Bodgers’ Ball

Hello!

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We were at The Bodgers’ Ball at Wimpole Hall this last weekend and had a great time. Took the De Waard tent and collected my daughter Nim from Cambridge railway station.

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A bright start to Saturday morning.

SAMSUNG CSCOne of the good things about camping is cooking out-of-doors.  Nim’s tucking into porridge with raisins.  This is real porridge where the oats are just hulled and cut.  This means they need to be soaked overnight and then cooked for about half an hour.  We use charcoal, shavings that have flown, Kelly kettle, dutch oven and a great little Vietnamese charcoal cooker:

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Bolton Abbey charcoal, of course, easy to light, burns hot and long, and a steal at £3 a 2.5kg (easily portable under the arm), made from FSC woodland thinnings (Ok, less of the gratuitous self-advertising – Ed).  On Friday night we had fine couscous with a ladies fingers curry, 4 course dinner on Saturday was, sweetcorn cobs, barbecued veggie kebabs with grilled pitta bread, then sweet followed; barbecued bananas filled with chocolate.  I had a handful of syrup tin potatoes at this point then we had home-made cake and coffee.  Then the residual heat was used to stat the porridge soaking.

As you can guess from above, I did a bit of scything.  I’m just beginning learning this skill so I managed to pick up a few tips from the more experienced people there.  The meadow was a mixture containing fescues which dull your blade quickly because it contains silica.  I wasn’t sure whether it was that or my sharpening or cutting technique causing poor cutting.

There was Doug Joiner there doing some demo horse logging, here’s Simon from The Hall getting a bit of tutoring:

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Simon’s energy in organising and running the Ball was immense  Wimpole Hall and model farm is run by The National Trust and has quite a few heavy horses of its own.  Mostly the breed is Shire horses which apparently are on the endangered list.

SAMSUNG CSCThese are some of their cattle, an Irish breed, you can tell they are a heritage breed from that very square body.  Compare some of the old paintings, here’s out local Craven Heifer, much celebrated in pub names round home:

Even though the regimen is RSPCA Freedom Food it looked to me like the hooves of some of them needed clipping as they were very overgrown, I suppose lying about in crap all day doesn’t help, I suppose they’ll be let out once the grass is long enough.

There was such a lot going on, you really need to go to appreciate that.  Many pole lathes (all different designs) tool auction, log to leg racing, food, AGM, straw-plaiting, hedge laying, scything, timber hewing, purse net making (for rabbit ferreting), new and secondhand tools, and much more.  Such as Mr Nic Westerman making an axe from scratch.  He was using coke rather than charcoal – don’t blame him, an axe is a big chunk of steel!  Have a look on his website – he has some really beautiful leaf fobs that actually look like the species they represent.

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Here’s his natty forge made from what looks to be a wagon wheel, I wonder what the secret of the magic bellows box can be.  Runs from a 12 volt battery and there’s a switch hanging from the forge edge lower left.

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I bought quite a few items including a really beaut. of a plough plane – here it is already in service on the story/shepherd’s chair:
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That router can go back in its box now, noisy, dusty dangerously frightening semi-controllable beggar!

I bought a good flat adze in the auction to replace the one that grew legs and walk off from my workshop whilst unshafted. Also a new pair of large size log tongs. If you handle large lumps of wood get some of these, they will save your back and make life much more pleasant believe me – they are a dream when loading and unloading my trailer with 4 foot felled timbers. They become like an extension of your arm, and with practice you can throw a log and release it by jerking the tongs in a special way (Glad you didn’t try to make that particular point an instructable, remember the cost of your public liability insurance – Ed).

Also on my shopped for list were two hessian sacks, rather hard to come by these days, but good for informal rain hoods, aprons, bagging shavings or small children (Steady on! – Ed) OK small animals then.  They need a good banging with a carpet beater but today it’s going to pour it down all morning – floods appearing already.  Got a couple of presents for friends too.  Sean Hellman sold me a cake of pink honing compound, I’m finding Autosol that I’ve used up to now a bit too messy, so having a swap.

I visited the Shed Therapy setup and I’m rather taken with their ‘Make a Pencil’ activity for kids – should go down well at shows, and it’s Otley Show this coming Saturday.  Gavin has posted me some pencil leads so here’s hoping they arrive in time.

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OK I need to post this or it will be next week.

To finish a few pictures on the shepherd’s chair progress, making lambs tongue stops on the back frame members’ chamfers:

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Mocotaugan

Last week (seems like at least a se’night ago) I attended another course (well it is holidays season).  It was held in Edale, Derbyshire as a conjunct to Spoonfest, organised by Robin Wood and tutored by Jarrod Stone Dahl.

We were making and learning to use a knife used in North America by various native tribes living in the Eastern states.  It is called the mocotaugan and is alien to the shores of Albion as it is used held in the inside knuckles palm up, thusly:

The mocotaugan has a whole battery of myth and legend surrounding it, but it is also a very useful tool, so we were all tool-makers for three days (OK, 2 days, I managed to miss the first day, but caught up).

Jarrod had provided the steel (O1) blanks roughed out, so the first job was to file them into shape and then take the edge back to flat to avoid burning it in the forge.  Then it was up to Robin’s workshop to do the hot stuff.

O it’s getting late and I have a course to run tomorrow so I’m going to let the pictures do most of the speaking:

Jarrod explaining the simple blacksmithing techniques required.

Robin’s propane gas forge, based on a farrier’s set up.

Bending the tip.

Duly bent.

Heat treatment – quenching in spent chip fat.

Alternative tang as used in the old-fashioned-days.  Requires an open dovetail and binding.

The examples, some experimental, brought along by Jarrod.

My knife fixed in the elm handle.

This is how it’s used.

The class’ set of new knives.

Great course, good folks, great and gentle teacher.