Dead hedge, dead accurate, cremation.

Been doing a little dead hedging.

SAMSUNG CSCWith a little help from my friends David and Theo.

SAMSUNG CSCI’m the one with the chain saw who messes everything up with fallen trees and severed limbs then we try to make some order out of it all.

SAMSUNG CSCWe are working a long narrow strip opposite the bodgery on a bank above the river.  At times it’s rather challenging as the natural tendency of the trees is to go for a swim when they’ve been cut from their roots.  Much use of the winch required.  Some accurate felling.

SAMSUNG CSCFinished the live hedge-laying at home and had a good fire to burn the brash.


A Correction for Laziness

Title page of the first quarto edition of Shak...

Title page of the first quarto edition of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1600 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been struggling along with a sash cramp made up of Marples loose heads and a 3 foot odd piece of milled ash.  The ash was thicker than it needed to be, so I’d attacked it with the axe to thin it down and seem to have drilled random holes that were:

a) not far enough away from the edge of the  ash to make the heads seat properly, and

b) the randomness meant that it was almost always the wrong length and much packing was needed to make them kind of work.

I occasionally get fed up with my sloppy ways as I did when I was using this sash cramp on the memory box which has now gone to a satisfied customer:


When I set initially set up in Strid Wood I had a pole lathe and a shave horse and a stock – simple old days.  Then I added a bench.  No vice mind, just some dogs and a weird cam device, which kind of worked.


Now I have a proper(-ish) bench with a vice I made a couple of winters ago, with dogs, yes, and some Gramercy hold fasts from Brooklyn.  But why do I put up with inconvenience for so long before I sort it out?  The inconvenience is often more time-consuming in the long run than doing the fix.  Well all I can say with Puck is ‘Lord, what fools these mortals be!’ (Midsummer Night’s Dream).

Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing....

Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing. From William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyway,  I sorted out the ash plank yesterday:

SAMSUNG CSCAll I needed to do was some (rather warming) planing the thickness, measuring and boring.  So now the heads sit properly, are set at the right width so I can cramp any length up to about 3’3″ on a continuous scale, and I can pat myself on the head (but not necessarily rub my tummy at the same time (C’mon it’s not that hard – Ed)).


Look how crazy the old holes were on the back of that plank, doh!

Weather update

It has been too cold for anything much to grow for the last month when Spring should have been springing, but I’m delighted to say that Spring has now indeed sprung and the wood has suddenly come very much alive, even the bluebells look to be about to give us their misty display at any moment:

SAMSUNG CSCGrass is flowering:


Any day now the wood will be carpeted with these little beauties – wood anemones:

And now the Bodgery has its chimney in constant smoke to keep away the little flying blighters that love to bite my skin:





SAMSUNG CSCDo you know what I like about trees? They have no straight lines – especially if, like this one (probably a veteran ash – has lots of missing branches, associated fungi and a massive girth (about four hugs), grown in a hedgerow.  I have this thing about trees – forest or hedgerow, crowd or singleton.  I’m not sure which is more ‘natural’ – probably both.

Probably a bit like life, unpredictable, lots of twists and turns, things happen, the wind blows and life changes.  This is how it is supposed to be, well, anyway it’s how it is.



A unique event.  A fieldful of people getting together to share knowledge about spoons and a lot more spoon-related knowledge.

Spoonfest was organised by Barn Carder (AKA Barn the Spoon) and Robin Wood, as a weekend international extravaganza incorporating workshops for people just starting out spoon-making, engraving spoons, carving as a work-out for the body, rather than punishment, bacon butties, local beer, large piles of a dozen species of wood to sit and carve and burn on the camp fires.  There was no competition, there was a spoon shop, also a very diverse display of spoons from around the world.

Some of my favourites:

Fred Livesay, all the was from Minnesota. Fred discovered his woodworking skills at age 10. He later trained as a wheelwright and carriage-builder for seven summers, and then went on to study Scandinavian folk art, decorative arts, art history, and museum studies, and boy does he carve beautiful spoons!  I got to know him later in the week and he’s a great gentle guy (like all the spoon carvers I know, I wonder why that is?).

Next up Jarrod Stone Dahl’s fine spoons.  All his spoons for sale in the shop were quickly sold, but he carved a cherry one for me later in the week when I was on his knife-making course (see next post, blimy I’m still two and a half posts in arrears.) Here it is:

I think I’ll add some paint to the handle when it’s dry.

These are Jogge Sundquist’s.  He really is the master of spoons. A couple of the very fine ones at the bottom are his father’s. Wow!  Jogge gave a great demo on the Saturday – I’d missed his talk and class on the Friday as I was still in Cumbria.

There were just too many spoons to post here, but it was a real feast for the eyes and the brain.  There were lots of great friends and new friends to meet too, here’s my mate Sean, we snapped each other.

He looked very stylish in the new haircut and T shirt that everyone was wearing.

Steve Tomlin gave a very good seminar on improving your spoons.  I found this really helpful.  I also found Terence McSweeney’s workshop on stance while carving and working in general very helpful indeed, I am very aware that it is easy to damage your back without really trying, but keeping it straight whilst working is a good route to keeping it healthy.  Thanks very much chaps!

I enjoyed the Sunday morning sermon on the search for the patron saint of spooncarving (St. Peter Damian) by Martin Hazell

The finale was a massive spoon club event where spoons are worked on for 5 minutes and then passed round until they are finished.  Here’s what the results were of a class Fritiof Runhal ran the week before:

And here are the carvers lined up ready to work on 12 different spoons over an hour:

What a great weekend!  Many thanks to all who put in so much work to create such a successful  fulfilling event.  Hope you can manage it again next year.

Scything & Laughing Squid

And Welcome to m’new website fresh from California.  Looks the same to you?  Hopefully yes.  I’ve transferred from the free blog software to the serious sounding paid for   I moved because the free WordPress has limitations – they keep it cheap by keeping it simple – so not much html allowed and no Java, very limited Paypal buttons etc. This also meant that I needed to find a host for the site and I’ve decided on Laughing Squid.  This host is based in San Francisco and leans towards art, culture and technology – just right for Flying Shavings huh?

Anyways, I’ve just about finished taking down coppice at Wood Nook and I’ve been finishing off another job there.

Using my new Austrian scythe to deal with a host of these:

Self-seeded Hawthorn saplings. Well, I say self-seeded, planted by birds in their droppings more like.  They were starting to take over an area which is like a glade in the woodland, and therefore valuable habitat.  A lot of them are very small, I think they are being nibbled by the rabbits which infest the area.

The scythe makes light work of controlling them

Notice the steep angle that makes the cutting easier and less brutal on the scythe with it’s slim ash snaith (handle).  The scythe blade is short and heavy (a bit like a light bill hook!) but even so, some of those saplings are a bit thick.  The trick then is to stand on them, bending them over, and then attack them with an upward sweep of the scythe before they  get straightened up again.  That sorts them out.

I suppose they will do the usual tree thing, recover and grow back stronger (“What does not kill us makes us stronger”)  But for now they are tamed a bit.

This should give the other flora a bit of a chance, the primroses are just starting to come out in this patch (but more in the shade).

But, man, it’s war out there.  No sooner has Spring sprung, than the little bitey creatures get going too –

Soon be Winter!

Remember when (a looooong time ago) it was so difficult to download anything that there were no limits?

Mind you, what you get in those gigabytes is pretty damn good!

(Don’t worry, I’m watching that usage, I’m not willing to spend £5 per GB just by being lackadaisical (phew, tricky word!))

Out with the new in with the old


I have a Mac Powerbook G4 (sounds powerful, eh?)  It looks as good as when I bought it under the computers for work scheme (or whatever it was called) and has the power still to work as well, it is a shiny sleek aluminium (pronounced aloominum) powerful cuboid.   However, it is based around the PowerPC chip, which Apple abandoned in favour of the Intel chip in 2005.

All major software writers have now deserted the powerful PowerPC chip-based computers.

I can’t update the Powerbook to the latest operating system (Lion), Firefox open-source browser, Google Chrome has never run on it and was never designed to.  It seems broke, but it isn’t.  It is just as good and powerful as when I bought it (probably better, I seem to remember buying some more RAM for it).

So, if you want to upgrade your PowerPC, forget it, put the money towards a new ‘puter.  If the upgrade is just software for a PowerPC, that is a total waste of money. If, on the other hand, you quite like the Mac you have, just keep on using it without any upgrade, it will still work, you may get messages now and then that you should upgrade, but they can’t make you!

As for me?  I tried to install Linux, but found that even that opensource-love-peace-and-freedom-man system had very little resource to spare for PowerPCs.  I’ve reinstalled my cobweb encrusted version of the OS X system and use it just like I did.  I’ve even upgraded the Firefox browser (very easily) to the impossibly modern and go-faster-striped Firefox 10.4 with a “fork” version called TenFourFox which is way faster than Safari.

Mind you, you don’t need to believe me; I’ve got an axe to grind!