Tuesday, 31 December 2013

28th December – making leather protectors for some chisels made during my autumn  term blacksmithing.

This very nice scrap green leather was a present from Batchelors (after having spent £100 or so on tools).
This chisel and all the others in the second picture were made from a car coil spring (EN45) 

The top socketed chisel  I made last, all the others had tangs that were stuck into the handles with epoxy resin.

They were all made from different woods. Hazel, yew, ziricote, lilac, rhododendron and bog oak.

The ziricote was scrap from a friend and I thought twice about using it. I have never ever bought tropical hardwoods.

30th December Trip on the Epping & Ongar Railway.

One of the many joys of teaching – ex pupil’s invitations to great days out.

Jonathan Bushell was in the same year as my eldest son Paul (31).
Although there were many apologies for the weather it did not dampen my enthusiasm or enjoyment of the trip.
Jonathan was training the fireman. I thought that it would be easy just to shovel a few bits in now and then. Wow, silly me. The fire and its perfect maintenance is absolutely crucial to the well-being of its physical structure and performance. Heating the water to make steam does not really say enough. 

I was on the engine footplate all the way and gained some insight into how it all worked.  

If you ever get the chance visit your local steam railway get on that footplate!

Friday, 27 December 2013

Abney Park Cemetery Friday 20th December

There is a permanent workshop set up at Abney for stone masonry; I think it is older than the green woodworking facilities.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to chat with Orlando who was making a sign for a family member. I am normally far too engaged in personal making to have time to just sit and watch for an hour or so. The typeface is stunning. I would like to have seen it from the beginning.

Orlando made it look very easy. He is using slate which is very hard to work; the Portland Stone in the workshop is very soft by comparison. 
 Sunday 15th December Wimpole Hall Cambridgeshire SG8 0BW

On the way into the Wimpole Estate I bumped into Simon in the lane who warned me about his mobile BBQ just round the corner – not what I was expecting.

This beautiful young horse was being trained to pull loads – just two tyres here and later on a passenger as well.

A gypsy flower hybrid as a tree decoration.

Jim McVitee had made this display board showing the development of a dibber from a split log.

It would save a lot of repetitive chat if at events we used some form of visual display to inform our audience of how it all works (Jim Steele has an informative display system – and it works for him, he appears to attract  some very high spending customers).

Not wishing to use the floor mounted BBQ he fired up earlier; Simon was cooking on his mobile!
Although Venison was originally planned, Simon provided some ramburgers for our lunch.
Other Wimpole Lathers provided a variety of home-made fare including Ouzo!

It was also very nice to see and chat to Magnus (blacksmith at Wimpole Hall). He has been developing a very nice cranked folding knife in a range of sizes. No pictures yet as they are subject to patent pending!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Wednesday 11th December – At Fairlop Wood turners IG6 3HB

Another good evening with Simon Hope who is actually too busy to continue his demonstrating career, so this may have been the last time to see him at a club event.

John Fells also spent  his last night with us as treasurer; he is relocating to Cornwall, over the Christmas break.
He brought in his bean tins for me to photograph. His last set of 5 was auctioned recently for £130 and bought by Simon Hope!

And on another huge down side our Chairman Gabor Lacko who founded the club in 2004 resigned due to ill health.

Thursday 12th December Worshipful Company of Turners lunch at Skinners Hall Dowgate Hill London EC4R 2SPE

I was invited by the Upper Warden Colonel John Bridgeman CBE TD DL to a thank you lunch, for helping out on their float for the Lord Mayor’s Show.

I was joined by Simon Hope, Joey Richardson and the REME crew as well as the worshipful members.

Friday 13th December The William IV Leyton 816 High Road Leyton London E10 6AE

I was forced to drink some unusual guest  beer called Clouded Minds Hazel Nutter 4.5%. This pub has been brewing on the premises for a long time but were offered this barrel by some local lads one of whom gets the hazel from his family hazelnut farm in Italy.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

 Lorraine manages events at the Forty Hall Estate. The London Borough of Enfield is keen to encourage local educational events at this impressive Jacobean Estate that housed some of James 1st horses.
Now James I gave the Worshipful Company of Turners their Royal Charter on the 12th June 1604.
We are hoping to plan an event early next year with some of our local members. Check out their website.
I also bumped into the Walthamstow Knitters in the Bell Pub E17 4NE.  They are a group of about twelve who meet on the first and third Mondays of the month. My phone camera let me down, so no pictures.

JT Batchelors Friday 6th December

Well who could keep away on their day off!
Now here’s a thing, I ordered The Art of Hand sewing leather from Amazon for £16.45 thinking I might get it quicker than from Le Prevo £19 And saving a trip to Batchelors. Well I then found out that the depot from Amazon was in North America. Some weeks later (today) I got it.
Batchelors sell it for £8.26p!
There is a moral here – buy it here and buy it local. 

Abney Park Cemetery Saturday 7th December

Now there’s a great site – the greatest Volvo ever made and an invitation to Green Woodworking just inside the gates.

Many groups use and add to resources enjoyed by everyone – this bench painting is typical.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Visit to Bradfield Woods  30 / 01-12-13 with the Suffolk Group

I had the good fortune to be invited to stay at Sue and Will’s house on Saturday night. I had no trouble finding it, the fire wood, timber framed building and log pile was a dead give away.

Nice to know we all enjoy a modest tool collection and a very well used workshop.

The setting up at the woods included a very special spoon collection from Eric Rogers – I thought they were all Swedish by other makers but they all were made in Sweden by Eric himself.

I have shown this cooking arrangement before and it still works great – one of the best smoke free systems I have seen to date.

One of the many courses - freshly roasted chestnuts.

After that were local sausages, home made beetroot soup and an impressive cheeseboard. All  consumed on home-made plates, platters, bowls and spoons –foreground spoon from Barn.

 Simon Lamb was kind enough to make the effort to join the group. He always has a good display. He also runs courses – for details read the gazette or contact him directly.

This stool / seat was sweet – a good use for a three way crotch. It may have been wasted in any other form. 

Andy Basham was busy making thatching spars.


He makes many things, including round wood furniture, from over-stood coppice cuttings.

Last picture is a potential shop display for Spencer (Hugh-siblings) Reindeer enterprises Ltd.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

16th November APTGW Committee meeting at the London Internet exchange next to the Shard

Hugh Spencer (Treasurer) arranged for us to meet here as the location is fairly central for the elected members of the committee.

Clockwise from bottom left –
Mike Gordon - representing the Sussex group who are hosting the BB 2014 at Richard Binghams farm at Herstmoncaux Sussex.
Mark Allery – Resident Ball coordinator
The empty chair was mine – Chairman
Alan Edwards – Course compiler / coordinator
Clive Robinson – Merchandising
Alan Edwards – Insurance coordinator
Phill Piddell – newly co-opted member – IT (voodooalpacka Youtube)
Harry Rogers – Secretary (Mr Windsor chair Youtube)
John Burbage – Treasurer
Hugh Spencer – Webmaster
Davie Reeve – Membership
Sue Reeve - Membership

Friday, 15 November 2013

 Visit to Barn the Spoon Friday 15th November at 260 Hackney Road London E2

It took me some time to actually visit Barn considering he is so close. Tom Hepworth, cousin of Barbara Hepworth (the sculptress) is his latest apprentice who started a couple of months ago was in the shop and I believe he is there until Christmas. 

I liked the very compact bowl lathe in the window.

 As you would expect there was a display of spoons!

Barn and I talked about using Paypal to process money. I wanted to know how it was set up for Spoonfest this year. The intention is to use it for the Bodgers Ball payments next year, then hopefully for annual subscriptions. Barn also uses it for course payments.

Great logo on his jumper!

This must be the only spoon maker’s retail shop in London or perhaps anywhere else for that matter. If you are going to visit give him a call first. He also has a workshop at Stepney Hall Farm.

JT Batchelor’s Culford  Mews, London N1 4DZ

After leaving Barn I went to JT Batchelor’s to buy some scrap leather from their budget bin but Phill Piddell had beaten me to it!

I had to buy some tools more instead. Behind me was the wall of leather.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Lord Mayors Show preparations Friday 8th November at a secret T A base.

So, here is some of the crew that helped to prepare the float, Left to right- Army guy who cannot be named for legal reasons, Geoff Pink, James Pumfrey, Jon Warwicker all APTGW. Joey Richardson. Simon Hope both AWGB. John Bridgeman Upper warden WCT, Sarah Faberge- HOWE committee WCT.  

Setting up in London Wall was extensive as the float had to be stripped for the journey into London: It was a lot quicker the second time around. The Army guys were really cooperative and really helpful.

The people in the blue tops and macs were the whifflers who walked down each side of the float during the precession. They were either members of the Company (WCT) or their children.

(Historical Terms) Archaic an attendant who cleared the way for a procession
[from wifle battle-axe, from Old English wifel, of Germanic origin; the attendants originally carried weapons to clear the way]

The TV coverage was disappointing – they only showed the Upper Warden bowing to the Mayor.

Someone in the crowd sent me these two last pictures.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Abney Park Cemetery Saturday 2nd November

Never have so many turned up to chase so few (tools). A think a combination of pay day, good weather and continued high temperatures produced an overwhelming response from the public.  Jo and Orlando handled the situation very well and everyone enjoyed themselves. They did have to turn people away as they ran out of tools.  The Worshipful Company would have been very proud to see their tool grant being stretched to the limit.
My first visit to JT Bachelor Friday 1st November.

As far as I know this is the last shop of its kind in London, they do not do the Internet although they do accommodate a mail order service. I spent about £100 on a basic set of tools – to be honest I was overwhelmed with the awesome amount of leather on display. Just bought a few scraps to play with to add to the acquisitions from last weekend.
Half term week – end of October

Well another few days to tinker with some tool making. Hot from last weekend I decided to make a stitching vice. They are somewhat overpriced in all the catalogues so I decided to make it out of joinery offcuts I have been collecting.

The dimensions I borrowed from the Tandy Leather web page. The base and sides are oak faced Baltic ply. I worked backwards from the standard coach bolt length to avoid cutting them. The square ends made them a little more difficult to fit but solved the rotation problem you would get with ordinary bolts or studding. The mark of Zorro on the Mahogany spacer was a superglued split. All the rubbed joints used Titebond, far superior to ordinary PVA and less fuss than Cascamite.

Leatherworking course at Benenden late October.

This was organised by Phill Piddell who arranged for Paul Bradley AKA Bardster from the Bushcraft magazine to instruct us. All the usual suspects were there from the Sussex and Kent groups.

It was very damp and it was not possible to gather outdoors – so we had to work in John’s garage.

There was some discussion about bodgers demonstrating at the Bushcraft  annual event a week before the ‘Ball’- sounds like an interesting association. Ben & Lois write for them all the time.
Weald and Downland Autumn Countryside Show 12/13th October

Well here we are at the end of the bodging show season. The venue at Singleton has everything – space, blacksmith shop, beer tent (never went in it), hurdle making competition, local cider (the good stuff), hot water in the toilets and a cochell of bodgers. I will save you the trouble of looking it up, it means a quantity of. Now silly me neglected to take too many pictures on the Saturday and Sunday was a washout. 

Here is a lady from the past. Jax started things off at Abney Park Cemetery and has spent some time in South America up until very recently. She spent her time this weekend adding to her chair leg collection. 

Last year Graham Aslett put me onto the in house café at the museum and once again I had the pleasure of the fine dining in one of the reconstructed building on the site. Checkout the trestle construction on the tables. The rest of the building is however not to be sniffed at.

It does beg the question – if people will pay good money to sit in a posh West End location? What is the true value of this location. 

This last picture showed some European hewing axes.

Later in the day on Saturday I was given the opportunity to look into their tool repository.

What a wonderful collection of everything a bodger could wish for. You would have to see it for yourself.