Little turner…

Monday is always a slow day at the craft centre, and most of the other units are closed. So it’s a good day to get your head down and clear the decks a bit. And that was the plan today. In the end, a few unexpected visits slowed me a little, but I did manage to turn and complete the biggest job for the week, and chainsaw the wood for the others. So all was well with that side of things.

After collecting Ellie from school, she wanted to turn a gift for her teacher…last day of term tomorrow…and she wanted a weed pot in Yew. So we togged her up with smock, visor, mask Etc., put her stand in place so she was at the correct height, and away we went. I’d taken the bark off first…you know what Yew is like for spitting sharp lumps of bark at you, and even with a visor on, a lump of bark flying at you can cause a jump which can result in more harm than the bark would do…and she roughed it down very well.

Being of the female persausion, she “knew” exactly what shape she wanted, and but for a few moments where a steadying hand was required, she got on with it. Finishing was “easy” apparently! She did ask if she could colour it (I must be rubbing off on somebody!), but I thought natural finish was better (and it was getting late!), and so she decided she wanted it to be “shiny”. Out with the carnuba.

And here it is…I hope her teacher doesn’t read the blog!!

She also took the picture, which is a little out of focus due to a shaky hand, but reduced it isn’t a bad photograph. I think she did a great job. But then I would do…

So I did it…

Another odd day today. First off I completed the shavehorse and had a little play with it. It’s a great tool; quick to set up and adjust, simplicity to use, and with the drawerknife it’s actually a great combination, and is capable of quite exact shaping. It’s also remarkably relaxing to use. Kind of like sitting down play.

The afternoon was spent being dragged around by a tractor whilst sitting in (stearing) a car and my old Landy. The Earl has an odd method of towing a vehicle…a strop through the windows and over the roof, lift the back end off the ground and push you while you try to stear! All I can say is that it’s a good job only the engine is required out of the vehicle, as the rest of it got a little dented. Including my nerves! Farmers!

Thankfully he was a little more gentle with my brake-challenged Landy, which I will get around to sorting out before much longer. And then it was off to a twenty year old pile of cow sh** to scoop some up for a new garden at the craft centre. Oh the joys.

Enough playtime…back to serious work tomorrow.

So today I started it…

So today I started to build a shavehorse. I should really have been doing something else, turning something important that is, but I simply wasn’t in the correct frame of mind. In truth, I haven’t been for two days now. Not sure why.

Sunday was a good day. An early skip around the local carboot had me scurrying back to open the gallery clutching a Bosh POF50 router. Now I already own a few routers, so why so happy? Well, firstly it was £3! Secondly, it worked! Thirdly, it came with a box of largely useless cutters, but one that I have recently purchased for £16. So now I have two. And lastly, because the little Bosh would fit the compound table I bought SOOOOO long ago, and have never got round to buying a router for. So there it was…working…and there was the compound table…gathering dust…two ticks and the whole thing is set up and cutting weird shapes and patterns on the rim of a bowl. What fun!

So, anyway, today I should have been doing a couple of commissioned pieces, but with time still on my side, and my mood not being, I thought I’d move the tools outdoors, set up the strong jaws, and build a shavehorse. Whacking out few large mortices with a mallet and chisel really brings home just why power tools were invented! But I muddled on, feeling that a shavehorse really ought to be made with hand tools rather than a bandsaw, morticer, and saw bench. It’s nearly completed now, and will hopefully work when I assemble it. Not that you’ll ever know if it doesn’t!

Related – sort of – to the shavehorse and greenwood tools…

I was asked recently, “are you going to become a polelathe turner, then?” The answer was, “no”. And that was the answer because I’m not. I’m a woodturner, and that means I turn wood. If I choose to add a different kind of lathe to my workshop, so what? “Woodturner”, to me at least, means a person who turns wood. I don’t recognise any indication of the type of machine in the name. Do you?

When to stop…the axe man cometh!

So it started with a simple wish to incorporate more “greenwoodwork” techniques into my usual turning related activities. So the first thing to get was an axe. A side axe was the advisd tool from a green woodworking book, but they are expensive bought new, and like Hen’s teeth second hand. Nick Abbott told me a good Kent pattern axe would do fine, and he’d tell me how to grind it. So I found on a boot sale and fitted a new shaft. That was a few weeks ago now. Since then I’ve had my F.I.L. on the look out, found a few myself, and now find I can’t pass them by!

So where does it stop? Maybe I’ll make a wall display of them. Having noticed my growing collection, a studnt kindly brought me a very old frame saw to add to the collection. Along with a few ancient turning tools and a couple of sawers saws, it could be an interesting display.




I spent the weekend at an event. Wissett Vineyard’s summer art & crafts fair. Wisset is a lovely venue, on a fantastic Suffolk vineyard where they produce award winning English wines. Janet & Jonathan Craft (you couldn’t make it up!) always provide for a great weekend, and everybody has a great time.

So it’s back to work this week, and again a number of odd jobs to do. Another spinning wheel, and a restoration job on a georgian drawer chest. Variety is the spice of life, they say.

Odd wood blanks…

A regular student brought me a gift today; a round of English Elm that has been undercover for eight years or so. There were no cracks or degeneration whatsoever, which seemed fortunate. Also, no insect or worm damage. He brought another to turn today, as the material for his day’s tuition. And what a nightmare it was! Shaping the outside was an arduous task, the Elm was like concrete, and I stopped counting after the 19mm bowl gouge had been re-sharpedned twelve times! A 10MM bg made a better, but slower cut, and eventually the outside was completed. I bet he sleeps tonight. I wonder if you can case harden with air drying?