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.


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

Fixing things up


Assorted fire and weather damaged ridge components.

Today I have been mainly fixing the ridge poles on The Bodgery.  The flue pipe from the lil wood burner stove (Do you mean that stack of fire bricks on two lorry wheels? -Ed) was fixed to the side A frame at the ridge.  Some days the tar gets a bit thick inside and we have a roaring chimney fire – cleans it out well, but the pipe gets a little hot and so do things around it. The ridge juts out into the open and gets plenty of rain and sun, beech and sycamore can only stand so much of that treatment and after 8 years have given up the ghost.

Rolled back the tarps after unfastening a couple of dozen or so ropes and misc. wire and bungee fastenings. Shored up the rafters for the back elevation of the roof, well they’ve been shored up for about a month waiting for me to get round to this.


New load-bearing ridge half way up with shoring holding the back poles up.

Made me blink a bit with all that light.  The benches, chopping block and lathe make good foot stools, but there are no steps up to them, so rather an energetic, stretchy day.  I put in two poles at the ridge.  One to carry the back poles and one to take the tarp above the level of the rafter ends.


One ridge good, two ridges better for the tarp.


Pull over that sheet there boy.

Then on with the tarp.  I have two – a white under sheet for light reflection and a green very heavy duty one on top.


Good to have the sign boards back up off the floor.

OK there are another half dozen kicking about around the sides over the shop, making a porch, stopping the rain at the lathe tool end and one in reserve to unroll when the vile East wind blows.

Got that stove pipe away from the inflammables a bit:


Oversized ash ridge with heat protection, need to think about weather protection now. In the meantime it’s the luxury of carefree chimney fires.

Thank goodness for forked branches. what useful shoring up tools


Never cut a forked branch end off.

Fixed the pole lathe treadle again too, the last fix has only lasted a few months, the bike tyre I have used as a hinge for quite a while just broke in two.  Decided to use a redundant safety belt from the Land Rover.  First job was to make a tool to burn self-sealing holes:


Yeah! Another used chainsaw file re-purposed.

I used a new lacing technique instead of the lashing method I’ve used previously.


We’ll see how it lasts.


Double treadle.  Note the hob nails for icy weather.

Had a weekend away in East Yorkshire and found a nice minimalist chisel&punch pattern in the choir stalls

English: Beverley Minster, Beverley, East Ridi...

English: Beverley Minster, Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire, England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

at Beverley Minster …


Had to copy it – it’s now a frieze on a chopping board.

Looks like they used a chisel that didn’t reach long enough to do the lines in one go.  That screw has got to be a much later repair.  There were some great misericords, of course I had to be sitting on top of five fools.

Also found some neat flowers growing on the porch of St Mary’s – the other church in Beverley.









Going to master this style of carving one day.  But I’ll never be as good as this guy:


Surprising oak grave ‘stone’ by Mr ‘Mousey’ Thompson late of Kilburn.

Also found a series of informal porch decorations – done by foresters, I’ll be bound.


Halved pine dressings.

Not a stool, but a useful horse with dogs.

SAMSUNG CSCIt turns out to be a mini sawing horse designed to be held in a WorkMate vice/bench.  It is after the style of Owen Jones’.  I only supply logs to a single customer now – an old friend – and my method of making logs means that sometimes the end log of a branch is short or a bit too long.  This horse will help sort out the long ones.  The short ones are no problem, except for stacking, but they are useful for filling in spaces in the stove firebox.


Past Candlemas

Now we’re past Candlemas (2nd of February), I’ve taken down the Winter lights.

Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, London

Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, Candlemas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
There’ll be two winters in the year.
Scottish poem (Anon) Drat it was a really sunny day yesterday.

Also managed to break the glass on the Tilley lamp, but I shouldn’t need it again until next November.  Snowdrops are outSAMSUNG CSC.

And it’s getting lighter of a morningSAMSUNG CSC

The ducks are fratting.  The snow has temporarily retreated.
SAMSUNG CSCSo busy in the bodgery with a few jobs

SAMSUNG CSCOak spindles for a customer’s chair repair.  Quite a chair week last week, I’ve been slowly working on a garden bench, and when David came along he built up enough courage to add the undercarriage to the child’s chair he’s working on.

SAMSUNG CSCIt’s surprising how strong a chair suddenly becomes with rungs and stretcher fixed.  We were quite like a joiner’s shop.


SAMSUNG CSCPlenty of shavings for lighting the fire today, must get that syrup tin swapped over.



Snow and finish

Spot the bodgery.

snowy bodgeryWe’ve had about four inches of snow, which seems to be hanging around a bit.  It is not terribly cold, but this brings its own problems.  The snow was a bit soft yesterday and it started sticking to my clog soles.  The wooden, unsoled part in the middle welds to slightly damp snow, and then builds up, in the same way as how children roll large snow balls for snowmen.  Add a few shavings and pretty soon you’re a couple of inches taller, until one falls off and then your limping!



I believe there is a dialect word for these clods of snow, but I’m blowed if I can find it.  Any ideas anyone?

We had the return of a little sun in the afternoon which was very welcome, it having been rather cloudy for many days.


The last slab of the oak butt I milled attracted the attention of a cafe proprietor, so I’ve been working that up for a couple of food presentation boards with my usual knife-tooled finish.
SAMSUNG CSCIn the background you can see some progress on the green oak bench I’m working on.  It has a lower back than the last two.  I need to get the trailer down into the woods when the snow melts so I can level the legs in, the front two need taming a bit from their current wild splay.

Felling again today.  I have a new camera that takes pretty decent video – it looks really good on a big TV screen, but this extract is compressed for ease of downloading so quality is just ordinary.  Spot the inattention just before it finally goes down.  Tut, tut!  On this day that was the only tree to fall in one, all other three had to be hand winched down – I’m sparing you the endless video with a click, click, click sound track.

Not wildly exciting.  Today (it took a little while to load up the video) I’ve been felling on the slopes above where the video was taken, rather more snow now, melting stuff.  Keeping a footing is rather important, and the escape route is vital.  I did a lot of dragging timber to the ride, and left some pieces long to fit on the Landy roof rack, I’m not taking the trailer in until the weather improves.  I got the Land Rover a little stuck last week and ended up winching a rock out of the way so I could get home.



I leave the brash piles as shelter for wildlife.  Not that all wildlife is the forester’s friend:

The top of this sycamore had been de-barked by squirrels, the upper one in a full ring and killed the lead growth.



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 …