Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Visit to Slough House Wood to see Nick and Katie Abbott 23-08-16


Always something interesting to be seen with such a wealth of creative skills about – this is a Swedish lunchbox that Sue Holden has acquired. 
Unusual that it is painted.

The wedge on the left slides out, releasing the lid. The handle is forged, perhaps crudely but is very functional. The end locating caps are planted cross grained and dowelled.

I think that a few people want to go into production with this one.



This drinking cup is unusual because it does not look at all like Apple – another Will Wall creation.


Will was working on his bowl shave with Rumanian legs neatly curved to match the top.

This was a very pretty marking gauge with a curved brass wear plate and an easily adjusted pin arrangement. It was also graduated along the handle.


It was a very, very hot day so not too much activity.

Thanks to the Abbotts for their hospitality. Very good to see Olvin and Nic Smith as well as Eric Rogers, Will Wall and Sue Holden.

Wilderness Gathering Bison Farm West Knole Devon 19/21st August

Our third year at this very interesting bushcraft event run by Roger Harrington.

It was a very hot couple of days setting up before the event and drastic measures were required with hot clothing. This was a pair of holiday shorts being trimmed with an axe.


Now Jim was supposed to on the pole lathe making bowl no. 117 but he could not resist helping this young lady with her long grass.

A lot quicker than a billhook (supplied by Swan Enterprises).


Jill Swan was doing her spoon thing – an interesting bark inclusion (happily this is not an olive spoon, don’t you just hate it when you see them).


Mike Church arrived in the nick of time with emergency beer.


Mike is very handy in the kitchen; this was an iced lemon Madeira cake with wholemeal flour, that he made earlier.

Mike is also developing his split Chestnut baskets.

It was great to be joined by the Ashtons and the Southall’s this year.  Sorry I did not get a picture of them making anything – there was a rumour of a Windsor chair – I heard them singing once or twice.


Laburnham spoon pendant carved by Gill Ashton. 

Round house Richard had an interesting blade to show us – a very old  Arab sword used in the crusades apparently.


 A sock sewing machine circa 1840 – it has a crank that when turned rotates the sewing arm, it’s really quick and they made a continuous hose of socks that were then cut up and finished by hand.  This device generated lots of cash in the day for the working classes.

The lady who was making the socks also had some very cool coloured Willow baskets.


Never seen workshops in the fish skin processing and curing before. A bit messy but not so many specialist tools required. Did not notice any fishy smells either.

 The flesh is first scrapped off with a blunt drawknify thing.


Then a bivalve shell is used to de-scale, scallop I think.

I think they then just hang them up to remove moisture and to park.

After that they then used a tanning process to cure the skins.

There is a young lady at Cherry Wood who is rather good at this. Find her for more details and perhaps a workshop. There is also a definitive Swedish book on the process. The finished product is amazing – very much akin to leather.

I think Richard was going to a Ball after the music on Saturday night.

As with most shows there was a huge variation in the way traders and demonstrators present themselves.

This blacksmith had a mobile building!


Mike was taking too long to whip the cream for his second cranachan dessert so Jim got the cordless drill out with a tent peg.

It was a bit wet on occasions during the weekend but a thoroughly enjoyable event. Roger Harrington did a great job organising the whole thing. Very clean toilets, hot showers and plenty of space for green woodworking demonstrators! We all look forward to next year. Bit odd to see a field of Bison.

Thanks also to our members who were flag waving for the APTGW – Jim McVittie bowl turning (Wimpole lathers), Mike Church basketry (Sussex) Gill Swan spoonmaker (Kent) and the Ashton’s and Southall’s pole lathe (Warwickshire and West Midlands).

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Making a billhook case in Wanstead 14-08-16

I only had a paper pattern for this commission so I had no option but to make a mould. Normally I would use plywood or MDF but this was around 1/8” thick so I used Perspex (not the easiest material to cut bevels on!)

I used an angle grinder with a metal cutting disc and then filed it my hand.


Next step was to make templates using thick cardboard.

I stapled the welt to the outer pattern and then tested on the mould.

For rough finishing of the leather sandwich I use a sanding board.

I have a range of these with different grids 80 - 320 Stuck onto some lamin-board. A type of block board using flat strips – very expensive (I salvaged some posh library shelving some years ago).

 I have changed how I use my stitching pony (back problems), I now clamp it to a bench and stitch standing up – far more comfortable.

I have also mounted my wooden slicker on my lathe which really speeds things up.

Once I had done all the hand stitching and made the strap, then just a final fitting (suits you sir?)

The completed case just needs a jiffy bag and posting.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Holiday in Crete 25th July – 8th August

I found a great taverna on the coast at Plakias on the south coast. It is a beautiful drive from the north coast through a choice of gorges.

My first Dorado with lemon sauce, cooked to perfection on the charcoal grill. 

The lady cooking has been there for 28 years! Think she may be an expert.


Her Sea Bass was also very good…

As was the Red Snapper!


Have always enjoyed the squid as well.

There are lots of Olive trees over 6,000,000 so they burn and make lots of things from Olive.

However most is imported from Tunisia. I was very disappointed to see that the napkin holder was laminated to MDF – completely ruined my lunch!

Our stick maker is still in business on the same lay by on the road to Spili (famous for textiles). Unfortunately his English is about as good as my Greek so I’m not sure what he thought I wanted apart from an updated picture.

Unlike our convention - he uses a blowtorch on wet Oak branches, hence no bark and no drying time. Crude but effective.

I have visited Crete a few times and always call in on Nicos Siragas who is well known in the wood turning world for carving and decoration as well as tool design.

He runs courses in the winter at his home in the hills as well as demonstrating in

Europe – check out his website.