Summer time

Great! At last butterflies are turning up in our garden, the hard weather in Spring must have affected their survival. Not seen any peacock butterflies yet, but whites are numerous and yesterday there were four tortoiseshells on the buddleia. There are very tricky to photograph however.

(That’s not a buddleia, by the way!)

This is a glorious Summer with lots of fruit and vegetables in wave after wave. At the moment we’re on gooseberries and the broad beans are ready too, as the spuds have been for a few weeks now.

Beuatiful skies, and spectacular thunderstorms.

But always at my back I hear,
Time’s winged chariot hurrying near …

Must get on with that storychair today, then tomorrow it’s off to Spoonfest.

More progress on the green oak story teller’s throne.

SAMSUNG CSCAll the members of the front and back frames are now prepared, subject to sawing off some horns on the crest rail and the tops of the front legs.  I’m afraid the floor level in the bodgery is rising alarmingly, and I don’t expect these oak chips/shavings to rot away quickly.  I’ll have to bring some home to burn I think.

I’ve done a couple of scratch stock mouldings on the front rail and rung.  I’ll be adding some patterning with a gouge later.


SAMSUNG CSCWhile planing up the side rails I was struck by a thought that the ray patterning reminded me of bees in flight:



Old shrink pot

This is the shrink pot which was discovered by peat cutters in 2009 in a peat bog.  It was, and still is, filled with butter. The National Museum of Ireland is conserving the find which is 3 foot high and a foot in diameter – bigger than any I’ve ever made.

I like the closer. Watch this space for imitations.

Read more about it here.  But feel free to ignore some of the journo rubbish like “An oak barrel dating back to about 3,000 years ago”  alongside: “‘It is hoped that through further tests the species of the wood will be identified and the vessel dated through radiocarbon dating,’ the museum said in a statement.”  They may have well as saved their breath!

Related articles

Mortise and tenons

The storyteller’s throne is beginning to take a recognisable shape.

SAMSUNG CSCAt the moment it must weigh about an hundredweight, but the crest rail is way oversize and will be thinned and shaped to ape the ERH shepherd’s chair crest.  It has a very worn  effect to the middle of the shaping and I’m unable to suggest any reason why this section of the top of a chair should be so worn. it’s the centre section – no photo from the front where it’s more obvious – a mystery to me:


I’ve made 4 and two half mortise and tenon joints, and realised that I can half the time of making, following Peter Folansbee’s method with joined stools.  There’s no need to make side shoulders on the tenon – just the front and back.  The next 14  M&Ts should be much quicker, and a neater fit.  Funny how you can read a book several times and miss such an obvious method.

I’m using this chisel which is really good for scraping out the loose shavings, and tidying the corners in the mortises.

SAMSUNG CSCI originally acquired it to use as a rat tail for making captive rings n the pole lathe, but never got around to it.  Now I know it’s real use I can see that the handle must be a replacement as there’s no way it should be struck!

I’m also using this handy shoulder plane for tidying up the tenons.  Quite good for final adjustments.



Rather warm here still, but on Monday evening we took to the cool of the canal on two narrow boats for our Dales Jam band rehearsal and had a jacob’s join meal moored near Bradley.  Here’s our boss conducting from the drums:

DJ boat trip IMG_5212

Planing riven green oak



I’m getting to the smaller components for the shepherd’s chair now.  This will be the front under-seat framing rail.  The dogs in the bench top are great for this, half the battle is holding the stuff still to plane, the other half is stance and sweat.  It was very warm yesterday, for Yorkshire, and the next two days are forecast to be hot too (read ‘too hot’).  I’ll be milling out a coupe of larger items – crest rail and seat slabs and maybe the wings .  I’m milling them on the quarter so they will be as good as riven.  The oak butt I’m getting these from has some rather large limb junctions and riving could turn out to be too wasteful.

You can see end on how the above rail follows the rays on the finished face:



The back will be left as is because, being under the seat, it will not be seen, and the extra weight will add to my desired bottom-heavy balance to avoid tipping over.

The ray patterns are looking pretty good though:

SAMSUNG CSCThe aroma of this brown stuff is almost intoxicating, it just reminds me of whisky maturation warehouses in Scotland where I used to work.

Storyteller’s chair; part 1

SAMSUNG CSCIt’s started again.  A new storyteller’s chair, for East Riddlesden Hall.  It will be styled on a shepherd’s chair, but this time I’m building it properly with mortise and draw-bored tenons all round.  The bottoms of the legs will be way oversize again as the chair will live out-of-doors and needs to be seriously bottom-heavy.  So here’s the first back leg:

SAMSUNG CSCBit more shaving down to get the top ready for framing the back panel.  Proper quarter-riven oak.  It took Theo and me about an hour to bust open the first split.  Hedgerow-grown timber again with branches just where you don’t need ’em.  Makes splitting with wedges quite a challenge, but we did it.  I tried hauling the whole butt onto the trailer with my Lug-All hand winch, but the trailer side used as an anchor was starting to suffer.  I reckon it must weigh around a ton.  It was still heavy to pull when halved, and on rollers.

This is the other back leg I was working on today:


SAMSUNG CSCThe second half of the butt made a good impromptu bench.  Once I’d got rid of the bark, sap wood and pith, and shaped it up a bit, sawn off the ends, it was handy enough to carry inside the Bodgery and start some finer shaping with drawknife and scrub plane:

SAMSUNG CSCWatch this space for more heavy work in the green oak department.

Meanwhile, still a bit of room for cake stands (to customer’s spec., honest!)  This was heavy too.