Thursday, 28 October 2010

Dont let the besoms get you down

My collection of woodworking tools is getting quite out of control now. Following a trip to mothers I have now purchased from Leek Market an antique besom vice. This item is used to hold bundles of seasoned birch twigs so they can be tied together with wire or a strong length of bark to make the traditional head that makes a "witches broom". Really pleased to see one as they are pretty rare as you can imagine. 
I have also been busy making spoons from the yew wood I acquired whilst on holiday in Somerset. 
In a couple of weeks I am meeting up in a local wood for a days bodging in the woods, really looking forward to it and I hope to make a new frame for my besom vice and possibly crop some birch branches for next years Halloween.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Too busy to write!

Been on holiday so sorry that I have not written much recently. Have been making some yew spoons with timber aquired whilst in somerset from church yards. It is jolly nice timber too! There have been lots of autumnal wood fairs in the last few weeks which is very encouraging and have met more local bodgy types. I have also finally tracked down a local group to share my insanity with! will write more soon and hope to get pictures up of my lovely kelly kettle.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Grr Glandular Fever or is it Councillitis?

Being struck down with a lergy but the work must go on so I have made a Bowl Horse, which is simply a platform on 4 legs which is useful in the production of Bowls. It basicly securely anchors the timber whilst you carve and holds the piece at a good height so I am not bending my back. For some strange reason it looks like it only has 3 legs in the photo. The body is made of poplar wood and the legs from some ash that came from near Newstead village and got squirrelled into my car. I have only had a little play with it but in spite of its odd looks it holds timber well and seems suprisingly stable. I think when I make another I would splay the legs outward more to support the ends of the bed. On the whole for a first attempt though I am very pleased.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Lordy its been a busy few weeks................but very interesting!

Where to begin. I did a second demonstration in sunny Ilkestons Summer Happening in Victoria Park. I did not take the pole lathe but I bodged about on the shave horse finishing some spoons and nattering to the public. I really enjoyed the time and once again the feedback was fantastic.
Roger the wonderful Rotarian has offered all sorts of support and a big thanks goes to him especially for help with the new non oak lathe beds.
Later in the evening I visited Shed2, an arts studio in Ilkeston just crammed with talent and exiting stuff. Travis who is an artist has a wonderful piece of kit to create copies of carvings and images from computer graphics. Very dusty but an amazing machine.
Last Thursday I met a man in a pub called Bob Trubshaw, he is the organiser of the Leicester "Project Gargoyle", an amazing scheme to photograph and log all the church carvings in the country starting in Leicester. He is also a folk law history author  has his own publishing company and has written many successful books on the subject all in all a very interesting man to know. His many contacts include the manager of a very prestigious shop in Avebury of all places who would like to sell some wood carvings. Alot to sort out yet but i smell a hint of potential.
Spent the weekend carving a medieval frog and learning how to use wet stones to sharpen tools. Found some more timber too, what can  I say a good weeks work I feel.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

First Demonstration. Done!

A wonderful venue for my first contact with the public. The lathe did not take long to set up and maybe the timbers have dried out since I last had to handle them or I have got stronger but they certainly did not feel as heavy.
I decided to keep it simple making spoons tho I never did get one completed. Thankfully this did not matter as the afternoon was taken up with educating the visitors to my site with information about what a pole lathe and shave horse can do, even the hardest West Hallam Massiv Lad went away with a positive comment.
The Wonder Boy William came to give me some well needed leg power and to help me to improve my teaching skills, using the kit in a park feels so different to working in my own back garden and it was useful to make my mistakes with a relation and not the public!
I am back on show again in a week so the experience has given me plenty of ideas for my next demonstration.

My first pole lathe demonstration and funky tee shirt!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Prepare for demo day !

You would have thaught that a week off would be more than enough time for me to prepare for the Kirk Hallam Lake and meadow festival tomorow but I am still hard at it making posts, cherry wood mallets, and sawing up wood I can use for demonstrating. Next job is taking the lathe down ready to go into Micks car.
Think I am well prepared tho so I am looking forward to the challenge.
Nothing to sell but lots of business cards made and fingers crossed some good contacts forged.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Holiday at home

Week off and I am doing some preparing for a few events I am booked for. Never done a public show so i am trying to get together examples of all I can do and try to make some new items.
With this in mind I am making a large bowl made of cherry wood. I got the timber from a log supplier in ravenshead and it is beautiful top quality timber. Cherry has an amazing quality of self tanning when the wet wood is exposed to air. I love the way timber can take me unawares, I am having to work fast to minimise the cherry splitting as there is a lot of end grain timber on show. If the wood does split I may use some thick copper wire so it can look a little like the black smith staples they used to put in old cracked pot.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

My first spoon


Sorry a while since my last post but i have been so busy. Have got a second draw knife now thanks to Binsley carboot and i would like to say Hildick of Sheffield made amazing tools, it is just so sharp! Have also picked up a couple of axes and some chisels to restore on rainy days.
Fridays dog walk bought me the welcome sight of some cut poplar branches thanks to the Bestwood Wardens so I am dragging it home at the moment along with some sycamore they chopped on Monday.
What am i doing with it? well making spoons! had a glorious sunday afternoon in the pole lathe with the lovely Antonio who was just loving coming round to mine for a quick treadle and he was very good at it too. Will put some photos on later to show how i make a rough spoon shape in the wood on the lathe and then split the wood with my Frost knife down the middle and then hollow the bowl out with a spoon shaped gouge to stop the wood splitting and voila a spoon comes to life.
Sat in Rita and Jims front garden last night enjoying wine, sunset and Rita asking some very wise questions about carving whilst whittling a spoon fron the Poplar I collected.
I am spending some time in Sneinton this week end with a viking group at the windmill so who knows maybe my first spoon sold will be to a real life viking!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

And still it rains.........

As the Pole Lathe is still water logged, I decided that I needed to go to my carving club in Newstead village and get my tools sharpened. I have not gone in a while but i got a warm welcome from all the members and made my tools nice and dangerous again.. More hints about where to get hold of green wood but I will believe it when I see it!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

And the rain came down!

I seem to have alot of willow lying around and as I have only managed to do about 10 minutes on my lathe I decided to find out what I could make with the willow. I decided on a scandinavian wooden cup called a Kuksa.I have spent a couple of evenings arving a rough willow cup made which seems to hold cider very well. I will put on a photo later. I am concerned it will crack so i decided to christen it early and give it a good soaking in olive oil. One of the traditional treatments is to soak it in vodka as i am at work tomorrow i felt cider would suffice!
I have spent the evenings sending emails to tree surgeons and notts wild life trust and i now have some interesting leads

Sunday, 6 June 2010

My Pole lathe and Shave Horse set up in my garden.


After a very hard working week spent in Devon with Guy Mallinson I made my Pole Lathe and Shave Horse, with some pushing and shoving the equipment squeezed into my little and temperamental Nissan Micra and we made the journey home to Nottingham. The Micra did so with no cause for concern. Setting up the lathe by myself was simplicity itself. I managed to do it on my own.
The next challenge is getting hold of raw materials. I managed to obtain some great quality Ash from the side of the road near to Newstead Abbey and I managed to split these logs down into four stool sized legs these I shaped on the Shave Horse with a view to making a crude stool and also to start the task of building up my physical strength. I can see getting hold of wood will become a real challenge.