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.

Swim rabbit swim

No pictures advisory.

This morning, whilst doing my stretches on Milking Hill Bridge on the Leeds Liverpool canal, a head appeared in the water from under the bridge. Was it a mink? No! What then? No ears? … Blimey it was a rabbit. I’ve never seen a rabbit taking a morning dip before.

The canal on the built up side has steel pilings about 2 foot high, this rabbit was not going to be able to get out on that side. I dashed over and shooed it towards the field side where it would have a much better chance of getting out. It swam over a bit and then sank, came up again, swam a bit, breathed, sank, came up again, sank for a long time. Oh well, that’s life … and death.

Then the rabbit surfaced and swam towards me (eh?) I grabbed it and hauled it out of the cut. It was totally exhausted. Normally rabbits (of which there are many in the fields round here (introduced in warrens as food for the nobility, many years ago)) run away from me. This one struggled a bit to escape – right in the direction of the canal. I moved it away into the long grass and left it.

What a strange start to the day. (Wish I’d had a digital recording thingy).