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.

Tuesday 16 May 2017

Shaving Horses, Lap Shaves and other Woodland Vices

That often-promised book that never now here! After at least three years of work and a lifetime’s experience of making and using these traditional devices, Shaving Horse, Lap Shaves and other Woodland Vices is now on sale, at

It is a resource for anyone  wishing to make and use these simple but effective devices, and to participate in an enduring and worthy tradition. Whether a complete novice or accomplished professional, Shaving Horses, Lap Shaves and other Woodland Vices has much to offer: effective woodworking techniques, use of specific hand-tools, ergonomics, and a range of 13 different work-holding devices, either shaving horses or cleaving breaks, and including traditional and contemporary versions of these designs. There is also a section on drawknives and how to use, sharpen and renovate them.

The book is published by Crafty Little Press, a new publishing company set up by Lucy (my wife) and myself, for the purpose of printing and distributing this current title and other books we have planned. So, last week, we collected a ton of books from our local printer, Short Run Press, itself a business with a great reputation and a winner of environmental awards for good business practice. Being local, both collection and personal communication are easy, and we have avoided using lorry-space and consequent fuel by not carrying books across the country or from abroad. The ethos of supporting local economy wherever possible, is important to us, more so than investing in a cheaper product that travels across continents, or from countries which have little or no environmental regulation or employment rights.

You can buy Shaving Horses, Lap Shaves and other Woodland Vices primarily from my website or from Crafty Little Press, and at woodworking events where we are present; it is also available from the Woodsmith Experience and Woodland Craft Supplies. We are also currently seeking to extend distribution outlets here in the UK, and in the USA, or elsewhere. Please let us know if you would like to wholesale from us.

I offer a huge and grateful thank you to all those who have contributed to the book, to everyone who inspired it in any way, and all those who have helped make this work possible.
130 pages and over 400 photos and diagrams.

Here is a short video made by Harry Rogers at the Bodger Ball this year