Stools, hazel and a building site

My wimping on about not getting a prize for my 3 legger caused a couple of comments about voting (notably from  Eric Bloodax Rick McKee, master hewer).  I’ve never tried this before so I thought I’d set up a poll, just for fun, and you should be able to see this in the right sidebar (may need to scroll down a bit or go to the “Home” page until I find out why if you go to an individual post no right sidebar info shows grrr!)).

Just to remind you, here are the stools in question:

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The three legger (Must get that focus sorted man! -Ed).

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The 4 legger with pretty flowers (Are these shots taken in a stone quarry? -Ed).

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Also ran.

Enjoy your voting – you can see the results with a simple click, unlike the retro polling of the political variety.

At the moment I feel a bit like a square peg in a round hole, bursting to fit in, where is that fitting hole?  Where is the support for 17th century joinery?  Should I try the Worshipful Company of Joiners? Am I just too square?

SAMSUNG CSCThe rubbly background to the photos is the rebuild of my workshop, don’t worry, once the masons have finished there will be some timber included, watch this space.

SAMSUNG CSCThe season of woodland deer is ‘pon us once again and my stocks of animal limbs, and antlers was woefully low, so I had a half day cutting the hazel coppice at Wood Nook.  At lunchtime I had a walk round previous years’ cut stools and some regrowth is pretty good

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Some is rather poor, but still has a chance – if the deer will only leave it alone:

SAMSUNG CSCBut around 25% have died 😦

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Been to London

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Show bench at The Apothecaries Hall, Blackfriars Lane, the oldest Livery Hall in the city of London.

The stools at left were 1st 2nd and 3rd.  Personally, I thought my stool would stand being thrown across a bar room in a drunken fight better than any of the others and therefore should have won.

SAMSUNG CSCBut then the judge wasn’t taken by the hewn finish and peg ends when he turned it upside down (presumably in readiness to throw at someone).  Really – it was a “turning” competition, I thought the best thrown stool would be the winner. Doh!

Here’s a photo immediately after that nerve-racking pegging of the seat onto the legs.

SAMSUNG CSC(Hand done that moulding tha knaws.)

But then it’s a funny place is London (not much like Manchester):

SAMSUNG CSCMore like a streetful of books one might be forgiven for thinking:

SAMSUNG CSCVisited the Sir John Soane’s Museum in Lincolns Inn Fields and saw again Hogarth‘s paintings for A Rake’s Progress.  I’m reading an excellent biography of Wm. Hogarth by Jenny Uglow.  I seem to be getting deeper and deeper into history.  In many ways there was a lot wrong with the olden days, and the behaviour of some members of the ‘upper’ classes was a case in point.  Mr William found it so and did not hesitate to pillory them, as did Balzac a little later and in a different country – I’m listening to Le Père Goriot (in English) downloaded from Librivox, which seems to be on the same problem, but if anything more bitter about it.  Never mind, next up should be some Henry Fielding – more fun.

We also visited the Dulwich Picture Gallery, some fabulous paintings in there, and some extraordinary furniture too.  The curtilage has some great trees, here’s a mulberry pollard.

SAMSUNG CSCOn the way back home we called in at Canons Ashby and saw this magnificent cedar of Lebanon, planted 1780:

SAMSUNG CSCIt is a fine garden and the Elizabethan manor house is pretty respectable too.  We came across a sad memorial to a shepherd lad.  The story goes a group of Roundheads were sheltering in the house when Cavaliers approached, the shepherd blew his flute in warning and was killed during the resulting skirmish.

SAMSUNG CSCIn the driveway we met these two box green men chatting to each other.

SAMSUNG CSCMeanwhile … back at the bodgery … I’ve been making a ladder, amongst other things, here’s the first split of the stiles.

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That chair again, and that time of year.

 

SAMSUNG CSCThis looks like a step backwards.  Well it is.  This chair is taking over my life.  In the last update it had taken on a vile Victorian upright habit to its back.  It was difficult to spt as the chair sat in the bodgery with that very uncertain floor, consisting of 18 inches of shavings.  Only when sat in the trailer again did the error become obvious.

Now, a comfortable chair has a relaxed back.  And a shepherd’s chair, which in theory was a chair where a shepherd could fall asleep at lambing time, should be so relaxed.  Straight backs to chairs do not induce, nor allow sleep.  Mind you, following the Law tradition I can fall asleep anywhere – sitting on two bricks (father-style), standing up, playing the clarinet (that’s me), whilst driving … (steady on – Ed).

Turns out that the straight back was a result of chopping the mortices in the back legs at  the mirror-image angle to what they ought to have been chopped. Doh!

Now it looks likes this:

SAMSUNG CSCThe back is relaxed.  Phew!  Dig those trailer side fastenings.

So apart from making an almost impossible (for me) chair, this is what’s been happening (omitting mundane things like: two swans with three cygnets on t’canal; Canadian canoe shooting The (very dangerous) Strid (twice); making animal courses (less internal organs); vegetable growing (especially that vertical pumpkin); scything (sorry Steve, a vast topic); and so on, (this has been happening) int’wood.

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LOADS of fungi.  These are Black Bulgari.  They grow on dead oak, I keep on telling myself, “This is why we remove the bark and sapwood.”

Almost edible (but goes soggy when cooked):

SAMSUNG CSCRed cracking bolete.

Didn’t identify this one, but grows on oak roots:

SAMSUNG CSCLooks boleteous to moi.

Then, these guys appeared in the outfall of the lathe:

SAMSUNG CSCThis is Deer Shield “Edible. but not worthwhile.” It says here.  It’s a bit odd sharing your work space with flora and fauna. They shrews were suddenly very active a couple of days ago, rushing about every couple of minutes or so. I thought it was just me rushing about at this time of year – see you at The National Forest Wood Festival next Monday (if you don’t happen to be on one of my next three courses).

 

Working in public & baking at home

Two aspects of working in public:

and:

There are stories behind both these messages (cunningly in the same frame), but I’m not one to nag.  The latter one does seem to have worked the last couple of days of schools’ half-term break at least.  Don’t know why anyone would want to play with a nice ash log in a muddy puddle though.

I was away last week at Knights Wood near Sand Hutton, York, giving some advice to a family who recently acquired it.  Beautiful mature woodland, oak, sycamore and Scots Pine mainly.

English: The Scots Pine - cones (Pinus sylvest...

English: The Scots Pine – cones (Pinus sylvestris),  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the way there I stopped off for this:

Not just organic:

This stuff is great for making the sourdough starter I use for baking my Forester’s Bread.  In fact it tends to get over excited even when in the fridge between bakes and tried to escape from the container, with partial success. I bought it from Food for Thought in Saxby (No not that Food for Thought, good though it is.)

VERY busy in the workshop now.  Two sets of pegs made to go to a customer in Lancaster.

These are random ash turnings on a chestnut backing board.  I’m also making deer and animals fifty to the dozen, and now an order for salad servers, and I want to develop some hazel log hods, being less hassle than  bent wood ones.

Getting cooler now and the long johns, lined socks and long-sleeved vests have been pressed into service again.  Looks grand when the sun eventually rises though:

 

Three elms, beeches and a sycamore with its pals.

The autumns in the UK are not very consistent from the quality of leaf colour perspective.  We get autumns sometimes that are just damp and dull and dreary.  But not this year, oh no!  On our lunchtime walk today, Theo and I noticed that all the little elms (God bless their short lives) have turned yellow – have a look at these three:

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This autumn is a real pleasure, I’d love to just drive around the Dales delivering logs and gawp at the stands of beech, sycamore, and even ash this year all shining out through the dull afternoons like fire.

Good by t’Wharfe too:

So many leaves – where do they all go to?  Still some greenery about though in the alders and ferns:

Sometimes it feel;s a bit like a cool rainforest round Strid Wood, so damp.

And I’ve spotted some cheeky little fungi (as yet unidentified) growing from sycamore bark like tiny fairy gardens or summat:

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What the hell here’s another gratuitous autumnal picture:

ferns

It’s not New England, but sure beats a lousy, wet, grey Autumn (or Summer for that matter!)

Harlow Carr and a new stool and … trees, mainly.

Just returned from two days at RHS Harlow Carr‘s Taste of Autumn show in Harrowgate (as we insist on calling it in Bolton Abbey).  It was a fine weekend with lots going on, from a celebration of a wide range of apple varieties, through Fungus for the Masses, to boxing hares:

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Phil Bradley’s willow hares.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phil Bradley was there chatting, and regrettably I didn’t get a chance to discuss things woody with him (he was busy chatting already and time away from my duties is limited):

Some of his wigwams were sitting pretty next to our workshop, they were very popular with young and old.

We were in The Glade.  The woodland area of Harlow Carr and the trees just blew me away, especially at this time of year.  It was foggy most of the day but the sun just about got through, enough to light up this sliver birch.

Look at the size of the beech tree we set up the workshop underneath (workshop is the tiny white bit bottom left.)

The fog came down again as we went home, and as we descended down into Barden Chase down towards Beamsley the fog rolled around:

OK so I’ve not just been driving around the countryside and turning spurtles from Chestnut (which at first seemed to be sycamore (Eh? – ed.))

I finished a little stool in richly coloured elm and yew, oh yes and an oak hand-carved bowl which includes the lighter sapwood.

The bull-nosing is free hand with the plane and the tenon wedges are bog oak.  The stool is sold but the bowl is looking for a home.

Deer me, what fools these humans be. Free etching …& bonus quizzes.

Deer course yesterday, photo report.  Above Harvey learns the old art of releasing the hodfast.  Like the nu mallet, WW1 style?

The soup and home-baked roll went down well. Yes some work was done too and everyone went home with a new pet:

But how it will fit in Harvey’s bedroom alongside his 6 foot t. rex head, I’m not sure.

David put a nose on his deer.

So these were sensible people spending a wet Saturday under cover learning hand drilling and round mortise and tenon joints and designing to their taste.  Some space still left on next Saturday’s course and a Christmas present one coming up in January.

However, blimey, sometimes people just are too difficult to understand.  Like the ones who use a flail machine to “trim” hedges, which involves thrashing small saplings half to death. O man! this really hurts me having to drive past the results every day.  I’ll spare you a picture.

Then there’s the ones who just don’t put the right values on stuff.  I found this in a skip.

I used to pass this house name when I was a boy, and at some point it was replaced by a pottery one.  OK I don’t care for the pottery one, but why throw away this old etched and enamelled one? Really, I’ve got to find a home for this without either confusing the postman or changing the name of my business.  If anyone wants it, drop me an email.

I’ve been having a little exchange with Tico Vogt about yew, its sources and uses as I’ve recently acquired a quantity of this poisonous stuff, I had a walk up to see what the grove of yew looks like at the top end of Strid Wood, where I rarely go.

(OK, there’s a massive oak mixed in there too.)

There are some that would be suitable for making longbows, I think, not that I know much about that, but again, why is this nice butt wasting away?  And it will take some time!

Doh!

Anyway, there are some good vistas up at that end of the wood, no wonder people are always coming here for walks.  Here is a view of ruined Barden Tower, once the home of the Shepherd Lord.

Spot the fisherman.

Also there are some softwoods up there, which are getting to look rather majestic.

Also up there is this building:

I’m glad to see the roof has recently been repaired – but riddle me, riddle me, what was it for?

Have a think and I’ll edit the post with a clue tonight.

OK, above’s the clue.