I am in Melbourne teaching some classes and have lots of good stuff to share. New woods, new tools, new techniques and new friends!
One of the main obstacles here, is the different variety of timbers that are readily available.
The woods here are absolutely unknown to me, such as gidgee, red gum, kaori, myrtle, houn pine and countless others.
Glen Rundell and Alistair Boell have worked very hard and exercised a great deal of ingenuity to make the available woods suit the windsor form. It makes me realize just how lucky I am to live where there is such an abundance of suitable chair wood.
Because the available woods don't split well, the spindle and arm stock is sawn first while green, being careful to follow the fibers. Once in billet form, it's on to the shavehorses, where the wood, a form of ash, behaved reasonably well.
Since I've been here, I've learned a lot that I look forward to sharing, and in the tradition of classroom innovation, some of the differences here have spurred on new thoughts that I'll take home to advance my own work.
One especially interesting technique that Glen and Alistair have developed, is this strap for bending the continuous arm bow. Even the most well behaved local timber won't bend without some form of strap, and these straps that they've come up with are ingenious, and work great!
Given the limitations of the wood, this class has proven itself to be a hardy lot, and quick with laugh to boot.