This kind of planers do not need any electricity because most of them use battery.

On the other hand, this kind of planers also have some disadvantages. Because the control of this handheld is your hand so it won’t give to a very precise thickness for every cutting that you would make. Some of it are expensive so you have to take an extra effort to find the cheapest one.

Thickness planers are planer to make your woods at the same thickness. This would be perfect if you buy a rough wood that is cheaper rather than the usual semi- finished wood so you could use this machine to level and smoothen up your woods. This machine is so easy to use, mostly give you a perfect result, and doesn’t need any extra steps to take care of it.

Meanwhile, because this is a machine, you can only cut your woods to a limited thickness setting, probably going to be a hard work if you wanted a super thin woods. Some of the machine needs a couple of passes to get to your desired thickness and some also doesn’t gives you a precise cutting.

Jointer planers are machine that allow you to use both jointer and planer. For those who needs both of this machine and for those who are confuse which one to buy, you could just this machine instead.

This machine is not cheap so make sure that you really need this before you buy and make sure the machine is worth the money. Also, this jointer planers are quite dangerous to use, read the instruction, learn how to use them, and wear protection will prevent you get injured.

Portable planers are planers that you could easily carry somewhere. Of course it will adjust the model and machine to be lighter and more efficient so it is easy to move around. Those that are portable usually comes in a smaller size but with the same power and function to the real thing, this also applies to portable planers. Small size with great power.

A lot of advantages come from this machine besides the easiness to carry around, such as it only needs small spaces to keep it, easy to use (of course), light, great power, great performance, and not expensive. A few machine also have quite a long time, a few years warranty.

Benchtop planers are planers that used a flat surface or a benchtop to work with. This comes in a size just a little bit bigger than the portable planer. Some benefits that you would get by using this machine is you can basically work with any type of woods even the hard one because it has a strong motor, it would be able to work with deeper cuts of the wood, perfect control over the thickness, and perfect precisions about the cutting.

hand planer reviews

This machine could also be dangerous so you have to know how to use it first. Benchtop planers are relatively bigger than portable planer so it would take a lot more spaces to keep them, it would be heavier so might be pretty hard to carry around, and because it has powerful motor so it needs a lot of power.

Before you buy any of these, you have to know what are your needs so you could buy a machine that would perfectly fulfilled your needs.

Get all wood routing problems solved with Bosch 1617EVSPK

Ever since I started my career as a professional woodworker, I’ve found wood routing as one of the key areas of my job. The quality of the work much depends on how perfectly the routing is done. It all depends on two factors: one is the experience and training one has got and the other, the tools which he is using for routing the wood.

In my long journey as a professional woodworker for the last fifteen years, I have tried and tested many wood routers for varying routing needs at my workplace. I had never been satisfied with the quality of routing that I ended up.

Bosch 1617EVSPK 2.25 HP Router

Much depends upon the finest tools along with the skills of the woodworker in producing the finest quality. What tools are you using for routing the wood? The question is simple. And it is not difficult to find an answer. But it takes keen observation and long practice to come to a conclusion and suggest one for you.

Let me admit that I have faced numerous problems while I was routing the wood. The problems vary when the toughness of the wood changes. It depends on the wood you are routing. You can decide the right speed and the depth you want only after assessing the nature of the wood you are using for the work.

Bosch 1617EVSPK: A panacea for all wood routing problems

Honestly, it proved to be a panacea for all the problems I have encountered while I was at work. The superb features and the operational ease have made it one of the most useful tools.

I don’t have any hesitation to recommend the tool for any woodworker whether he is an amateur or professional. Whether novice or experienced, the problems are similar though understanding and skill of the worker differ.

The Problem of durability

It is obvious that durability of the tool is a vital aspect when it comes to the life of the tools one uses. Unfortunately, if it becomes a big issue there is no point in opting for the tool.

When you are in the middle of an important and urgent work and if your router troubles you, what will you do? It is one of the most wretched experiences to have when your favourite tool fails you.

I see durability and toughness of the instrument to withstand heavy duty when I select routers for my work. Fortunately, my long search has come to an end with Bosch 1617EVSPK.

The problem of sudden start

Nothing is more dangerous when the instrument you are using surprises you with abrupt starting. Not only will it lead to more torque but it will also cause serious injuries for the woodworker if he is not careful enough.

I strongly suggest a router that starts smoothly and softly. It not only reduces the torque but also provides you with the time to operate it efficiently with careful and gradual movement of the router.

Bosch 1617EVSPK - A panacea for all wood routing problems

The dilemma of Fixed base or Plunge

In choosing a proper wood router, it is not unnatural to find many woodworkers to fall in a dilemma. It is a question of going for either a fixed base one or a plunge router.

Frankly, many of the woodworkers need both the routers. It is a question of investment for a beginner who has independently started his wood working career.

I wanted to have a tool that can be used as both. My problem got resolved with Bosch 1617EVSPK which combines the features of both the routers.

The problem of consistency in speed

Another important problem that I have faced is the sudden drop in the speed when hallowing a hard wood piece. The job never completes in time! Unless we have a tool that is consistent in its speed that we have chosen, it is of no use for us.

I have found the router that I have named above as one of the most amazing machines I have ever seen. The advanced technology that is used in making the router makes it awesome which allows it to perform consistently at the same speed. I love the efficiency of this machine in keeping its speed consistently so well. It’s truly amazing.

The question of time

Many manufacturers promise that their routers are flexible and they can be used both as a fixed base and a plunge router. The problem is with the time it takes to convert the plunge into a fixed one and vice-versa.

Opt for the Bosch machine that I mentioned above as it does not take much time to convert into the one you like. It just takes only a few minutes. Thanks to the quick clamp system!

The Problem of varying speed requirements

As a woodworker you must be knowing it too well that you need routers that work at different speeds. The toughness of the material that we want to route and the depth of the routing that we require determine the speed we need.

I just cannot imagine how it is going to be economical and practically possible for a woodworker to maintain a good number of routers for different speeds. I wanted one router that can vary in its speed limits.

The router that has a minimum 8,000 rotations per minute to nearly 25,000 rotations per minute is an ideal one in the tool kit of any woodworker. The router I recommend just meets that requirement perfectly.

If I can find a tool that solves all the problems that I mentioned above, that is going to be the most useful router undoubtedly.

What Else You Could Do With Coffee Filter

Ever since the cold brew coffee technique became so popular lately, the other thing that became popular too is coffee filter. Cold brew is a coffee brewing technique that basically you brew your coffee with cold water, instead of hot water, put it in the fridge, and let it do its thing for a whole day. Then on the next day you need this coffee filter to strain and separate the coffee and the grinded coffee beans.

Coffee Filter

This tool is not only for the cold brew coffee technique. Other technique also use coffee filter because it is so useful in filtering between the beans and the coffee itself. That’s what it is for right. There are two kinds of coffee filter, the permanent coffee filter, so you could use it forever, and the other one is a disposable coffee filter, you could only use one then throw it to the garbage can.

For those coffee lovers might be interested in buying one of these, but sometimes they  come in a bundle and you might be thinking that is too much you might be wondering what else could it be used for. Those who are not really into coffee, might not be interested in buying one of these because you might think that you are not going to use it as a coffee filter. Let me tell you other uses of this coffee filter, which is A LOT, that could be useful for everyone.

  • As a disposable bowl: When you are out having a picnic, or while having a big gathering in the house, or while watching, this coffee filter could be a great ideas rather than the usual disposable bowl. This is a great bowl for snack, popcorn, candy, or nuts.
  • As a trash bowl that you put on your table. So whenever you are on your table, and got any trash, you could put it on the coffee filter trash bowl then after that you could put in the garbage. This is a great idea if you still using a pencil sharpener, so you could put the waste in the trash bowl.
  • As a tool to clean up your windows, glasses, mirrors, chrome, because these coffee filter are lint-free so if you cleaning up with these coffee filter it will give you a super clean result and sparkling.
  • Some of you might not like those tea in the tea bag. But on the other hand, you like to use a tea bag because it is simpler and less messier because you don’t have to drain them. Well, now you could make your own tea bag using coffee filter, of course using your favorite tea.
  • A melting ice cream or popsicle, might stain your clothes. Even sometimes you didn’t even know that they are dripping. Stuck on a coffee filter through the stick so it will prevent the ice cream and popsicle to drip to your clothes and hand, this will works too with candle.

coffee filter is very useful

  • Protect your fine china: Whether if you are going to ship them, carry them, or even just keep them in the cupboard, a scratch on your fine china is always a nightmare. Layer one coffee filter under each of the fine china so it will stay safe.
  • Polish your shoes: Yes you can now polish your shoes, with a coffee filter as the applicator.
  • Clean out nail polish: Besides shoe polish, you could also remove nail polish with the coffee filter as the applicator.
  • When you are heating up your food in the microwave, coffee filter are great as the cover.
  • Squeeze lemon or lime or anything that has seeds that you need to squeeze it, if you do not have the tools to separate the seeds and the juice, now you could use coffee filter for that use.
  • Put your bacon, or anything that you have been fried, put them on the coffee filter so it will soak up the excess oil from the fried foods.
  • Turn your ordinary coffee filter to an extraordinary and colorful craft that you could use as a decoration.
  • If you keep your veggies, sometimes it will wilting very fast. Now you could keep your veggies from wilting very fast by put a coffee filter in the package which you keep the veggies. It will soak up or adsorb the excess moisture that produced by the veggies so it will keep fresh a little bit longer.
  • A holder: Coffee filter is a great way to be a holder for foods, such as hot dogs, sandwiches, tacos, burritos, and even bread. This would also perfect for kids to hold their foods.
  • Keep soil in the pot: At the bottom of the pot, you could put a coffee filter then you could fill the soil. When you water your plant, the water drips down and so does the soil, it happens a lot. So when you have coffee filter at the bottom, the soil will still be in the pot and the water could still drips down.
  • Small things might be hard to keep and sometimes it is hard to look for it. Coffee filter might be the answer for that. You could use it for a place to put any of your small things, such as rubber band or clippers. It will look more organized and when you need it, it will be easy to find.