Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Elvaston Castle Wood Fair 2011

Following the manic day at Wollaton Park, William and I packed up the Micra and headed off down the road to Elvaston Castle to their first Wood Fair.
We spent the evening sheltering under the bodgers tarp drinking home brew beer made by Mike Bramley the urban bodger with Clive

Following a bit of a broken nights sleep with bodgery snoring and Mr Pork the Hog Roaster switching on his generator at 4 am! I decided to go for an early morning stroll round Elvaston Castle to see the sights

Beautiful view of a misty church.

A quite magical topiary garden

Steamy bushes!

Baby fir cones

Mist rising on the lake

Water wheel house

View accross the lake to the Castle
After a beany breakfast it was not long before Myself and William skived off to do some essential research! The first stand we found was http://www.clogmaker.co.uk/index.php a wonderful crafts person called Jeremy who makes traditional clogs using a set of stock knives.

Jeremy is shown here assisting a very talented spectator how to use the stock knife.

Close up of the blade

Examples of his clogs

Jeremy explained the difference also between a stock knife used to make clogs and the much smaller peg knife used amazingly to make tent pegs!

We then found a Wheelwright,

A blacksmith

The bucket and lilo pump black smith who made some lovely stuff. £450 seems very reasonable for this fire place.

One of the stalls I really loved too was http://ecopodholidays.co.uk who make these lovely things to holiday in and to buy! the Idea is they need no planning permission and they make their own power please put one on my christmas wish list!

I suppose I had better show the bodgers having a bodge too

All in all a wonderful weekend and well done to Derbyshire County Council for a well run and interesting show.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Wollaton Park 2011 Notts Wildlife Trust Welly Wanging!

On Saturday  William and myself were invited by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to do some green wood work with visitors to their stand. As part of the activities to support the Welly Wanging, William made some Gypsy flowers using some green Willow cut that morning from the river bank behind my house.

William can be seen in this photo using a draw knife to cut thin slithers of willow to form the flower shape. Eventually taking the slithers cuts through the willow stem leaving a head of shavings. A little hole was then made using a gimlet and mounted on a thin willow twig. You can see examples of the finished work by the pole lathe in the first photo in this update.
I was helping customers use the pole lathe and I have learnt from experience that small children can be put off using the lathe due to getting the shaving into their eyes. Thankfully I had a brillient model for my shaving protection system or Goggles for short in the guise of my great nephew he decided they were "cool"!

Wollaton park is a wonderful venue known for its deer herds, the stag do not seem to be phased by anything and a bit of Welly Wanging was not going to stop them going for a stroll in search of acorns.

They even wanted to get involved in promoting the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust it seemed

Also at the event was Bob who is a wonderful bloke, here he is making traditional besoms

I would like to say thanks also to Bob for the wonderful ash wood his team supplied to me it has been much admired by members of the east midlands bodgers.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Band of Bodgers!!

A small video of the east midlands group of the Association of pole lathe and green wood workers in action at the Robin Hood Festival in Sherwood Forest at the weekend featuring Mike on the spoons, Bryan on pole lathe, Robert on axe, Clive on shave horse and Ian on adze. A really wonderful day out with some huge crowds.

Ashley Iles sharpening system

I recently purchased this sharpening system from Ashley Iles, we use a similar system at Newstead village carving club who have very high sharpening standards for their tools. The system is only for use with carving chisels as you would struggle to sharpen a flat blade in such a way. The kit includes all the items shown barr  the bench grinder. The grinder has to be set up back to front so the movement is away from the operator. This is simply achieved by unbolting the grinder body from its metal pedestal and turning the body round 180 degrees, this also ensures that the switch remains at the front of the machine. The rubberised grind wheel and mop can then be fitted to the body.

I was fortunate to be shown how to use the machine by Colin Hickman who is a notable wood carver who is well known for his detailed carvings of dogs head walking sticks and game birds. I believe Colin used to work at Ashley Iles and he was responsible for sharpening chisels. Colin explained to me that the bevel on my chisels was too steep and as most of the carving I do is with green woods or timbers such as Lime or Sycamore a blade angle of 30 degrees would be much better to cleanly remove material from my work. The correct bevel was achieved using a linishing machine and rocking the bevel back and forth across the belt sander surface. It is important to never allow the metal to get too hot so a quick dunk in a mug of water helps to cool the blade.

Colin then showed me how to set up a spot light to one side of the sharpening system to allow the chisel to form a shadow on the grind stone.

This photo shows that the gouge is not on the wheel at the correct angle to sharpen correctly as the shadow is showing.

In the next photo there is no where the metal meets the wheel it is therefore correctly set up for sharpening. The blade is then gently rolled across the wheel until a thin metal wire is formed on the tip of the blade .

At thispoint you need to then present the gouge to the polishing mop which has been dressed with the green soap if needed. It is important to remove the burr from the inside of the tool first. The middle of the tool should touch the mop first and the tool then moved down the mop so the noise goes from a higher to a lower pitch when the tip of the tool gets presented to the mop. It is really important not to round off the edge by sticking the tool into the mop at too acute an angle. This could round off the edge making it impossible to properly sharpen the edge meaning the metal will need to be reground beyond the rounded material.

It is then just the case of turning the blade round and removing the burr on the other side. This should then give you the perfect edge to work with.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Dave Wood Nottinghams Perambulators poem inspired by my wood craft

she turns life round
turns round life
chips away
- fresh ghosts
appear from an old tree

she feels the power
of where the spirit rests

knows its soul
fimds its common grain
and breathes it true

sometimes i think
she hears voices

telling her who she is

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Wood Spirit or Woodwose Carving

I bought a book about carving Wood Spirits a while ago which like so many things in my house started to gather the dust. After last weeks event at Edensor when I decided to carve a face on my chair leg for the bodgers challenge stool I decided I wanted to find a way to make a face quickly Thankfully the weather being abysmal and me being on a weeks holiday I decided to have a go at one. I have quite a large amount of fresh sycamore which I split and started to carve. The whole process took me a leisurely 4 hours and as a first attempt I think that is really good.

This is the Wood Spirit or Woodwose without any finishing applied.
I wanted to bring out the beard and give the features some definition so I used a Peter Child`s pyrography machine to burn into the wood using a hot wire.

As you can see this has added definition in bundles but I was not sure if I liked the overall effect. I then decided to apply a light watercolour wash which I think really works.

Now all I need to do is apply a couple of coats of Danish oil and the wild man of the woods will be finished. I am undecided as to If I like the first plain Woodwose or the painted version but it is good to see what can be achieved with an application of some paint.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Acer ferramenta, lignum et cervisia!!

Which kinda stands for Sharp tools wood and beer. Firstly a huge thanks to Clive and Christine who made us all feel so welcome with elderflower cordial, quiche, cake and our own Glastonbury style pyramid bodging shelter. Here you can see Clive and the Urban Bodger Mike Bramley with our new banner and Clives amazing shelter.
Edensor is the workers village for the Chatsworth estate and the event was to raise money for the local church and school.

After setting up and a beautiful lunch of quiche salad and stewed peaches with elderflower cordial I went for a quick walk round the fate where I picked up a copy of Ray Tabors Traditional Country Crafts from the second hand book store.
The church is a combination of old and new and the web site of the chuch is attached
The Church is full of some beautiful architecture and monuments

The stunning skeleton is carved from local Ashford alabaster and is the finest I have seen in this country. the detail on the feet is quite mind blowing, the sculptor must have seriously studied human anatomy to create such an accurate representation. The grave stone in the porch is very similar to the foresters grave stones you can find in Nottingham, I will need to look into the history behind it further. In the porch is also a stunning head carving the original matching carving is very degraded but the newer copy is a wonderful piece and reminded me of the classic film Bride of Frankinstein played by Elsa Lanchester.

Anyway back to the bodging. We decided to make a stool with the hope that we can raffle it off in the future for the Edensor charity. Clive carved the base and Bryan, Mike and myself made the legs. Bryan and Mike created a pair of lovely turned legs in the oak and I shaped mine on the shave horse and carved a beardy man on the front. All a bit rushed for my liking but it looks effective from a distance.

There were a huge amount of visitors to Clive and Christines garden who seemed to really enjoy watching us all work and looking at the work we had all created in the past.

 The little shrink pot I made with directions from this blog went down well, I think people loved the fact that it still had the bark on and looked like a tree.
Sadly the afternoon ended far too soon so a photo was needed of our merry band of bodgers.

Just when we were about to go home the BBC arrived to do some filming for a fly on the wall documentary about Chatsworth to be shown in the autumn on a sunday evening on BBC1. Bryan was recorded making a dibber which was kindly given to my sister. My contribution to the programme may be some bashing heard on an interview that was being filmed nearby!

The Latin motto idea came whilst sipping tea on the lawn and eating fruit cake on a perfect english garden, once again thanks to Christine and Clive.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Shrink Pot Project

I selected a nice straight log of birch for this project that was free from knots and cleaned up the bark to keep the work from becoming dirty. I then selected a nice sized bit, the one shown is an unusual type as the blade sweeps back on itself.

I then used the bit to drill right through the log.
I then drilled a series of holes making sure that I did not have the wood too tightly gripped in the vice as these can put massive amounts of pressure on the timber and split it.

I then cleaned up the log with a sharp knife, some carving chisels and my Ben Orford crook knife.

 with a bit more cleaning up it was then time to cut a grove into the base in which the pot bottom would sit. I marked this out using an old carpenters marking gauge.

This has a little scratch pin on it which marks the wood. I then used this mark to make a grove using a Frosts carving knife, and the Ben Orford crook knife which is a knife with a bent blade that is wonderful for shaping the insides of bowls.

The next job was to select a section of sycamore and split it down with an axe and wooden mallet until I had created a thin board. I then marked it with the shape of the inside and outside of the timber.

It was then a case of carefully cutting the board down until it resembled a thin oyster shape thinner on the edge so it would fit into the grove I had made. It was then a case of gently tapping the base into the end of the Birch tube until it slotted into the grove.