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.

Nyman's Gardens 5/6th October

This was a relatively new venue for the Sussex Group. A small but very pretty National Trust site The car parking is very limited and the parking outside is restricted. The visitors were very happy to engage with the group and we should have picked up a least a couple of new members. 

The best thing about the weekend was the beautiful piece of ash they supplied albeit very fresh.

 As usual I converted this into an oval, bark on dish since I am in dish mode. To be honest, with pole lathes either side there is no point in me demonstrating lathe work as well. Perhaps too often we end up with too many people doing the same thing.


Monday, 4 November 2013

Berkshire Bodgers Sunday 29th September at Little Hidden Farm RG17 0PN

This was their third meeting and their organiser Chris Allen was at another event, but left Simon Vowell in charge (in picture with Bill). The farm is owned by Bill who has forestry, horses and the outbuildings in which the group sets up, for the last Sunday of the month.

Cherry Wood project week 23rd – 29th September Ashwicke Nr Marshfield.

Wood store raising- the biggest project this week was the new wood store for drying fuel storage. The softwood poles were part of the natural thinning process and were felled earlier. The frames were assembled on the ground and then raised onto the round wood piles, which had been levelled by the resident engineer. Great method and went up really quickly – someone hand thought about this a lot (think a lot, do a little). Much of the material was firewood scraps from a previous wood Miser visitation.

I had my metalworkers hat on and made a cage for a wood burning stove for a bell tent. There was an aluminium heat shield on the back to stop the tent sides from overheating as well as a tray to catch hot ash etc. when fuelling. The two drop down sides were for cooking equipment.

Page 3 girl – Sophie Burns head chef - Merlin said ‘this was the best year for food’
Well I was there for 5 days during the project week and she was unstoppable! Never made a fuss, fantastic cakes, mains, sweets. Even made two crumbles and two types of oatcake just for one afternoon tea.

There was a lot going on (33 volunteers for lunch on Saturday), coppicing, with some hand felling with Toms two – handed saw. Making of some new raised growing beds near main yurt.

There has been a mixture of planting since the project began – this is the dome greenhouse that was stuffed with tomatoes, rocket, spinach…
There are calculations to match dome size with family feeding capability if you visit one or two of the US websites. Many have thermal stores, this one is charcoal but many use water and grow in that as well.

Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum Wood Fair 20/22nd September

This must be the biggest wood event of the season. The Sussex group were supported by some Londoners and Jim Steele.
They built a small boating pond in the woods – where did all that water come from?
Mike Gordon blew us all away with his special breakfast – eggs Benedict. He made the lot from scratch, even the hollandaise sauce. Wonderful, I did suggest the catering for the ball breakfast, but he was not amused.

This strange object was presented to us to name by a man who had even been on the antiques road show, still hoping for the answer.

This Kuska was being used by one of the Bushcraft crew. At a casual glance it looked good, until you find the moulding lines from the injection moulding process. Wood fibre and plastic yuk! Do not be fooled.

As usual the organisers of the event employed a local Glam rock band Tongue and Groove to entertain the stallholders on Saturday night in the beer tent. Not to be missed!

Wayne Batchelor was demonstrating his spoon making skills – some lovely shapes, must down to practicing on Edale carrots!

It was great to be able to have more than a passing conversation with Jim Steele. His chairs were a hit and he made some sales. Mrs Pink was on their lathe and I just happened upon a wooden spokeshave with micrometer blade adjustments (from Geoff’s tool collection) – just something I am trying to do to a travisher.

The Sussex coppice workers were en mass in the woods with Sean Helmann and many others.

Wedding of Ollie and Lillie Weight Copthorn Surrey 14-09-13

A Registry office ceremony was held first to the music of Led Zepplin
A blessing in the garden of Lilli’s godmother was conducted by Debs (Tim Gatfield’s partner), It started off in the sacred space under a huge tree, that Lillie played under as a child. Debs started by burning sage –a North American Indian purification ritual and claims the space invoking the four elements. North – is air for communication, East – is fire for courage, South – water for serenity and West – earth element for solid space and friendship.

The candle lighting started with them lighting their own candle and then jointly lighting one to signify union.

Then on to the Pagan Handfasting with the tying of ribbons. –
White - for a clean slate and Honesty, blue for fidelity, pink for love, red for passion and green for fertility and growth. The hands were traditionally tied for a day or even a year.

Bracelets were then given to them both to signify the ritual without the year long wait!
The jumping over a bessan broom signifies a clean sweep (broom made by Tim Gatfield) and jumping into a new life.

Feeding guests Romany style. This signifies expanding love into the community and also fuelling – by feed with grapes traditionally. In this instance it was by Hula Hoops as it was the ring used on the successful proposal.

The groom’s speech – There was very little written on that card, but that did not stop Ollie making an excellent job of thanking his army of constructors who built toilets, bars, fires, shelters and the main marquee (well the tarp was bought but that was it). As well as all the thanks to their families and friends, who contributed to this occasion in many other ways.
Testament to the vision and influence of Tim Gatfield and his Cherry Wood Project. - Home of that army.
Roy Henderson (bronze plane maker – from earlier group report) made the gold wedding rings.
Someone buried a sheep the day before on hot coals, for the evening meal. The guests brought the lunchtime food banquet. This was a fabulously enjoyable and joyous wedding.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

White Chimney Wood Benenden Kent 7/8th September – The Kent group.

Well, back to John Burbage’s woods for this last entry again.
Another weekend with friends. Phil Piddell who lives a couple of miles away was kind enough to show us his Alpacas. They have very soft wool which sells at a premium. They also make good eating. YouTube has some amusing footage of Phil’s animals

Terry Jones made this splendid chestnut basket during the weekend. It was a copy of an oak basket made by another. Graham Aslett happened to show us a file with lots of Terry’s work in it. He has made all sorts, tables chairs…
I have mentioned before that John is a great host and a very generous man. Next season he is planning to extend the facilities by adding a composting toilet and a dining shelter over the fire. I am going to be the first to volunteer for that weekend or two!
I hope you can join me for some pay back.

Vintage Times Fair at Townings Farm, North Chailey, Sussex 29thAugust – 1st September

Townings farm has a farm shop selling their own or locally produced meat, vegetables cheese etc. This weekend was based around SEVAC a local organisation.
The Sussex group were visiting for their first time this year. I decided to join them to supply all their caterings needs.
Andrew Coleman a relatively new member, was enjoying some instruction from Mike Gordon who as usual gives up unlimited time to encourage anyone on the humble art of pole-lathing.

I just love meeting spoon makers and other greenwood workers who are not members and to be honest require no real pressure at all to join our organisation. I do explain our liability insurance deal wherever I go.
Everyone who makes, understands the benefit from meeting like-minded folk with knowledge and skill to share and transfer. Mat (friend of James Pumfrey) has also made some furniture and is looking for some guidance in chair and table making. Hopefully soon he will join a local group.
I have never met a snare and net maker before I bumped into Peter Hills. He is also a keen rifleman and local pest (rabbit) controller. These agricultural fairs give the humble bodger opportunities to meet skilled craftsman working in other materials i.e. hemp and modern equivalents. These craftsmen are also the custodians of the old ways and deserve much more respect than they get! They have such a wealth of knowledge to pass on. I was very fortunate to have half an hour of his time.

This young man comes from a long line of local butchers. His father, (who I met later), was left handed and so he was not trained in their family trade. His son is self taught and works on site. He gave a demonstration on pork butchery and later on gave some of the visitors’ children an opportunity to make sausages. He was great; such patience with the sausage makers for a young man.

During the weekend there were many farming equipment displays as well as a corn to bread race (not a bit like the log to leg?) which took 4 hours – combine / drying / grinding and baking.

This diesel machine has an air blower / dryer on the right. The grinding unit is on the left.

This young lady was – shearing their rare breeds sheep. They lean through a harness, I presume to protect their backs. The sheep appeared to enjoy it far too much; I was thinking of mint sauce.