Monday, 30 March 2015

Visit to The Cherry Wood Project Oakford Lane Marshfield South Gloucestershire SN14 8FE

This venue has a great tradition of cake making by the resident cooks. This season’s  male incumbent had produced a Victoria sponge and a Roybarb crumble.

The fruit for the crumble was supplied by the local bronze plane man Roy Henderson – hence roybarb!


The roundhouse built last season during their project weeks was looking really great; the chef has yet to move in. Still waiting on the floor layers.

The two new apprentices had been busy building themselves yurt components off the back of the yurt building course that had just finished.
They were in the process of steam bending the roof. The side walls were put into the drying frame under torture and left to dry out.

Their Spring project week is highly recommended – they are building a large roundhouse in the woods. Free food, free camping and an opportunity to have a great time with like minded folk. See you there!

Wimpole Lathers 29-03-15 Elm bark stripping trip.

Someone had just bought this axe from Robin Wood for £35!

It looked cast steel with an insert for the cutting edge. Not sure that I am correct however!

Having said that The Ford Motor Company make press cutting tools by MIG welding HSS onto mild steel.

And off to the woods! I did not join them. Am waiting for some feedback from Simon.

He tried to strip bark last week at Sutton Ho but it was lacking sap!

The Chiltern group meeting at Stocking Springs 28-03-15


Amongst other things, Richard and the group were making Ash wood splints for weaving baskets. 

It looks very brutal but I was assured that the club hammer was necessary to break the annular rings up.

You can see clearly from this image that it works and in fact it gets progressively easier as the blows break the bonds through more than one year! Note the second break.

Do love an unusual craft book and this was no exception.

I have never slept in one but a bender looks like a very efficient, strong structure. If you carried a tarp and a groundsheet it could be fun even in Winter – you could gather vegetation for insulation.

A great project for kids.

Dropping off a treadle lathe to the Berkshire Bodgers at Little Hidden Farm, Hungerford 27-03-15

The bodging area had been taken over by a group of overweight young mothers, not sure what they were waiting for.


A fine example of a grain store with rat proof stone supports.

Farm owner Bill Acworth hosts the group, as always he makes everyone who visits feel very welcome. The group meets on the last Sunday of the month. Bill is also organising an annual farm open day on Sunday 5th July in aid of FARM – Africa. A walk in the morning, delicious local food lunch with pizza from our clay oven and craft workshops of all sorts in the afternoon. Fun for all ages!

On the way back to the motorway I called in at the Tally Ho pub. This was the community owned pub run by volunteers when I last visited. They are now so busy they are hiring staff.
Food and real local beer outstanding.

Craftiga A Festival of craftsmanship at  Sutton Ho with the Wimpole group 21/22 -03-15


Simon (who else) scavenged lots of pine cones – great fuel for a kellykettle, you can light them from a match, they are fullof resin.

 Once boiled the fire from the kellykettle was tipped down the rocket log.


The latest from Simon’s experiments with the rocket log. This was Ash and wet!

A wandering Saxon lady took off her shoe for me to look at its construction.


The famous (replica) mask and artefacts – some really nice leatherwork as well. Must have been cold in the helmet it was a very cold day – hence the lack of crowds.

Jim made a fine job of this bowl – hard work in the cold wind, but it kept him warm.

Well we have all heard of cutting firewood but cutting wood on fire is another matter. Simon of course!


A great goblet with a twist ( not lemon).

The beginnings of a coracle from Willow Irish method, upside down.

David Owen supervising the seat fitting.

I took the opportunity to visit the exhibition centre of the local finds. This was the reconstructed burial chamber inside the boat hull.

Some great displays of the boat construction. It is similar to the Viking longboat – clinker built with iron rivets and washers.

One of the visiting bodgers road testing the rocket log stove.


Someone working on a craft competiton entry for the Ball, using a Flexicut  multi tool.

This was the first time at this event. It was pre - season really. The craftspeople were far too spread out and few visitors. The cold wind did not help.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Forty Hall Craft Market 14-03-15

This is a future Ball venue and is on standby for 2016. This was the first time at this event at this very beautiful site in North London. It was a very cool day with a cold breeze – not the time to be outside on the tools!

James was doing well and gave a great demo on turning a baby’s rattle.

Mr and Mrs Rogers (note the headgear) were braving the weather and Harry was hand stitching at one stage (I was surprised - how did he feel those cold needles?)

Orlando and I were in relative luxury sheltered by my new gazebo. We were situated outside the front entrance which should have given us an advantage on a warm day, but this was not to be. It was very cold outside which kept the public inside. 

However an enjoyable event and the organisers were friendly and helpful. Thanks to Lorraine Cox and her team at the London Borough of Enfield.

Friday, 13 March 2015

 Fairlop Woodturners 11th March and maybe our last meeting at King Solomon High School

I have been Secretary of our club for 10 years. The club was formed by the school as part of a community project and as such attracted Technology College funding. I gave my time for nothing and the club ran twice a month in the evening from 6-9/10 pm. They now want us to pay £300 a night to do this which is not possible as we only have about 20 members - accountants rule!

Back to the good news – Greg Moreton was making greenwood forms and boxes. This was his second visit.  I just love his style – good banter throughout. He never complained about out club lathe (and most people do), especially about the left handed thread on the tool-rest.

As you may have picked up on – I am a  largely a green woodworker and a representative number of  my power lathe friends now spend more time using hand tools, carving and decorating than they ever did using a bowl gouge and hollowing tools.