Friday, 28 August 2009

Knives & Forks

People get quite excited about making spoons - I like making knives and forks too...

Here's a selection of pasta and pickle forks, Swedish butter and paper knives that I've made to bulk up the stock for a show we're doing this Bank Holiday Weekend at Hainault Forest Country Park.

With money being tight at the moment it's good to have some low price items for children to buy. We've developed a big range of things for a fiver or less.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The right kind of shavings

Dave Stovell came on an advanced course with me yesterday. He brought his own lathe (Pole Lathe 2000 model) as he thought that could be part of the cause of his problems - it wasn't.

He was having a few problems with various aspects of turning - one of which was the use of the skew chisel. I got him to turn a string of balls and eventually he started to produce the right kind of shavings. They should look like thin strands of "angels hair" when the tool is being used correctly to plane such a surface.

We also discussed sharpness - there's a big difference between a tool which seems sharp and will cut and a razor sharp edge which will shave hair.

Thursday, 20 August 2009


I did a demonstration yesterday evening for the Chelmer Valley Woodturners at Chelmsford. They rather quaintly paid me with a bag of cash...

Jed still thinks he's a lap dog - too big for that really now. Here giving Ness a birthday cuddle.

A customer recently came to drop off a stool for reseating in this rather gorgeous E-type Jag. Probably in better condition than when it left the showroom in 1961-2.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Re:The Plinth Thing

Is it Art ? Is it Life ?

I expected a few more comments about this. It's quite an important event and I feel priviledged to have been involved.

I thought it would start some sort of discussion - somewhere - in cyberspace.

Have none of you regular blog readers got any thoughts on the matter ???

The sound of a chorus of dogs barking (Jed, Millie & Ava) in Trafalgar Square at that time of day was memorable...

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Plinth Lag

The Moon was auspicious...

but the arc lamps gave a terrible light to work in.

As I was carving the bowl of the spoon I managed to snap the stem and had to repair it with gaffa tape!! Also I ran out of time and only managed a couple of mouthfuls of breakfast before the cherry picker was up to fetch me.

It was a mad little interlude which can't really be put into words - so watch it HERE.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Plinth -1

I'll spend my hour on The Plinth in just over a day. Funny how it's come up so quickly after the excitement and anticipation. I expect the hour will fly by - my Mum said "Will it take an hour to carve a spoon then" !

It'll be interesting to drive into Central London, haven't done it for nearly 20 years, but there's no Congestion Charge and (hopefully) loads of parking available.

So you all know where I'll be between 4 and 5 am (London time) on Sunday.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

New Forest

We're really rediscovering lots of different parts of Epping Forest lately... with Jed leading the way most of the time.

Saw this massive Ganoderma (applanatum?) on a big old Beech pollard - also known as "The Artist's Pallette Fungus" because you can scratch designs, initials etc into the underside with a twig or finger nail.

We often come across these natural amphitheatres where someone has set up a big swing - I never can resist a go...

Jed's on the right if you click on the picture

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Bowl Turning Club

Had a meet-up on The Plot today with Jon, Stefan & Gary. We tuned-up and had a go on some bowl turning lathes we've recently made.

I had to knock up the tool rest quickly and it still needs some tweaking. The bobbin works well but the uprights were too thin and springy.

Jon's is a lathe that he made on a Ben Orford course at The Cherrywood Project near Bath and is bungee powered.

I managed to make a bowl from spalted Birch...

What a great day. It felt like a pre-inaugural meeting of the Essex & East London Chapter of the Bodger's Association - we'll have to work on that...

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Recycling timber into cabins

My mate Justin who lives in Canada
- with some of his demolition/reclaim buddies.

I asked what the timber was...

"It's 100 year old douglas fir. Goes hard like iron, but shines up like a penny with oil or varnish. I hate the shit. gives splinters. Much, much prefer freshly felled oak." (Freshly felled anything ?!)

Well done for liberating it - that's a good haul. Wear gloves.

He wants to use the reclaimed timber to build some cabins like this. The ones I liked didn't have plans available.

Anyone know any other websites with log cabins and plans ?

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Work Bench

There were a load of offcuts of 4"x2" piled up in a friend's garden when I went round for a barbecue. "What are you going to do with it" I asked. "Put it on the fire" he said. So I ended up loading it in the back of the truck.
It hung around for a bit until I had the idea of making a bench with it.

Very useful for drilling stool and chair parts it also doubles as a handy drinks table in the garden. Also as Mike Abbott says of Champion the Lumber Horse - "a design that uses materials that are easy to obtain for people without access to woodlands".

Mike Abbott's
Champion the Lumber Horse

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Treewright Banner

I've sorted out a couple of banners that I'm going to take on the Plinth and also use for future publicity. They were printed by a local company.

Sean Hellman took the picture of the leaves and mirrored it in his inimitable style. In the middle this forms a Green-leaf Goblin...

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Tool rests

The tool rest which a lot of (most) bodgers use is a long stick which sits across projections at the back of each poppet (Head and Tailstock). These are probably ok if you're just turning chair components but not suitable for more complicated spindle turning.

I think it was Hugh Spencer (Bodger's webmaster) that I first saw using one like this...

The rest is held to the bed with a long bolt which tightens with a large Oak 'nut' into which I araldited a captive nut.

I made this one as part of a lathe I built using reclaimed and recycled timber. It's a chance to turn the central pillar and the last time you have to use that old stick rest !

The tusk tenon is similar to the way the poppets are held in the bed.

Designs could probably be altered, adapted and improved...


We spotted this lizard yesterday - unusual and exciting. I think it's the first time we've seen one in the 20 odd years we've been going to The Forest

Monday, 3 August 2009

Wet & Dry



Pictures say it all . . .

Had some great meals in The Holme Bush at Corfe Mullen. Peter Jameson popped in to see us on Saturday evening.

I feel knackered...

Someone is coming on a course on Wednesday - then we've got a break until "The Plinth" on the 16th.