Open the mural door … better make it first.

IMG_0692This is a copy of the door to a wall cupboard, or mural cupboard (just the same word but from a Latin stem, posh). I wrote briefly about this local cupboard now in Cliffe Castle Museum here.  Wow that was back in November 2014!  Well now, I’ve lots of pieces of oak hanging around from past projects so I sorted out eight pieces for the door frame and for the door itself plus a broader piece for the center panel.  Then lots of planing to get them all dimensioned, lots of shavings, lots of fire lighting materials, it does burn well does oak, this really is hardly green any longer (better wait until it’s been installed for a while before you get carried away. Ed.).

imageSome of this stuff too.

I think it best to do most of the carving before assembly.  Inevitably, discovered this by error.  Working the groove for the panel and then attacking the edges of an S-scroll carving with large chisel and heavy mallet can have rather unwanted consequences.  But that’s part of learning.  This is the first panel construction I’ve done, and I knew there would be a little frigging around to fill the end of the groove where it exits the stiles with a shoulder on the rail tenons.  That turned out not to be too bad.  The trickiest part was seating the tenons in the mortises.  I must have made a bad decision in opting for 1/8th inch clearance in the mortise bottom.  1 and1/4 inch mortise and 1and 1/8th tenon is a bit close.


Tenons cut, next just been, draw-boring. Bore the mortise and borders the tenons thickness of a shilling closer to the shoulder.


Mark the mortise hole through to the tenon, then bore closer, leaving the top of the hole intersecting the mortise hole so the pegs pull the tenon up tight.


Here are the pegs. Dry oak, they bend through the offset holes.


Much stronger than a board.


Good and neat on the back.


Same process for the frame.



Ready to draw boring.


A touch of edging, and we’re ready for hinges.


Then nailing on’t wall.

Planing not.

Left the planes at home today when I needed an 16″x5″ planed board. But I did have the axe and draw knife.imageimageGah, who needs a plane?

imageOn with the job…imageMostly carved anyway. Just needs to fit together…


Second iPad in one year, hope the case is as tough as it claims to be.

Now need to stain (very dark I think) and oil, and then a few Sugru feet, I’ve drilled four holes to hold ’em, then I won’t need to put it on a mat on the table!.

Mind you those edges look a little bare, perhaps a simple running pattern, maybe the one I found in Beverley Minster.


When a tree falls in the forest …


SAMSUNG CSCHave you seen this tree before?

It was rather windy and wet this Sunday at the end of November.  I had a course for a couple of people from Manchester, who went home happy with their fox and badger:


The River Wharfe‘s in spate.

My workshop is almost in the bottom of a steep little valley, or ghyll as we call ’em round here, it is therefore very well sheltered from the Westerly winds, but there was even a breeze coming right into the bottom and blowing the smaok from my fire around rather a lot, but we’d been keeping dry under the tarp.

I was tidying up and starting to make a couple of deer for a customer when there was an almighty cracking and the sound of a massive tree going down in the wind.  It was at the back where I have no rear view so I ejected out at the front over the fence.  To my dismay a very large bough had been ripped from my favourite oak tree (see above):


One bough missing.

There was still creaking and groaning going on.  The oak was now weakened and seriously unbalanced.  A large hole had appeared in the canopy.  Then …

A corresponding limb on the other side came away.  The oak tree has now lost its good looks:



Very fortunate that nobody was walking along the path where these tons of oak fell.

What a disaster for the many flora and fauna dependent on this tree, there was quite a dust as the airborne debris fell around me.  Some of these:


Twigs, oak apples and lichen.

The Estate have winched the boughs from the path and repaired same.  Anyway, I think I’ll be making a few bowls, from little of the timber, the tree is high up on the bank and the timber is being left as deadwood.




I think I make life hard for myself sometimes.

I make garden benches in a particular style.  The style avoids many square angles, straight edges and all those luxuries that make joinery easy to fit together.


Starting assembly

Who else would use round peeled oakwood for a crest rail, combined with slabbed waney-edged chestnutwood for a saltire back, and riven hedgerow oak for end frames?


Embryonic end frames


Saltire components

Making mortise & tenon joints can be demanding; just how does one lay out the two joints to fit the armrests – where does the front through tenon fall, much deliberation, center finding, and, well, some guess-work, I guess.


Chase the mortise

I’ve found that a full-sized drawing can help with some dimensions.


How long’s that arm rest to be?

Starts to come together gradually.


Getting there



I should stick to helping people make bears.


Bear & fox.

But then, there is some reward in going out on a limb.



Clothes rack detail.

Reusing 17th century carving motifs.


Sycamore chopping board

Redesigning the iPad from the outside:


Thicker, heavier.

Ah, perhaps life’s not so bad, after all, I do have the privilege of living in God’s Own County (Yorkshire, where it’s always sunny).


Culloden Tower, Richmond, North Yorkshire


Richmond, Yorkshire

IMG_0288Cockpit Millennium Garden, Richmond Castle

Been busy


Coming in to land

Busy bee

Honey bee busy on a butter burr next to River Wharfe, Strid Wood


Mending benches at East Riddlesden Hall


Extensive oak baord replacement with a couple of them.


Need a rest from this woodworking now and then.


Snack sandwich at:

Holden Clough Nursery


And a break sitting on the ramparts of Clitheroe Castle, Lancashire watching Jam Factory doing their stuff.


Made seven of these beggars – all sold I’m afraid, but more 2″ thick milled sycamore available for to plane up for more


Spring busting out in Strid Wood.


I’m so small …


… have to eat my lunch with yellow blusher ‘srooms foraged on the way to work and cooked with improvised spatula in cold-pressed linseed oil.


This should be the other way up …


It was a leaning alder next to the river we felled this Winter.  Felled using the dog tooth cut, dog tooth at left, letterbox centre, gob at right.


… milled the main stem into boards.

Photo0348Using them on my stall – here at Otley Show last Saturday.  The shrink pots & spoons are John Mullaney’s – sweet.


New line – garden tool scrapers.


Monks hood by The Wharfe – garden escapes?


Tooled oak for an hotel breakfast servery.


Been to London too – row of cottages – Halifax Road conservation area, Forest Hill.


She’s busy too, solitary mining bee – onwards, onwards.

Old wood, old trees

This log store keeps on needing filled (as they like to grammaticise in Scotland).SAMSUNG CSCAt the moment I seem to be mostly cutting and moving wood around.  The logs above are old.  From about 3 or 4 years ago cuttings.  Straight-grained and ash, but no longer use for much else than fire logs.  I’m needing to move them out of the Bodgery wood pile to make room for more recent stuff, like this ash I collected this morning at 7:20am.

SAMSUNG CSCHere it is in the wild, on the canal bank.  I had to do a 90 degree right-hand turn from a busy trunk road into a fairly narrow field gate opening, hence the early hour.

SAMSUNG CSCYou can see why one of them was taken down by contractors to the canal trust, going hollow.  You may be able to make out a shiny round label on one of the logs.  It has a number on it and shows where there is a geocache. I could see the stash between the roots.  This is going to cause a few people some consternation when they come hunting for it.  Seemed a pity that some of the good-sized straight-grained stuff was going to end up as logs or rot away.

SAMSUNG CSCMaking progress with this beech limb, the wallers can get at the repair work now.  Hope they do a lot better job than this mess, a bit further along the road:

SAMSUNG CSCRight next to this is a rather jauntily leaning beech tree, that really ought to come down before it falls on the road.  I’m finding out about closing the road for a couple of hours to take it down.

SAMSUNG CSCI guess it got a bit carried away with splitting its stem, and then the SW gales have been at it.

SAMSUNG CSCThe wood on the left is where all that action is.  The wood is gradually creeping up the moor side, you should be able to make out the stems of the silver birches climbing up the hill toward the sky-line.  Well at least it used to be all silver birches, but now things are changing a bit.

SAMSUNG CSCHere’s a pretty well established oak tree (with ivy creeping up it).  And in the back ground the underwoods are starting up – small holly bush, good and green in Winter.

Ah Winter, we are on its tail end here, but my walk was peppered with hail showers.

SAMSUNG CSCI was leaning over here to get a look at yet another tree that’s fallen on top of a wall needing removed (as they might say…).  One benefit of living in a valley is that you can see what weather is coming next.

SAMSUNG CSCThe build up of the new woodland now also includes some ash, here are a couple of little saplings.

SAMSUNG CSCSee how the floor is changing as the canopy of this beech tree fills out and blocks the light.  That’s bilberry bushes retreating.

SAMSUNG CSCHere’s some more regeneration; an oak tree which has almost died with dead branches sticking out of its canopy.  But regeneration is coming along with lots of new growth closer in to the stem of the tree.  It almost looks like one tree behind another.  Known as a stag’s horn oak when those dead branches poke out of the top.

SAMSUNG CSCBack at the ranch, hedge laying is finished, just need to burn the brash.

SAMSUNG CSCAnd functional things like guttering, doors, electricity and drains are all coming along at the outstead.


Stools, hazel and a building site

My wimping on about not getting a prize for my 3 legger caused a couple of comments about voting (notably from  Eric Bloodax Rick McKee, master hewer).  I’ve never tried this before so I thought I’d set up a poll, just for fun, and you should be able to see this in the right sidebar (may need to scroll down a bit or go to the “Home” page until I find out why if you go to an individual post no right sidebar info shows grrr!)).

Just to remind you, here are the stools in question:


The three legger (Must get that focus sorted man! -Ed).


The 4 legger with pretty flowers (Are these shots taken in a stone quarry? -Ed).


Also ran.

Enjoy your voting – you can see the results with a simple click, unlike the retro polling of the political variety.

At the moment I feel a bit like a square peg in a round hole, bursting to fit in, where is that fitting hole?  Where is the support for 17th century joinery?  Should I try the Worshipful Company of Joiners? Am I just too square?

SAMSUNG CSCThe rubbly background to the photos is the rebuild of my workshop, don’t worry, once the masons have finished there will be some timber included, watch this space.

SAMSUNG CSCThe season of woodland deer is ‘pon us once again and my stocks of animal limbs, and antlers was woefully low, so I had a half day cutting the hazel coppice at Wood Nook.  At lunchtime I had a walk round previous years’ cut stools and some regrowth is pretty good


Some is rather poor, but still has a chance – if the deer will only leave it alone:

SAMSUNG CSCBut around 25% have died 😦