Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Bark + Dryad

Walking through the Forest this morning came across these three...

The two outside ones are pretty obvious but the middle one is quite rare in the forest - the bark gives it away - any ideas?

A rare sight indeed is to spot a tree spirit actually in the act of emerging from its Winter hibernation!

Monday, 29 March 2010

Spoon turning

I like turning the handles on spoons and spatulas and when I split this chunk of Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) it was definitely saying spoon.

I found the wood when we were walking by the River Derwent in the Forge Valley Woods on our holiday in Yorkshire last November.  Sloe wood is beautiful to turn.

Axed blank

I marked one centre on the end of the handle near the bark edge and at the bowl end near the centre of the log to give a kick to the handle and mounted it on the lathe.

I suppose you could spend time rounding the handle more but I find it OK to proceed gently with a spindle gouge.  You can also turn the sides of the bowl to get a nice symmetry (but you're turning air a lot of the time!) and a decorative knop on the end of the handle.

Give it a burnish with a handful of shavings and carve out the bowl...

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Hedge Laying

I've heard or read that hedge laying was developed in Leicestershire in the 18th century as a way of maintaining the field hedges in a suitable condition for the horses to jump in a foxhunt.  Be that as it may it was nice to come across this chap in the Lee Valley Park today.

Getting near the end of the season he was obviously trying to crack on with it now that the sap's started to flow and the trees are budding out - ie working on a Sunday!

It does look much nicer than a flailed hedge

Friday, 26 March 2010

Back in the Swing

Had two guys here on courses this week.  Chris from Clacton, Essex on Wednesday

and Kevin from Stanbridge in Bedfordshire today

Kevin is a power lathe turner and had been given the course as a birthday present from his wife last October.  Chris googled 'green woodwork in Essex' after seeing the Monty Don Mastercrafts programme last month - and came up with me!  He's going to stand as a candidate for the Green Party at the next General Election and has bought an 8 acre wood in Clacton where we are going to go and run a workshop for him and some of his mates next month.
I'm glad it's all kicked off again and Spring has arrived - I was beginning to feel a bit stagnant.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Radio Bodger

We were out and about this morning walking the dog, shopping etc and intermittently listening to the radio.  There was an interesting phone-in show on Radio London about Crafts and when we got home I thought "I'll have some of that" and gave them a ring.  You can listen to my 3 minutes here between 2.14.00 and 2.17.30.
Unfortunately I went into motormouth mode and rambled on a bit.  I was going to get a plug for my website and mention the work of The Heritage Craft Association but got sort of cut off in mid flow.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

News from Somewhere

I've felt really poorly (and still do) since I picked up some kind of bug at the Abney Park Cemetery event.  My mate Gary who I went with has also had the same thing.

Had loads of enquiries about courses since Monty Don Mastercrafts about Green Woodworking - even though I don't like him and didn't think much of the programme it has generated a lot of interest.

Had a really nice walk in the Forest near Chingford Plain in an area where they regularly pollard the trees.

Unfortunately the brush is chipped and the branches are just left to rot...

That's a real shame as it's mainly Hornbeam - one of the best firewoods - and my god haven't we burned a massive amount of wood on the log burner during this Long, Cold Winter of Discontent.