Head down bum up

Very busy in the bodgery making chairs.  I’m using a chair stick to make sure the set of six matches.  This is a stick with all the relevant measurements marked on it – height of front leags, where the rung mortises are, splat height and widths.  I find it very useful, it was used in days of yore too.  It’s very quick using a gauge instead of measuring everything.  When I had 12 asylum seekers visiting in summer to help make a charge of logs up for the charcoal kiln I made a length stick and a thickness gauge, made it very easy for everybody, and overcame any language difficulties.  Mind you it didn’t stop one guy from insisting on carrying about 1.5 cwt logs on his shoulder and running with them.  He had been in the Somali army and had to run with sand bags to make defences when the other side were advancing, how easy we have it!

Here’s a photo of my day student of Saturday

He had a good time on his birthday making a stool.

The autumn colours were rather drab, as it was wet most of the day (but dry under the tarp in the bodgery).  Then the sun came out and the colours were rather fine.

I’ve taken the top section for my blog header.

Mind you, today it was very wet and windy all day and the River Wharfe rose quite a lot quite quickly.

Never mind day indoors tomorrow learning how to be a tutor – for free.


Strid Wood is about 10 miles from home, so every morning I get into my Land Rover and join the throngs on the road:

Strid is under the mist here:

I’ve been making bowls recently, practicing for when we take the big Birch tree down in our garden.  I want to make a dough trough to commemorate the tree and my father who planted it some 30 years ago.

I made a carving block yesterday that holds the blank whilst gouging out the inside .

Doesn’t look much, but it makes the job much easier, especially if you sit down to work.

I’m also experimenting with a new knife,

it’s actually a hoof knife for farriers, but the pattern is much like a crooked knife used for carving inside bowl shapes:

The above isn’t really a fair test for it as the timber is casualty Balsam Poplar, supposedly no good for anything but matches, and very fibrous.  It was also just about dry by the time I tried smoothing down the earlier cuts.

Last Orders

Autumn is well on its way now in Strid Wood.  I had a short stroll round at lunchtime yesterday and this is what I found:

These look harmless enough (they’re not in my fungi book, again!)

But this one is definitely not:

Destroying Angel, one of our more poisonous fungi – note the white gills and large ring distinguishing it from edible mushrooms.

(Amanita virosa, A. verna, and A. bisporigera) and death cap (Amanita phalloides) produce some of the most poisonous compounds known. As little as 30 grams, or half a mushroom cap, is fatal to a healthy, adult human. Amanitin poisoning is not a pleasant experience. The onset of symptoms does not begin for at least 10 hours; death may be delayed for as long as 10 days, which complicates diagnosis. When the toxin finally affects the victim, it causes severe abdominal upset, followed by liver, kidney, and circulatory system failure. The poison is usually fatal; there is no known antidote; and the progressive effect of the toxin causes the victim terrible suffering. It says here.

On a more pleasant note there is regeneration taiking place around the bodgery because of the higher light levels from last winter’s thinning work.  Even a couple of oaks:

After lunch I completed the assembly of the first of the six ash dining chairs I’m on with:

Then I sawed out a bowl-carving block, but more of that anon.

Little and large

Today I’ve been assembling a dining chair.  While I was shaving down the splats for the ladders I noticed the shavings making patterns.  I modified my shaving a little and these came out:

The splats survived the dual purpose shaving too and the chair shows signs of being a success.  The little trees’ branches are quite sturdy as the wood is dry ash, must be a Christmas decoration in the making here.

There was a parcel waiting for me when I got home – seemed rather large.  I was expecting either a measuring calliper for the lathe, or a hoof knife (I’ll post on this later!)

This was inside:

I was expecting some callipers about 1/3rd that size, the photo on eBay had no scale, and I just assumed it would be about the size of the one I have been using until the thread stripped on the adjuster nut.  Well I suppose it’ll do the same job, and it’ll go with the large 4 foot (count ’em!) folding rule that came last Friday to replace the two foot which I managed to break at the hinge (leaving the rule out forgotten one night under the lathe must have made it stiff).

Spoons and rungs

I’ve been rather busy recently, what with a WWOOFer, an exhibition, making a set of chairs, etc.

Here are some carved spoons from a junk shop in Malton, they seem decidedly foreign, especially the star-shaped hole on the lower one.  The carved decoration is pretty inspirational though; there are mistakes aplenty, which made me think we are now very used to seeing “perfect” (looking) artefacts produced by machines.  Hand -made objects are much more lively.  I now feel more comfortable with the finish on my bowls.  Here’s the detail on the old chip carved letter-opener:

You’d never get a machine to produce work like this and for it to vary each time one was made!

I’ve been feeling a bit like a machine producing rungs for a set of dining chairs, here they all are drying at home:

Once they’re dry I’ll be making the legs, free-form at the back and turned for the front.  I’m also making the splats for the ladder back, three each time I brew (the steamer goes on the brew kettle.)

The exhibition in Strid Exhibition centre, went well

Some interesting work inspired by Strid Wood from a local artist Joy Godfrey and potter Chris Bailey is there as well as some of my furniture:

I’ve added the glass platter as my header for now.

Meanwhile, Autumn draws on with a ground frost this morning and Poached Egg fungi appearing in Strid: