pictures from the box making class in Kyneton Australia

The 2nd half of my Australia trip was with Glen Rundell, chairmaker in Kyneton, Victoria. Glen kindly hosted a class on making carved oak boxes. Here’s Glen & his son Tom working at carving during one  of our lunch breaks. 

He just happened to have some English oak he milled years ago, so we dove into carving; filling spaces as much as we could.

practice carving


heads down, everybody at work

Nine students worked all week; learning the carving patterns, then sizing the oak for each box. Working out the wooden hinge; fitting a till – it’s a deceptive project. Lots has to happen just right.

raking light


notches for the till

The corners were glued and pegged, Glen made short work of shaving enough pegs for everyone…

square peg round hole


box ready for lid

We used Peter Ross’ hand-made nails (a bag of nails in your luggage gives the folks in the X-ray area at the airport something to look at…) to attach the bottoms, and the cleats under the lids.

nailing the bottom


who’s the rubber-necker on the left?

The students did great work. Here’s a shot of 7 boxes – one got away before the photo, one student took his box home to assemble. 


It would take more than one blog post to cover Glen’s work. His website is here:  and Instragram

Glen & his wife Lisa also run the Lost Trades Fair – an astounding event that I hope to see some day ttps://

There’s also a retail shop in Kyneton, used to be called “The Chairmaker’s Wife” but now I think it’s Lost Trades: The Artisans Store –

and a few more Australian birds:

First, New Holland honeyeater

Eastern spinebill


Red wattlebird

Yellow faced honeyeater

yellow faced honeyeater

Rainbow lorikeet

rainbow lorikeet

Australia birds

I will get to the woodworking. But first…

Look – seems like just another instance of people ruining the planet, strewing trash all over, doesn’t it? Fooled you – (some of you, anyway) this is an intentional collection, assembled by a Satin Bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus).

I still can’t believe I got to see the Satin Bowerbird at his bower. Thanks to Paul Boyer and Rachel Clarke for hosting me, while I sat in the blind they made so I could watch this. I first learned of this bird through the web, somehow saw video of his display and creations. It’s pretty far out.

Satin bowerbird male

Here is the bower – a structure made of grasses and foliage, in this case, from the native cherry tree Exocarpos cupressiformus. The bower is a viewing platform for the female bower bird to use when the male is ready to strut his stuff. He has made this clearing in the first place, then built the bower, and gathered the goods. 

Satin bowerbird’s bower

While I was there, the female was around but she did not come down for the show.

Satin bowerbird, female

So mostly the male flitted in and out, and did some housekeeping. He had collected a variety of blue items to display outside the bower. The morning I was watching, he kept refining the arrangement – moving things here and there, and going in and out of the bower to tweak it just so.

Satin bowerbird bringing a feather

Here he’s got a blue feather to add to the pile. Then he was bringing yellow flowers and adding them alongside the blue plastic and feathers. I read that older males focus more strictly on blue items.

with a yellow flower

I would have loved to have seen the display/dance, when the female stands inside the bower, and the male dances around, carrying blue items in his bill. Who could resist?


Australia. Imagine that I went there…

When I started woodworking for real in the late 1970s, I had never been out of New England by myself. Barely out of Massachusetts. Then in 1980, I somehow made my way down to Drew & Louise Langsner’s in western North Carolina. Some years later, I started regularly going between here (Massachusetts), Pennsylvania and Langsner’s.

By now, woodworking has taken me to some great places; 5 trips to England, one to Sweden, one to Alaska, a couple times to North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota and numerous trips to Virginia, North Carolina and more.

But Australia is light years beyond all that. Boston to Anchorage Alaska is 4,558 miles. Sätergläntan (the craft school in Sweden) is closer, 3,612 miles. But to Kyneton, Victoria is 10,526 miles. Then over to Pambula Beach, then back to Kyneton. Then home.

Thanks to my hosts in Australia; Jeff & Jules Donne & the kids, Paul Boyer & Rachel Clarke and Glen, Lisa & Tom Rundell. (they should all be asleep as I write this.) You all took care of my every need, and made sure I saw more astounding birds than I could fathom. Oh, and we did some woodworking too. I’m starting to get night & day straight here, and got out my cold-weather clothes. As I sort the photos, there will be posts to come about the whole trip.