Tuesday 15 January 2019

Pre fest courses at Fines lames & petites cuillères

I will be teaching a Pre festival course  Fines lames & petites cuillères at Jane and Peters green wood work festival in April.

This small but perfectly formed festival has only 50  spaces and will never get any larger. I have been teaching and passing on my skills at this gathering for a couple of years now and alway eagerly await the ferry trip from Plymouth to France. The hosts Jane and Peter are welcoming and generous as well as begin very talented. The festival takes place at their home in Britainy and people come from all over Europe to participate and share knowledge stories and songs as well as some inspiring beverages of the alcoholic sort.
To Lucy and me, and I know this is true for others, this festival is like a family gathering with new members being added each year. Everyone is made welcome and taken in as family.

We learn, we laugh, we eat and drink together. The food is provided in ample portions and to the highest quality.

This year Jane and Peter have decided to do some prefest courses. Jane is teaching her folding spoons and I will be making wooden sheaths and boxes with people. My emphasis as it always has been is to teach technique and expand the the possibilities of woodworking rather than just on making a thing. So many of you may well have seen my simple tool cases and the more complicated ones and depending on your level of experience you can have a go at making various boxes or sheaths to protect your tools.
I will be teaching how to convert and use wood from the log as well as using predried and cut wood. We will be able to make just using simple edge tools and or using some electric or mechanical tools as well.

Lucy and Jan will be teaching a dying and spinning course. The natural dying that Lucy does is a joy to behold, simple plants prepared and boiled to produce the most amazing colours.

Friday 1 June 2018

Fan birds

Just back from Stafford county show and I have found another way of making fan birds, not anything radical, just an evolution, and going back to when I first made fanbirds on my shaving horse. I have designed and developed a new big push knife to complement my draw knives. It comes in handy for making the fan birds and not just bowls. It is always fun to find new uses for tools, especially when they work so well.
More on the pushknives in coming posts, they are not listed on the website yet.

Just wanted to share just how many birds can be made from a small discarded end to ash wood that was going to be burnt. Nine so far and probably another 6 at least because of that knot.

I love the fact that we can add value to something that has no real value and that this added value is skill and time.

The big push knife on the left is £85 with a sheath. Email me if you are interested.

Sunday 29 October 2017

Stretching exercises for the Green Woodworker

You do not have to be a green woodworker to benefit from this video. We all need to take care of our bodies. As I say in the forward of Shaving Horses, Lap Shaves and other Woodland Vices:

 Although we have never been recognised as such, the woodworker, like any manual worker, is an athlete. We often work for hours, using tools that can weigh several pounds, all the time extending and contracting our muscles, working with the rhythms of our breath, building strength and muscle memory. We have to learn how to use tools correctly and become aware of how our bodies feel.

If you practise some of these simple exercises them we can relieve some of the pain we feel the day after working on that project.

This was filmed during Fines Lames et Petit Cuillere a small but brilliant green woodworking festival in France organised by Jane and Peter Mickleborough. With special thanks to Walter Joseph Kovacs for letting me film him and sharing his knowledge.

Thursday 31 August 2017

New fence for an old chop saw

My main cross cut saw is a sliding compound mitre chop saw. The chop saw cost me £700 ish about 12 years ago and a new one is the same price now. I have heard there can be an issue with the accuracy of the same make with the newest model, and I have been thinking about buying a bench saw with a good sliding table.
The reason for buying a new saw is because slowly over time the fence on the chop saw has been bending out of true. The reason is simple, as we may have experienced, it is easy to catch the saw blade on the wood and knock the wood into the fence. This has only happened a few times with any force, but over the years these things happen and can scare the &*%§ out of you. The fence has cracks in and is no longer true and straight.
Cutting long  pieces of wood result in the wood pinching the blade at the end of the cut, which results in the saw being forced back towards you. Cutting short ends off, results in out of square cuts. All in it is not that safe to use, and students have not been allowed to use it for some time.

Today I made a new fence, if I knew how quick and simple it was I would have done it years ago.

One 2 inch thick lump of oak planed square all round. Holes drilled for the bolts using the original fence as a template.

The old fence placed against the new fence to show how badly it is out of alignment 

The casting is cracked on both ends of the fence.

New fence which is made longer than the original

This saw has seen a lot of use over the years and has been punished and used to its full capacity often. It is now again a dream to use, and I have no excuse to buy a new bench saw.

Monday 24 July 2017

Where to buy Shaving Horses, Lap shaves and other Woodland Vices

The response from my Shaving horse book has been fantastic, with some great reviews.

I have now partnered with North House Folk School in the USA to sell the books. They are the only retailer where you can buy the books in the USA, so give them a call if you want to save a few dollars on postage.

However, at of the time of posting this blog, they do not have the books on their website.

Retailers in the UK, are Matt of Woodland Craft Supplies and

Maurice of Woodsmith Experience. Both Matt and Maurice have them on their websites.

If you want to sell the books give me a call. I prefer to sell by the box which is 21 books, otherwise 10 books is the minimum wholesale order.

And of course, you can buy the books worldwide from my website.