Saturday 30 May 2015

Skinning trees

Just back from demonstrating at the Stafford show with Gudrun, Owen, Jeremy, Sherwood and others. I demonstrated fan birds as well as a few other greenwood crafts. Pete felled a few oaks and I thought I would choose a few tripods and forks to skin, and use for future projects. I got children involved in the debarking using simple wooden spuds. Children loved it and I would recommend it as an activity for children of all ages. It is satisfying and safe, no sharp tools are used, just wooden spuds that need to be sharpened every now and then. The oak was a bit sticky, but came off reasonable well.

I am running a shrink pot course at the Husbandry School this Sunday and need to  cut some wood. I have access to a few sycamore trees, (old hedge) and I always save the tops for coat hooks. The bark of the sycamore almost falls off. I use just my fingers to part it from the wood. I love the look of naked sycamore, the textures and the rings around the base of the branches.

I slipped some tubes off as well. I will see how well they make small boxes as they dry, and get used.

Saturday 23 May 2015

Wooden flowers

This is the first time this has ever happened, willow sticks that have dried at different rates on each side of the stick. This is what happens, the dry side curls more than the wetter side.
I have finally learnt how to make flowers the traditional way, with just a knife. I was getting very lopsided flowers and thought it was my technique. I put the same wood on the shaving horse and got the same result. These mutant flowers rather appeal to me, they tell a story that only a very few people would notice.

Thursday 21 May 2015

Another film

This Norwegian film moved me a great deal. It is easy to romanticise the past, to long for the simpler days. To me this is dangerous nonsense, a false idea of history. Life was hard in so many ways that we can not imagine. What impresses me is the way that people could turn their hands to anything, they had years of training in using body arm and hands, something I see missing in so many people these days. So many of us are hand illiterate.

The film is full of little gems for the green woodworker, and the same for anyone who works the land.

Friday 15 May 2015

Norwegian traditional woodworking films

As it says in the title. Settle in for an hour and watch these films. Who's says we need concrete to build with, fence posts soaked in poisons, skis made from plastic and epoxy resins. They are in Norwegian but craft does not need a spoken language to understand. Enjoy.