Friday, 31 May 2013

Small Fan Bird

Finished this small Fan Bird off this morning, the bird is made from Ash and has a width, wing tip to wing tip of six inches.

As you may have noted im really starting to get back into these and have to admit that i love making them, especially, as everything seems to have 'clicked' at long last,  ive a few ideas bouncing around in my head for different shapes, sizes and indeed products.

More on those at a later date though.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Ash & Hazel Stool

Got another stool finished off yesterday, the legs are made from Ash that has been split and then rounded using a rounding plane, the Ash log pictured is representative of the size of log that was used to make the legs, the stretchers are made of seasoned Hazel, where i left the bark on, mainly as it has such a deep rich colour to it that  contrasts with the white wood of the Ash.

The seat has been woven using Jute webbing in a simple under over pattern, it also incorporates a nice piece of inch thick upholstery foam between the two layers of webbing, now all i have to do - is sell it.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Fan Bird

Been playing around with Fan Birds again this weekend, and i think im getting there, the bird pictured came from a blank that was 5 inches long, two inches wide and about an inch thick, when i rived the feathers i surprised myself as i made 53 feathers, some of which were way too thin and were discarded.

Even so, at 26.5 feathers to the inch, im happy, i was even happier with the one i did after this, as i rived 68 feathers from a blank 2.5 inches in width, or approx 28 to the inch, now it's just practice, practice and more practice.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Willow Cooking Spoon

A slight departure from my normal shape & style this one, as i wanted to experiment with the handle shape, the handle as you will see has a fairly narrow neck that flairs into a broader section, this section is oval in cross section and is incredibly comfortable to hold, the back of the bowl is also at a slightly different angle to my normal style, i quite like the overall look, although the highly coloured Willow also helps, the spoon has a tooled bowl section and a sanded handle and exterior.

Aspen Spoon

Made this from half an Aspen log, the spoon is to be used on my stand/stall at the various events i attend, the ideas being i can suspend it on some fishing line from the roof of the Gazebo i use and the spoon will spin in the breeze and hopefully draw a few people over, who otherwise might have just walked past.

Overall the spoon is a little under fifteen inches in length and has a bowl width over just over three inches, the spoon was finished with a sanded exterior, but retains a tooled finish on the bowl section to illustrate the two finishing styles i use, but also, the facets on the tooled finish do catch the light nicely too.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Fluted Pots

As the last pot i made in this style was received so well, i thought i had better make a few more in the hope of selling them at a couple of forthcoming shows im doing.

All of the pots shown are made from fresh felled sycamore, i also changed the name from "Cup Cake Pots" to, "Fluted Pots", now all i have to do is sell them.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Cup Cake Pot

New style of pot for me this, the pot itself is made from a big lump of Sycamore and the upper surface retains the outer radius of the tree itself, i had hoped to keep the bark on the pot, but i knocked it during the manufacturing process and damaged it, so i had to go.

The name?, well, it looks like a gert big cup cake, so it seemed the natural thing to call it.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Second Event Of The Weekend

Took part im my second show of the weekend today, the event was in support of a local conservation group that i am involved with.

Each year the group holds a family fun day, unfortunately the weather was not overly brilliant and that was certainly a contributing factor to the low turnout.

I spent a few hours on the edge of the woods making green wood whistles for the kids and the two boys busied themselves with doing fire by friction demonstrations. Despite the weather, we all had a great time and are already looking forward to next years event.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Summer Fete

Enjoyed a really great day at the Sir Robert Woodard Academy at their Summer Fete, i had a small stand, ok a couple of tables, at the event and had a number of different products on display and for sale, including Fan Birds, Wooden Rakes, Spoons, Spatulas, Bowls plus a few other bits and bobs.

This years event was 1960's themed and participants were encouraged to dress up and enter into the spirit of things, what did i do, well, in the run up i played Mr Grumpy and maintained i wasn't going to do anything, but then on the day, i surprised everyone by dressing up in a hippie wing, John Lennon round specs, head band and CND Medalion.

It was a really enjoyable day out, made a few pennies and there were a few lovely sights to be had too, one of which, was NOT me in my hippie wig.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Quick Bimble

Sunlight through Beech leaves.
Hugo of BCUK and i went for an impromptu bimble earlier today, i was supposed to join him yesterday but events during the storm on Tuesday night meant i needed to stay at home, so we arranged to go out today.

We didn't really do much i suppose, well we did a bit of carving, i went on the hunt for a few wild edibles and took my time to admire the spring flora, and we drank loads of tea and generally put the world to rights as you do, it was nice to get away from the workshop and the looming show season for a day, all starts again tomorrow though, more products to make, orders to fill and get everything ready for two events this weekend - no rest for the wicked i guess?.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Beech Serving Spoon

Made a small serving spoon today out of some beech that was at the bottom of the wood pile, was tough going, but worth it i think, even if it is just for the superb grain patterns within the wood.

The spoon is pictured resting on the opposing half of the log that bore it, and out of which im hoping i will be able to get an eating spoon at the very least.

The photo below shows the side elevation of the spoon, not a bad shape considering it came from a relatively straight log.

This is a style, that i really enjoy carving, but you do have to aware of the massive amount of end grain in the handle, but despite the handle being fairly thin in the vertical plane, it is carved in such a way that the grain itself remains long and therefore retains some strength, a study of the photo will show the grain length.

The spoon was completed with a fine tooled finish and then oiled with pure Tung oil, to protect the spoon from food acids and to really make the grain patterns pop.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Lily Cutting.

Spent a good day up at the lakes today, the main reason for being there was to conduct a survey in one of the ponds as part of a scientific research paper that has been commissioned by the Environment Agency and for which they are using our lakes as part of the study. 

Once the guys conducting the research were set up and away doing their thing, i grabbed my lily cutter (Scythe blade mounted to an extending pole saw handle) and cut back most of the Yellow Water Lily's in one of the ponds, we have to do this each year as the lily's are invasive and if left unchecked, they would soon cover the majority of the waters surface, we don't remove all of them though, as we need to maintain some cover for the fish and other pond life, but we take, probably 95% of them.

It's a shame that we have to do it, as the lily is quite a pretty plant and has a lovely yellow bloom, but needs must and this is a necessary function of the management scheme we have in place.  Once the leaves have been cut and removed, we pile them on the bank, but importantly, close to the water, so any invertebrates that have been caught in the work can find their way back to the water and help maintain a healthy eco system.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Arrow Through A Ring

Just a bit of nonsense really, but great fun nevertheless, it's quite amazing how such a simple thing can completely baffle people.

I deliberately make these from two different woods, the ones pictured have a Sycamore ring and a Hazel arrow, that way, people don't think it's all carved in one piece, which in turn, baffles some even more.

Oak Lucet Fork

Been making a few Lucet Forks today in preparation for the forthcoming show season, these are great fun to make and use, to add variety, i make these in all manner of different woods.

I personally like those made in Oak & Ash the best, the grain patterns just seem to really pop, especially so once the wood has been smoothed out and then oiled with Linseed or Danish Oil.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Fan Bird

I've been practicing my fan birds again, im still struggling to get the feathers as thin as i know they need to be, some of it is my technique im sure, but ive also struggled to find suitable Ash, as most of the stuff i have had access to of late has been horrible, i think im slowly getting there though, it's just going to take time and practice, as of course do most things.

My sincere thanks go to Sean Hellman who has freely offered his help and advice on how to make Fan Birds.


With a busy show season looming, i wanted to make sure that i had enough plenty of spatulas in stock, they are just one of those items that always seem to sell well.

So this afternoon, i sorted through the wood pile and pulled out all of the older Sycamore, Hazel & Cherry logs, then set about turning them into spatulas, of which a small proportion of the ones i made are pictured.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Bluebell Woods

Enjoyed a superb day out today in my woods with youngest, we had loads of laughs, bit a water fight late in the day, some carving and generally just having fun, we also enjoyed a superb display of Bluebells.

We are very fortunate to have the use of these woods and each Spring, we are granted the privilege to be able to see this wonderful display, which just seems to get better and better, year on year

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Fan Bird

It's been quite some time since i last made a Fan Bird, so today, i thought it was about time i had another crack at it, the result being as shown in the photo.

This is one of three i made today and to be frank is by far the best one and is going to be a gift for a mates wife, the other Fan Birds, well, lets call them practice pieces shall we?, i didn't have the best of materials to use as the only piece of Ash i had was part of a 5" log that had some horrible gnarly grain in it, that made the riving hard work, but perseverance paid off in the end - just.

I'm off up the woods tomorrow, so will see about collecting some better materials and then on Tuesday I'll give it another try, and if i produce a better one, then my mates wife can have the best one, what i really need to practice though, is riving the feathers really thin, the ones i made today were definitely better than those ive produced before, but i still need to practice the riving, so if anyone can offer any pointers or advice then please get in touch, constructive criticism is always welcome.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Wonderful Day

I enjoyed a really great day yesterday teaching spoon carving, the weather was perfect, nice warm & sunny, the location was perfect, sat under a small stand of Oak trees by the side of a lake with the Kelly Kettle going and the pupil i had for the day was just about as perfect as they come, attentive and willing to learn, we started the day off by carving a simple spatula, just to get used to the tools, cuts used and the properties of the wood and in the afternoon we made spoons, which turned out superbly, unfortunately, old numb nuts here didn't get any photo's of the spoons, so a black and white photo of the axe block and surroundings will have to do.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Woods - 1 May 2013

Had a good day out in the woods today with my old mucker Hugo, we went to one of our usual haunts and slung our day hammocks up and just enjoyed the banter and sunshine, ok we also enjoyed the Blueberry Muffins that Hugo bought with him too.

What was really nice to see, was how the woods have progressed in just seven days, last week there wasn't a single leaf on the Beech trees, this week, there is an explosion of them, there is also a profusion of plants and migrant birds all making an appearance too, just some of the plants seen today were Common Twayblade, Primroses, Violets, Blue Bells and Yellow Archangel to name but a few.

So what else did we get up to?, well we drank a lot of tea and there was a constant stream of mickey taking, but we also did some carving things like basic netting needles and some spoon blanks, i gave Hugo a lesson in spoon carving with his superb little axe, he wanted to know just how i get the crank in the handle, when using a straight piece of wood, so it was my pleasure to instruct him how to do it, we also, did some wildlife observation and collected raw materials for some projects.

One that i was particularly pleased to find was some clematis bark that looks just perfect for cordage making, i shall give that a spin over the weekend i think and see how it goes, the only downer this week was our good buddy Rockmonkey wasn't able to come up the woods with us, im sure he will make up for it next week though, with his normal boundless enthusiasm and wit.