Snow bowl

Rather snowy in Strid Wood today.  Despite that I managed to keep warm hewing an 18″ bowl for a client.  (A couple of syrup tin potatoes and hotted up soup helped too.)

I’m using sycamore that is from the current felling.  It is surprisingly hard and I broke the handle of the maul (again!) splitting it out of the log.  The bowl cutting came along pretty good.  The shape is based on a seed, possibly a grain.

The figure in the wood is pleasing as well, sycamore can be quite plain sometimes.

After getting the inside about right I had a massive amount of hewing on the outside to get it shaped up.  I was having to remove clothing, but nothing too racy – left me hat on.  I think the floor must have risen about another 1/2 inch again.  Just after I’ve had a good rake out as well.

I’m leaving the front and back ends thick for now as they are taking a lot of the force of the hewing as I rest the bowl on end on the chopping block.  Still some to go.

I think so far it’s going to work out well though.  Here it is outside to kill the green cast I get under my tarp.

I’m keeping it wet as possible, I don’t look forward to working this baby dry! May pause felling tomorrow to get it finished.

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Peeled posted and wrung

Here’s a post and rung stool I’m working up for an exhibition coming up in April (Ah, joyous month!) at Farfield Mill at Sedbergh.  The event is Working Woodlands and is intended to show the range and quality of products that come out of coppicing woodland.  There will be a special section devoted to products made from Moss and Heights Spring Wood timber.  I’m making my stool above with peeled oak from there, and it will have an elm bast seat woven from bark from Strid Wood (West meets East kind of style!).

Do call in if you can get there.

Sawing up and settling down.

Last week we took down a bough that had blown down in a recent gale and embedded itself upright in the ground.

Didn’t take long to down it and get it sawn up.

And all the brash burnt.

Then yesterday we went out at dusk to watch this display …

What the ..

Ah!

Just a few thousand

starlings

Roosting.

Tomorrow it’s the start of felling.

Working with the grain

We’ve had some rough weather recently.  Here’s the River Wharfe in spate, the bankside alders are getting rather more than just their feet wet.  But today the sun came out and gave me this sunny view of the river.

I think the little birds must be a bit happier without the wind and rain:

Here’s one of the many coal tits that come to eat the sunflower seeds from the workshop bird tables.  They are fearless these days and ignore my thuds and hammerings.  This table is about 6 feet away from the workshop stove.

I’m currently making another of my rustic-style garden benches, this one’s in oak, the shavings and the work are quite different from ash, which is what I mostly work in.

Oak is somehow brittler than ash, and the shavings oxidise a pinkish tinge in the air.

I’ve split out the legs from a single log:

They then have quite a growing form as the shape is dictated by the way the log split along the grain:

After splitting I axed off the bark and sapwood, then worked them smooth with the draw knife.  The tenons are made with a Veritas tenon cutter which makes a very sound 1 1/2″ joint into a mortice in the seat made with a scotch-eye auger.  Here’s the seat before the holes are drilled.

I’m drying the leg tenons a little at home before fixing and wedging them into the mortice holes as the seat had been milled for a couple of months whereas the legs have been left “in the log”.

I also milled some ash today with some very colourful decay.  The two inch slabs must be good for table tops I reckon.

At last the days are lengthening again, and I was surprised by my own shadow as I was milling after luncheon, the sun shone through the leafless trees to the West.

Deer me, what fools these humans be. Free etching …& bonus quizzes.

Deer course yesterday, photo report.  Above Harvey learns the old art of releasing the hodfast.  Like the nu mallet, WW1 style?

The soup and home-baked roll went down well. Yes some work was done too and everyone went home with a new pet:

But how it will fit in Harvey’s bedroom alongside his 6 foot t. rex head, I’m not sure.

David put a nose on his deer.

So these were sensible people spending a wet Saturday under cover learning hand drilling and round mortise and tenon joints and designing to their taste.  Some space still left on next Saturday’s course and a Christmas present one coming up in January.

However, blimey, sometimes people just are too difficult to understand.  Like the ones who use a flail machine to “trim” hedges, which involves thrashing small saplings half to death. O man! this really hurts me having to drive past the results every day.  I’ll spare you a picture.

Then there’s the ones who just don’t put the right values on stuff.  I found this in a skip.

I used to pass this house name when I was a boy, and at some point it was replaced by a pottery one.  OK I don’t care for the pottery one, but why throw away this old etched and enamelled one? Really, I’ve got to find a home for this without either confusing the postman or changing the name of my business.  If anyone wants it, drop me an email.

I’ve been having a little exchange with Tico Vogt about yew, its sources and uses as I’ve recently acquired a quantity of this poisonous stuff, I had a walk up to see what the grove of yew looks like at the top end of Strid Wood, where I rarely go.

(OK, there’s a massive oak mixed in there too.)

There are some that would be suitable for making longbows, I think, not that I know much about that, but again, why is this nice butt wasting away?  And it will take some time!

Doh!

Anyway, there are some good vistas up at that end of the wood, no wonder people are always coming here for walks.  Here is a view of ruined Barden Tower, once the home of the Shepherd Lord.

Spot the fisherman.

Also there are some softwoods up there, which are getting to look rather majestic.

Also up there is this building:

I’m glad to see the roof has recently been repaired – but riddle me, riddle me, what was it for?

Have a think and I’ll edit the post with a clue tonight.

OK, above’s the clue.