Tuesday, 23 August 2016

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).

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