Thursday, 27 September 2018

27th September Meeting of the Howe committee WCT at Skinner's Hall London

As you may know the Bells at St Pauls have undergone a refurbishment and the WCT has funded the work for one of bells that it originally paid for. To raise funds for this bells have been turned by a group of professionals from the original wood.

Patricia Spero and Gabor Lacko are making a number to be sold at the Cathedral shop.

This was a sample she showed us yesterday.  Many others will be sold at various forthcoming events.

The WCT are holding their bi-annual competition at Carpenters Hall on the 26/7th November. If you are considering entering then the details are on their website. We, the APTGW will also have three pole lathe turners demonstrating.

Mike Gordon pole lathe turner – Sussex group.

Amy Leake – spoon and bowl maker

Sussex group.

 James Pumphrey bowl turner – Sussex group.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Cherry Wood project week 24th September 2018


Vegetable biryani – it was accompanied by dhall, pompadoms, pickles and mango chutney.

Kirby who lives on the site made too much porridge – so he added eggs and baking powder and converted leftovers into oaty muffiny things.


Ex apprentice Tom – knife maker and truly a master of sharpening.

Thought he had an easy job on the power barrow but I was forgetting that he had to load and unload it as well!


Cherry Wood has a legacy of outstanding cooks.

Well on this occasion Lloyd (ex apprentice – of course) was setting out the production line for biryani leftover pasties!

And they’re off! More ex staff coming back on project week – who would want to miss such an enjoyable event. I have done this for ten years!

The new shower, toilet and washing resource started at the spring project week and finished by the volunteer Thursday brigade.

The cook’s roundhouse made over a year ago and now with an impressive living roof.

This was some of the crowd of volunteers on Tuesday morning.


I would have been pleased to have made these at home but these were made and cooked in a Clay oven that is used for everything.

Roy Henderson (who has made so many different things) but I cannot forget the sweet little bronze planes. It not all chain saws. This tree was half axed and then half pull sawed!

It was great to bump into Richard Andersen again. He was running the Bristol group a while back that lost its home. Richard is never far away from a community project or to. He has plans to be a journeyman back home in Norway.

The picture of course is his dog – half husky!




This happy band of surveyors were setting out a wood store extension next to a rather handsome campervan.

After many years Tim has managed to buy a generator big enough to power his massive wood machining leviathan in the workshop. 

I helped Lloyd to make the generator kennel.

Many other commitments prevented me from prolonging my visit. Great to see so many familiar faces and young faces at that.  

Great thanks as ever goes to Tim Gatfield whose project has inspired and motivated so many to engage in environmentally friendly woody projects and lifestyles.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

16/17th September Kent group meeting at White Chimney Wood Benenden.


This lot are well organised and have geared up for visitors – 4 sets of pole lathe / bodging tools.

Colour coded and bit of H&S. They also have spare lathes.


Carol and Keith were experimenting with a hobbit house in fresh willow.

They are never short of an interesting idea or two.


Pete was making some bench legs from chestnut that had ‘character’


Yet another new recruit? The Kent group have been meeting every other Monday and they continue to grow and grow.


Another John was making chair spindles.

Phil was also making chair bits. During their tree to chair day recently it became apparent the basic lathe skills were in short supply when they needed them most, so maybe they are going back to basics.

Carol was in good baking form as usual.

Harry was also making chair components using some of his latest EBAY acquisitions. A Harris plane and a traditional rounder. Does beg the question why no picture.

Did get this – another adjustable rounder that cut at 90 degrees across the grain with the action of a router.

Harry was sporting the new Kent group badges (aftermath of chair day gone mad?).

Pete mading good progress with his bench.

I was invited to test the chair in a day – it looked good and was very comfortable. They are putting it in the auction at the ball 2019 which is not so far away.

The chair in all its glory (note the very nice campervan in the background).

Damien was tooling a knee for the new dining shelter.


Pete’s bench was nearly there, now for the leg levelling and minor adjustments.

This was their last meeting at White Chimney Woods this year but they have a winter program held at John’s house and probably at the hall at Iden Green. In the past this has included shrink pot making, blacksmithing, leather working, spooning….  The moral of the story is to keep the group active during the colder months.


I collected some entries this week and others are being posted to me. If you have an entry you can also post it to me and I can personally deliver it on time. Details are on their website and in the gazette. 26/27th November Carpenters Hall City of London.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Feltmaking in Kyrgyzstan.


Phill is beating the raw wool with two metal whips, we saw others at the games using wooden sticks. They use winter and summer cut wool mixed.

The beaten wool is torn into 75-80mm long handfuls and laid out onto the cane mat in two layers at right angles. The coloured pattern in wool is then laid on top. We all contributed to the pattern.

Traditionally they did not dye the wool so any pattern would be from another sheep!


The whole thing is rolled up tight. Hot water as then poured liberally over the roll.

It was also rolled up in sacking and then tied up as well

 The music was put on and after our guide Christina had her turn we all danced on it.

Phill with the felt maker!

It is then unrolled.

It is then soaped at least twice – it looks to help flatten the felt but also cleans.


I guess the subsequent rolling and washing is about experience.

The posh patterns in multi colour felt are made in bits and hand sewed. It all takes a long time and we skipped the sheep shearing!

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Kyrgzstan trip to Nomad games August / September.

On the way to the games we arranged to meet a Kyrgyz Yurt maker – the real thing!


Roof poles are steamed and then straightened.


He makes all his own tools – note the toothed drawknife for the tradition pattern.


The brake has a heavy metal vertical tube and a lever.


They are then put into a clamp to harden up.


The side poles are also steamed and bent by eye and the bark is removed whilst soft.

The former for the tunduk – brickwork and metal poles. The material is pretty thick and steamed for a long time before it is pulled round the curve using a ratchet winch. We did see a single round pole about 80mm dia, that had been used for this. Must of steamed it for a week!


Made in two halves and then jointed. After that it is drilled and the square holes are burnt in using a heavy bar.

The quarters represent the seasons and the three bars months.

The assembled side (1/4). Traditionally rubbed with local reddish brown clay but now painted red.

The slats are drilled and held together using rawhide that is knotted, pulled through with a wire loop then knotted again. The knife makes a longitudinal slit it is cut to length and the end pulled through to make a knot each side.

The completed side sections for a standard 6m yurt. Note that the curve flips out at the top. The long woven band sits in this and ties to the door frame.

The roll down door is made from very strong grass and the pattern is wool that is wrapped around each individual stalk in a traditional pattern.

This frame assembles the stalks into a mat used for doors and yurt linings. Note the stone weights to maintain tension.

The guy we met makes 4 yurts a year – I think this is largely due to other commitments during the summer. Probably looking after livestock and growing their feed and well as his own food.