Monday, 17 December 2018

Wimpole Lathers Christmas BBQ Sunday 16th December

Have not been up to see the lathers since the Scything festival in June. This time of year is busy so there was not the usual crowd.


However Mike Vilhauer was using his spoon shave modification to his shavehorse.

He also cooked some home cured bacon American style, is was sweet (smoked with maple syrup).


Simon has been busy (when is he ever not busy) making dragonflies from walnut.

His woodpile is not shrinking, this sequoia had acquired green sapwood.

I think the same tree that gave me the table in my van.

Plenty of discussion about Ball 2019 to be held here at Wimpole Hall.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

9th December Kent Group blacksmithing day at Burbage Towers Benenden Kent

During the winter months the Kent group move away from the workshop at the edge of the forest – to warmer areas and activities.


Jeremy and his gas fired forge with Robin from the Brockley Park group – South London.
Jeremy gets newcomers to make their hook-tools in mild steel first – that’s a very good idea!

Myself with Keith Leonard and Jeremy


I was happy to return his entries to the WCT competition along with his £100 cheque for third prize


Amy Leake forging hook tools on her gas forge

Harry was encouraging a visitor to get involved.


I was working with Mike Gordon on forging adzes from hammers. Needless to say on another gas forge - Mike’s. I have never used one before but was halfway through making one a couple of years ago.

Phill gave us a hammer head to use and for his first time on the short sledge hammer was exceptional!

Mike doing a great job holding the hot metal in the right place.

There were loads of people making all sorts of tools – John was forging a knife.

Yet more forges – this time charcoal hand blown.

  I think Ed Murphy was on this one which is fan powered from a car battery.

What a great day – loads of tools made and a few new members as well. Thanks again to John Burbage for his hospitality and lunchtime soup.

The next Kent day is a bow and arrow day led by Pete Rippengal on Saturday 12th January at Benenden.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

View Love Buy at Carpenters Hall 1 Throgmorton EC2N 2JJ

The  bi-annual craft competition held by the Worshipful Company of Turners.


The pole lathe turners competition was to turn a candlestick on a pole lathe, no sanding but decoration, coloring etc encouraged.

First prize went to Olvin Smith


Second prize to Mike Gordon

Third prize to Keith Leonard

Well done to the winners, could have done with a few more entries however.

This was a great opportunity for me to catch up with people I had not seen for a little while.

Barn the Spoon + apprentice. Hopefully we shall see them again at the Wimpole Ball.


John and June White from Fairlop woodturners talking to Gabor who was signing his book as well as saying goodbye (as they were sold for the St Paul’s appeal) to the St Pauls bells he had turned and decorated with Patricia Spero.


Roy Weare from East Herts Woodturners who now lives in France where he has started a turning group - bringing them over for this event.

Roy spent many years at a workshop with a group of friends on Sundays, they were too far away and I used to visit them. They shared techniques and bounced all sorts of ideas around, colouring, texturing the whole thing.

They made a lot of hollow forms, one of the friends an engineer Phill Steele made tools to share as well as filling the workshop with Graduate lathes  modified by Gabor Lacko of course, a close friend.

Of course he is no stranger to a bit of prize winning as well.


We were very lucky to have three demonstrators at this event. Mike Gordon was showing log to candlestick on his shave horse and lathe.

He also collected a second prize for a candlestick.

James Pumphrey demonstrating bowl turning – his historical knowledge is amazing and he is such a great communicator.

For my sins I have no picture of Amy Leake who was on the ground floor doing a great job. I look forward to seeing her again and her son Adam here hopefully 14-17th October 2020 at Wizardry in Wood.


Brigadier Bill O’Learly (member of the Howe committee). He is a busy man and probably flew a great distance to get to this event.


Les Thorne (a keen fisherman) and well respected professional turner chatting to Richard Levy (Felix Levy competition).


Stuart King had a few thing on the tables! Some great automata. 

He was busy as the official photographer for the event.

Another great event showcasing woodturning in all its forms. We were very lucky to have the opportunity and space for three demonstrators to promote our organisation.

The next WCT competition is the
Wizardry in Wood 14-17th October 2020

Thursday, 29 November 2018

23/5th November Christmas Market at the Weald & Downland Museum at Singleton, Sussex

Needless to say I could not fail to stop on the way down for lunch at The Limeburners Newbridge Road Billinghurst RH14 9JA

Great real ale and outstanding food!

Never seen scissors served with mustard before, puts a slightly different slant on 'cutting the mustard'.

Well with a little more thought the clientele were on average older than myself so perhaps the scissors reduced table debris!


Well, I was here last year when my gazebo got damaged and was given the grain store as a dry space to work from. This year there was some debate about my plot size so I ended up once again sharing the grain store with the locals!

Well they were good company, I’m sure they were not just there for the gleaning.

Met some very interesting people including Tim Stankus an artist blacksmith. Would be nice to get him to the ball demonstrating but he is not yet set up for it.   BTW he is not a chicken!

Not so many people as last year but the weather wasn’t as good. Thanks again to their events team who were ever helpful as usual.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

The Essex Christmas Country Show 17th & 18th November 2018


I met an amazing segmented turner John Reason who I think was showing his work at an event for the first time.


I suggested that he entered some of his work for the View Love Buy and competition next Monday at Carpenters Hall.

It was a cold weekend and very glad to be inside a building. I’m sure the weather put people off, they needed more time to acclimatize to winter which has been a long time coming.

Thanks to the Classic Events team for the invitation and a great pitch near the entrance.

Found this great pub - the Sunny Sailor 1 Fullbridge, Malden CM9 4LE
a 300 year old listed building. Some of their beer comes from just up the hill at the Malden Brewing Company.


Some barrels are kept in a fireplace and customers can help themselves as I was doing!

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Wanstead 20-11-18 my hybrid graduate lathe.

The lower outboard and speed control both sides makes this a short and long bed lathe. My chucks have left and right hand threads - so will go on both sides of the headstock.

Have been busy returning roughed out bowls for the last few events of the year. 

I made this huge faceplate 32” diameter a good few years ago. The MDF disc is drilled and tapped.

There are two methods of holding large bowls, the angled blocks. Note the pencil rings drawn on the MDF. 

 and rubber sleeves over nylon bolts. The system was designed by my good friend Gabor Lacko a long time ago before Cole jaws had been invented.

Extra holes are drilled and tapped about 2mm larger than the bowl being worked. This way the rubber is in contact - not marking the piece.

For much larger items plywood rings and long bolts can be used. Great care must be taken however as to where you put your hands with all that spinning metalwork about. The speed control which is very necessary was curtesy of Mr Lacko of course!

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

10/11th November at the Newbury Christmas Market at the Showground at Thatcham RG18 9QZ


Lucky to be inside the new cowshed again. The focus for this show has moved from a bit of a pet show to more food, drink and craft stools. Two broom makers!


On Sunday we were entertained by a few different local groups including a rock choir – they were great!

I do not have a website so to answer the question about what do I make I have added a few pictures.

I met this Lithuanian lady who has just relocated in the UK. She is an artist and pyrographer.

Another fun weekend making wands and carving bowls. Thanks to the organisers Classic events, look forward to next year at this event.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

29-10-2018 Leather working at home in Wanstead London


Jill Swan asked me to do a repair on her leather bag. One of those jobs so easily put on a long list.



But Jill is a good friend, good to use up some scrap leather.