Back to the bowls

I had an enjoyable afternoon with Paul Atkin on Wednesday, picked up two bowl hooks and lots of helpul tips about bowl turning, which is quit a different skill to my usual work, known as spindle turning (long cylinders from chair legs to rounders bats).  The hooks look like this:

You can only buy them from a few people, and then most turners end up making their own.  They are very long and sturdy, with a small sharp hook that does the business, slicing through the blank to remove the wood.

My lathe needs a couple of modifications, a smaller mandrel, that’s what the band runs on, and a proper strap to replace the cord, although it didn’t seem to be slipping today.  I’ll post a couple of  pictures of the bowls I made with Paul, in the meantime here is one that’s been sitting on the bowl lathe in the woods for months, waiting for the replacement hook tools:

You can see here how the mandrel holds the bowl blank to turn it, and how the hook has to cut away the excess wood from inside, while leaving a core for the mandrel.

It’s quite hard work pedalling, more so than my normal lathe:

Basically the same principle but more effort required because the cut it through a more resistant section of the timber.

Anyway, this being my third bowl I’m pretty pleased with it, lots of room for improvement, but I think I now have the idea of how to get the result I’m looking for:

It needs to dry out now with the other two, and then be oiled before use.

Made it.

The six chairs are now united in their new home on the moors above Bolton Abbey.

My customers are very pleased, especially with the little table

It was rather a struggle to get up there, even with snow chains on the Landy.  I kept thinking, well I’ll get up there, but maybe not get back.  But I was accompanied back and two shovels came in very handy clearing 3 foot drifts of heavy melting snow that the Landy kept on bellying on.  All the snow’s gone from down in the valleys round here, but at 1,600 feet up where the chairs now live it had only just yesterday got above freezing, first time in weeks, and my customers had not had their 4×4 car down to the village since New Year’s Day!

The package in may last post was a 2 1/2 pound Kentish pattern axe that I’m now making a new handle for. It looked like it was going to be a cleaver from the package!  Photos to follow when it’s re-shafted.  It’s an old War Department one in good nick.  I do wish, however, that people who sell tools on eBay would resist the temptation to ‘sharpen’ them.  Which usually just means putting a shiny, inexpert edge on with a grinding wheel.  Fortunately on this one they had not over-heated the edge and lost the metal’s temper as can happen with a powered grit stone.  I’ve just about restored a better smooth edge with my treadle-powered grit stone that runs in a bath of water keeping everything cool.

Course coming up tomorrow over at York with Paul Atkin.  I’m getting a couple of hook tools for bowl turning, and a half day on their use.

Thawsday

The thaw has started in Strid Wood, with the snow on the trees dripping into the snow.  It was also dripping off the tarp yesterday, mainly due to the roaring fire I got going in the afternoon.

In the morning I finished off moving all the stray Spring felled timber back to the bodgery.  I’ve been using two very useful tools for this.  First up the log tongs.  This is great.  The two dogs bite into the logs and then you can haul them into the trailer, mostly without touching them and keeping your gloves drier. The logs look rough, but they are fine inside.

If the logs are frozen together (and few weren’t!) I’ve been using this home-made pickeroon.

This was originally a short-handled job, not sure of its intended purpose, but with a long handle it’s great for freeing logs and digging the spike end into  log also allows rolling and pulling without bending – great!

While I was back in this part of the woods I surveyed my thinning work last year, you may be able to see all the stumps as larger black lumps.

And this is where I’m due to thin next.

There’s a lot of small stuff in there to fell.

Meanwhile back at the bodgery I spent the afternoon making rolling pin blanks and animals:

They are supposed to be foxes, the front one is OK.  I’ve since modified the big one into a bear, the rather angular one awaits further attention from the knife.

I also had a look round at tracks – I like the ‘shadow’ of the wing in this one:

When I got home there was an interesting eBay delivery:

Guess what’s inside.  See next post.

Oh no! It snowed!

So what can you do in the woods when it’s all snowy?

Well you can get all that wood shifted back to the bodgery that’s been lying around since last spring for a start.

OK, no felling new wood until that’s done then.  Found some excellent large pieces of sycamore that will made great bowls.

Also went for a little stroll after lunch, before bowl making, and after log shifting, and found a rather large piece of willow tree lodged high up on Lud Island.

Remember when it was raining all the time instead of snowing?  That would be when it was washed down the Wharfe.  Now what could I use willow for?

Actually I’ve got my hands full with two chetnut stems I’ve bought from the estate.  First job will be a new garden gate for home to replace the ancient batten door my dad put up years and years ago, and which I’ve repaired at least twice.  Watch this space, it will be a green gate, and I don’t mean one that’s been painted with green wood preservative!

This weather is also good for learning how to drive safely in the snow, only, in Strid so many people walked on the partially melted snow before the temperatures became permanently sub-zero that under the snow is a glassy skating rink.  Snow chains on order

You can also look forward to Summer sun

And enjoy the scenery

And you can just about watch the Wharfe freeze over

I also sat by the woodland stove and roughed out a couple of bowls, sampan and barge.

Winter

It should be a day for sitting by the stove today making spoons:

However, it’s going to be a logging and bowl carving day, considering the snow is making things rather tricky on the roads, I guess I should stay off them and make room for people who really need to travel.  Looks like yet another delay for the moorland chair delivery.  Here’s the table that is part of the order:

I think this has turned out well. The legs and rungs are all just worked with hand tools, no turning.  This makes a good contrast with the Elm top.  I can’t help feeling there’s some feel of a henge about this!

The travelling is even affecting the Leeds Liverpool canal that runs past our house.  On Sunday we saw a barge struggling to go forwards, and after the -9.5C temperatures on Sunday night it must be frozen in somewhere by now.

There is some compensation to all this cold stuff, but not for the sheep, poor beggars, who no doubt couldn’t care less about the picturesque sun sets.