Archive for March, 2012

With the clear blue sky and the midday temperature at 20degC it’s easy to forget that only 3 weeks ago it was snowing briefly, and it’s not too late for some more with the topsy turvy weather we can have nowadays. Sod’s law that was the day that I’d arranged for Eva to come round and turn her bowl.

I saw ‘her’ bowl because there has never really been any doubt about it, not in Eva’s mind at least. Minor issues such as never having turned wood before didn’t really figure and nor did the weather. My patronising ‘wouldn’t you rather start by turning a dibber’ was quite rightly brushed off with the chant ‘I want to turn a bowl’. And she did – well done Eva!

The more I thought about it the more I realised I was equally interested to see how well Eva got on with turning a bowl on a polelathe without the distraction of turning any spindles first.  There is a lot to learn but by keeping to a small bowl diameter and shallow dish profile the inertia of the wood on the lathe is minimised and so is the amount of wood to be removed. Despite the near freezing temperatures and short snow shower the result turned out well and the exercise turned out useful for keeping warm as well.

While Eva was turning the bowl Gary and I made spoons. Gary is used to precision engineering tools so wielding a knife freehand was an entirely new experience. Gary’s precision engineering is going to come in handy because I can’t see Eva being satisfied with just one bowl and I don’t think it won’t be long before she has her own lathe.


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Blowing the cobwebs away

I’ve had a quiet few days. I find walking along the coast helps to blow away the cobwebs in my mind and recharge my batteries ready for the coming season of polelathe turning, greenwood working and these days also plenty of mowing with a scythe. The Gower Peninsula just beyond Swansea in South Wales has plenty of good walking  and nowhere more spectacular than the section between Port Eynon and Rhossili where the folds in the rock beds have produced amazing shapes in the cliffs interspersed with long sandy beaches.

As well as the cliff top walks for the more adventurous there are also tracks around the bottom of the cliffs which on a good day are stunning. This series of rocky headlands stretches towards the cave at Paviland, known for the discovery of the remains of the  ‘Red Lady’ but which turned out to be a 33,000 year old fossilised skeleton of young man. Not red and not a lady, but the name has stuck fast and it’s still one of the oldest skeletons to be found in western europe which does show just how long people have been walking on these cliffs to blow away the cobwebs.

Some of the less tracks do go right to the edge and in places right off the edge as erosion gradually changes the shape of the coastline.

It’s all limestone cliffs here.

and even on the edge of the cliffs, sometime over the edge of the cliffs there are the remains of old industries, here lime kilns used to bake the limestone and produce quicklime.

These days the industry has all gone and aside from farm works picking cauliflowers in the fields and the ever present seabirds the sheep are likely to be your only companions on a quiet weekday.

Well refreshed from my walking it’s time to get busy with plenty of greenwood working and the odd landrover to repair as usual.

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I’ve been away on my annual beachcombing retreat on the Gower Peninsula. Not much in the way of internet connection, which may be a good thing, but it’s one excuse for not being able to post recently. Another is that at this time of year many of the tasks are not terribly photogenic – there are only so many photos of firewood, logs and birch trees that I can post. As soon as I am back and sorted out I will start to catch up on some posts that I really should have written before now. Yes, that’s a threat and not a promise!

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Omubazi Mike

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