Monday, 29 April 2013

Spatulas Galore

Yup, more spatulas, lots more spatulas in fact, pictured is just a small cross section of the ones ive made to put into stock over the past couple of days.

All of the ones pictured are made from Sycamore and Willow, the Willow has done me proud and added some wonderful natural colour from the heart wood, which will hopefully make them stand out on my stall at the various shows and events im attending this summer.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Salad Servers

Bit of a diversion today, it was suggested that i make a set of salad servers, so having trawled the net looking at the plethora of different designs out there and trying to gather some inspiration and having looked at designs that ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous, i figured, sod it, go with your own design, ok, there is nothing new in my design, but i like their elegant simplicity.

The servers are made from some glorious spalted Ash that i collected the other day and the photo, really doesn't do the patterning in the wood any justice whatsoever, which is a shame as the colours and patterns in the wood are amazing.


Made a start on making a shed load of spatulas in different shapes, sizes and styles today, in readiness for the six weekends in a row of non stop shows and events that i have coming up from the middle of May.

The spatulas pictured are just a small selection of the ones made today, but serve to illustrate a cross section of styles, the woods used are Ash & Willow.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Netting Needles

Made today for a repeat commission i received for a couple of needles, these are both made from Ash and are around 19cm long, 2cm wide with a depth of approx 3mm, both needles have some magnificent grain patterns, but they are particularly attractive in the left hand one.

Both needles were carved by hand using a small Mora knife then sanded to a finish before oiling with Danish Oil to seal and protect the wood.

Brew Time

Nothing better than a good cup of tea when you are out and about in the woods, especially, when it's been made with the help of one of the greatest inventions of all time, the Kelly Kettle.

Pictured is my kettle on duty earlier this week, just coming to the boil, what can be better, warm spring sunshine, wood smoke and a fresh brewed cuppa in the woods - perfect.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


One of my favourite spring time flowers is the Celandine, the contrast between the rich yellow flower and dark green foliage is simply stunning, and it's a reminder that summer is (hopefully) not that far away. Yet the flower is often ignored by many people and treated as nothing more than a weed,  next time you are out and about and see a patch of Celandines, stop, and take a while to have a proper look at them, you might amazed at what you see.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Wooden Flowers

I received a commission the other day to make half a dozen wooden flowers, although i already had a number in stock, these were to be used outside, so i elected to use some bamboo skewers for the stems rather than the Willow i normally use, the reasoning behind this was the bamboo is stronger and therefore easier to push into the ground than the Willow.  Pictured are three of the ones I made in situ in the customers garden.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Wood Anemone

Good display of Wood Anemone (Wind Flower)  that we found today whilst on a short trip to some local woods, speaking to some of the people up there these have slowly spread from a small patch just a few years ago, into what is now quite a significant covering,

Lovely to see them though, as they are without doubt one of the jewels of a British woodland.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Dont Get In A Strop

Just a few of the strops ive made in over the past couple of days.

The strops have a piece of 1mm leather glued to one side, whilst the other side has a piece of 800 grit Silicon Carbide paper attached to it, the wood is simply a piece of MDF, approx three inches wide and one inch thick, the total cost for the five strops pictured is less than a tenner, the MDF was all of £ 2.00, the paper was a couple of quid and the leather, well, that came out of the scraps bin.

Then it was about spending a bit of time to cut out the handle on the boards and get it all glued up, the leather and paper are glued to the boards using good old fashioned Copydex, as when the leather or paper is past it's best, i can simply peel it off and reattach a replacement piece.

Small Magnolia Spoon

Small spoon made earlier today from the final quarter of the Magnolia log ive been using this past week or so.

This is another spoon where ive experimented a bit, instead of a clean flowing handle shape when viewed from above, i elected on this one to go for quite a narrow stem, and then flare the top of the handle into quite an ornate shape, i might still add some simple chip carving to the vast expanse of bare wood that's at the top end of the handle, there again, i might leave it be and let the marvellous colours in the wood do the talking.

This spoon also has quite a nice shape when viewed from the side, not bad considering it came from a straight piece of wood, even though this doesn't follow the grain in the wood, it still remains strong as despite the stem of the spoon being less than a quarter of an inch thick, the end grain, because it is at an angle, is anything up to three quarters of an inch in length, thereby giving strength to the spoon, a close look at the side elevation will show what i mean.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Spring has Finally Sprung

Yup, it looks like Spring has finally arrived, the Hawthorn leaves are just starting to show and are helping to take away that tired, dreary winter look to the woods, not to mention they also make a tasty springtime treat too, also whilst out and about yesterday, i saw my first Swallow of the year, a real treat was seeing a Woodcock fly past and watching a Kestrel hunt and at long last, there seems to be a good number of Butterflies starting to show, now if we could just get the wind to  drop and the temperature to rise a few degrees, it would be just perfect.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Eating Spoon In Magnolia

I've been spending a bit of time of late, playing around with handle shapes and generally farting around trying out new techniques and trying to emulate some of the styling ive seen on other carved spoons.

Today's effort is pictured, made from a quarter log of Magnolia, on this one i was playing around with the handle shape, not as seen from above, but as seen from the side, per the photo, still a bit more work required on it though, but, im quite liking this style of handle.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Spalted Magnolia Spoon

Spent some more time today playing around and experimenting with a few things, in particular handle shapes, the result of the messing around can be seen in the picture, i added some carving to the upper surface of the handle, as there was quite an expanse of wood there, but in retrospect, i should have let it be, as it has some marvellous spalting, still, it was only an experiment and you have to try these things to see if you like it or not, i think at the moment im firmly in the "dont like it" camp.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Favoured Axes

I was asked a little while ago about the axes i use the most out of my collection, the answer is simple, my Gransfors.

Out of those, i use the Carving Axe and one of my Wildlife Hatchets the most, why?, well, because i like them, each has it's own strengths and indeed weaknesses, the carving axe, due it's blade shape is great for slicing cuts, but, also because of the curved edge, it's not suitable for some cuts, this is where the Wildlife comes in, the squared off shape head, just makes it better at some cuts than the Carving axe.

Now, despite using the GBA's the most, i also have a number of other axes and some of these also get a great deal of use.

Wetterlings Axe & the Little Axe
A recent favourite combination of axes that i use is the Wetterlings Axe & the Little Axe i did up a short while ago, whilst the blade shapes are different, the weight, thinnish bit and short helve of the Wetterlings, i have found makes it a good carving axe, whilst the smaller axe is good for the finer work, although the bigger axe is of course also capable of the finer work in the right hands.
There you have it, yes, im lucky enough to own quite a few GB Axes and i use them, but i also have a number of other brands and indeed some unbranded axes that i also use a lot, it all depends where i am and what im doing,as to which axes get used on any one particular day.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Try Stick.

Whilst out on a bimble today, i thought it was about time i carved myself another Try Stick, not only for something different to carve, but also to see if i could remember all of the cuts and notches on the spur of the moment and i think, bar a couple of notable exceptions, like the whistle, the arrow nock and making the hole through the symmetrical thinning section and of course not carving the brake properly, although it would still work, that i really didn't do that badly at all.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


I continued my experimentation theme of yesterday again today, as there were still a few ideas and techniques i wanted to try out, despite having to make a few changes, i think they, were, for the main, positive changes, all i need to do now is practice them and hone the skills, although, im pretty pleased the way the spoon i was carving to try the skills out on turned out.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Sycamore Spoon

I wanted to spend a bit of time today experimenting with a few ideas, nothing too dramatic, i just wanted to spend time examining the process i use to carve a spoon, so rather than go at it like i normally would, i took my time and tried a few ideas out, the result of this tinkering is the Sycamore spoon pictured.

It turned out pretty well, although the crank in the handle is not as pronounced as i would have liked it, due to a misplaced axe cut, which unfortunately necessitated the removal of material i really needed to keep, shit happens i guess?, so rather than get all upset about it, i modified the design to compensate for my error and carried on.

The handle is still way too think in the vertical plane and i don't like the shape of the underside of the bowl, but this is what experimenting is all about, having tried something different, i now know what i set out to find out and from these findings, i can move on, modify my technique and design and try again.

What i do like about the spoon though is the overall shape of it, short handle and an oversized bowl, for some reason, it just looks right.

Hazel Spatula

Hazel spatula approx twelve inches in length, the design for this was inspired by a design a student carved last week on a course they had booked with me, there was just something about the design that really appealed to me. So, being a person who is happy to learn from anyone,  there was nothing for it, but to replicate the chaps design, so this afternoon that's exactly what i did, and having just used it to cook my dinner, it not only looks good, it works pretty damn well too.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

First Ember

Bit of a momentous occasion here today, when we got back from  the show we did earlier and had put everything away, we went out in the garden and started messing around with the bow drill, i got an ember, eldest got an ember, but youngest had never got one.

So, not to be deterred and with the right mind set in place, he went bow drilling, first attempt at it he was seconds away from getting that elusive first ember, second attempt of the afternoon - bingo, there it was, a great big pile of smouldering dust, he had done it, only problem was, none of us had a camera to record the event, so only one thing for it - do it again.

This time i had my camera to hand and recorded the event, he assumed the position, started bowing and in next to no time, he had his second ember of the afternoon, and importantly had proved to himself that he could do it, so nice one Ol, proud of you, as i said at the time, you have just entered an exclusive club of people who can make fire by friction.

First Show of 2013

Did my first show of 2013 today, it's not a big show or one that's particularity well attended, but it's one i really enjoy.

I had a small stand at the event where i was selling a number of different items, from Gypsy Flowers to hand carved bowls, rustic furniture and even hand made, wooden garden rakes, i sold a few things and met up with some old friends and made some new ones, sometimes shows aren't about the money though, it's about supporting the event and meeting like minded people and sharing and learning from each other.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Hultafors Axe - First Impressions

It's been a few weeks now since i got my Hultafors axe and i thought i would jot down a few initial  thoughts on it, this post is in no way a review, as many people will know, i feel you cant review a product until you have used it for a good period of time and therefore have a good working knowledge of the product.

So, my initial impressions, well, im impressed, i used the axe on Monday of this week to buck a small Oak log of around an 14 inches or so in diameter and i had thought that the really thin bit on this axe would get stuck, it doesn't, it throws chips superbly well too, even after working the Oak, the cutting edge remained sharp, Im just itching to get out and use it again on some small scale felling i have to do later in the year and give it a proper work out.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Under Quilt

Finally got around to figuring the best suspension method for the under quilt i made a little while ago, i had initially decided to go with fixed suspension using elastic cord from each corner of the quilt, but i quickly found out that this doesn't work very well at all with my Warbonnet Blackbird, as soon as you move, it moves and you were constantly adjusting the quilt, not a good design.

So, and with thanks to Shug Emery (no relation as far as i know), i used the suspension channels and loop of shock cord, as shown on Shugs video about under quilts, why i didn't just do this in the first place i don't know, as i made things really difficult for myself, as i had to add the channels to the quilt, after, i had finished it, no easy thing to sew on the channels to completed quilt, the channels by the way are the black horizontal strips on the under quilt.

Woods Bench

Made today whilst up in the woods, a simple, but effective bench from a fallen Oak branch and three logs.

The branch is one that we took down from the tree in the immediate background a little while ago as it wasn't in the best of health and it was right over the camp site we use, and ever since we cut it down, it's been laid on the ground in front of the tree, so today, while we were in the woods, we cut off one end and made a saddle notch in it with the axe and saw, then cut two other oak logs for the middle and right hand end to sit on, put it all together and hey presto, an impromptu bench, and very comfortable it is too.