Thursday, 29 July 2010

A Week in the Life

In a bit of a whirl lately.

This time last week we'd just come back from Yorkshire.  The guy on the pitch next to us at the Driffield Show had this 'ossgine...and has a farm at Kirkheaton where my grandfather lived.

We had a great time walking on the beach and paddling at Fraisethorpe...
A Spikey Sandy Sea Dog

 Arranged to have the medieval stool picked up in the car park of Driffield Rugby Club...
Walter delighted with his birthday present.

 Mark Rickwood came on Monday and made the parts for a frame stool which we'll put together in a month or so.  He's moving to The Golden Valley in Herefordshire so will be among some illustrious company in a beautiful part of the country.

Tuesday we went up to Norfolk to demonstrate at the Sandringham Flower Show.  These rather interesting structures were in one of the show gardens...
...could easily turn those on the pole lathe?

Camilla gave me a nice little wave as she and Charles drove round the show in a carriage.

On Saturday we're off to The Linslade Canal Festival - a great little event with some good demonstrators that I always look forward to.

Monday, 19 July 2010


Nick Alf did a days spoon carving with me last year.  He seems to have been bitten by the Green Woodworking bug and booked for the whole weekend.  Yesterday he did an Introduction to the Pole Lathe and made some Beech lemon sqeezers.  Today he made a massive kuksa from this chunk of Silver Birch...

Friday, 16 July 2010

Medieval Stool

This week I'm going to be busy making up stock for all the upcoming shows...
Those were brave words weren’t they? but as we know - ‘Life’s what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans’.
In fact I’ve ended up spending nearly the whole week on this little baby...

I made the parts at the end of May (see 30th May blog) and stuck them next to a dehumidifier we had running to dry out a very wet wall (a technique that works really well and one that I’ll look into in future for speed-drying components).
I thought I’d be able to knock it together in a couple of days as I've made quite a few 4-legged frame stools but hadn't really forseen the problems/difficulties arising from having one less leg!  Plus the type of carpentry involved eg. chiselling out the slots in the top rail for the seat slats and planing down the slats themselves, made me start thinking of planer thicknessers and routers!  In fact the whole thing reminded me of why I decided not to become a chairmaker.
However I also thought about the original Medieval makers of such stools, how I was working the material in a similar way and with similar tools to them, I also realised that there was really no rush (apart from the deadline to deliver it next Wednesday in Yorkshire at the Driffield Show) and began to enjoy the experience - quite cathartic.
Thanks to Vanessa for her advice, encouragement, support and help.  (Actually she kept me going when I could have kicked it down the garden and chopped it up with an axe!)

Sunday, 11 July 2010

A weeks course intake

I've had 20 people here on courses so far this year.  That's more than three times the amount of any previous year and they're not all down to the Monty Don Effect either.
Sometimes people buy a Green Woodwork gift voucher to give a friend as a present - usually it works out OK but occasionally I can tell they don't really want to be here.
Dave and Damon were given them by their partners and obviously DID want to be here.  Dave just to have a go and Damon to make some new chisel handles for his Dad's old chisels.

Craig & Jenny booked themselves a day here yesterday after seeing us at Althorp.

No course bookings this week so I'm going to be busy making up stock for all the upcoming shows.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Rivet, Stud & Burr

Had a drive up to Town today to get some sundries for making leather tool sheaths.  I enjoyed playing with the leather and a very sharp knife this afternoon and actually managed to make a cover for a small spoon carving axe and some sheaths for my bowl and goblet turning hooks.

We had a calming walk in the Forest after our mad drive to Hackney and spotted this wonderful protuberance.  Burr bandits eat your hearts out...

Sunday, 4 July 2010


Picked this little lot up at a car boot today...
A fiver well spent after a bit of of a clean...
Some little screwdrivers, awls and a ticketer for rolling the edge on scrapers, small spirit level, various leatherworking knives (some made from old high carbon steel cutlery), a log dog, steel straight edge, a spud(?) for barking logs.  In the middle a saw set - I was specially pleased to find that as I'm going to get some files and having a go at sharpening some good old saws.  At bottom right a tool for cutting button holes in leather.

But what on earth is the thing at lower left??
Sliding bar with steel spike is 6" long, metal inset on the end is brass.  Can't think of any jobs I'll be needing it for soon!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Norfolk Show

We always feel buzzed up after being in the Woodland Crafts area at the Norfolk Show - not like some events which leave you drained and knackered.
Where else do you see four Bodgers, a Wheelwright, Stickmakers, a Cleft Oak Gatemaker, a Corn Dolly maker, a Cooper, Chairmakers,  Hurdle makers, Basketmakers, Spoon carvers, a Clog maker, a Tent Peg maker, a Besom Broom maker, a Coracle maker, a Bowyer, Blacksmiths & a Bowl Turner???

This is the third time we've taken part (see here and here) and sadly marked the retirement of Eric Rodgers (left centre in pic) who has organised and arranged the Woodland Craft area for over 20 years.  His successor is Henry Alston, a local farmer and  one of the Bowler-hatted members of the Norfolk Agricultural Association.  I did feel sorry for him having to wear that suit, tie and hat in the sticky heat.  We had a whip round and presented Eric with a few items made by the crafters.

When we arrived on Tuesday several of us discovered that vital components had been forgotten!  Katie Abbott hadn't got any legs for her lathe but the Gatemaker came to her rescue with two riven and hewn Oak uprights which they buried in the ground to bolt the lathe bed to, the bungee was strung between two trees,  Malcolm the Peg maker had forgotten to bring any money and had to wait until he'd sold some pegs before he could buy an ice cream,  John Richardson had forgotten his rushing table which his mate brought next day and I'd forgotten the horizontal bar which supports the cover of my shelter but managed to hack down a fairly straight rod of Laurel - this was so effective that I brought it home with me to use again.

My lathe seemed to behave really well this time and didn't tilt forward as I pushed down the treadle.  I didn't bother doing any bowl turning as Robin Wood, spaced-out from Glastonbury, set up his lathe and Heritage Crafts Association stand next to us.  However we did still sell some bowls amongst other things.

I bought one of Rob's poringers and ate my breakfast from it this morning with one of my wooden spoons - very satisfying.