Thursday, 28 July 2011

Oak Lump

OOeerr... This is the biggest blank I've ever had on the lathe - just over 6 inches by 1 foot.
It's a lump of Oak and I'm turning two smaller ones from Chestnut to be used as blanks or lasts for forming leather drinking vessels around.  See the Hide Bound website and check back for an update.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


This booklet was my first introduction to spoon carving.
I met Eric soon afterwards and he gave me more pointers and tips.  I've spent many an enjoyable hour carving spoons since...
I was inspired to make the one on the book after seeing Barn's last blog.  OK I know it looks nothing like his but they both have the same sort of lineage.  Probably the handle's too fat where it meets the bowl.  I think it's a good design to teach as a first spoon as there aren't too many changes of grain direction to deal with - the thing most people come unstuck on when starting to carve spoons.

I'm not mad keen on straight lines in spoons and prefer the design I've been refining for a while now...

The first Lubeck style I made (which seems a bit uptight, handle too long) with a couple of my design in Cherry and Yew.  Interestingly the bowl on mine is an inversion of the medieval style spoon.  I think of this shape as 'avocado stone' - plectrum shape is also a favourite. 

Sunday, 24 July 2011

New Assistant

Ronald Macdonald parachutes into the Woodland Workshop...

Friday, 15 July 2011

Rochester Catalpa Collection

I wrote about the Catalpa tree outside Rochester Cathedral in previous posts.  Here's an update.

Around 20 years ago the powers that be decided that the huge, old tree was going to die and so planted a replacement.  Recently it was noted that the tree was actually in fine fettle and that the replacement was the wrong variety of Bean Tree anyway.  So it was cut down and Fern saved me the logs.

There's a huge pith cavity, or is it a pillar of rot? (2p piece for scale) and the wood looks a bit like Ash with pink, yellow and green tinges.  Unlike Ash it's fairly soft and easily workable even when seasoned.  Freshly split there's a lovely smell of spice and tobacco.
Last Saturday I demonstrated at the Rochester Cherry Festival in The Vines.  I made spoons and spatulas from Cherry to fit in with the theme but took along the Catalpa Collection to try and sell in aid of the Old Tree. (Possibly the only tree in the world with it's own website - I'd be interested to hear of others)
Part of The Rochester Catalpa Collection

Sue Haydock who initially launched the Appeal was delighted to buy the bowl I'd carved for quite a lot of money!

I got fed up with working the wood eventually and still have a half log...
Fern saved the wood for me
maybe I'll make some more bowls from it...  (mmm - pity I never took a proper photo of that one but I didn't expect to sell it so quickly).

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Apprentice Piece

Not much time for blogging or sitting in front of a laptop lately - too busy.

This piece was brought to show me at a show we did at Letchworth last weekend by a guy named Dick.
It was carved from Oak in 1835 at the end of a City & Guilds apprenticeship and apparently awarded top marks.  Dick didn't know the name of the carver but also has his Lignum Vitae carving mallet which weighed more than both my clubs put together.
On the right.