A bit of rain and a new chestnut table

I’ve been working on a new small table today.

It was warm and sunny first thing but gradually rumblings started in the heavens and then they opened

It really was coming down in stair rods as we like to say when the drizzle is a bit thick

Anyway, I didn’t get wet, but the table I’d gled up and put in the sun to dry off did get damp, before i moved it back under cover.  Unfortunately this created some black staining as I started tooling the surface.

This is the combination of moisture, steel and the tannin in chestnut wood.  Never mind, it’ll probably be sunny tomorrow and I can finish it off.


Another oak garden bench


What’s wrong with this picture (as Van Morrison might have asked)?

Well, there are two buildings that I don’t care for, and they were built recently.  You can probably spot them.  I spot them every day from my front garden.  Can’t we design buildings that others will view for many years properly?  Or don’t we care?

Here’s my latest bench:

And here it is 20 miles away, where it will live for some time, making  people comfortable, that’s what it’s supposed to do.

If you look carefully you may be able to see the stair-rod rain falling.  We have had a lot of rain recently, more than enough. This bench has been made under the tarpaulin at The Bodgery, but it’s oak so should stand up to our English weather for some time to come, being full of tannin, which microbes do not like to live with.

The rain favours these chaps though.

Harts Tongue ferns, new and glossy in the Summer Strid rain.

Smoke, mud, rain and joint stools.

Hi Folks!

This is your correspondent relaxing at The Commercial in London, an interesting pub:

Not at all like the old pubs of Keighley where I started drinking beer. The Boltmakers Arms, The Friendly, The Volunteers, The Gardeners, The Lord Rodney.  Ah, those past teenage days of Timothy Taylor’s ale and headaches.

The woody highlight of our trip to The Smoke (AKA London) was another visit to the Geffrye Museum.  In one of the period room settings was a stunning oak table with a set of 6 joint stools.

Sorry about the lousy picture, it’s not a brightly lit place The Geffrye, but well worth a visit, with a beautifully calm herb garden (well more like the size of about 4 allotments) at the back.  I liked this green window:

Nim & Jane

But, back to the joint stools.  We met up with my son Will in London, over from Brooklyn, and he brought with him Peter Folansbee’s new book Make a Joint Stool from a Tree.  An excellent book.  I will be making a joint stool using the guidance in said book and I already have the green oak lined up.  Unfortunately, I have now got a bit of a thing going about these stools and I’ve gone and ordered another book:

This has a whole section on period joint stools, and further along some chair leg turnings which are uniquely Yorkshire, so I may be using them as a base for the stool legs.  One of these stools would look well in Skipton Castle or indeed in any other castle which is short of furnishings.

We did quite a lot of culture in London (That’s what London is for innit? -Ed) including a visit to 18 Folgate Street, Dennis Severs’ House.  If you visit London, and don’t visit anywhere else, visit this house – cost £10, you can’t take photos or speak.  It is an experience in warping of reality, history and your senses that you will not forget.  And, a great bonus, you can have a pint of Meantime beer in The Commercial afterwards.

We also did some mudlarking too.  My brother-in-law lives in Deptford in what was once the naval victualling yards, quite near to Drake’s Steps

Hardly now in fit condition for a queen to ascent prior to knighting her circumnavigator. When I went out for a walk on the Saturday the prospects for mudlarking were rather off-putting:

A fine coat of silt over everything.  But by Sunday morning propspects were much better:

London is so old the flotsam and jetsam are very diverse. anything from printed circuit boards to flint arrow heads (I searched for the latter but didn’t find any).  The oldest natural thing I found was a fossilised sea urchin, the oldest man made thing also flint, with a hole in it, but unrecognisable (by me at least), I think I’ll have it as a charm.  It was a good Sunday morning out for all the family:

From here you can see the three-masted Cutty Sark tea clipper which was due to open a couple of days later

On the Monday we saw the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery practicing for a royal salute as the queen shall have been re-opening the Cutty Sark after long and extensive refurbishment.

Typically, as it started raining in Greenwich we headed indoors, and both father and son’s beer noses detected a mash in progress – hah, it was the aforementioned Old Brewery who produce Meantime bitter beer (Geddit Greenwich meantime?)

Well it was back to work on Tuesday and it’s been a rather wet week, to say the least.  Tuesday wasn’t bad, in fact Theo and I dined in the luxurious outdoor canteen in Strid Wood, with view of nesting Mergansers.  Theo finished off his coat rack with double wellington rack – rather impressive I’m sure you’ll agree.

It is surrounded by this week’s paying project – 4 off 8 foot bike racks for The Cavendish Pavilion.  I was working outside The Bodgery, and it was a very pleasant change, the sun even shone a bit.

By Wednesday the weather had turned nasty and I had a course running with a NE wind gusting rain into the bodgery.  I’d advised Bob to wear layers and he had taken my advice – I wish I had taken it in spades.  Anyway, despite my almost catching hypothermia, Bob had a good day and we had some very interesting chat to boot.

This is one of the unfinished bike racks, I was in no mood for taking photos by the end of Thursday’s installation, but ~ I’ll get one on Sunday, hopefully with a few bikes as serving suggestion.

The logs for the base were rather heavy, and I bust the guide bar on my milling saw last week so I had to split the first one:

They were still heavy after splitting as I found to my discomfort when I managed to trap my finger between one and the trailer, doh!

Ah well, after a heavy week I’ve been relaxing today, making beer, granola, shopping for brill and jacket lining repair material, planting beetroot and lettuce seeds, launching a new Twitter account (@FlyingShavings funnily enough) and dreaming of joint stools …


Spring in the air

The crows have been paired up for a couple of weeks now, the pairs above were taken on 6th March. Now I’ve finished felling, phew! I’ve a bit of time to look around and get sorted ready for Spring.

But first a brief return to wintery weather for a hedge-laying competition. I won in the speed stakes (no prizes there then!) mainly because it was raining the whole time and as I am normally hiding under the tarp in Strid Wood, my outdoor wet weather gear just wasn’t up to it. I decided to dash home and return in time for the judging, hypothermia could have set in if I’d hung around a couple of hours wet through (well, not really; my feet were still dry). Here’s my length:

I won second prize – a bill hook, lost to the winner because I’d left a couple of gaps at the bottom. It was rather wet:

This guy’s wringing out his gloves.

Earlier in the week I had a chance to tidy up the workshop in Strid, moved the sales booth to the side and raked out some of the two foot of shavings. I think it looks a lot more open:

There are a couple of bowls I’m working on, the far one is a bird bath in chestnut.

I’ve felled an alder tree, that should make some good bowls too – watch this space!

Wet day in Strid

It rained today in Strid Wood

The river was as high as I’ve seen it since I started here a year ago.  Richard D was with me and he took these photos.  It was cold as well as wet and we only had the short tarp up as we’re still walking in to the workshop until a replacement Landy comes on stream, later this week hopefully, when we can take the big heavy tarp in again.  The deer season has started again, you may be able to make out one on the stump above.

Despite the weather we had a productive day.  Richard turned some chisel handles, axed out some spoon blanks, worked on his kuska and levelled up a three-legged, high-level chopping block for light use:

Need to fix up a cover for it.  Should be useful when doing very light fine chopping e.g. with a knife, spoon work etc.

I was busy fitting the bottom rungs for chair #5, making old oak pegs for the ladder-back top splats, finishing up the bow tenons on the prototype log hod and breaking out a new bow blank for a production log tote hopefully.

Nice action photo Richard, thanks!

OK so the rain is going to stop tonight, and then a frost of -5 is predicted for Monday night.  Must take the camera in Tuesday.


Just about caught up with myself!  Now just need to get a replacement Landy, complete with electric death chair for the unawares (only joking) and replenish my lesser used tools (like a tool bag for instance!)  Finish off the dining chairs, small table and then it’s full speed ahead Christmas. May even do some logging soon, oh yes, must get a petrol/oil can for the saw.

Here’s the next project starting up:

Improvised long steamer.

I’m making a log hod (or tote as it’s called in the American steam bending book I’m using).  I added the bag on the end of my normal steamer which was only made to take chair backs.  It kind of worked but I think the end of the hod bows didn’t really get hot enough, even though they were in for an hour.  Here are the two bows drying:

This one failed.

Always a danger, I think this one may be due to uneven thinning with the draw knife.

The fibres couldn’t bend enough on the outside and gave way:

This one’s better (not perfect, a knot has spoiled the top bend), but it will do as a prototype for testing use at home.

I’ve learnt from this though, proper extension to steamer needed, clear timber and thinner, more even work on the bow profile.  I think I’ll change the riving out of the timber 90 degrees and see whether that improved the bending evenness.

Here’s the penultimate dining chair back I glued up yesterday in the woods

Today I’m finishing off  #4 and sizing the side rungs for #5 above in the luxury of home – it’s a bit too muddy at the bodgery for weaving seats.

New woodburner, new woods

I spent most of this afternoon on the roof getting a new flue-liner in place for our new to us Norwegian stove. It was rather a struggle, at one point it was so stuck it seemed like it would never go down the chimney, 7 metres of stainless 6 inch flue pipe on the top of our roof is not so much fun. But …

We finally got it down. And then brought in the repaired Trolla Brugge and got it nearly installed:

But in the morning we went to look at Hawkcliffe Woods which are in the process of being transferred to BEAT

It is being gifted for community use – I hear courses and Forest School activities calling. It’s a super wood, with no public access and was thinned about 10 years ago and has some great clearings – just right for shelters, workshops, compost toilets mmmm …

So now, after a very exciting day – rest:

And it’s stopped raining!