New for old

Last Sunday I went to see my mate Rod at the top of Bingley Five Rise, a staircase of locks on the Leeds Liverpool canal which is celebrating its 200th anniversary of fully opening.  Rod’s been blacksmithing for quite a while and has some great stories.  He was there with his bucket forge and a great improvement over his usual foot pump blower, a customised VW heater fan and a car battery.  Orders to Mr David Wadsworth.

No working pictures, sorry, I was in old fashioned mode with a swill basket of iron, so a camera was a bit if a no no.

As a change from the hooks and candle holders he’d been knocking out all morning, I’d taken him some real work, a stock knife to hook and a pair of tongs to adjust. I’ve had this clog maker’s knife for some years, puzzled by how it was supposed to be mounted with the 3/4 inch thread on the end in place of a hook. With several heats in the tiny forge Rod transformed the thread into a regular hook. I sharpened the hollower, as it is called, and gave it a test run on some ash.  Some adjustments needed, bit of slimming on the neck of the hook, and investigating why the edge leaves one if the raggedest finishes I’ve made for a long time.


I’ve turned a new carving mallet, my old one was starting to delaminate. I’m not used to exotic timber so I’ve no idea what this is, but it’s got a good weight to it.  I’m using the mallet rather a lot, making the decorations on my new carved oak grain ark.

The tongs are now adjusted to close on finer diameters like nails.

More coppicing tomorrow.

Hole in the wall project


Medium camera shake picture of the hole in our living-room wall.

There is a hole in our wall which is currently occupied by “Cassell’s Cyclopedia of Mechanics” a wedge and a wood cutter.  It is ripe for conversion.

On Friday we visited Cliffe Castle in Keighley, effectively my home town where I was born and went to grammar school and comprehensive school (and learnt physics in imperial and SI units at the same time, no wonder I’m mixed up.)  In Keighley the streets are paved with gold:


As you can see on Friday I was specialising in badly focused photography, however, this is probably about as close as you want to come to Keighley street-life.

But that is nothing compared to the interior of the Victorian decorations in Cliffe Castle which has been recently refurbished and the gilding is now really impressive (as are the four massive chandeliers etc, etc, this was someone’s house when lots of people in Keighley were living in abject squalor).

So here is some of the gilding, on a rather jolly panel (I’m not sure whether the base work is done in wood, plaster or something else:


In focus eh, maybe by accident? – Ed

I particularly like the fool at far left with his bladder on a stick.  The treatment of the relief is rather intriguing too with objects further into the scene being flattened, even the far leg.  But the child’s legs at far right face the viewer and are therefore both fully modelled, the fool however, in his three quarter stance get sless modelling but more than flat for his slightly turned away left leg.  I must find out a little more about this panel’s construction and history, looks to be more recent than its subject matter.

I wasn’t aware that we had a small Morris & Co collection at the museum.  Now very well displayed and very fresh looking.

SAMSUNG CSCI seem to recall some whole school event at Temple Street, but our carol services were usually held in the parish church on Church Green, conveniently close to the Admiral Rodney public house.  I don’t recall these windows though, impressive though they are.

Then this little gem turned up!


Is it just my eyes or is this one blurry too? -Ed)

It’s labeled late 17th to early 18th century spice cupboard door from Garth House, Clayton (fairly local to here).  Here’s Garth House:

SAMSUNG CSCGet those mullion windows.  Unhappily it was demolished for a road widening project in the 1930s, when the door and two carved panels came into the museum service’s possession.

So my project is to reproduce a door like this to go on the front of our hole in the wall.  Watch this space.  I think I will need to revisit with a camera on a tripod and ask for permission to see the door back to confirm the construction method details – is the panel in a rebate or a groove?  There are certainly planted moldings around it.  Looks like the frame’s outside moldings cross at the corners too.  May have a bash at making the hinges and 20 nails … Cliffe Castle also has an interesting exhibit on the nail and clog iron making industries in Silsden, the next village to ours.

Close encounter

Here are the mark II bowl mandrel tangs.  Hand forged this morning and pretty sharp.


Well they seemed to be in focus on the tiny camera screen.

Somehow or other (as they are wont to say in Health and Safety Executive enquiries) one of these flew out of the hole in the mandrel as I gripped it with the Moles to remove it prior to enlarging the hole.  It flew through the air invisible.  I found on returning home a very small blood stain in my beard.  Don’t worry though, no damage to the beard.