Hello again!

I’ve been out and about, Cornwall, Devon(shire), Somerset (pronounced Zummerzet).  Even The Bodger gets a trip out now and again.  I’ve never visited Cornwall previously, and I found it very beautiful and interesting.


Italian Garden, Lost Gardens of Heligan


Heligan earth giant.

Inevitably there was much woodwork to see, some very beautiful carving of the Early Modern era.


Small photos are due to software updates beyond the control of The Blog Management.

We were going to take the ferry to Fowey, but it was too rough so we went by car.


Classic S-scroll work, pulpit, Fowey Parish Church

Also sculpture, insect-like Hepworth work in her St. Ives garden, of course she was a Yorkshire lass from Wakefield now home of the excellent Hepworth gallery..


Barbara Hepworth sculpture garden, St Ives.


Lots of joinery work on these cold frames!

IMG_0118_4This was a most excellently restored old Land Rover, right down to the nuts and bolts, surprised the headlights are so far apart though.

The second week, after a brief foray into Devonshire for Portland Bill and crab sandwiches, was spent by me at Bridgwater College, learning about box making with Peter Folansbee.  Jane was lucky enough to spend the week visiting interesting gardens and houses in the area.  In fact the day she was at Montacute House, Peter was telling us about an excellent article on the frieze carved on the great bed, and Jane took a photo (then lost it).

© National Trust

You can find the article on Jstor.  There are measured drawings on the frieze design.

JstoreWe did a lot of stuff about not measuring, as you would expect from Mr F.  He’s an ace at it.

No ruler or pencil used for this:


Size does matter


IMG_0159I really like the Maltese cross punch Peter uses, I’ve bought a set of needle files to try and replicate it. I have a simple, rather wobbly plain cross, but this one is better.

One evening Jane and I visited (or revisited in Jane’s case) a couple of Quantock churches, The Church of Saint Margaret, Spaxton and Saint Marys, Kingston with its tower-climbing hunky-punks.

Found a couple of figures we were working on at Bridgwater College, lunettes:

07225030_2and S-scrolls:

07225029_2Both on tiny, ancient stools tucked away in a corner of Saint Margarets.

There were also splendid pew end carvings:


OK, where’s the original sized photo gone?

07225045_2Get that – I hear the style is poppy head, several other plants in evidence on this one.  The raking evening sunlight gives great depth to the carving.  This may be somewhat later, but shows an interesting way to fill the spandrells with squared flowers in variety ignoring symmetry, one of our modern obsessions (machines are good at it).

I like the heads carved into this one, although I took it for the S-scroll:


Look! I can fly with no hands.

So a splendid holiday all in all, I thoroughly recommend Peter’s classes.

Back on Earth, I returned to rush out and do shows, it’s part of my job.


What’s he doing?

We went to Ripley Show for the first time this year, we were stationed next to The Sheep:


Lots of them

I’m chained in my shelter, making small hurdles, but Jane took a few photos of the judging action:


The stick guides the pig and the board stops it biting the opposition.


Line ’em up


These sheepy types, always asleep during spelling lessons – ‘c’ when it’s a noun, “s” reserved for the verb.


Well you would need to wear a bocky to judge pigs wouldn’t you?

Meanwhile, back at Rose Cottage, I’m wondering just how close the architectural and carved versions or acanthus leaves are to nature …


Rather short of sunshine this one.

New headers


I’ve been working on a new display stand to use at shows.  Above is the header which will have turned hangers fixed in the holes and it will be fixed above a new trestle table.  As you can see I’ve been having some fun decorating it with 17th century-style carving.  OK there are quite a few mistakes in the execution, but it is a learning piece.  These are only the second to fourth S-scroll designs I’ve cut.  I’ve been using Peter Folansbee’s excellent DVD on S-Scroll carving.  I’m going to have to do something about either my stance or the height of the bench, or the ever-changing depth of the floor shavings because I’ve been getting an aching back whilst carving.  I suppose this is partly because of it’s being a new thing and getting tense trying not to make mistakes, like especially when removing the background from around the last letter!.  The most tiring part was matting the background with a punch, even though I did it in four sessions.

I’ve made it from a piece of sweet chestnut left over from an epic milling session making feather-edged boards for a counter front in a cafe.  The big Stihl 66 I am running the Alaskan mill with gradually got slower and slower at cutting , even though I sharpened it, made sure there was oil in, and made sure the cut was level.  Eventually I gave in a bought a new guide bar (24″) and chain (3/8ths, chisel).  This improved matters amazingly, and no wonder. The new Oregon bar has a sprocket at the nose, like my little 18″ thinning 260 machine, it also has to be greased manually daily.  Whereas – the crappy worn out bar that came with the second-hand 66 doesn’t even have a sprocket – no wonder life was getting tough!

Here’s a picture of my newly discovered way of holding the thing in the vice whilst sharpening the blade, much better than trying to balance it on top of the timber I’m milling.

So less of this mess for a while …


I milled some oak for this job (while the old bar was working pretty well) a picnic table with benches (note the drainers at the rear of the seats).

And this weeks quiz. What is the significance of this number sequence?

It runs: 1,2,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,14,14,15,15,16,16,17,17. Hint: you may need to look back to an earlier post on this channel.

A Grand Day out in Lancashire


We’ve been to Eccleston near St. Helens, to see some draft and history and meet some friendly people.

Mark Constable was there, forging fire steels in his minimalist bucket forge running on charcoal and an airbed bellows.  We had a good chat about making the forge lining, refractory cement, flue vermiculite, beeswax finishes and the general wonder of making a hard lump of metal into the shape you wish.

Mark’s charcoal forge. His own photo from his website.

I don’t think I mentioned that I started a short coursette in blacksmithery at Craven College last week, blimey, rather louder than Strid Wood what with 5 fires with their electric blower and extractor fans, 9 people bashing metal and shouted chit chat.  I’m making a snail – slowly.

Pepper had brought his boss Phil Gregson worshipful wheelwright along with him, I hear Phil is crossing the pond for a grand tour of US museums and that his progress will be tracked and reported on a specially souped up soon to be upgraded website. He’ll be at Colonial Williamsburg first off (in period costume!).  Phil had brought his band of Lancastrian bodgers along and we had a bit of a natter about this and that things woody.  I failed to take any photos as I was lugging my stock knife around with which I was going to demo peg-making, but the rain was against us.  The Wobbly Wheelwright beer was a great success though.

From Twitter post to George Wright Brewery from james barber ‏@jamesbarber37

Here’s the set up, pole lathery, spinning, spoon carving and the odd wheel.  Phil and grandfayther under the shelter and Pepper posing for the camera, centre.

Tip of the cap to Cllr Michael Haw ‏@CllrMichaelHaw

Eventually the rain got the better of us, so, as planned we departed for Gawthorpe Hall

GawthorpeSAMSUNG CSCThe entrance doorway gives a taste of what’s inside.  An Elizabethan Manor House, built around an earlier tower, with Victorian remodeling in the 1850s by Sir Charles Barry, designer of the Houses of Parliament.

There is no photography allowed inside so the pictures are from the excellent National Trust’s collections database.

The remodelling didn’t stop at the building, the furniture has been hacked about in many cases, original panels and friezes reworked into mongrel creations:

I’m not sure whether this is a “marriage” but that pierced apron below the seat looks odd.  This one is more obvious:

However, there is enough there in its original simple condition:

Detail of above settle.

The plaster work on the ceilings is stunning, the drawing-room especially.

There are even two of the original family cast in plaster

Thanks go to Michael P. Conroy for his extensive research on the Shuttleworth family. Much of the information on this webpage is taken from his 1996 booklet1, “The Shuttleworths of Gawthorpe.” Thanks to Deborah Nouzovsky for bringing out the fact that Winston Churchill is descended from Hugh and Anne Shuttleworth.

As if all the woodwork and architecture were not enough, the Hall houses the Gawthorpe Textile Collection.  This is an amazing collection of mostly hand worked textiles from many eras and countries collected and many produced by Miss Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth (1886 – 1967).  Not only historical artefacts are there but also the crafts are kept alive (as Rachel wished) with resident craft workers and workshops. Feast for your eyes!