Tuesday 8 September 2009

Westonbirt Festival of the Tree

Westonbirt Festival of the Tree is a show that I have been attending regularly for seven years. As with all the wood-fairs I attend, I love it. Wood-fairs just seem to be the most laid back and fun shows. This year was a very good one for me and I also had the best position next to the chainsaw carving arena, and the pitch position number A1.

One of the first people you saw as you came into the show was Dale with all his sculpture, benches and games for children. Note his gypsy flowers and shaving horse for making them. Over the years he has made many thousands of flowers. See a video I made of him working, here.

Mr Nick Gibbs, the esteemed editor of Living Woods magazine, has published a short article I sent in, on how to find the moisture content of wood without a moisture metre. I will be sending in more articles. He was at the Festival, and had two shaving horses that he let children have a go on, to introduce them into the joys of green woodwork. Nick was in the Classic Hand tools tent, an Aladin's cave of very expensive tools. I met Phil who makes and sells wooden planes, I introduced myself to him after finding out through his blog, that he was at this show.

This image is of Geoff King's stand Woodland Treasures. It is great to see someone making money from wooden jewellery and very fine pieces they are too, and a great tent.

Helen with her modified yurt, we met her at WOMAD and anyone involved with bushcraft may have seen her at the Wilderness gathering. If you want organic, bark-tanned sheep skin, she is the person to see.

I did not write down the details of this company in the picture below, but I was very taken with the timber framed tent. They do others which had all four sides enclosed with canvas walls. I would like to make my own timber framed tent, a really light-weight one, but has to be easy to put up and functional in every way. Maybe I will just dress my plastic and metal tent up instead.

Piers Roberts with wooden sunglasses he made himself. I just had to ask if I could take a photo. I have been wanting to make some for years now, just another thing on the list that I am yet to do. A few years ago I saw a couple of gentlemen walking around with turned wooden bowler type hats. These were turned very thin and since wood shrinks across the grain they went oval to fit the head, no photos of these I`m afraid

One of the second hand tool sellers was also sharpening the saws he was selling on this lovely old jig, that was used by leaning it up against his work bench. I like they way it locks the saw in place, the front rail next to the saw blade knocks in and out because it is sitting in a V wedge cut on the posts.

Three of the saws I bought. The frame saw is for ripping or sawing wood along the grain, the other two are cross cut saws. This winter I want to learn how to sharpen my own saws so that I will never have to buy a hard-point saw with plastic handles again, the ones that we are always throwing away.

More tools from France, have a look on the Bodgers forum for more info.

I have made a new bench for making fan-birds on, and it works very well, also great for wooden cups . It is made from a tripod of forked ash turned upside down. I had a large vice screw that was inserted through the log to make the vice. I have taken a liking to demonstrating making fan-birds whilst standing up, as I find it helps with interaction with my audience. The man watching me is Toni Ross who has posted many videos on Youtube under the pseudonym of bygonetoni. The sticks projecting from the bench are to hang all my tools from, so everything is to hand. I sold a fare few fan-birds and not just the cheaper £10 ones I do in my quick demonstrations.

This is my only photo of the chainsaw carvers work, taken whist we were packing up the stall.