Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Motts Mill Scarecrow competition 28th September.

During the Bentley weekend I was staying with the Bertenshaws who live at Motts Mill.  They have a resident’s competition every year which certainly makes the drive down a little more interesting. 

So here are all the larger entries –

It was misty so some of the pictures look perhaps a bit more atmospheric.

Wood Fair at Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum 26/28th September

The Sussex group as usual organised our presence at this, the biggest public event of the year.

All the usual suspects were waiting for Mike Gordon to finish what may now be a tradition at Bentley – eggs Benedict for Saturday breakfast.

Jill Swan (Syngate Wood Canterbury), was next to me all weekend, we had fun with rival trader banter.

She was doing a Tesco’s on the coat hooks doing a special offer dearer than my hooks – it worked, she outsold me. Apply for shares in Swan Woods Inc.

Mark Allery and the Sussex Coppice workers were in the forest. Like us, it was so busy it was difficult to find the time to have a good look round and chat to everyone. Only really said hello and bought some linseed oil. 

Had a bit of a chat on Sunday morning before the crowds arrived.
Worshipful Company of Turners meeting at Skinners Hall 25th September


Once again meeting in the heart of the City of London, if you go back to the last meeting at this venue on my blog – you can see how much progress the builders have made.

I thought Harry Potter fans would enjoy this, I am sure it’s not the only one (sounds like a Beatles song).

This collection of trade cards from the fan makers was hanging in the foyer with a collection of other interesting bits and bobs.

We were discussing (amongst other things) the arrangements and advertising for the forthcoming competitions on Wednesday 29th October. If you have not entered then please do so, the details are in the Gazette and on our website. Or phone me 07960 035267.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Visit to the Ian Mikado School Bow 19-09-14

I volunteered myself to advise the WCT and met Robert Bewick from the charities committee on site - see notes below.

This special school is a pupil referral unit (PRU) for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

We were fortunate to have a few minutes with Claire Lillis who is the very busy head teacher.  

I am a teacher and I know that the general ethos and well-being of any school is a reflection of the leadership.

I have in the past been very critical of modern school design and build quality; well this was something else entirely. The standard of design, finish and clever use of all the available space was very noticeable. 

I  think that it make a statement to the pupils that somebody cares enough to provide this high standard of environment.  

It reminded me of my visit to Tedworth House earlier in the year; another immaculate well thought out and imaginatively managed setting.

We were shown around by Jake  Hally-Milne one of the technology staff and discussed in detail their plans to expand the green woodworking capability.  

I have taken this from a web article on the late Ian Mikado

 His parents left the East End and set up home in Portsmouth in 1907. Mikardo was born a year later. He recalled that the language of the family in those early days was Yiddish. When Mikardo went to school at the age of three he had only a few words of English and that put him at a disadvantage in relation to his classmates. He used to tell his many friends in the House of Commons how when he became a Member of Parliament for a constituency containing many Bangladeshi families whose young children had only a few words of English, and saw them harassed by having to study the usual range of school studies whilst they were unfamiliar with the language of their teachers and textbooks, he well understood what they were up against.

Read the rest of it on line – an amazing man.

There is a two part Channel 5 documentary ‘Too tough to Teach’ on this school on Monday 29th of September and Monday 6th October at  9.00pm.


Robert Bewick is the great grandson of Thomas Bewick
Thomas Bewick (c. 11 August 1753 – 8 November 1828) was an English engraver and natural history author. Early in his career he took on all kinds of work such as engraving cutlery, making the wood blocks for advertisements, and illustrating children's books. Gradually he turned to illustrating, writing and publishing his own books, gaining an adult audience for the fine illustrations in A History of Quadrupeds.
His career began when he was apprenticed to engraver Ralph Beilby in Newcastle upon Tyne. He became a partner in the business and eventually took it over. Apprentices whom Bewick trained include John Anderson, Luke Clennell, and William Harvey, who in their turn became well known as painters and engravers.
Bewick is best known for his A History of British Birds, which is admired today mainly for its wood engravings, especially the small, sharply observed, and often humorous vignettes known as tail-pieces. He notably illustrated editions of Aesop's Fables throughout his life.
He is credited with popularising a technical innovation in the printing of illustrations using wood. He adopted metal-engraving tools to cut hard boxwood across the grain, producing printing blocks that could be integrated with metal type, but were much more durable than traditional woodcuts. The result was high quality illustration at a low price.

Birtley House Bramley, Nr Guildford GU5 0LB 

                                                  First ever meeting of the Surrey group 14-09-14

Mervyn Mewis has been busy making a woodland workshop area in this beautiful setting in Surrey.

The land owners the Whalley family are keen to promote local events and activities. They have a part time ranger Theo who was doing a good job supervising a children’s event not to far away.


The Hazell family were in attendance and as usual Martin had some great spoons and a very pretty basket.

I did not know that he used to teach basket making.


There were a few new faces, which is always very encouraging at the birth of any new group.
Mervyn I think knows how to use available  human resources.

This looks good already – what great potential this setting has. If you are local and wish to develop your personal skills then come and support your new local group.

Mervyn has plans to run monthly weekend courses in chairmaking and is interested in encouraging others to use the resources; possibly painting workshops.

The next meeting will be the Surrey Hills Wood Fair which is on the weekend 4/5 October at Birtley House (http://www.surreyhills.org/events/surrey-hills-wood-fair-2014/)

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Forty Hall Estate Enfield EN2 9HA 12-09-14

Forty Hall is a manor house of the 1620s in Forty Hill in Enfield, north London. The house, a Grade I listed building, is today used as a museum by the London Borough of Enfield. Within the grounds is the site of the former Tudor Elsyng Palace.

The lake is in front of the house and the royal palace would have been visible in this view.

I was visiting as a scout for a future ‘Ball’ possibly 2016. I met Lorraine Cox during the Lord Mayor’s show last year. 

She gave me a guided tour of the site and we had a preliminary discussion. 

I will bring this up at our next management meeting in November. 

The site has a lot of potential and the area immediately around the house would make a great setting for a Bodger’s village.

Forty Hall is just off the M25 and 10 minutes from the M11.  It is inside the emissions zone but we are uncertain as to the enforcement area.

Kent group meeting at White Chimney Woods 6&7th September 

A Graham Aslett break model No.2
Mark 1 has been featured on a report from Coopers Wood…
This had some modifications – angled roofs to the uprights (originally cleft shingles).
Also note the burnt legs for additional protection against the elements and bugs.

Harry (Singer) Rogers has now taken to bringing his mobile leather shop with him – some very nice work.
I must say how helpful he has been to me on sewing machine matters – thanks Harry.
I hope at some time he might write an article on leatherwork and machines for the gazette.

The standard  of baking is definitely on the up. 

I suspect we will have to extend the range of competitions at the next ball – why not?

On Sunday we enjoyed a weaver’s caravan cake – brilliant!

Voodo alpaca has been self- harming again – well a bit more hedge-laying really!
I was advised buy our legal department not to show the other arm; it was far worse.

John Burbage was in charge of the steam bending  team – Ash chair back. Having done a little with Richard Bingham recently I know that it needs a great deal of strength and coordination to get it done.
Steaming it for longer apparently works against you.

Gill Swan giving Tom the vet (big breakfast) some tuition.

I think it’s a bit mean to make him kneel down!

Terry Jones with a very handsome stool, but I wanted to show you his latest passion – German gathering baskets.

In the background is Graham’s mobile workshop extension / camper van.

Later next day – having allowed for shrinkage overnight, the almost completed basket.

 He really makes it look so easy – well is isn’t easy.

Two of the specialist planes Terry used to shape the weaving material.

Nick Bertenshaw was developing his bowl turning skills, whilst Nancy was doing a cordage workshop making wristbands.

The weaver’s dinner table; no long legged rabbits anywhere to be seen.

Voodoo alpaca on breakfast duties; notice he is still hiding his left arm.

So Phil is doing the sausages, tomatoes and mushrooms, 

Terry and Mike are in charge of bacon, beans and eggs.

Tom (big breakfast) organised the toast.

Perhaps a full English competition at the next Ball?

Mike and Tom helping Harriot (a potential new member).

She was on the pole lathe with Mike at Townings farm last week.

Damien Goodburn was using some Stone Age replica tools. This was a bronze axe; this would have been hammered to harden it before sharpening.

Damien was having no trouble using this level of technology.

Jocelyn was making a hurdle on the Sunday having turned up with a truck full of broom makings on Saturday.

I wonder what her sheep were doing after their foot-bath?

This time of year is bad for foot rot apparently.