Friday, 28 December 2007


After the massive build-up, excitement and expectation of Christmas it can seem a bit deflated and dull afterwards.
We didn't have our traditional walk in the Forest as the weather was so wet and gloomy - just cosied up had a fire and an excellent meal. Had another massive meal on Boxing day at Vanessa's parents. So I was glad to get up to Gaynes Park yesterday and get the good physical exercise that beating requires - running around the estate cracking flags, whoopin and hollerin and having a gas with the lads. Coming home with a few brace of birds to a hot bath and a pint is the payoff. A happy tiredness.

Sunday, 23 December 2007


Painting and decorating is quite good fun up to a point but I have cut it a bit fine to finish it by Christmas ! I think the problem is having to work round things and move them all the time. ( I think the woodwork might only get one coat for now)

Was listening to some Chuck Berry & Peter Tosh - Good painting music.

We've put up some Chinese paper lanterns.
Have a look. . . . .

Friday, 21 December 2007


Been doing the painting today. Vanessa's sister Jackie and her daughter Natalie came over for lunch and posed afterwards for this shot !

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Finishing the stool parts

Had a frozen breeze blowing down my neck as I finished these parts. Now I can get down to the important business of painting the living room (!)

Monday, 17 December 2007


If you click on the photos they come up really big.


I can't believe the errors in yesterdays blog, spelling, punctuation etc, for which I can only apologize. That should be "wallpaper stripper" not stipper. Always a bad misteak to have a few drinks then start blogging or emailing !
Have a picture to look at that my sister Lizzy took the other day

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Steam bending

I like heating wood with steam and bending it into nice curves - don,t do it often enough. The steaming rig is a piece of downpipe with a batten taped to it to stop it going too floppy when it gets hot. There's a removable wooden bung with a little hole in it and a bung in the other end drilled to take the pipe from a wallpaper stipper which gives 1.5 hours of steam - just enough for a 1.5" diameter piece of wood.
The bending jig is a la Mike Abbott and I didn't put the fulcrum quite near enough the end. That makes it quite hard to bend relatively short lengths of wood. Still - you live and learn ....


These are the longest (29") and thinnest (1.5") turnings I've ever done and tested my skill as a turner to get a good finish on them as they tend to flex quite a lot. They're for the seat rails of a new design footstool I'm trying out.
Maybe next time I'll shave them rather than turning.

A very pleasant pheasant plucker

We've been working outdoors today - Ness plucking phezzies and I've been doing some turning and steam bending. A lovely bright, cold day. The moon had come up by the time I'd finished.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Hooray !

Put out the flags ! Problem finally sorted. We took the Belkin router back to PCWorld (yuk) and exchanged it for a D-Link one which was £50 cheaper (touch). Plugged it all in, booted it up, configured it etc and everything now works perfectly. Such a relief after the nightmare and time spent on the problem.
Time to get back to the REAL world and REAL life now.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Pheasant hunt

Third shoot of the season at Gaynes Park, Epping and a beautiful, crisp, clear, sunny day for it. I'd rather be here than in London's West End any day. The only trouble was that not many beaters turned up but those that did were a crack squad and we put up loads of birds for the guns who were the owner of the estate and his mates. They weren't brilliant shots so loads escaped to fight again another day. I secretly cheer those birds.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Same problem

Rupesh from Go-Plus phoned at 8am yesterday and we spent another hour trying to set up my Mail account. I kept asking if it was a problem with the wireless router - perhaps the way it had initially been set up. "No" he didn't think so.
Phoned back in the afternoon for another session. He'd apparently set up my account with password etc on his computer and it had worked. Again I mentioned about having no problems if I 'piggy-backed' onto the net via a neighbours broadband. He didn't think it was the router and tried some clever tricks with numbers rather than letters. No luck. I said I had booked a session with the Genius Bar at the Apple shop in Regent Street for today which he thought was a good idea as there must be a problem with my computer.
We flogged up to the West End for the second time in a week and I queued up to speak to a "Genius" ! He listened to what I had to say - we connected up to the stores broadband. Everything worked perfectly ! "There must be something wrong with your router or in the configuration of the ports" he told me, "your machine is fine".
So the router goes back to the shop on Friday to be exchanged for one that works properly - he suggested a Netgem.

Saturday, 8 December 2007


We just had to go out for a walk after the cooped-up feeling of yesterday. Got absolutely soaked even with waterproof, wellies and big hats.
This afternoon I split the billets from half an ash log (10"x30") for a new footstool I have in mind. Also made a new bending jig from an old fence post as the seat rails are going to be steam-bent. Unfortunately bad light stopped play around 4 o'clock but I'll look forward to that tomorrow.
I like the steam bending process.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Waste of a day ?

Another day spent slaving over a hot, sweaty, reluctant computer.
I've had trouble with the Mail application - it wouldn't send messages for about 12 hours. Got in touch with Utilities Warehouse tech support and spent about an hour on the phone. At one point he took over remote control of the screen - it's quite weird to watch the arrow whizzing round guided by another hand ! Well he finally admitted defeat and arranged for a Super Expert to contact me on the mobile. He tried a few clever tricks, even set up a new e-mail account. The result of which ??? - nothing works at all now ! Still he's promised to phone back on Monday morning at eight to see how I'm getting on . . . .
Watch this space for new developments.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Up in 'the smoke'

We've been up (or down) to London today for our annual pre-Christmas jaunt. . . .
The best part for me is always sitting in the front, upstairs in a double-decker bus going from Liverpool Street station to Tottenham Court Road. You go through the City - past The Bank of England and St Pauls. It's just so busy, so vibrant , so many people bustling about, so much to see, I almost suffer from visual stimulus overload. There's loads of building work going on everywhere - sites being demolished, cleared and rebuilt. We heard a kid say to his Mum - " When will the world be finished ?"!!! !!!
Tin Pan Alley (Denmark Street) is and always has been quite appealing to me being full of guitar shops. From there we headed down to Chinatown (like stepping into another world) where we bought some colourful paper lanterns to use as this years decorations, up through Soho to Chappell's then to jolly old Oxford Street to M&S and BHS and finally we got the bus back as it was getting dark and saw this years Christmas lights - they are really delightful.
This is about as far from Bodging as you can get but I really enjoyed myself - and spent a few pence.

By the way a tip I got from a real expert was to switch off my wireless router (reboot it) and then back on - this seems to have sorted out the problems but still can't get into Hotmail.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Tits-up & Pear-shaped !

Oh God !!! Come the apocalypse/revolution/whatever they'll have to put it on hold because we'll all be staring at a screen, wild-eyed, punching madly at buttons and tearing our hair out.
I foolishly thought that getting our own wireless broadband would make everything a lot easier but it hasn't - it's got a lot worse.
Neither of my browsers (Safari & Firefox) will work properly - "can't contact the server". "failed to open page" messages are all too familiar at the moment. My Mail & Hotmail won't load properly - when I have managed to get onto Mail it won't send messages and won't quit when I want. My password and username for my ISP aren't recognised even when I've checked and been told they are correct. AND I've been told I'm not connected to the net even when I obviously AM ! O! brave new world. What to do? What would you do dear reader ?
I went down the garden and whittled some moist wood into useful items - it felt SO REAL!!!!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Gosh ! December already ?

Spent yesterday driving down to Kent and acting as a removal man for my sister, Clare and niece, Jessica. They only moved about quarter of a mile but had a fair bit of gear to shift. The washing machine was the worst part. In the evening we had a bit of a housewarming. My mum, Rona, sisters Jane and Lizzie and brother-in-law Nigel were there too. Worst part was driving back up the motorways (M2 & M25) in the pouring rain and high wind. The lorries were sending up such a lot of spray I just couldn't see even with the wipers going full speed - thought I was going to die any second.

Today we've bought a wireless router and now have our own broadband connection. So no more nicking it from outside in the road ! no more piggy-backing ! no more cursing when the neighbours go away and switch it off !

Dave Elliot came round with Mk2 of the Pole Lathe Drive (see photo). It worked quite well but still needs a few refinements. Watch this space.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007


Had a guy from Colchester here today on a course - Cliff Jones. He was really keen to learn all he could about green woodwork, asked lots of intelligent questions and took a lot of notes. He's been working in the IT sector and has suddenly realised that there's more to life than "chasing the dollar", that the best things in life really ARE free (such as sitting round a fire in a woodland chatting and drinking tea). He asked me to assess his potential as a green woodworker and I think he could definitely make it.
It was a pleasure to teach him and he really picked my brains.

I notice that nobody ever leaves a comment on my blog. Is there anyone out there reading it ? ? Why am I writing it ? Answers on a postcard please.

Visit my website www.treewright,


Had a guy from Colchester here today on a course - Cliff Jones. He was really keen to learn all he could about green woodwork, asked lots of intelligent questions and took a lot of notes. He's been working in the IT sector and has suddenly realised that there's more to life than "chasing the dollar", that the best things in life really ARE free (such as sitting round a fire in a woodland chatting and drinking tea). He asked me to assess his potential as a green woodworker and I think he could definitely make it.
It was a pleasure to teach him and he really picked my brains

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Autumncleaning the workshop

Had a really good clear out in the workshop over the last couple of days. Got rid of a ton of cobwebs and all those little bits of wood I was saving in case they came in useful. In fact I had a small fire going all day and have now discovered the bench and vice that was buried underneath ! The thing that spurred me on was that someone is coming on a course tomorrow and I’d feel really embarassed for them to see it in that chaotic state.

I haven’t been able to find a broadband connection lately but hopefull that will change soon when this new deal from the Utilities Warehouse kicks in - free landline phonecalls, broadband and cheaper electricity and gas.

For anyone with an Apple Mac or using iPhoto to manage their pictures check out a free download on the Apple site. Its called iPhoto Library Manager and is a doddle to use.
I also downloaded Google SketchUp for free but it’s far too complicated - 3D walkthrough etc. I only want to be able to do simple(ish) tech drawings, diagrams etc.

Autumncleaning the workshop

Had a really good clear out in the workshop over the last couple of days. Got rid of a ton of cobwebs and all those little bits of wood I was saving in case they came in useful. In fact I had a small fire going all day and have now discovered the bench and vice that was buried underneath ! The thing that spurred me on was that someone is coming on a course tomorrow and I’d feel really embarassed for them to see it in that chaotic state.

I haven’t been able to find a broadband connection lately but hopefull that will change soon when this new deal from the Utilities Warehouse kicks in - free landline phonecalls, broadband and cheaper electricity and gas.

For anyone with an Apple Mac or using iPhoto to manage their pictures check out a free download on the Apple site. Its called iPhoto Library Manager and is a doddle to use.
I also downloaded Google SketchUp for free but it’s far too complicated - 3D walkthrough etc. I only want to be able to do simple(ish) tech drawings, diagrams etc.

Friday, 23 November 2007


Hooray ! the Bodgers Gazette finally arrived today (the quarterly journal of our Association of Pole Lathe Turners see I suppose I should be in the Bungee Lathe Turners really as I don't use a pole much. I wonder if it will have as many speling misteaks in it when Sue is the Editor ? Peter Jameson phoned me and we both agreed that it was a shame for a 'green' organisation to have its journal delivered in a non-recyclable plastic bag rather than the old brown envelope that we could re-use. Also I wish they'd put my website details in as all the other professional bodgers are there. I'll just have to do it myself . . . .WWW.TREEWRIGHT.CO.UK

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Tapas & Logs

Been sorting out the woodpile and chopping logs in the last couple of days. Got a nice big pile of winter firewood now.

Tonight we went to a tapas bar in Harlow (?!) with Anne & Gary. It was the first time I've eaten that type of food and I really enjoyed it. There was a young Spanish guy playing flamenco and latin jazz on the guitar so the ambient atmosphere was perfect. Could almost have been in Seville whatever that's like.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

1 less beehive

Enjo & Gillian came and took one of the beehives away today - couldn't have been less suitable weather. Cold, mizzly and grismal, low clouds - it never really got light. Just the sort of day to cosy up with a good book which I DID. Picked up a copy of "A Reverence for Wood" by Eric Sloane ISBN 0486433943. It was first published in 1965 and reprinted by Dover Books in 2004. I thoroughly recommend it, in fact I recommend any and all of his books if you can find them. Wonderful drawings and a reader friendly style of writing.

Photo is of my grandad Charlie Fawcett on the day in 1916 that he signed his indentures to become an apprentice joiner.

Visit my website and give wood not plastic this Christmas

Saturday, 17 November 2007


We went down to see my dad and Velma in Faversham. He's recently had a bowel cancer operation and now has a colostomy. he looks good on it though and still retains a wicked, childish sense of humour (see photo wearing my hat). This is a stunt he used to pull when we were kids where he drops his false teeth down over his lip and frowns. They have just got an Apple Mac laptop on which I showed Velma a few tips and tricks. Went and had a lovely meal out at The Alma in Painters Forstal - I had one of the best steak and kidney puddings available in England.

First shoot of the season at Gaynes Park near Epping where my mate Tony is the gamekeeper. I am one of the raggle taggle beaters and I love the craic. I hate guns though and would find it difficult to shoot a pheasant myself but we get paid in birds for our help and I brought two brace of hens home. The guns seemed to have it in for the ladies today - or perhaps there just aren't as many cocks this year. Unfortunately after some brilliant, sunny but frosty days recently it was cold, dull and rainy. I didn't feel like going all that much but I'm glad I did because as Tony says "people out there pay a lot of money to get that kind of cardio-vascular exercise" ! I will sleep well tonight.

Funny face

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Wrong one

I can't believe I uploaded the wrong photo. This technology gets me in a spin and sends me slightly (more) mad. I don't think I'll bother with this blog for a while unless something faintly exciting happens.

THAT photo - 4th try

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Lazy Day

Having a bit of a lazy lay-in this morning when there was a knock on the door at 8.15. We had forgotten the boiler was being serviced today so had to leap up sharpish.
Spent the morning redesigning the layout of our course leaflet which looks good. Most people can access the courses through the website but there are quite a few who hate the web and want hard copy. In the afternoon we went up to Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire to look round the antique galleries and for a bite of lunch. I found a really good leather tool pouch for £3.50 and a Robert Sorby drawknife for £6. Ness got some green glass earrings.

Here's another shot of Epping Forest last week in its Autumn Glory - I bet it doesn't look like that now after all the wind and rain. (10 minutes later it doesn't look as if Blogger wants to upload my pic. Has it got an irrational fear of Autumn scenes?). No it just won't do it - I'll try again later - I'm not being freaked by glitchy, stubborn technology.

By the way the crayons (see yesterday) are £5 for a bundle of four.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Woburn Safari Park

You would never bet on whether you were going to make money or not at these events. There are too many random influences at work - phase of the moon, general feelgood factor, the fact that everyone has just spent a fortune on fireworks etc etc. We've been places where we made a pile of cash before and done hardly any business and vice versa. You have to be philosophical and hope for the best and expect the worst. This was not a good one which was quite dispiriting given the amount of hard work and energy we put in. The Wildebeest just weren't grazing - a lot of the "3P's" ie Pick it up, Put it down and Push off.
We did sell quite a few of the new line in twig crayons though (see pic). Available now - contact us through the website

Friday, 9 November 2007

Getting ready for the final show of the year

Last couple of days have been frantic trying to make up stock for the weekend. Let's hope it's worth it.
Andy from across the road has been painting the front of the house - something I just can't seem to get round to (along with all the other bits & pieces !).

Here's the photo which vanished and left a question mark.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Blogspots a bummer

What the hell happened to the beautiful Autumn scene I downloaded yesterday ? Why's it been replaced by a question mark ? ? ? ? ? ? I'll plague you with Autumn scenes from now on. (See todays)


Andy from over the road is painting our windows and porch at the front. I had to do a lot of running around this morning for wood hardenenr/stabiliser and 2part filler. I hate painting. It'll look great.

Finished off 21 whistles and a load of french knitters.

Played the guitar - "A Taste of Honey" - very good for you. Put honey on your
lips to make them extra kissable.


BUY Wooden presents this year for Christmas ! !

Why are so many blogs just porn & gambling ? ?

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Epping Forest on fire

We had a walk through Epping Forest today - what a beautiful place it is at the moment. Apparently conditions have been perfect this year to give great Autumn colour and the beech trees are definitely going for it. I think it's a few years since it looked so amazing and the sun through the canopy made it look as if it was on fire. Of course it helps that we have had no gales to blow the leaves off.
We headed for Loughton Camp which is an Iron Age hill fort deep within the forest and quite hard to find unless you know the way, which we do. It's full of ancient beech pollards which have formed the most outrageous, twisted and deformed shapes. If you stand long enough staring you can see the sylvan spirits trying to manifest themselves (plenty devils and witches). The only disappointment is that photographs don't do any of it justice - you have to actually be there.

This afternoon I finished off some beaters and started on making a batch of hazel whistles. This is all part of the drive to make new stock ready for the 2 day show this weekend at Woburn Abbey. Sometimes I feel that trying to keep a full stock of the range of items I produce is like the guy trying to keep all his plates spinning on sticks - now and then they fall off but so what?

Monday, 5 November 2007

Kitchen floor

Finally I've managed to take up the floorboards in the kitchen and put down some sheets of chipboard. Its a bummer - half the floor has concrete with no damp course and the other half is boarded and going rotten. I feel as if I have bitten a bit of the bullet. Also we took the fridge and put it outside.
Anthea who lives over the road came over with her two little kids and we identified some different leaves that they had picked up on their travels.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Just when you think its all over - I'm back !

Haven't been able to pick up any broadband lately but all this should change with the advent of our cost cutting package from The Utilitiy Warehouse which includes broadband, free phone calls, cheap gas etc etc. This is via my sister Lizzie so if interested contact me.

Spent most of the week in the garden enjoying the lovely Autumn sunshine and making up stock for Woburn Abbey next weekend. Had a phone call yesterday from a Scots guy who wants to order 4 spurtles after seeing the film of me making them on Dorset Cereals website. During the week we received a big box of Dorset Cereals products as a thank-you for making the website film - might keep us going for most of the winter.

Going out for firework fun and food at Anne & Garys tonight....

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Autumn workshop

After a fairly hectic period I decided to sort out the workshop. It tends to get clogged up with piles of logs which are either saying "burn me" or "make me into something". So I've chopped firewood, made a load of wedges and blanks for spinning tops with the 2 holes drilled through.
It was a gorgeous, golden Autumn day today. We went to drop some gear over on our plot and found that woodpeckers have pecked two holes into one of the beehives - the one we are giving away ! Probably this means we'll have to fix on mesh all the way round.

Sunday, 28 October 2007


My sister Lizzie and her husband Nigel came to see us today with their lovely miniature Schnausers(?) Millie and Ava. We all had a good meal, chat, drink and a play with the dogs. Lizzie gave me a great hat that she bought in New Zealand. It's leather with a wide brim and folds up - it was too big for her but fits me perfectly.
The sun didn't show up - it rained most of the day.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

A week in the life

As you see, I haven't logged on for nearly a week. This wasn't reluctance to do so but because the neighbours whose broadband I use had the cheek to go away and switch it off !

Put together a short film of me making a spurtle for Dorset Cereals. You can see it on their website at:
Its a bit jerky so I'm going to try and send them a higher resolution copy.
Dave Elliot came round with a nearly finished version of the Mk1 Pole Lathe Drive for me to have a look at. He came on a course with me a couple of weeks ago and I found out he was an enthusiastic amateur engineer. I explained what I was after and he agreed to have a go. I made a boxwood bobbin and he's fitted in a Delrin core, brass bushes, ball races etc - it looks very hi-tec and impressive.
In the evening we went to a concert at Broxbourne Civic Hall - "Vivaldi by Candlelight" - by The Locrian Ensemble. They were all dressed up in wigs and costume of the period and played some lovely baroque music. The second half was The Four Seasons and the encore was a tongue-in-cheek baroque version of "My Old Man" which they called "The Cock Linnet Song" - very funny and uplifting.

Wasted quite a bit of time driving round trying to piggy-back on someone elses broadband but no luck.
Dave Elliot came round again with the finished version of the Mk1 Pole Lathe Drive - he must have been working all night ! Well we fitted it onto the lathe and had a go but there were a few teething problems so watch this space for news of Mk2. When it's working I'll publish a photo and explain what it actually does.
Phoned Oliver, the webmaster, about something to do with the website. He seemed upset and close to tears. Told me his Mum had died the previous night. I commiserated and told him not to think about anything as mundane as websites at a time like that

Packed a load of gear into the van and went off to Norfolk for three days.

First two days in Burnham Market with Alec & Ben (10 & 11 years old) teaching pole lathe turning and green woodwork. We went up before at the end of March and afterwards Ben almost made his own lathe except for the poppets (that hold the work) so I spent the first day helping him to make them. They both made a fire making bow drill based on one found in Tutankhamens tomb and we all used up vast quantities of energy trying to produce an ember. Which we did several times but probably due to inexperience didn't quite manage to turn it into a flame but I did burn my fingers a bit so we eventually counted it as a sucess and went back to doing some turning.

Stayed in a Travel Lodge at Norwich and in the morning drove down toward Diss for a woody event at Tyrrels Wood (a Woodland Trust woods) organised by Mike Ryder as a thank you to the volunteers there. Had to schlep all the gear quite a long way into the wood but luckily there was a horse (Perkins) and cart to do most of the carrying. Will Wall had his bowl turning lathe and a have-a-go lathe, there were basket makers, hurdle maker and a lady weaving a willow figure of a Green Woman. Fire, tea, cakes etc were provided, everyone had a good time and we finally arrived home at 8pm after a horrible journey down the A11 & M11 feeling absolutely shattered.

Chilling hard !
and catching up on this blog. It reminds me of keeping a diary when I was young - sometimes I would miss doing it for a while and then feel guilty and fill in each day with something like: Got up, had breakfast, went to school, came home, watched telly, had tea, did homework, went to bed. Sometimes I can't remember what happened yesterday let alone last week.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Ely Apple Festival

A brilliant but tiring day in Ely. I was going to get up at 5am but woke up at 4 and couldn't sleep again. Had a gorgeous day in the brilliant autumn sunshine right outside Ely Cathedral (see pic). I made a fair bit of stuff but sold loads and we came home with pockets full of cash !
Then we had an excellent fish and chip supper in Waltham Abbey - bought some beers on the way home and now I'm going to mong out.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Loose ends

Spent the last couple of days tying up loose ends (there are still a lot left).
Couldn't resist getting another load of wood from that road building site specially because it will end up in landfill if I don't. Also someone I am going to see next week asked me if I could get any lime for carving (lime is best for this - Grinling Gibbons did most of his work in it). There was loads still there but bulldozed into big heaps.
Made some mallets and some ball-and-spikes (a type of bilboquet where the ball has a hole and you have to catch it on the spike). Finished off some spoons and kitchen utensils and made a large batch of crayons - they were a hit at the conker festival. Tomorrow we are off to Ely for their Apple Festival

Why are so many of these blogs just basically porno sites ? Answers on a postcard please.

Don't give plastic this Christmas - give wood. Visit my website at

Wednesday, 17 October 2007


Today we had a look at the bees. Probably the last of the year. We'll leave them to collect the nectar from the ivy, which is their last crop of the year, and that will see them through the winter.
We have to get rid of one hive. We only want enough honey for us and I haven't kept track of the amount we've robbed from them this year but it's coming out of our ears. There's jars, pots, tubs and buckets of honey everywhere even though we've given quite a lot away. And wax too - I'm going to start making up some polish from it during the close season.
The thing about extracting the honey is that it is a hot and sticky business. Last time we were a bit late and the honey had gone hard in the comb so we couldn't use the extractor (like a centrifuge). Instead we had to cut all the comb out of the frames, melt it all down (not too hot), separate the wax from the honey and strain it.
Too much.
So - one hive has to go.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Hi tec - low tech

It was raining and miserable today so Vanessa and I spent more time developing our website.
Oliver, the webmaster is a hard taskmaster and insists that we understand what we are doing all the time.
I have an instinctive knowledge of what happens when an axe bites into wood or how a chisel smooths it but NOT how Google works or what htm. or a browser is - but I'm trying.

P.S. I'd rather have been making spurtles down the garden
P.P.S Why are so many blogs just porn sites ??? !!!

Monday, 15 October 2007


Today I've been making spurtles from beech. A spurtle is a stick with a thistle turned on the end which the Scots (and others) use for stirring their porridge. I have to make quite a lot for an order from Dorset cereals - they're going to be prizes ? in a competition I think.
It focuses your mind when you have to make a lot of one thing. You can see the improvement in your finish and tool techniques.

Sunday, 14 October 2007


You can see where I've been today if you enlarge the photo a bit.
Box Moor Conker festival near Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. It's good to know that these old traditions are being kept alive. The conkers near us weren't even picked up this year (except by me) and I know that a lot of schools have banned the game as being too dangerous on the advice of the Health and Safety Executive. Where's fun without a bit of danger ?!
A mate said 'I wonder how long you'll keep this blog up for'. Well I don't know, I was just going to write when I felt like it. Didn't log anything yesterday. I was busy preparing for today - especially making some crayons from hazel twigs. Red, yellow,
green and blue. It's a new line and we managed to sell 5 sets today.

See my website at

Friday, 12 October 2007

More free wood

Just couldn't resist fetching another load of that wood today !
Why is it nearly always feast or famine ?

Have had a short film of me making a rounders bat from a log put on my website.
Have a look at

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Free raw materials

Green woodwork was a hobby from 1995 till 2000 when I decided to make it my job. I was employed as a tree surgeon so every day could bring home a different type of wood to try out. Logs are either dumped in landfill or burnt as firewood.
Nowadays I root about in logpiles looking for something suitable - it must be freshly felled and of the right species for the job in mind.
Imagine my delight when going to buy some drill bits today I went past a place where quite a large parcel of trees had been felled. I asked if I could have some logs of sycamore if there were any. "Yes, take as much as you want." I was told. Well in rooting about found a big log of field maple which is better than sycamore, a log of silver birch and one of lime. All excellent woods for making kitchenware, bowls etc as they don't taint or taste. And all for free ! - the guys wouldn't even take a drink.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


My mate Gary has set up a forge on a patch of land we own and where we have planted quite a lot of interesting species of tree.
Mulberry, Liquidambar, Walnut and Stone Pine to name but a few.

Its good fun beating pieces of red hot steel into useful shapes. Thirsty work. Blacksmiths must have been big drinkers. Most modern blacksmiths make gates or 'art' pieces. Rare to find one now who will make certain specific tools and know how to temper them so they hold an edge. So ultimately you have to learn how to do it yourself.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

A Bodgers Blog


Were the 19th century itinerant workers in the Chiltern beechwoods to the North West of London who made the sticks, legs and stretchers to supply the Windsor chair industry at High Wycombe. (Some also worked from home in a shed at the end of the garden like I do)
Often they lived and set up a workshop deep within the forest rather than fell the timber and take it home with them. So only finished components left the forest.
They used very few and simple hand tools and were expert craftsmen.

Unfortunately the term has completely changed its meaning in the last 100 years and a "bodger" is now someone who is inept and ruins a job.

I'm not a bodger because I make all manner of items on my pole lathe - try Googling treewright and see what comes up