Sunday 26 April 2009

Wooden Bikes

I came across these whilst browsing the net, if I ever have the time I would love to make one. Great for down hills. Who is going to make the first UK green wood version?

a few more here

and this one

That is it, if you want to see more do a google image search for wooden bikes

Thursday 23 April 2009

Shaving horses

I love shaving horses and have made a few over the years. I love there simplicity and yet they are a highly efficient and usable tool, or as some of mine turn out to be, a work bench. In essence a shave horse is a quick release vice that you sit on, the cutting tool that is used with it is the drawknife.
Most of the time I like to work high, I have spent years on shaving horses that are to low for me and have suffered from shoulder and back ache.

The above photo was taken about 6 years ago, I still use it, but it is to low, especially for detailed work.

Made last year for a show where I only had a small space, designed for making fan birds on, hence the vice for holding the wood while I rive the feathers out.

A beast made from, ash, oak, Douglas fir and western red cedar. I have never finished it, but use it all the time in my workshop. The great thing about it is that is adjustable in almost every way. I was going to make a detachable chopping block that fits over the leg at the end. The dumb head is not fixed in any way and adjusts easily up and down, it wedges into place and a quick tap releases it so that it can be moved.

My most recent horse inspired by Ralph ( For Woodness sake), I first saw it on the paleoplant forum and then on the Bodgers forum. The seat is quickly adjustable up and down depending on what is being shaved. The dumbhead is easily adjustable, and apart from one piece, the horse was made using hand tools only. The seat was hewn from a large log of aspen and fixed using oak pegs into the seat supports.

These horses, on the whole, are for spoon making and fan birds, I can happily make chair legs and the likes on them, but some people may prefer something a bit more substantial.

I soon added a tool tray, not really a tray but a plank with holes drilled in it to hold:- chisels, axe, knife, drawknife and saws. This plank is held up with a peg near the seat and a small branch that comes out of the leg.

You may have also noticed that the red cedar block that I have put under the dumbhead does not come all the way to the end of the branch, this is because I like a little ledge to rest the fan birds on when carving the birds head or spoons with a knife.

Thursday 9 April 2009


I have just been up to visit my parents in Mid Wales, with Lucy and Natasha. My parents, 2 weeks before had the tree surgeons in to fell a couple of smallish trees near the house, and they had a couple of longer bits saved for me. It is lovely ash, and fast grown, the tree in question only being 21 years old and 4 rings to the inch. I like fast grown ash because it is very strong. I once had some very slow grown ash from Dartmoor which was about 16+ rings to the inch, which I made into legs for a small bench. This bench was used as a step, to get in and out of the back of my van, and to display stuff on at shows. This bench was not treated very kindly, as ash was a strong resilient wood that can take shock, I managed to break 3 legs off it over the years, all snapped at next to the tenon. Slow grown ash is good for nothing.
This Welsh ash was very very dry, I had never felt or used fresh ash this dry. I know the old rhyme, see the rhyme here, says that ash can be burnt green, this is because ash does have a low moisture content, but this dry!!! I have a few tent pegs, 2 sets of legs for chairs from it, and a couple of side axe handles as it had a good curve in it, I was on holiday.

My new shaving horse, inspired by Rick Schuman at I like the way that I seem to be floating in the air and not sitting on the adjustable seat

Lucy and me in front of a not so old oak tree, this is one of the oaks that has played an important part in my life. It has had a major lower limb rip off on the main trunk many years ago, and my parents have been advised to take it down. I am glad that they will not, as it is a major landmark tree in the area and a valued friend.
Heritage Crafts Association

A new organisation has just been set up to promote the cause of traditional or heritage crafts in England. Do pop over the their website and join, which is free and simple to do.

The Heritage Crafts Network