Back from a rather full three or four days camping on Cannock Chase in Staffordshire with a load of other old woodies. This was the scene for the APT World Championship Log to Leg Race. I think there was about a baker’s dozen of pole lathe turners and green woodworkers assembled for three days of racing and demonstrations for the benefit of the punters attending the huge biennial trade show for all things forestry. We were in the Vintage and Woodland crafts area. This was about half of our set up:
As you can see, a beautiful day on Saturday, which made up for the chilly wind on Friday and Thursday’s thunderstorm with torrents of rain. As I was camping in a freegun tent with unknown water-repellent qualities, I pitched it each night under the lathe shelter. Somehow it always seemed to have got dark before I pitched it!
I was set up between Richard Ely And James Pumfrey who works at Kew’s Wakehurst Place where the James Bond type seed bank is housed in an extensive collection of gardens and woodlands. It was all very friendly, to say we were all competing twice a day in a team and individual log to leg race. Every time someone had a kettleful of boiling water, the excess was offered round. There was also much exchange of useful information and skills. Here are some of Richard’s spoons, turned from one piece and then split and hollowed with a spoon knife.
Barn was there making spoons too:
Barnaby has a peddlar’s licence and is walking around Britain making spoons and selling them. Here he is in his residence:
If you meet him, do buy one of his spoons, they’re great – he’s made over 500 so far.
Barn was camped next to Mark Allery, he’s an affable chap, and 8th in the world in log to leg racing (I’m a mere 9th), amongst lots of other woody stuff Mark makes rakes (and an excellent blackberry liqueur):
There were many other interesting craft people on our bit of the site, someone hewing a dug out boat, vintage tractors powering a wood milling machine by belting, tools stalls, charcoal burners, Owen Jones making swill baskets and Gerry Atkinson making clog soles with a stock knife:
Sorry I didn’t catch his face, but he did warn me there’s a lot of bending involved. A stock knife is what I need for shaping the outside of my carved bowls. Gerry kindly let me have a go on his straight knife to finish shaping a bowl I had been demonstrating (OK half a bowl actually – it was an unsuccessful experiment with a poplar log). It was really sweet, so much power and so much control. I have various feelers (including one in France where there were many cloggers) out for obtaining one, but it may well be a long wait
Altogether an excellent three days.
Postscript: quotes of the weekend, “I’ve found out how to make those logs that burn.”; “Why is poplar not popular?”; “Richard Law’s guilty secret is that he used to be a capstan lathe operator.”; “We don’t want bananas.”; “The water stand pipes were condemned.”; “Is that in the bible?”; “You weren’t a vegetarian when you were in the army.”; “Put a shaving in it.”