.. well more misplaced really.
I was making for the Carpenters’ Hall in ye olde city of London.
Thought I’d divert from the main thoroughfare and walk past Dennis Severs House (Amazing inside experience, don’t miss it!)
It is in a well preserved Georgian area of Spitalfields.
I passed my favourite East End shoppe.
After many false starts and dead ends in those curly medeval streets I finally arrived in the Carpenters’ Hall just in time for the Heritage Crafts Association conference and AGM. A stunning building originating from 1429 (rebuilt a couple of times). It was a sunny morning.
The theme for the day was “Tool tales”. There was a pop up exhibition of makers’ tools to which we were all invited to contribute. I was too busy chatting and looking at tools to take a photo – but it would have been well worth it. I took my everyday axe.
My favourite presentation of the day was by Dr Phil Harding. Archaeologist, craftsman (flint knapper) and “that bloke off the tele”. He said today he was not “that bloke off the tele”. The tools he makes and works with are stone age. That covers a long period which he explained thusly (I paraphrase).
Man started using stone tools about a million years ago. How long is that? Well, if you take a football pitch it is about a hundred meters long. Imagine I’m standing on the goal line at one end looking toward the goal line at the other end of the pitch. Let’s call that distance a million years. Now. If I take a small step forwards towards the other goal line like this … I’ve just stepped into the beginning of the bronze age.
He told a very detailed illustrated story of making a haft (handle) for a flint axe using flint tools only. He managed to do this – it was his first time attempted. He showed how he’d even cut the mortise hole for the axe head with flint, it was previously guessed that the mortices must have been burnt through. Anyway. We saw a photo of the completed axe it looked quite useable, and he had felled a tree with one, but a different technique is required with a very lean angled ‘gob’ as we call the angled cut at the front of the stem.
The completed axe is in the new interpretative centre at Stonehenge. Only trouble was the haft had a couple of tiny rough bits that might lead to someone getting a splinter in their hand. Guess what they did? Sanded it – problem solved, work ruined! Save us from bananas Health and Safety.