Monday, 12 April 2021

Green Woodwork Days Out

Learning Green Woodwork is an enjoyable, healthy, environmentally friendly way to work wood with simple hand tools and traditional devices, pole lathe and shavehorse.  Making fun and functional wood toys, stools, spoons and all sorts of interesting things I'm really glad to be starting my one and two day Courses on my favourite subjects, wood and hand tools,  after a long year of interesting times!  I'm a real fan of letting the tools do the work for you and working with the grain - learn using these skills and woodwork will never be the same again.  You'll think about it differently after using sharp tools and the innate strength of the wood to get the best from your labours!                                                                                                                                                        














Using a  Shavehorse is a pleasure - you sit down whilst working, listen to the sounds of nature or chat about this that or the other - a pure pleasure. I have tools for left or right handed folks in all types of sizes and styles of handles. Plenty of carving knives in different sized blades and hooks. There'll be many axes, chisels, gouges, saws, spokeshaves and drawerknives. If you decide it's for you and you want to continue further I can put together a starter kit for you to purchase with a good range of things that are essential and you'll be trying them all out anyway. You could be shaving billets for stool legs or carving spatulas and spoons - it's your course so you can make just about whatever you feel like...
Depending on how much energy and effort you put in reflects on the size of the goody bag you go home with - all the things you've made whilst learning and working with me. 


The Courses and Days Out are a most enjoyable way to spend a day or two relaxing whilst working and I've changed the way I'm running them - they are now all on a one to one basis so you'll get even more from your time with me.  I've always got plenty of logs to work with and obviously loads and loads of different razor sharp tools - so we'll definitely have a great day inside the workshop or outside in the open air.


Monday, 5 April 2021

 Rebec Update











I first started the Rebec in a flush of enthusiasm in 2008 and did loads of work with the adze that summer at shows and events where I was selling my handmade wood wares. Since then it's been on the back burner until these interesting times and the Lock-Up we've had here in Essex, UK.  

In fact I'd forgotten about it till I had the biggest workshop tidy up and sort out for years and there it was at the same stage as in the pic below. 

It's a Gransfors Bruks Adze and it's one of those tools I go months without using then it's coming out every day. I  love using it - goes through wood like butter when you've got the right action.








Almost Ready Stage

I always get caught out at this stage when making things because the tricky work is still to come and after wasting loads of wood with the adze it was on to gouges to get it so we'd have a good sound box.







More Almost Ready Stage

After spending a few more hours last week it was starting to look like a Medieval instrument and I felt pleased that I'd done it using similar methods to the musical instrument makers of the past - similar tools and a similar amount of energy!  Feeling positive now and have been re-reading Zachary Taylor's book for hints and tips and got sidetracked with that








Taking the Shape of a Rebec

Finger board  and tail piece are Laburnum, the bridge and pegs are London Plane, top is Spruce and the nut is Box. I was able to use the neck support I'd made to set up the bass guitar I chatted about last week and it's great when bits of kit you make turn out to be multi functional.   Thank goodness I've a big workbench - must have had everything bar the kitchen sink out to use.  That's when you know for sure you can never have too many tools!





Here you can see the pegs - had to do some carefulcarving on these to ensure they could all be turned independently without jamming into each other - made a mental note that next time I make a Rebec to drill the holes just slightly further apart from each other!

This afternoon I'm going to design the fret holes, I've been looking at loads of images of ancient instruments in museums - don't think I'll be doing a super fancy design - I've heard that can impair the sound. So think I'll be going for something minimal going for the 'less is more' approach...

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Axes and Axes and a Shovel

Different Type of Axe

Axes are all sharp as you'd expect and the newest is a different breed completely! Ness suddenly decided she was going to take up the bass guitar after a gap of of about 25 years. I think everyone's needed something different during the Lock-Up, as I like to call it, over the winter. So we went Axe hunting on the internet, eBay, Gum Tree, Craigs List, FB and all the ones she liked, mostly cherry red, were vintage and £450 minimum!  I said bit of an expensive new hobby specially as it might not really have been played a great deal - Ness is so deaf she seems to feel music through vibration and Jimi Hendrix is her hero - perhaps it's the loud full of life sounds.  Eventually she put up a 'wanted' post on our local Epping Forest Freegle and after about six weeks a bloke got in touch from Loughton saying he'd bought a bass brand around 1975-80 in Romford, played it twice, decided it wasn't for him and, of all places, it was stored in the airing cupboard!
 I went that afternoon to collect and as Ness said it's FAB - one of her favourite colours, Surf Green, full length neck very banana shaped but otherwise looking brand new in a professional gig bag.  It's a JD Vintage made in China with a full length neck. 


 Next I made a neck support, got the allen keys out and adjusted the truss rod. Can't remember the amount it move but it was a lot!

I found after fiddling with truss rod that the nut was completely rubbish so ordered a new on from eBay.  That took about two weeks to arrive and someone was getting a bit impatient!

Then after a quick strum we both thought that the airing cupboard had caused the neck to shrink quite a bit so a fret file was essential and again eBay came in very handy!  That arrived in a couple of days but filing the frets took over the kitchen table for quite a while rather than the workshop because I wanted to watch Ronnie playing snooker!

The frets were a pain in the proverbial but I got them done and it sounded great - absolutely brilliant through the amplifier or accoustic.  Really got a great bass sound but Ness decided something else was needed...
All the bits and bobs here and neck resting in the support - good job I made that straight away - made everything much easier.

She wanted flat wounds!   

So again another bit of online shopping.  We tried some that were cheapies at around £16 for a set - seemed all right until I tuned it up then the blooming things unwound and we even had a snappage.  that really bothered me - I didn't want to be cut by a string and I certainly didn't want Ness playing until I was sure I'd got a safe set.  We had 3 sets from the same company but eventually enough was enough - you only get what you pay for so I stumped up the £35 odd quid to different shop.  they were great and I must admit flat wounds are very good to play.

The upshot of all this is Ness is gonna be a Rock Chick at 60 if she gets a chance to strum because I've decided it's mine now and I love the sound and play every evening!

Just a link to something else Ness liked the Shovel Guitar 



 I've been so busy in Lock-Up my feet haven't touched the ground - just looking forward to going out and seeing folks a bit more and plenty of chat!  making loads of stuff in the workshop and you can see some of it here in Treewrights Shop

More soon - Robin....