Monday, 28 July 2014

Lammas Festival Western Lawns Eastbourne BN21 4BY 26/27th July

What a great setting – the immaculate seafront at Eastbourne.

The glorious weather certainly must have contributed to the visitor numbers, along with it being a traditional celebration with no entry fee.

Lammas is the making of the first bread of the harvest.

I have since learnt of other dates (in other parts of the country) – probably due to the different weather conditions.


Mike Church was attracting the crowds of children again. What a very professional setup he brings. If he can draw the youngsters – the parents (buyers) are not far behind.

I have only just started to sell and am learning fast. Interesting displays attract potential customers as do demonstrations. When we all stopped for lunch (as we may well do to be sociable), the punters just walking straight by us. Begs the question, we should take timed breaks – so that there is always something going on (bit like 24/7 retail I guess).


This pagan festival was colourful and it was refreshing to think that Eastbourne council were so receptive and accommodating.

However they were a little too Health &Safety conscious at times, for no apparent reason when it came to vehicle movements.

The local council do take thing seriously the esplanade was immaculate and there were hoards of cleaners on the foreshore early in the morning cleaning up after late night revellers.

I did think that the £500 fine for cycling on the esplanade was a little strong but the Corporation of London will fine you £50 for cycling on their virtually uninhabited forest paths.

One of our new members – James Taylor was whittling mushrooms. He did not do as well as expected with mushroom sales compared with his last event.

 Well now, that reminds me of something Robin Fawcett mentioned to me some time ago – know your clientele. If you wish to maximise sales then you need to understand what they might buy. I would say ‘horses for courses’.

Professor Jamus Pomfrites Maxisknowlegious of Bodgerlarium.

He supplied me with some previously unheard of species – Athrotaxis selaginoides is a species of Athrotaxis, endemic to Tasmania in Australia, where it grows at 400–1,120 m altitude. In its habitat in the mountains, snow in winter is very usual.

As well as some Nothofagus, also known as the southern beeches, is a genus of 36 species of trees and shrubs native to the Southern Hemisphere in southern South America and Australasia. Some species are reportedly naturalized in Germany and Great Britain.

OK, I nearly forgot to mention his amazing skill and knowledge of bowl turning. James makes reproductions for the Mary Rose Trust – need I say more!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Meeting of the Howe committee of the Worshipful Company of Turners 21-07-14

This print was in the corridor.

 ‘Closely linked with the history of the City of London are its 94 Guilds and Livery Companies who are the successors of religious, trade and social fraternities dating back to the 11th century. Originally there were two classes of guilds, the Craft Guilds and the Merchant Guilds. First came the craft Guilds of whom the earliest to be formed was the Weavers Guild who received their charter in 1155. By forming these guilds the craftsmen secured mutual support and protection in their respective trades and prevented strangers to the City from setting up in competition with their existing businesses.

At the beginning of the 14th century the merchants formed their guilds to safeguard their goods and thereby increasing their profits. As they prospered so they became the leading citizens of the City and played an important part in the development of local government organisation. The first Livery Company to be formed was the Mercers who received their charter in 1394.

During the 15th century the guilds came to be called livery companies from a custom which originated in the 11th century when members of the more prosperous companies wore distinctive clothing or livery on ceremonial occasions. Nowadays livery gowns are worn by the Master and Wardens of the livery companies on formal occasions, an example being the United Guilds Service held annually at St Paul’s Cathedral.  Each company has its own particular style and colour of gown, the collards and cuffs are usually trimmed with fur. 

Of the 94 companies illustrated only two do not have livery, the Parish Clerks who prefer the wearing of a surplice and the Watermen and Lightermen who were formed by an act of Parliament in 1555.  Today there are only a few companies still linked with their trade names, these companies maintain the same high standard of workmanship which have existed for centuries. The companies no longer associated with their former trades have now in the main dedicated themselves to charitable, educational and social schemes.

To belong to a guild or livery company one must first become a freeman of that that company; this can be achieved by one of three ways; Servitude – where one is required for four years as an apprentice to a freeman. Patrimony – through the father of the applicant having been a freeman before the son or daughter was born and by redemption – that is by purchase with the approval of the Corporation of the City of London. Having been accepted the freeman may aspire in time to become a Master or Warden of his guild. Originally the hub of each company was its hall, however since the Great Fire of London many halls have disappeared.  Existing halls are indicated by red numbers, whilst the black numbers above each scroll refers to the order of procedure.

It has been said that the pinnacle in the life of a liveryman is that he may one day be called upon to serve the citizens of the City as their Lord Mayor for a period of one year, during which time he will entertain monarchs, presidents and ministers from all over the world as part of his many duties whilst in office’


The skyline of London has never remanded the same for too long – fires, wars and periods of boom and bust drive have all contributed to continuous development.

The arrival of the steel work reminded me of the incredible building record for the Empire State building. You must look up the statistics – built under budget and completed early.


The hoarding displayed high quality prints of archaeological finds on I presume this site or perhaps from the Crossrail project.

The Howe committee discuss means to promote woodturning in all its forms and is represented by members from SOT (Society of ornamental turners), the  AWGB (Association of wood turners) and the APTGW (the Association of pole lathe turners ). I was there by servitude!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Wakehurst Place (Kew Gardens) 20th July Ardingly, Haywards Heath, Sussex RH17 6TN

This was the first event of its kind held by Kew Gardens.

The entertainer /  wandering minstrel with an occasional Punch and Judy voice. It was suggested that he be invited to our next Ball. 

James Pumfrey organised the event for the APTGW, he was on a bit of a busman’s holiday, meeting so many work colleagues 

Amy Leake was demonstrating her spoon carving skills.

Mike Church was demonstrating trug making as usual. He has a plan however to widen his repertoire with something less vegetarian. 


Richard Bingham was demonstrating his rake making skills. I was to his right and he was keeping me entertained! 


Mike Gordon deep in discussion with Frank Wright who was in scything competition.


Fionn as usual on his pole lathe and Richard as we normally see him on a shave horse.

I was only there on the Sunday and enjoyed the best of the weekend weather. 

Visitor numbers appeared very good as this was their first venture. I am informed that the intention is to repeat this next year.

APTGW management meeting held at The Shard (or next to it) Saturday 19th  July

This very central venue is kindly provided by Hugh Spencer. This was the last meeting for John Burbage our outgoing treasurer who has served this association for many years. The new treasurer Adrian Lloyd was with us as well as Leo Bjorkegren who is without portfolio.  The minutes of all our meetings are of course published in the Gazette.

We had the opportunity to look at the latest copy, which is in full colour. As you know Orlando is having a baby and in the next issue is appealing for some help with the Gazette. We also discussed membership fees which decided to raise to £20 as our standing costs – predominately Gazette production and posting have risen significantly.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Coopers  Wood  Keston Kent BR2 6AS 12-07-14

The latest addition to my shave horse – a tool rack – this should stop me loosing tools in the shavings.

Tom the vet was very busy making his first bowl pole lathe.

Harry was employing some child support  to turn the grinding wheel that he acquired recently for Graham Aslett.

I never seen one with a virtually brand new stone before and it was relatively fine as well.

John Burbage busy working on a secret project.
I have never seen him so focussed, looks like a chair leg with one bead?  Bit thin I thought.

Rumour has it that he has a bet on with a central committee member.


The Kent boys as usual hanging around the local burger bar on Saturday night.

Graham is a wizard at making everything, so to overcome problems with drying very bent branches for shavehorse arms he slits them with a chainsaw and dries them whilst still in one piece.


Richard Wells was busy forging a scorp from an old file – not an easy task. 
Help For Heroes  Tedworth House, Tidworth SP9 7AJ  11-07-14

I was asked by The Worshipful Company of Turners to investigate the possibilities for pole lathe turning at this site. This could add to the many tools and activities used for rehabilitation.

This is an amazing setting for wounded service personnel.

The staff and their organisation have created something very special and their attention to detail reflects their commitment to this very worthy cause.

This bronze in front of the house is an example of that.

The existing green woodworking camp in the wood is very close to the house has excellent access for wheelchairs.

The pole lathes are going to be set up next to this if all goes to plan.

An excellent example of Cedar of Lebanon but this one had Ravens nesting.

The original site for the bodging area was to have been close to this, so plans were changed to leave them undisturbed.


Inside the main building, behind the reception was this stunning window.

This was a hugely humbling experience for me. I spent my time with David Turner who works for the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and he works on site three days a week. His colleagues are working on the gardens and they are all helped by the residents as part of their rehabilitation program.

Hats off to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust they are doing a fantastic job and let’s hope they receive all the help they require.

Tedworth House has an interesting history and is well  worth searching, it goes back to at least 1650.
‘During the second World War, Tidworth was an American base and Tedworth House became the Red Cross Club, run by Mrs Theodore Roosevelt Jr, from where, (it is rumoured), hamburgers and ‘doughnuts’ were first introduced into this country! In 1944, Theodore Roosevelt Jr was the first Allied general officer to wade ashore on the Normandy beachhead with the US 1st Infantry Division’

Cherry Wood 10th July South Gloucestershire SN14 8FE

Tim Gatfield was running a chair making course and this was one example of two double chairs with burr Elm seats that were under construction.

Thursday is his volunteer day (every week) and as usual he had been very busy.

It is no secret that this is my favourite place!
I started as a volunteer a few years ago and travelled from London to do so. Well it changed my life!

Last time I visited during their spring project week they had only just started on the roundhouse.

It now has an interesting roof and the internal rendering has started.

The view from inside is similar to that of a yurt although as yet it lacks the warmth. The wall construction should keep the occupants insulated from the elements.

The views of the forest from this building will be incredible. I am looking forward to spending a night or two in here.

Standen House ( National Trust) 7th July  West Hoathly Rd, East Grinstead, Sussex RH19 4NE

James, Fionn and Nick on their lathes in a beautiful timber framed building.

Nick Bertenshaw was volunteering some ago and helped in the original construction. This was the first (not the last we hope) APTGW meeting held on one of their open days.  


I was hiding in camouflage in the wood store.
There were not hordes of visitors and this area was some walk across afield from the main building.

Having said that the people we saw stayed around us for some time.

The nettle and willow string making (no picture sorry) was a great way of getting the public engaged in a safe practical activity, especially the children.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Fairlop Fair 5th July held at Fairlop Waters Essex

This was the first external event for a good few f years for Fairlop Wood Turners. 

The committee was well represented. Lynne the treasurer manning the have a go lathe.

I was on the shave horse adzing bowls as usual.

I have made recently made a femoral artery protector due to several requests from fellow bodgers.

John Brotherton and John Houghton entertaining the crowd.

We received lots of interest  from the local community. One of which has already joined out club.

It was a very well organised event - Thanks Bonita who did a great job in organising this event for the London Borough of Redbridge.

Wimpole Scything competition 28th/29th June at Wimpole Hall SG8 0BW

Simon Damant was running a spoon making workshop amongst other things, like running the whole event and  taking  part in the scything competitions.

James Hookway with his retort wood kilns.

Having a separate retort pipework set up, made it  easier for people to understand how it all works.  A picture is worth a thous…

That man Simon again, this time distilling essential oil from some of my shavings – well some of his shavings I guess – it was his wood! (Arizona Cypress) very fragrant.

Scythe peening workshop

Something new to sell - Gardeners string line with cutter built in (not shown).

Craft bread store – I have never seen bread making in the field. It worked,  even at £4.50 a loaf  – you demo it they will buy it.

 The rye and walnut was excellent.

Something unusual, a Laburnum oil lamp holder.

Wool seller with fleeces and all sorts of woolly bits.

How I never got a picture of Lillie and Harriet Sprig I don’t know and I apologise for that – well is was a bit damp! We spent most of the weekend covering and then uncovering the work displays.
Huge thanks to Simon and his volunteers, thanks also for the ample supply of cider and the rams on the BBQ Saturday night.