Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Wimpole Lathers meeting Sunday 24th January at Wimpole Hall

You have probably guessed that I bumped into a slimmer Magnus as I arrived. He has been making more axes for his day job.

The lengthened poll on these axes are made by fire welding a long staple on the back.


Simon casually cutting a stool blank for a bodger; note the foot protector. The narrower the blade the tighter the curve you can cut. This was his third cut in this position.

I was attempting to adze out this bowl from some Scots pine – potentially pretty but horrible stuff, it behaves like it’s very dry but axing through the fibres (for the back) was murder, had to virtually split it off. It didn't like the travisher much either. Not recommended.

Perhaps the fungal infection was the cause?

Jane was doing very well adzing out a dish in Judas wood with a very large heavy tool.

A rare picture with Magnus!

The warm weather brought loads of bodgers out of the woodwork.

Simon taking a break from chain sawing and organising everything including his three very naughty dogs (again they were not available for comment).

Spoon in Judas wood, Elder - Tremella auricula.

A colleague of David Owen was basketing (think I made that one up).

They had jointly made the Willow sheep.

Simon back on the saw – cutting a bowl lathe bed from the horrible wood – probably a good use for it.

Jane’s nearly finished dish, lovely contrast of heartwood to sapwood.

Thanks to Jim for inviting me to their event.

They have scything and hedge laying events going on every year – contact them for details.
23rd January -Leatherworking day at Wye Community Farm Rye Kent with the Kent group.

The Bardster started the session with an introduction to the basics of making a tool case.

John Burbage providing the leather with Harry and Paul giving advice. It was a very cosy setup, you need to be inside to keep the fingers warm.

In the afternoon we were given a guided tour of their treasures.

This is the fire area for the Oast House on the end of their smaller building. It was a round; apparently they used to be square but in attempt to make them more efficient the design was changed. They also experimented with vaulted sections around the fire. This proved to be very expensive and not more efficient, so the round idea was dropped.

There were many old tools – as you would expect. I have just shown some of the ones I have never seen before.

This was a surveyor’s chain – so I guess it was 33yards long! - or so I read but Richard Bingham has given me this -

"22 yards in a chain 220 in furlong, 8 furlongs to the mile. Furlong the distance an Ox could manage back and forth ploughing".

An interesting basket – a game carrier

Stilts used by hop workers, apparently the local pub used at lunchtime by the workers served beer from the first floor. 

The stilts also came in several sizes.


You can almost see the evolution of the band saw in this lovely old piece.

The main Barn was built in 1315 as is intact and has had few replacement beams. It was constructed originally with Kent peg tiles and was not knowingly ever thatched – amazing a Cathedral almost.

The inside stored some amazing examples of farm machinery.

Mr Aslett was in his element!

A Kent wagon I think, they were built to last – well it’s done that. The makers name was painted on the end but the address was painted over during the war to stop the Germans working out where they were!


The barn was very well camouflaged on the outside, you could walk right past it on not know where all those Oak trees went.

On the way down to Motts Mill – stately home of the Bertenshaws I dropped into the Windmill (CAMRA recommended) at Sevenoaks Weald.


The present owners bought this run down business from a Greene King. It was originally built as the railway was planned to stop here. In the event the railway never came.


They only sell local beer and this was outstanding for a session beer.

Needless to say – well worth a visit.

Onwards to Motts Mill

What a great sight! Nick’s own brewery. He buys kits, but very good ones, the stout we were drinking was excellent.

He uses pressurised barrels which means the beer keeps for a long time (as you are not letting the air in).

The snug bar at Nick & Nancy’s

They have a new undyed, natural Herdwick wool carpet; even the 18 year old cat was scared to walk on it!

Thanks for the hospitality.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Harriet and Tillie Norfolk January 2016

I visited into their workshop to collect this magnificent hand-made Oak cupboard for a fellow bodger.

Fully dovetailed drawers with Lime bottoms.

One of the short workbenches – made to last!

The main workbench – I think the legs were 6x6!

One of the many hand made tools – this one for holding whilst shooting 45degree angles. The screw thread was made from Rosewood, the body Mahogany.


This home made plane had a Holly sole (has a very slippery finish).

A rack of hand made clamps – hornbeam lead-screws and ash frames.

The small one is of Beech and has mellowed with age – Harriet made this in 1952

They grow most of their own food and harvest nuts from their own and local trees.

This heat powered fan helps to push the heat across the room. The Peltier element converts heat into electricity – driving the motor.


Harriet was baking bread in her drawing office – yes really, she has a proper drawing board.

It’s amazing to see so much growing even at this time of year. They also have 19 chickens and some bantams.

Normally at this time of year when the days are shorter they stop laying, so they would put on an outside light to stop this. However without the light they are still laying enough.

Pin Mill at Woodbridge Suffolk

Although normally closed on Sundays – I found a trustee inside who gave me the guided tour.

The crown wheel is cast iron and the cogs on the drive wheel are of Oak mounted in a cast wheel. I was surprised – thought that Alder may have been a better material, perhaps the repetitive wetting and drying out favoured Oak.

The Oak paddlewheel had recently been replaced – it looked brand new.

At high tide the lagoon next to the Mill fills. When the tide turns the gates close trapping the water. Then at low tide they let the water past the paddlewheel onto the mudflats now exposed by the tide.

The outside has also just been painted and guttering put up (to help protect the external woodwork). The guttering addition fell foul of English Heritage who was against it, common sense ruled however.

The Mill is now owned by the people of Woodbridge and maintained by an army of volunteers. They still mill flour which they sell. Get baking!

Monday, 4 January 2016

Christmas in Wanstead
I was given a Kindle Fire for Christmas so decided to make a protective case for it and my phone.

I started off by making MDF moulds of the two items and then moulded the leather using the Stohlman method, sweating the leather after soaking really made a difference.

I used steel tacks and kept them in the waste area as they stain the leather – as you would expect.

I stuck the top moulding first using Evo-Stik Impact. For smaller items I have experimented with Power Pritt which has been working well and grabs quickly especially with pressure.

It was tricky to hold them in the stitching pony and spent most of the time just between my knees.


I am also still using pre-waxed thread as it tends not to tangle when pulling through. For the edges just gum and then plenty of carnauba cream all over to finish (sounds like a dessert). 

As with many wet moulded cases, they would be expensive in time to make, I suppose they could be jigged and put into a press and even riveted instead of hand stitching.