Season’s Greetngs!

May you all get what you need, even if it ain’t quite what you want!


Nim & I collected our Strid Wood Father Christmas tree this morning, and my last two woodworking jobs of the year were putting a tenon on the tree and some subtle trimming of the top so it fits in the living room, which has a cosy low ceiling I can handily reach on those rare occasions when it’s needing decorated (as they tend to say in Scotland, eh Billy?).  As you can see we have seasonal drizzle in place of that nasty cold wet snow stuff.

Enjoy the break! We certainly will be doing.

From The Cooking of the British Isles via will...

From The Cooking of the British Isles via williumbillium

Side ax(e)

Peter Folansbee posted an interesting and comprehensive review of his excellent side axe/hewing ax here.  I just want to add my twopenn’orth without messing up the comments on Peter’s blog.

At The National Forest Woodfair this year I bought this (then) new side axe.


OK, it has a hickory handle covered in ‘varnish’ (note to self ‘Sand it down before it slips out of your hand one day’)  And the ground bevel is pretty basic:

DSCF1175However, the chap who sold it to me (Tony Murland) said it was a Swedish forging, exported to Canada where it was liquidated when the firm shafting it went bust (1960s).  He had quite a few of them.

Don’t bother rushing to Garant’s site to find one, as they don’t stock it.

It has some features you might think would be lacking.

The ‘flat’ face is convex-bevelled top to bottom:


See that gap between the ruler and the axe cheek?  Maybe 1/16th of an inch or about 2 mm?

It is also round along the depth of the blade:

DSCF1179So really, meets those extra requirements Peter highlighted.  Not a pretty axe, but a useful one, certainly hews more accurately than my Kentish pattern Elwell (even though it weighs much less).

The flat side is really ugly, must give it some tlc one day when I’ve nothing to do.





Life in the bodgery has been pretty brisk this last week or so.  Lots of frost, topped off the last couple of days by freezing fog:

DSCF1139Makes it easy to see where all the oak trees are with their curly branches

DSCF1139Even the backwaters of the River Wharfe started to freeze up.

Some pretty blue skies and cobwebs:
I’m still rather busy in the run up to Christmas with courses every weekend making woodland animals etc and orders to be fulfilled for anything from side tables to recorder stands.


Even better orders are now rolling in for what is usually my dead sales period in January and February, including one of my favourites; another ladder.

In and among I managed to find a few minutes to make this spatula in spalted alder.

DSCF1159Ah well, day off today so better get going.  Hurdles to deliver, Gus’ table above to finish off, shopping.  Sending out bowls and treen.  Make lunch for tomorrow’s course.  Fix the outside light again.  Make a meal for tomorrow’s Dales Jam gig and Jacob’s Join (pot luck) supper.

Potluck Luncheon

Potluck Luncheon (Photo credit: Tobyotter)

And at last it’s raining again, so after a couple of hours of total glaze over as the rain freezes we should be back to the normal dank, dark England. Hurray!

Square snow

English: Snow flakes by Wilson Bentley. Bentle...

English: Snow flakes by Wilson Bentley. Bentley was a bachelor farmer whose hobby was photographing snow flakes. ; Image ID: wea02087, Historic NWS Collection ; Location: Jericho, Vermont ; Photo Date: 1902 Winter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hurumph!  I seem not to be able to find the falling snow effect I had last year and the one before, which I liked.  The one I have now appears to have square snowflakes – c’mon!

Argh! I’m turning it off. I’ll post a picture of real snow as and when it appears.

Upgrades and mishtakes


Sunrise reddens a frosty Yorkshire morning

Phew! I can certainly agree with the sentiments expressed by Peter Galbert in a recent post about learning from your mistakes.  I’ve just spent about 4 hours or more upgrading my WordPress blogging software and making a complete hash of it.  (Well some of the earlier attempts are timed at 14:30 yesterday and I finished off at about 7:15am this morning, did get a couple of hours sleep, mind.)

I suppose I knew already that people write instructions to make life easier for me, not just for fun.  I do read instructions, it’s sometimes surprising what you learn.  The instructions I read for this upgrade to a beta version of the software (well a bit more dangerous than that really it is described as “bleeding edge nightlies”.  I mean these guys were not hiding anything.  They also advised doing a backup first (done), and “do not install this on a live site unless you are adventurous”.  Well, sounded like a bit of a challenge really.  I was tempted by the improvements they were crowing about to the media handling, and I post quite a few pictures – have you noticed?


Ah well to cut a long story short I didn’t turn off the plugins, contrary to instructions. I think it may have been caused by making guacamole in mid upload, well it’s slow is FTP but still works, the old-timer, as old, if not older than The Internet itself! This failure to click about three buttons caused chaos and much FTP work uploading files, watching slow progress, deleting files, checking forum posts on the issues.  But finally this morning it was working again, even the plugins, the most important of which dams up the stream of rubbish comments from spammers.

Anyway, just to counter my computerish story, here are some seasonal woody photos:


Stock for customers.


This is an interesting home-made vice or clamp, I can’t decide which.  There are a couple of countersunk screw holes in the back jaw suggesting it has been mounted somewhere.  On the other hand there is no garter to pull the front jaw out when the screws are loosened.  I can’t find it in the excellent Salaman Dictionary of Tools, but I’m sure I’ve seen it somewhere – any suggestions?  My brother bought it for me in exchange for a promise to make him a mandrel for remoulding a couple of brace of 18th century pewter tankards he picked up for a song.

The tankards just fit in nicely with my current Land Rover entertainment from Librivox: Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens. The story features The Maypole Inn (based on a real coaching inn in Epping Forest) where I’m sure pots like these must have been drunk from.  Curiously they are assayed as pints but are not modern English pint-sized.  This harks back to before the 1824 Weights and Measures Act which standardised the Imperial Pint across the British Empire at 568 ml whereas formerly the English pint varied and I guess these tankard measures are equivalent to the United States liquid pint (473 ml), I’ll check once the squareness has been taken out of them and some of the bumps.

For info, the rounder plane is still in refinement, getting the blade tuned in is proving not easy!