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Archive for January, 2010

First posted on https://woodlandantics.wordpress.com

I’ve made chair legs before, but normally for competitions or demonstrations, so this is the first time I’ve tried to make 4 legs the same for a chair. The pressure is on.

I’ve updated some of the pages on the wordpress site which behaves more like a website than a blog. I’ve added some content to the greenwood products page and also there is now a page with examples of the turned treen, tools and garden products.

You can find the greenwood products page by clicking on the tab above the woodlandantics blog header, and here is a link to the turned treen page within in

https://woodlandantics.wordpress.com/test-page/turned-treen-tools-and-garden-products/

I will shortly be updating the show list page with my current list of dates for the season suddenly seems to be approaching at full speed.

I will keep updating this site for a little while longer, but the articles will be behind those at https://woodlandantics.wordpress.com

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Yesterday I was invited to do some polelathe teaching at Merrist Wood College,  near Guildford. Getting there reminded me just why I like working in the woods and why I gave up travelling to work in an office as I jousted with the Surrey commuter traffic. The landrover I use for hauling my polelathes around is 50 this year and neither of us enjoy rush hour much,

Brian, who runs the countryside workshop and the countryside management courses at Merrist Wood built his first two pole lathes many years ago (maybe 15 years or more) so the two lathes I took along are mere babes in comparison. We managed to keep people working on cleaving and shaving whilst 4 were on the lathes.

As always it is a hectic full up day as Brian and I try to get each student to try all the skills of cleaving, shaving and turning on the lathe as well as coming away with some form of item that they have chosen to make.  The students had a wide range of things they wanted to make all of which added to the day.  Arthur (at least I think that was the name – apologies if I got it wrong) succeeded in making a turned spoon by cleaving the turned blank (shown above)  and then hollowing the bowl, not bad for a first attempt which turned out very well in the end.

There is always one, and Luke decided to try for making a baseball bat the hard way. A little bit to my surprise it turned ok, but I think he would have needed another few days to finish the job.

Honey drizzlers were popular and Catherine was one of the group that got the hang of the polelathe very swiftly.

I very much liked the tactile shape of the wood and the curve of the head (once we decided it was the head).  Well done to all of the group, Mark with his kitchen towel holder, Chris with his excellent priest (fisherman’s club), Chris (again) and his charcoal burners stool, Sally (honey drizzler) and any others I have forgotten – but Catherine’s honey drizzler was the most impressive of a very good group . Very talented and I reckon I could have sold it with no problem. Go on Catherine build a pole lathe – you know you want to!  Instructions for one type of lathe here. The instructions for Mike Abbot’s polelathe 2000 are in his second book living woods, or join the Association of Pole lathe Turners (APT) and greenwood workers and come along to the bodgers ball (in may) to find out more.

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first posted at https://woodlandantics.wordpress.com follow the link for the latest posts.

The snow has now virtually all gone to be replaced with heavy rain, but looking on the bright side some enforced work in the shed has allowed me to make unexpected progress with getting the SWB landrover back on the road again. I always think that the headloghts in the centre panel give the old landrovers much more character (though less light on the road it must be said) and this one needed a face lift badly.

The bottom rail was almost gone entirely and although it’s not an MOT failure it’s good to get it back in a position with a new rail welded on the bottom where it will last for another 45 years.

The rest of the front is a bit further behind, but with another couple of days of heavy rain it should all be back together again. Watching the paint dry has been a real problem as in the low temperatures it hasn’t. I was able to hang the centre panel over the stove but don’t have that option with the chassis. So another couple of days with higher temperatures could make quite a difference to the appearance.

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On our recent visit to the Norfolk coast we stayed enroute in the Breckland village of  Thompson.   Alison has family connections there so we explored around and about poking into corners that she had not been to for a while. The church is impressive, mainly because it’s quite original inside and not prettied up like most. I expect I should have been admiring the ecclesiastical features but I was entranced by the roof beams in plain view

The green men in the stonework. There are 3 one appears to have oak leaves, one ash-like and one might be maple/sycamore.

and most of all the old chests at the back of the church.  This one seems to have a solid piece of tree for a lid

Whilst this one looks as if it might bave been hewn from a single butt of a tree. It has outlasted the metalwork fashioned to restrain it,

with fantastic grain and patterns in the ancient wood. I couldn’t help wondering how long these chests have been here and all of the history that they have witnessed, for hundreds of years growing as trees and then for even more hundreds of years after being felled to be filled with yet more history.

I think you might have to call this a trunk rather than a chest?

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I’ve made chair legs before, but normally for competitions or demonstrations, so this is the first time I’ve tried to make 4 legs the same for a chair. The pressure is on.

If you haven’t already noticed I’ve added some content to the greenwood products page and also there is now a page with examples of the turned treen, tools and garden products.]

You can find the greenwood products page by clicking on the tab above the woodlandantics blog header, and here is a link to the turned treen page within in

https://woodlandantics.wordpress.com/test-page/turned-treen-tools-and-garden-products/

I will shortly be updating the show list page with my current list of dates for the season suddenly seems to be approaching at full speed.

Read Full Post »

The snow has now virtually all gone to be replaced with heavy rain, but looking on the bright side some enforced work in the shed has allowed me to make unexpected progress with getting the SWB landrover back on the road again. I always think that the headloghts in the centre panel give the old landrovers much more character (though less light on the road it must be said) and this one needed a face lift badly.

The bottom rail was almost gone entirely and although it’s not an MOT failure it’s good to get it back in a position with a new rail welded on the bottom where it will last for another 45 years.

The rest of the front is a bit further behind, but with another couple of days of heavy rain it should all be back together again. Watching the paint dry has been a real problem as in the low temperatures it hasn’t.  I was able to hang the centre panel over the stove but don’t have that option with the chassis. So another couple of days with higher temperatures could make quite a difference to the appearance.

Read Full Post »

Posted first on https://woodlandantics.wordpress.com

Sometime ago I was asked to look at repairing an old chair with a loose back. Not being the highest priority I didn’t get around to it immediately and its been kicking around the house waiting for me. It’s a very small cottage so it’s hard for me to ignore things forever however much I try and finally curiousity got the better of me and I had a good look at the chair.

That’s when I noticed that it showed signs of being hand made of greenwood. There is a distinct oval shape to the legs, hard to see but you can feel it, where the wood has dried since the legs were turned. There are a few digs in the finish, where the chisel has dug into the wood surfaceas it’s turned.

And there are flats on the beads and swellings where the blank was not quite wide enough, though these have been turned to the inside of the chair so they don’t spoil the finish.

One of the flats clearly shows the cambium of the wood – so the leg has been made by cleaving and turning greenwood.

Although the chair is rough and ready I really like it’s proportions and simplicity. The rough finish appeals to me as well, all a part of the craft as these chairs were functional above all rather than art. I’ve not succeeded in finding out much about it, with faint hopes of tracing who made it. As far as I know it came down from Norfolk where it belonged to Alison’s great aunt Gertie. The normal response to ‘do you know anything about Auntie Gertie’s chair?’ is ‘Yes, it belonged to Auntie Gertie’. I haven’t got around to repairing it yet but I am making a copy of it starting with the legs.

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