Monday, 29 February 2016

Wimpole Lathers Sunday 28-02-16


Simon had provided some Laburnum and this hornet was using it as a safe hiding place.

I took the other half of this crotch – isn't nature amazing!

Reminded me of Tim Stevenson’s jeans in a Ball competition two or three years ago?

Simon took us out on a trip to tap the local Sycamore, so he drilled in three inches and then inserted the hollow bung (before asking if there was anyone in there).


Andy supplied the usual fittings, I was disappointed that there was no use of medical equipment! 

Later on we were given a taster - not very sweet however.

Plenty of things going on including the use of this old wooden plane – not seen that for a time.

Toolmaker Tony had mad this broach type tool for making a slot for another tool. Tool steel and a Hornbeam handle with a micro-bore plumbing fitting as a ferrule.

He was working on a small dish with a gouge.

The kindergarten group were huddled around the fire (notice that handsome car in the background).

Simon as usual was doing everything – this time playing with Willow, not sure what it was however.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Shrink Pots in Benenden with the Kent group 20-02-16

Well the cutter I made flexed too much and requires a top cap to stop this, the best tool I used was Amy’s standard cutting gauge – bit like a marking gauge but with a knife as its was designed to cut across the grain.

First job after cutting to length was to bore out a large hole using an auger bit. Lots of people were using workmates to grip their work.

The problem with using a flat vice or a shave horse is that once most of the hole has been wasted the force snaps the tube as Amy found out on her first attempt.


Damien using an in cannel gouges to remove the centre after drilling. 
The general rule of thumb was to leave about 10mm of wood inside the bark.

Robin had his wood wrapped in a towel?

After the hollowing out the slot to take the base it cut. Then dry wood is shaped to fit – Sue is doing this below.

John B was the only one not making – he was too busy looking after his guests. As ever a great host, a very generous man.

Then the base is popped into place – Harry demonstrating to Amy and Keith.


Phil Piddell has just come back from another trip (Africa) with this axe £3.50 from a local hardware store.

The cutting edge looked like a piece of car spring and not too sharpened either – apparently that’s how they use it.


Thursday, 18 February 2016

Half term holiday in Wanstead

I had a commission for spindles from a neighbour who was refurbishing his kitchen stools.
After sharpening my skew chisels I did some practise first – so I turned some spurtles from Oak, Walnut and Utile. I remember what a professional turner once said during a demonstration  ‘ your lucky not being a professional, we have to practise every day’

Having read through the little Kelly Kettle booklet I picked up on the Hobo Stove they sell as an extra for £10.50

So I made a card template first and then cut it out using a couple of really useful sheet metalworking tools.

This punch cuts out 1/8” holes for riveting, I also used it for extra air holes.

This is a real gem – a Gabro notcher 3M2  it cuts strips out without deformation, the swan necked pieces push the material off the cutter. The picture does not show the size of this monster the bed is 5'x2' on a big stand.

The finished job – I bent the metal round by hand over the bick of an anvil and used a large metal round and a mallet to bend the pan supports over - just need to test it!

In preparation for the Kent group meeting, making shrink pots.

I watched the Sean Hellman video on YouTube. His cutter looked like hard work – so I designed and made this simpler version (as yet totally untested). The Oak mounting block holds a standard craft knife blade at an angle so it can cut a right angled groove inside the pot. The existing round locking notches made it easy to secure

I also took John Burbages advice  and made a clamp to hold round material whilst cutting a large hole in it. One of the on line videos I found shows that maybe it’s easier if the Round wood is not cut to length first.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Fairlop Wood turners February challenge – something made from more than one species.

Our Chairman John Brotherton won the ‘experienced turner category’ he makes trophies turned or otherwise to order.

This was a really well executed lidded vase.

Woods used for the vase -                                                                                                                   
Sapele (Entandrophragma cylindricum)                                               
American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)                                                      
Massaranduba, Bulletwood. (Manilkara bidentata)                             

Lid -
Massaranduba, Bulletwood. (Manilkara bidentata)                              
African Blackwood. Mpingo (Dalbergia melanoxylon) twist finial.       

The intermediate category winner – John Houghton (Events organiser)

Plywood and Utile.

      The novice category winner Graham Pook.

He made it from 9 pen blanks – good idea no planing required before glueing.

Just a reminder – the club meets on the second and forth Monday of the month during term time at King Solomon High School IG6 3HB See website for details
Hedge laying at Wimpole Estate Cambridgeshire with the Lathers 06-02-16

En Route to the venue

St Mary’s Church Great Eversden – the road detours all around it – very unusual and makes take notice.

Great sign – never come across this pub name before – many Coopers Arms but not hoops.
Open by 1837, closed in 2005, yet as recently as 1989 it was described as ‘the epitome of a thriving village pub’
The lounge, in an elegant and restrained fashion, points to the age of the building. It dates from 1680 and its original centrepiece is a fine Jacobean fireplace, supported by a plethora of beams and a flagged floor. (Roger Protz, 1989)
In 1905 it seemed to have a resident Tory-hating dog:
“Albert Clark told the court that in November a political meeting was held at Great Eversden and afterwards he went to the Hoops public house. A man in front of him clapped his hands and called out ‘Good old Tory’ at which the landlord’s dog flew at him and bit his thigh. He was laid up for 17 days” (Mike Petty, Looking Back)
The pub sign shows a Cooper at work with the hoops used in barrel making:

The Better Pubs map from 1989 shows an earlier sign for the Hoops at Great Eversden which “depicts the Edwardian children’s game of ‘bowling the hoop'”

There are two other pubs nearby named the Hoops; in Bassingbourn the sign also depicts barrel making but in Barton the sign shows three hoops, perhaps those used in the game of Quoits. The phrase ‘cock-a-hoop‘ may also have connections.

However, the origin of the pub’s name may instead refer to the ’18th century nickname for Bullfinch’, a bird whose numbers are now in rapid decline but which was once considered so destructive to fruit crops that money was offered for each one ‘destroyed’.

Some fun thatched ridge adornments on one of the village houses.

The Hedge laying

The only other occaision when I have observed this process axes and billhooks were used to do the initial cutting. Field maple looked like hard work – hence the chainsaw.

This maple was split in both directions to make up for the big gap in the hedge.

Once a Hawthorne hedge is now mainly Field Maple due to weed killers being tree killers.
Maple is brittle and often breaks – not as forgiving as Hawthorne and also thorn-less. 

That works both ways – less bird food and not so much of a barrier to livestock.

This trio were overcoming various medical issue to work as one!

Back to the principles – the hedge is cut and laid – normally in one direction, unless someone has forgotten to remind everyone which way!

The vertical stakes (forearm width apart) are then fed through the larger elements of the laid material. Simon was using Elm stakes as he has an Elm coppice which can grow 5’ as year.

Shepard’s mallet – great for hedging stakes, does not split and burrs over the tops.

The laid material is pushed down and the binding is woven across the top.

The bindings have been levelled to produce a crisp horizontal line. Plenty of material below to form an impenetrable barrier – if it is too thin, the cuttings from the intial trimmings from laying are added to make it a bit of dead hedge as well.


Some styles of hedge have no brash on one side (no stock) and some have it on both (stock both sides). The brash stops the stock from eating the regrowth.

Recently I saw a leather case for a billhook so I was interested in what these lads were using.

This metal hook worked well.

This southpaw was wearing what looked like a wooden hook. Note styles of hook!

The quickest hedge layer however carried no tools or a fancy billhook case on his person and his work area was noticeably very tidy – not sure what that says,

This billhook had a notch which was used as a fulcrum for bending laid material into line when laying and staking.

Lunch at the Chequers - Orwell

Their last pint of Buntingford’s Admiral – very hoppy and a proper bitter. 

The food of course is as good as the beer. 

The chef is the gentlemen from Hong Kong. Last visit tempura was on the menu, this day duck with Hoi Sin sandwiches!