Hello and welcome to my Blog-Site, I hope you will find it useful. The site is fronted by my blog, but in these pages you will find more about me, the work I do and the crafts that interest me.
I am Mark Allery, Pole-lathe turner, greenwood worker and woodsman living and working in and around Lynchmere, on the border of West Sussex and Hampshire between Haslemere and Liphook.
In addition to my polelathe and greenwood work I also help to manage the Lynchmere commons, a mosaic of woodland and lowland heath where I carry out a range of woody and heathy activities to help maintain and improve the environment on the commons. I am always interested in old tools and rural crafts not just those related to the woods and woodworking. To help prevent me getting bored I use and maintain a fleet of old landrovers and a vintage tractor to assist me in my work. And I have an interest in a wide range of old crafts and skills, particularly those associated with brewing and preserving.
Before I go on – this page also now links to
- Mechanical Mayhem for updates on my various ancient vehicles
- Old Posts from Blogspot Site for an archive of posts slowly being transferred across from my original Blogspot site
For most of the year turning wood on a pole-lathe is my primary activity. Though I have a lathe in my workshop shed I also have a couple of lightweight lathes that I use for demonstrating at shows and events. Through the season I spend a lot of time demonstrating pole-lathe and greenwood working at shows particularly at the Weald & Downland Museum near Chichester where I am the demonstrator. As a self employed turner I earn part of my living from demonstrating fees and also from selling the products I make.
Greenwood & Coppice Crafts
I also make traditional birch brooms known as ‘besoms’ or more likely these days as ‘Harry Potter brooms’, a range of traditional coppice products such as pea-sticks and bean poles, and I also make traditional wooden hay rakes. A lot of these products are made using wood which is otherwise regarded as waste in modern forestry, a good example of this is the charcoal I make on the commons, largely from wood which would otherwise have been burned, chipped or left to rot.
Managing a mixed woodland involves using a lot of woodland skills, I may have to deal with dead or diseased trees, windblown or broken trees, scrub invading areas of open heath or planting new trees to replace those that have been felled. Most of the work is not with the biggest timber trees but in thinning smaller trees or coppicing, that is the cutting of regrowth, on a regular cycle. A job that used to be referred to as an ‘underwoodsman’ and a very skillful craft when mastered in identifying and using all the parts of every tree, very little is truely waste. I find this fascinating and enjoy working through the seasons in the woods, though I use a modern chainsaw I also tend to use a lot of old handtools, especially billhooks, and of course my vintage landrovers and tractor.
When I started working in the woods a few years ago it seemed natural to combine it with my interest in old landrovers. Whereas most sensible people would go out and buy a newer landrover I am hanging on to my trusty old Series II landrovers, and indeed appear to have been expanding the collection recently. I am, it appears, the battersea dogs home of old landrovers. The theory is that by the time they are 40 years old everything has been replaced anyway so they should be quite reliable. In practice this seems to be have become a bit of a quest for the perfect but practical old Landrover. The second part of the theory is that if you have enough of them, at least one will always be working. I am still working to discover how to manage these theories in the real world, but I contend that my old landrovers are very green and sustainable with a low carbon footprint. After all they rarely go anywhere so my mileage is reduced, many of the parts are reused, and the vehicles are truely recycled rather than remanufactured.
This page has the following sub pages.