Saturday 30 June 2012

Wood goes to war

Not green woodwork but I was fascinated by this film on various levels so I thought I would share.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Knife board

These were common at one time and are cheap to make and maintain. They work remarkable well.
Apologies about the auto focus going in and out of focus.

Saturday 16 June 2012

Coppice Week and fan birds

I was head-hunted and persuaded to go to Kent to run some fan bird workshops for the Sussex and Surrey Coppice Group for their Coppice Week. They pay well and I went had a wonderful time. It was in part of Kent where I grew up until my parents moved us, when I was aged 11, to Mid Wales.

The groups were small, 3 people per day. We used green ash and on the first day. Lucie, Chloe and Tom, got stuck in. They both made 2 birds each. Actually, I was gobsmacked at the quality and beauty of all the birds  I wish I had had someone to teach me, it would have saved so much of my time doing it wrong or figuring out (now) simple mistakes.

Cloe and Tom

Lucie, who said that she had never made anything before. Lucie runs her own woodland management company.

Day 2 and all blokes. John, who arranged for this  fan bird course, supplied some ash. This is the first time I have used ash that is no good, for fan birds that is. Just goes to show that ash good for other jobs can have characteristics that are not good for birds. I managed to make a decent bird but had a few challenges with it, the biggest one being how brittle it was. Alan's bird's wings all fell off. Today they made 3 birds each. I have no problem with using bad material as long as we also use good stuff as well. It is good to have a comparison, so that when you use bad material you do not blame yourself and think you have lost your ability. The only reason these guys made more birds was that they have a lot more experience in using, and making with, hand tools.
I made a tree from a tree. I have never seen anything like this before and was inspired by the elderflower blossom and all the riving happening that day. This is something I will play with more.
From the left: Alan, John, me and Carl
Richard bought his round house, which came in very useful, the weather has been wet and windy again. We spent some great evenings in here chatting and laughing

Copper and salts thrown in the fire, some lovely colours.

A bark-basket making course going on next to my workshop, the wood is sweet chestnut.

Neil McLaughlan ran the hurdle making. Great bloke and hurdle maker, I really enjoyed chatting to him during the evenings. No website, no email just a phone number

Littlestone on sea, and you can see Dungeness nuclear power station in the distance, I remember coming here and to Camber sands just down the road, as a kid.
The mud flats with 2 inches of water on top and a fair wind blowing.

I will be attending the Weald Woodfair with the Coppice group in Sept, see you there.

Saturday 9 June 2012

Stafford show

Gudrun and Doug invited me to The Stafford Show to demonstrate fan birds in their woodland setup. It is great when people value what you do and say the fee is fair, without lots of haggling, and "we can't afford that much." It is also great to be paid and to be able to concentrate on demonstrating and not always chasing the next sale, and especially as countryside and/or woodland areas of big shows tends to get a lot less footfall and therefore a lot less sales.
The Thursday was wet and windy to say the least - and I know a lot of other shows were cancelled due to the weather, for example the Royal Cornwall, which I use to demonstrate at years ago.

As with all of the wood shows I go to, the other craftsmen are a joy to meet and are good fun to be around.
Doug is a horse logger and his apprentice Richard was using his own horse, Elizabeth, to haul logs and to pull the bracken basher.

Doug is running a raffle to win a Morgan 3-wheeler, a Bristish hand-made car, to raise money for the British Horseloggers' Charitable Trust. Doug's site is and if you want to try and win a Morgan then you can buy a tickets here the odds are really good.

Gudrun was running have-a-go pole lathes, with many young aspiring pole lathe turners busily turning. I have seen Gudrun's chairs for many years and much admired them. I have never, as of yet, been to Clisset wood but her work can be seen here

Above is Jeremy Atkison, clog maker and man of immense knowledge.

Owen Jones, Oak swill baskets and coppice products

This too seems to be turning into a list of peoples' websites, but I am off almost straight away to Kent, to run some fan bird carving courses for the Sussex coppice group, so I am busy writing this between unpacking the van and packing the car. Fuel is expensive and I cannot afford to spend £150 plus for diesel to take the van to Kent. £30 for very 100 miles. It is half the cost in the car.

Jenna Higgins, making besom brooms with a never ending queue of children. 

Sherwood, demonstrating cleaving.

There are a few other people that I have not mentioned enough, for example Jo, doing lots of painting, printing and collage with children. One of the few suppliers of bark seating materials. 

Monday 4 June 2012

New fan birds

The fan birds are evolving and new designs are coming into being.
First off, a photo of the winner of the Non turned treen section at the Bodgers Ball.

I have tried making fan flowers but never put much time of effort into it, but I have made a few birds where the wings meet and are joined together. I do like this swan.

I particularly like this one.