Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Cherry Wood Project Week Ashwicke  25-04-14

One of the main projects was building a roundhouse using cob and Larch rounds.

The cob – a mixture of sand, clay and straw took a great deal of effort by three teams of bare – footed cob makers.

They started with 11 tons of sand, they dug the clay out of the ground. They ran out before they got to the roof line, another team had  made the circular wall plate.


I was helping a team of light tube makers. Cutting bottles up and then sticking them back together with aluminium tape and then covering in foil. They were then build into the walls.

Not quite the expensive stainless steel tubes as seen on ‘Grand Designs’ but a recycled replacement with a zero carbon footprint. You cannot beat that!

Thursdays is volunteer day during the course season and is well supported. The project weeks are amazing. The Saturday they had 50 and the new cook Jeanette had her work cut out trying to feed the crowd.

Tim is increasing the animal diversity with these new oven ready chickens as well as the usual rescue battery hens that provided my breakfast.

I was very comfortable sleeping above the timber store – what a very pretty doorway.
There is a wide variety of buildings at Cherry Wood, all made from the forest.

The picture does not do this living willow structure justice.

The cast iron bath (to the right of this shot) has a fire pit under and the willow forms the screen for outdoor bathing.

Just one of the many cakes cooked in the wood fired oven during the few days of my visit.

The cakes fed the sea of tents on the ridge.

Also the hammock dwellers.

Another project apart from the coppicing of course was this pig enclosure. 

Just one more roll of wire and there will be grunting in them there woods!   

Merlin – one of last year’s apprentices has started to refurbish some very good handmade Japanese pull saws. I tried two of them out, the teeth vary in pitch to help with starting a cut and then fast cutting. He will be at the Ball.


Monday, 21 April 2014

White Chimney Woods 18-04-14 Kent group hosted by John Burbage

Phill and John making running repairs to a wind break.

Damien Goodburn hewing demonstration using ancient methods and tool work.

I thought this was a good turn out as the forecast for the weekend was not good and it was a Bank Holiday weekend.

Sue Reeve on her first pole lathe outing, she has either ‘peaked very early’ or is due to be an outstanding turner.

Her Damson chair leg was far too good for a beginner.

Ed Murphy making another ladder whilst chatting to Terry Jones.

I was using one of Graham Aslett’s stail engines to make tenons for a ‘Ball’ shelter poles.

Paul, aka 'Bardster' shaping a kuksa whilst enjoying the sunshine. He is part of the Bushcraft organisation.

We were invited a few weeks ago to attend the Bushcraft event next Bank holiday weekend in Kent the week before the Ball.

He will be demonstrating leather work at the Ball.

Harry Rogers had been forging some hook knives and was now making the handles.

Mike Gordon putting the finishing touches to the completed beam with a historically correct replica axe.

Apparently there were no such things as side axes until very recently

Sunday morning proved to be a little damp. John B and Mike put this impromptu lean - to shelter up in 20 minutes and then made and lit the fire in no time at all – now that’s what I call service!

Warning – these images are not to scale – right is the new age of tree recognition and below a modest  breakfast for a young vet.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

13-04-14 Open Day at the Ancient Technology Centre Cranbourne Dorset BH21 5RP

The Viking longhouse was very well done. I would have loved to have been involved with the construction.

The local authority building inspectors had a few problems deciding if it was safe for the public. They were not familiar with wooden construction.

The bird on top of beam the was from Thor’s armour.

Another amazing construction with an awful lot of timber supporting the roof beams, with some huge vertical supports.

Interior of earth house:  (not much to see from outside).

The door hinges were u shaped and tenoned into the posts after the doors were in place, then fixed with oak pegs. I could not identify the species – the doors were Oak.

The husband and wife team were great at encouraging the children to cook on this reflecting fire.

They cooked salmon and simple bread.

The skin from the salmon had been tanned using Willow bark and was a fantastic material with the properties of thin leather.

I spent some time talking to the demonstrator about the processes they use to shape flint.  It looks very much easier than it is.

One of the fine examples of roundhouse


The organisers were very good at encouraging the public to have a go. This large stone is part of another construction – so this was an activity in moving obelisks!

12-04-14 Greyhound Inn Blandford Forum

I found myself in a great pub with some unexpected architectural features – this great roof to part of the building.

An unusual carved panel similar to linen fold carving.

This copper relief panel of the High St.

The stages of Gypsy peg making with Peter Jameson.


The official seven steps from Irene Soper’s book ‘The Romany Way’ start with


1st cut from copse (probably someone else’s) 
     Chop off brash.

Cut to peg length

 Tin them

Make split up.
   Sell them – the hardest step.

     Peter had no problem selling them; he will not be Wintering in the Seychelles however!


      The small nails are called cobbler’s tinkles and the tin is from food tins – condensed milk being a favourite of the gypsies, Peter likes pilchard tins.
Dorset Coppice group 12-04-14 on Forestry Commission land (forest) nr Blanford Forum

Terry Heard Peg and broom maker – last seen somewhere near Singleton. This time without cabin or dog!

It was interesting to see all the different grades of charcoal that is produced and what they are used for -from BBQ to medicine!

Jim from the Dorset Charcoal Company was unloading a kiln that did not burn successfully and as he quite rightly says, it does not always go according to plan – brown ends anyone?

The Dorset rescue unit with one very lucky hedgehog.

Tony and Janine Hoad demonstrating horse logging with a very pretty Fleur (the horse not Peter Jameson).

The first cast iron rounder / stail engine I have seen: used for rounding handles.

Local Master thatchers Tony and Mark Cottrell were demonstrating thatching and spar making.

Paul Vodden was making hay rakes.