I've always hankered after a woodturning lathe but until now lack of space has prohibited it.However the Scheppach DMT450 stands on a tabletop rather than the floor and is therefore much easier to find room for. As with all Scheppach products it is solidly made and well thought out. The lathe has four speeds and comes with centres and a drilled face plate so it can take on most tasks straight out of the box. The spindle length of 445mm (17.5in) is adequate for turning chair legs, etc. and the max. rotational diameter of 254mm (10in) is enough to turn medium sized bowls. I have enjoyed testing it and really pushed it to its limits by turning a freshly cut chunk of beech at maximum rotational diameter. It's weight worried me but the lathe took it in its stride. I used a set of 67HS Robert Sorby turning chisels, a pair of RSS-976 callipers and Turning Green Wood by Michael O'Donnell for reference. They are all excellent and together make a great introductory set.
Kelly Kettle Goes Stainless
By popular demand there is now a stainless steel, 1.7l (3pint), version of the Kelly Kettle. I tried it with an optional chimney pot holder and it simultaneously boiled the water and heated a can of beans in around twelve minutes. Not a record, but not a bad performance given that I was using damp wood and it was raining.
My family have really embraced shopping locally and we do most of it on foot, but that means carrying everything home. Happily the makers of Turtle Bags have just launched Turtle Trolleys and we have been trying them out. Stylish and well made with robust frames and telescopic handles, they fold flat for easy storage and carry a good weight of shopping. The striped trolley bag is made by a women's co-operative in Sri Lanka and the red one is made from a recycled cement bag by a Bangladeshi women's uplift programme. They have been much admired and you don't feel like a granny pulling one. They have a pocket at the back which is an ideal place to keep a Turtle bag for those inevitable extra items.
Fed up with having dirty walking boots and wellies in the back of your car or hallway? Try a Boot Bag, strong, waterproof and smart, these bags solve the problem. And talking of problems...
Bye Bye Standby remote control
...my Bye Bye Standby modules get used a lot as I have them controlling my living room lights. So when the Online Controller came out I was intrigued to try it. It works via my broadband connection and means I can control all my modules from a web connection anywhere in the world.
I can even control them from my iPhone, a neat trick which impresses guests but is not really that useful. So what is it for? Well it's true you can simulate occupancy while you are away, and you could use one to switch on the coffee machine at work but that's not really enough is it? Then, talking to my brother-in-law, I realised it was the solution to his problem. His house is mainly heated by wood but he works away, so when he gets home it is cold. One online controller, two 3000W modules and two oil filled electric radiators and the problem was solved. Now he can remotely turn on the heat and arrive to a warm house having wasted the minimum of energy. Got a problem? Bye Bye Standby may be the solution.