Wet day in Strid

It rained today in Strid Wood

The river was as high as I’ve seen it since I started here a year ago.  Richard D was with me and he took these photos.  It was cold as well as wet and we only had the short tarp up as we’re still walking in to the workshop until a replacement Landy comes on stream, later this week hopefully, when we can take the big heavy tarp in again.  The deer season has started again, you may be able to make out one on the stump above.

Despite the weather we had a productive day.  Richard turned some chisel handles, axed out some spoon blanks, worked on his kuska and levelled up a three-legged, high-level chopping block for light use:

Need to fix up a cover for it.  Should be useful when doing very light fine chopping e.g. with a knife, spoon work etc.

I was busy fitting the bottom rungs for chair #5, making old oak pegs for the ladder-back top splats, finishing up the bow tenons on the prototype log hod and breaking out a new bow blank for a production log tote hopefully.

Nice action photo Richard, thanks!

OK so the rain is going to stop tonight, and then a frost of -5 is predicted for Monday night.  Must take the camera in Tuesday.


Just about caught up with myself!  Now just need to get a replacement Landy, complete with electric death chair for the unawares (only joking) and replenish my lesser used tools (like a tool bag for instance!)  Finish off the dining chairs, small table and then it’s full speed ahead Christmas. May even do some logging soon, oh yes, must get a petrol/oil can for the saw.

Here’s the next project starting up:

Improvised long steamer.

I’m making a log hod (or tote as it’s called in the American steam bending book I’m using).  I added the bag on the end of my normal steamer which was only made to take chair backs.  It kind of worked but I think the end of the hod bows didn’t really get hot enough, even though they were in for an hour.  Here are the two bows drying:

This one failed.

Always a danger, I think this one may be due to uneven thinning with the draw knife.

The fibres couldn’t bend enough on the outside and gave way:

This one’s better (not perfect, a knot has spoiled the top bend), but it will do as a prototype for testing use at home.

I’ve learnt from this though, proper extension to steamer needed, clear timber and thinner, more even work on the bow profile.  I think I’ll change the riving out of the timber 90 degrees and see whether that improved the bending evenness.

Here’s the penultimate dining chair back I glued up yesterday in the woods

Today I’m finishing off  #4 and sizing the side rungs for #5 above in the luxury of home – it’s a bit too muddy at the bodgery for weaving seats.

Normal service will be resumed asap!

I’ve been rather tied up since last Monday’s theft.  Dealing with all the consequences which I don’t want to bore you with.  I lost my order book and I know I have a deer order to fulfil, but I now have no contact details.  I’ll be making it tomorrow.

However, just a quick note to say that I have had a lot of well wishes from people, some of whom I do not even know.

Here’s a couple to warm the heart.

On Thursday evening after the hard copy Craven Herald coverage went on the streets, I received a phone call, “Have you got your tools back?” I began to think he was about to say something like, “Well, they’re at the bottom of my garden/Give me some money and you can have them.” or something.  What was the outcome?  A gent of nearly 80 years who had been a woodturner for 25 years and a forester before that was offering me a box of tools he no longer required.  I called in to see him on Friday morning, the first day I’d been able to get back to the woods.  We had a good chat for 3/4 of an hour about making turned items, tools etc, and I left with a box of some very useful chisels, an axe, compass, sharpening gear, etc that Neil was pleased were going to a good home where they will be used and looked after.  I am very grateful.

This morning I received an email offering the  loan of a box of tools until I’m sorted out.  Again it’s someone I don’t really know.

There have been lots of others too.  Restores my faith in humanity, there are only a few bad ‘uns, and they are probably only bad due to bad circumstances.

Fortunately my business insurance includes theft of tools, so I will hopefully get some sort of reimbursement.

It’s wet today so I’m working on weavingthe seats of the dining chair set I’m on with.  The customer’s choice of clours for the Shaker tape is very good.  Picture to follow when the skies are less grey.

Many thanks to all my well wishers!

What I haven’t got

Stop Lock
Roof rack
Straps for rack
Takings Diary
Display folder
Little Book of Whittling
The Book of Knots
Small tarpaulin
Chainsaw sharpener
Chainsaw sharpening  hand kit
Chainsaw two stroke oil, half a liter
3 pairs used gloves
One pair new gloves
Cordless Matika drill
Duck tape
Log tongs
part ball of sisal string
50 meters nylon cord
Drill bits
2 tins paint
Gold thread
Part used glue
Part-used tung oil
Tool bag and contents:
Tool bag
Draw knife
two wood chisels 1/2 inch & 1/4 inch
Sharpening diamond blocks 4 off
Leather strop and compound
4 foot wooden rule
2 sets small calipers
Wooden clamp
Wood tap and dies set
2 screw drivers
2 cabinet scrapers
2 hoof knives
One chip knife
2 1 inch wood gouges
2 1 inch flat chisels
2 skew chisels
combination petrol and chain oil can and dispensers
2 Scotch eyes wood augers 1 inch and 1.5 inches
2 bowl turning hooks
Brace and bit and tennoner
First aid box for 50 & small one
Electronic power inverter
Phone charger
Dowel saw
Silky tree surgeon saw
conical diamond sharpener
Box of wooden stock items
4 dibbers
two rounders bats
15 elves
2 spurtles
2 mustard spoons
spinning top
2 honey drippers
Small wooden stool
Small, part finished Elm table
Half-finished chair front
Two bins of wood turnings
Bird box parts
Two planks of yew belonging student
Plank of beech wood 4 foot by 10 inches

They were all stolen last night along with my Land Rover

Ah well. Get up and start again, tomorrow’s another day.

Last week I was in The Craven Herald in my bodgery see here.

This week I’ll be in as the man who lost nearly all the tools of his trade in one go – blimey they leave you the tools of your trade when you’re bankrupt, my dad used to tell me.

The Smoke

Down (well I live UP North, yes?) to London last weekend to visit my daughter whose birthday it was.

Lots of trees, but not much variety, I had always noticed there were lots of plane trees, but not how many.  They are everywhere, and not much else in the streets.  They looked pretty good in their autumn colours, and loads of leaves to kick about on the pavements.

OK these are mainly limes, but there were some pretty big plane leaves:

See the size of the sycamore next to it!

We went on the top of this building; The Blue Fin:

There were trees on the top!

It’s an extension of the canteen, rather more formal than the bodgery canteen, but it has some fruits, which turned out to be edible, but rather seedy:

The Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo), it’s a broadleaved evergreen, and the seeds are on the outside of the skin a la strawberry.  Doesn’t taste anything like strawberry though!  Native to the Mediterranean and Ireland and a member of the heather family.

In the middle of the Barbican (or Barbican’t, as we rechristened it, not being able to find anything doing on a Saturday morning) we saw a heron sleeping on St Giles’ church

It is a seriously strange ghostly place, will not be revisiting there in a hurry:

All those dwellings and hardly a soul about (it was All Hallows Eve) at 11am.

Maybe London looks prettier when it’s all put away for the night: