Another pot, baluster style and Alan

I’m getting a bit obsessed by shrink pots, especially now I’ve discovered turning them.  It’s possible to make vessels that would not be possible using a foot-powered bowl lathe as there is no requirement to leave a core in the work so the mandrel can drive the work round.  So this is the almost latest (made another couple since this one!)

(Sorry slightly out of focus – but he back board isn’t – doh!)

It looked a bit like this when turned except there’s a rebate at the bottom of the lid which is now inside the pot to retain the lid.  Lid and pot were turned in one, which helped retain the figure of the wood which is 2 year old beech , mellowed in the log, hence the brown colouring.  It also has a little linseed oil on in the picture to retard drying which has suddenly become quite a problem during this Spring drought (rain forecast for Wednesday though).

After turning, I sawed off the lid below its rebate and hollowed out the pot.  First with an inch and a half auger:

The new bench vice is really helpful here, it grips so hard I soften the jaws:

After drilling right through – a pleasant task where I either count the turns (about 10 per inch), day-dream, or drink in the view – I chisel out the remainder of the inside using a gouge with an inside bevel.  This is a bit nerve racking, if I get too greedy with the amount of wood I incorporate into a cut I split the whole thing.  Getting better at this now though, and no probs with this one.

The remainder is smoothed of with a long-handled crooked knife and then a rebate is set in to take the bottom:

I’m hoping to improve and speed up the rebate process, watch this space.

The bottom is made to be a loose fit as the pot, being quite green (unseasoned) will shrink onto it and make a tight, but not water-tight, fit.

Yesterday Alan called around for a little therapeutic woodwork:

he went home with a couple of items he made, as well as the spatula he was working in the picture above.

Well done Alan, good work!

Pots, sweet and savoury

I’ve been working on shrink pots. These are pots which are made as hollow cylinders and then a dry base is inserted in a rebate.  As the pots dries and shrinks it tightens onto the base.  Unless some kind of caulking is applied a waterproof fit is unlikely, but they are fine for dry goods etc.

Here is some work in progress.

The sycamore one on the far left is carved from a whole log, as is the brown birch one.  All the others are turned, some from a branch or whole stem like the barrel-shaped ash one and the two small birch ones.  The two tall ash ones at right are turned from quartered logs and I think that makes for a good pattern in the grain.  While the pot itself can be a fairly simple shape the tops can be more imaginative.  I’m working on some lumps of burr birch to make tops for the small birch ones, and I turned another quartered ash one yesterday with a top that looks a bit anthropomorphic.  I think these should be quite saleable as they are easily portable and shouldn’t be too expensive.  They will make good presents, which a lot of my sales become, seeing as many people who buy are on holiday.

I made stir-fry for tea last night and topped it with freshly home-roasted buckwheat.  I had the leftovers on my cereal.  I must get a wooden spoon and bowl made for eating breakfast!

And today another load of logs to the yard for maturing into firewood and charcoal.  First burn coming up next week.

A fist full of mallets

Today, Simon, George, Steve, Ian and Rich D paid a visit to make some mallets and rounders bats.  It all seemed to go very well, not a single cut (but a couple of bumps on the head by those blummin’ Flying Shavings boards (to be rearranged!).  I had two workshop areas under tarps, twin lathes, twin shaving horses etc.  Nice drop of home make veg soup and bread for lunch and on tap hot drinks, although the weather was pretty mild and kind to us, with even a little sunshine here and there.  Good to have such keen students and thanks again for the help Rich!


OK so what do week old lambs like to lie in?



Well apparently ashes from a two week old fire (really number 14 must you?), or

Fine young nettles – you know the ones that really sting.  So Spring has sprung here, all systems go.



Forbidden pies

We went to the market town of Otley today, mainly to buy a bottom bracket for my bike, but having taken three measurements I found I was still short of the axle length, doh!  However, I did source a bolt to fasten the remover onto the axle to help remove it (time travel machine required really to go back to installation and paint thread with anti-seize).  We also had pies from Weegman’s and ate them in the Butter Cross:

It’s an old market place with wooden seats held up by good Yorkshire stone supports and floor and cast iron stanchions holding up the roof. As you can see we also purchased a galvanised watering can, Jane was fed up with plastic ones that go brittle in the sun in the greenhouse.

Bought “Forgotten Household Crafts”  by John Seymour (the conservationist and self-sufficiency advocate) in an Oxfam shop second-hand.  I wasn’t aware the craft of home brewing was forgotten, certainly not in our house, although the brewing goes on hold at this time of year for 40 days.  It’s a good old town is Otley, we bought vegetables in the market in the road along Kirkgate.

Good news yesterday too:

A payout for my uninsured losses when my Land Rover was stolen in 2009.

Also yesterday I turned a few whistles for stock.  The fipples need trimming and then the mouthpiece cutting back, one’s even a Swanee whistle!

You may have noticed a change in the blog style.  I’ve adopted a theme I first saw in use on Andy Coates’ Site, it’s called Duster and I like it’s clear feel.  It also allows a bigger picture in posts.  I’ve managed to do some cascading style sheet editing and changed the font.  This is Angie STD Sans by Porchez Typofonderie I like the clarity of this font too, it says here: “Angie Sans is a low contrast incised sans serif family which was issued one year before FF Angie (won a Morisawa awards in 1990) published by FontFont in 1995. Legibility is improved by keeping letter shapes open and distinct from one another.”  I am working towards moving my URL Flying Shavings from my website to this blog and adding an electronic payment system, the shop page is now being developed.  Watch this space!

Hooray! And up she rises!

Yesterday I was helping my mate David  to rebuild a section of our garden dry-stone wall that had collapsed.   On Friday last I cut back the hedge, shifted a load of compost that was in the way and laid out the wallstones away from the base of the wall to make some room to work.  This is what it looked like at that stage.

I kept thinking of “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall”.  It was probably the hedge swaying about that finished the wall off, but it was a pretty badly built wall, and it was very tricky knowing how far back to pull it down to start again.  You need to get to some sound wall, trouble was none of the standing wall was brilliant, but I suppose it’s probably been standing over 100 years.

Once David arrived, we took it back a bit further, and then managed to install some large stones as footings (foundations) to carry the weight.  The foundations have to be quite a bit broader than the top of the wall as it leans in, or “batters” as we say round here, towards the top.

We kept a bit of the inside leaf up, as there is a hedge on our side of the wall (I know, “Why do you need a wall AND a hedge?”, just gives us a bit more privacy really.)

Then it started going up.  David was doing the main graft with me just helping out a bit.

You need to get the big stuff in the bottom, or it will not only be heavy to lift onto the upper courses, but also will alter the balance of the whole wall and potentially bring it down again. The plastic trugs hold the heartings or fillings.  These are small rubbly stones used to fill up the gaps between the two leaves of the wall.  You can make out David’s lime band that gives him a reference line with the existing wall, so that it all lines through.

Up it went:

Warm work, hat off now.  It was a very cold start – frosty, but shifting stones around soon warms you up.

We are heading towards getting these topstuns on the top of the wall:

Quite a way to go, but progressing:

More heartings going in.  The bending down gets less at this stage.

In the picture above you can see three elements of a dry stone wall.  The two leaves of the wall, these are like two independent skins, they are locked together by throughs which span both leaves.  The stone with the hammer on it is a through.  You can also see the heartings in the foreground that fill the space between the two leaves.

Time for lunch (another through in right foreground), looking good:

Notice how the stones overlap joints between the stones below.  This adds strength.  If the joints are above each other they are straight joints which make the wall weak, they are called swords in France!

Just about ready for the topstones now.  Notice how the courses are laid progressively closer in to achieve a narrowing towards the top.

Good job, well done, with rubbish materials (we had to reject a few bits of brick, concrete from bucket bottoms and pottery that were all in there before).

Thanks David!

Today in the woods was pretty Spring-like after another bitter frost -4, blimey, it’s supposed to be March for Goodness sake!

I ate in the Strid cafeteria for the first time this year, it was good to feel the sun on my back:

I do think the new white tarp. is a great improvement, not very green, but, hey! I can see what I’m doing and the photos no longer look like scenes from a B horror movie with that green tinge.

The earth didn’t move for me, but the knives did!

The perils of demonstrating the shave horse in front of 50 people.  On Tuesday evening I did a demo for the West Riding Woodturners Group in Eldwick.  My little talk went OK, the log splitting drew a few gasps as usual, but not as big a one as when one of the back legs of the shave horse gave way shortly after starting to shave a billet.  No damage done, fortunately despite the hard floor.  For the second half I removed the remaining rear leg and sat the rear of the horse on my 3-legged chopping block.  ALthough slightly precarious this enabled me to complete the evening with turning a Windsor chair leg etc.

So first thing yesterday was spent fixing the said leg so David and I could work up some bow blanks for some firewood carriers.

Drilled out the old tenon – the failure was just where you might expect, where the tenon enters the underside of the horse bed and the diameter changes, obviously too suddenly in this case.  The legs were also pretty high as they normally sink into the shavings quite a way at the normal office.  So I reused the old legs but shorter, and shaved down the area before the tenon.

I used the stock knife stock (bench) as temporary rear leg, and used the rounder plane to work up the tenons.

I didn’t used to get on with the rounder plane at all well, but since I set the blade properly, and realised it cuts worse rather than better if forced, I find it pretty good, and a little more in keeping with the office set up than the wholly reliable Veritas power tenon cutter.

I would have made 1 1/2″ tenons, but I didn’t have the right auger with me (the joys of bringing all tools to site and taking them away every night).  That would have been a good thing, as later that day BOTH back legs broke on David.  What?  The old legs had been fine for about 6 months, and now they’re suddenly totally unreliable.  More shaving and now even shorter legs.  Seems more stable – fingers crossed.

Apart from demos, logging, and log carriers, I’m building up stock ready for Spring and Summer (rather a sales dessert at this present time of year).  Drew Langser has set a challenge to design butter spreaders that he will exhibit here, so I’m having a shot at developing my own style.  Here are the unfinished results so far:

The development is from early (left) to recent (right).  The last one is the odd man out as I was short of space for the handle on the board where I’d set four of them out.  I’m using birch from the tree I cut a couple of weeks ago.  It is very wet so I’ll put the finishing touches to the surface once they’re dry.

Andy Coates had an interesting post about how design works.  I’m afraid I don’t have any thoughts to offer on this process, but I do find it interesting how different spreaders are coming out of the same basic pattern that I’m drawing round to develop.  It reminds me of an early BBC computer program where you were able to mimic selective breeding of bugs.