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    We make bespoke made to order knives as well as limited run production knives to your specifications
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Welcome to the Tharwa Valley Forge

We aim to be the best knifemaking school in Australia, offering a wide range of courses and opportunities to learn and share skills. Regular classes are scheduled in a variety of topics. Since we started running classes, hundreds of people have been introduced to the art of custom knife making and successfully made their first knives.

The Tharwa Valley Forge was established in 2003 by bladesmith Karim Haddad to create high quality knives and tools, and to teach the skills necessary to do this. Karim was trained by Australia's first Master Bladesmith, Thomas Gerner, in the early 1990's in Western Australia. The Forge is located in village of Tharwa,  just south of Canberra, Australia.

Our website encourages this continual learning through sharing resources, tutorials and articles. We are always interested in feedback on how to make this site better. We hope you learn something from your visit, and come back soon and see us again.


multiplaz08The Multiplaz 3500 is a new kind of plasma machine from Russia that has some interesting potential for knifemakers. What is unique about the machine is that it welds, cuts, brazes and heats using only electricity, water and sometimes alcohol (metho). There are no other gasses used, saving a significant amount in consumables and running costs. It is light portable and versatile in its application. It can replace three separate machines in the workshop - oxy/acetalyene torch, welder and plasma cutter.

This is the first in a series of articles reviewing the Multiplaz 3500 - Unboxing.

I bought the Multiplaz 3500 from Fisher Discounts in Canberra, which is the sole supplier in Australia. One of their very keen staff members spotted it in a trade show overseas, brought it back in her hand luggage and the spent two years getting permissions to import these to Australia. They have only been on sale since October 2010 and going as fast as they can be imported. Mine was on special for $2350 (RRP is currently $2495, but is likely to go up in the future), which is about the price of a decent plasma cutter.

Opening the box

Mine been opened by the courier and then resealed (everything was intact). What surprised me on opening the box that there was minimal packing and the unit was neatly packed in its carry bag. The bag is a robust design, with pockets for everything and easy to carry. The full bag weighs in at only 9kg, making it easy to move around.

What is included

The Multiplaz 3500 comes with a full range of accessories, plus some generous spares to keep you going. There are no additional bits to buy, it is complete, something of a rarity with tools these days. The pieces seem well through through and well made. There is one odd looking tool that can take apart every part of the torch.

  • Power Supply - this automatically works on between 110V and 253V. It comes with a 15A plug, but the unit only draws 9.8A so can be used on a normal house hold supply.
  • 2 x Torches - to save you getting the two "fuels" mixed up, two torches are supplied. One for welding (which takes a water/metho mix) and one for cutting (which takes only water). They are identical except for some labelling on the side.
  • Protective tip
  • Combination wrench - which takes everything apart
  • Filler holder - for welding filling rods
  • Syringe  - to fill the torch with water or water/metho combination. 50ml water lasts about 30 minutes of cutting
  • 2 Torch holders
  • Plunger
  • Mode II Wire clamp
  • Specialised Graphite Lubricant
  • Ball support - for cutting along a guide
  • Support
  • Compass - for cutting small holes
  • Clamp bracket
  • Spare parts box - Nice little box with spares for the torches 
    • 2 Cathode assemblies
    • 3 Quartz tubes
    • 5 Cathodes
    • 6 Nozzles (with different sized holes)
    • 2 Springs
    • 1.1 drill bit for drilling holes in the nozzels
  • Case - Everything goes in
  • Operating manual - not too bad, with clear instructions and tables
  • DVD - really good and clear on how to use the Multiplaz 3500

See the gallery below for pics of the contents

Part two of the review is here.  Also have a look at these videos on youtube