Sunday, 22 February 2015

Home Farm Wimpole Hall Sunday 22nd February

So this is a quiz, set by Andy Marczewski – can you identify the collection of items on the shave-horse?

answers at the bottom of this entry.

This is sawdust stove designed and made by Alistair. The lower section has a hole in the base the same size as the white tube in the foreground.

The tube is heavily siliconed for lubrication and has a locating plug to match the hole in the base of the can. So locate the tube, pack it with sawdust to close to the top and cover with ash – this prevents the top from burning.

Remove tube at set fire to the sawdust – it burns for a long time. Air comes through the hole in the base and feeds the burning dust. It has to be elevated and requires some form of air adjustement to regulate rate of burn.


Alistair was also working on two bows to power a pole lathe. These were of Ash – as were most English bows.

Simon was wearing his own jumper – his own sheep and wool, his father processed and dyed it with chestnut and his mother knitted it.


Andy was supervising a newcomer using a large scotch eyed auger bit making maul heads from some dry Elm.

Simon is looking for a 4 inch auger bit to make bird boxes.

Simon has been busy carving dishes and hearts


There are a few budding tool makers in this group. This travisher is from Tony Hague – Mahogany

It was 2nd prize in the tool competition last year – 


This young lady was a complete novice and was fortunate to visit a group so well geared up for youngsters – small shave-horses and lathes.


Another good idea from Andy – a bench mounted standing shave-horse if you’re short of space.

I visited the local Pub in Orwell – the Chequers


The Lacons from Great Yarmouth was excellent as was the bar food – whitebait, squid and chicken.

No surprises then about the origins of the quality tempura.

So - did you recognise the catheter, urine bag, wooden bung and the small jar of Birch syrup. The blue plastic was for tying to the tapped tree to make it easier to find later.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Turning a candlestick on my Graduate lathe at home in Wanstead 21-02-15

This is mark II in Oak for a church in Oakham,  Surrey.

Mark I was Ash but did not match the existing furniture.

This is (or perhaps was) my Myford Super 7 lathe, a fantastic piece of kit and very collectable.

Have just put it on ebay. I need the space in my workshop and I have only used it once in 5 years.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Trip to Banbury to buy a Gazebo from 17-02-15


On the way I stopped in at the Three Horseshoes in Whitney (top of the Camra list for that area). The Arty Farty (Plain Ales) is only available for a week a month, timed it just about right. Great bar food.

The pub was originally three weavers cottages with atypically big windows (required the extra light).


Witney is the largest town in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds and has grown rapidly over the last 50 years but still retains the feel of a charming and bustling market town with an excellent range of shops and a twice weekly market. Once famous across the world for its blanket making, gloves and other woollen goods. Much of the town's architecture reflects the prosperity brought by the woollen trade.

The small roofed open-air shelter known as the Butter Cross in the market place, near to the Town Hall, was erected in 1683, replacing the old Butter Cross which formerly stood on this site.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Leather-working in my study London Wanstead 14-02-15


This was a pretty drawknife from a coppice workers tool-bag.

There is something very much about a Christmas Island crab with this design.

I visited J T Batchelors on Friday and bought some pre-waxed nylon thread, normally I use Barbour flax No.18.

John Burbage was using it at the last leather-working day in Benenden I was impressed, it is a lot thicker but does go into standard needles.

Looks a bit grumpy to me, let’s hope the new owner will like it.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Abney Park Cemetery – home to the London Group Saturday 7th February 2015

John Flaherty arrived sporting a very handsome pair of clogs from Jeremy Akinson who is giving JoJo Wood tuition as we speak. 

John said they were very comfortable. I must have a pair!

John has 'serial tool buyers syndrome' and found this strange object that even Mike Kimpton did not know recognise – anyone got any id eas?
The lower part is a blade.

This leather knife was an interesting shape, they are normally more hemispherical.

Mike showed us this home-made jig for cutting holes in strips of band-saw blade to make bow saw blades.
An old door hinge has a hole drilled through it the same size as a masonry nail. He marks the position of the hole on the blade with Tipp-ex, inserts the blade in the gap of the closed hinge and lines up the Tipp-ex with the centre of the hole. He then puts in the nail and hits it with a hammer punching the hole through the blade. It worked very well – no drill bit, no drill and have you ever tried to drill a neat hole through very thin metal?


Mike also brought along this book on wooden rules. We should all buy as many as possible.

This was the first meeting of 2015 and as usual we all spent most of the day sharpening the impressive collection of tools most of which were given by the WCT. 

This has been a very worthwhile and value for money sponsorship, I have often seen them run out when it get busy!

Thanks to all the Abney crew - Jo and Orlando, Joseph Bloor, Julian, Leslie and all the regular attendees.

Collecting my chainsaw from APT Friday 6th February.

Living in London has many disadvantages but it does have plenty of local services.
This family business was founded in 1840 and four members of the family still work here.

We all love a bargain and are probably too quick to go to the web as I did last year. Before what I thought was a bargain I double checked with my local shop – this one and they were cheaper!

Be warned, this is a very dangerous place to visit – far too many temptations.
Check them out –

Leatherworking in my study London Wanstead 03-02-15

This was a commission to make a hunting knife case for a young man from Mark Cross. It was my first go at this style of case so; time to get the bible of sewing out – ‘The art of making leather cases by Al Stohlman. If you make leather cases this is a must but you need the previous volume as it is referenced all the time. Best value is from J T Batchelors – off Balls Pond Road London, they are also suppliers of tools and leather.

His series of books are packed with hand drawn illustrations of how to do everything; it all follows a logical sequence. Sucessful leatherwork is all about the basics – preparation (reading the book), making card templates (something I learnt very early on from Rob Exton – and then keeping them for future use), working with good tools and quality leather (Batchelor’s) and then finishing, waxing etc.

The most enjoyable aspect of this is to be constantly challenged to do something different, making your brain work on the new application of your old skills. 

The safety strap was riveted inside the belt loop at the back and then onto the front of the case.
Not wet mould in the true sense but moistened on the fold.
I might be tempted to add a fringe on the next one of this type (especially if it’s for a youngster).

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Kings Head Passage, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP20 2RW  01296 718812

I called into Aylesbury on the way back having once again  consulted the CAMRA website – this was top of their list. They sold a good range of Chiltern Ales. The food looked great.

THE FARMERS' BAR at The King's Head. Dating from 1455 The Farmers' Bar is an historic hidden gem in the heart of the old market town of Aylesbury.

You had the get the key for the toilet off the bar. The pub was just off the market place so I’m guessing they we fed up with providing free loos!

West Midlands bodgers group ant The Greenwood Centre, Coalbrookdale Ironbridge Gorge Sunday 1st  Februaury

An Oak seat with a Hazel woven back, one of many fine examples of green woodwork in the timber framed building on site.

Some fine examples of local coracle. Someone has just secured a grant to renovate a workshop near Ironbridge and they are going to start making them again. There are many local variations as with most ‘tools of the trade’

They have a great set-up with a permanent shelter with many lathes and shave horses. No shortage of wood either. They meet monthly on the first Sunday.

Bob was making yet another mallet.
Later on we were discussing suitable knives for  beginners and high tool costs. He mentioned the knife shown a Hultafors Craftsman’s knife HVK £2.90 inc vat! Search on line. He removes the tip before letting a beginner have a go, I always recommend Ken Lukeman’s Little book of whittling  for youngsters – Abney Park who see many beginners have a rule about children: their parent come first to learn the basic skills and then must accompany their children – a very sound policy. Visitors also sign a waiver before they do anything.

Coopers Tavern 43 Cross Street Burton Upon Trent DE14 1EG

I stopped off in Burton Upon Trent on the way to Coalbrookdale. This was top of the CAMRA list for the area.

Most of their beer was straight from the barrel – makes perfect sense, quicker to pour and beer is in a perfect condition. The very, very tricky bit is managing it. They have live music every Sunday 3-6pm


Local hand crafted pork pies and the tables were beer casks.

Their list of innkeepers went back 1823

Visit to the proposed new Bodgers Ball 2015 venue Saturday 30th  January

at Walesby Forest Brake Road, Walesby, Newark NG22 9NG

I met up with Alan and Clive from the committee to meet with Andrew Alder and others from the East Midlands group. It was a little chilly but the site was large and I think has great potential.

That was the easy bit, now things have to be organised and at the end of the day it is down to the local group and volunteers.

 I had many other pictures but one snowy scene is much like another. Perhaps a helicopter and a film crew next year. 

For more details of course - visit their website.