Spring in the air

The crows have been paired up for a couple of weeks now, the pairs above were taken on 6th March. Now I’ve finished felling, phew! I’ve a bit of time to look around and get sorted ready for Spring.

But first a brief return to wintery weather for a hedge-laying competition. I won in the speed stakes (no prizes there then!) mainly because it was raining the whole time and as I am normally hiding under the tarp in Strid Wood, my outdoor wet weather gear just wasn’t up to it. I decided to dash home and return in time for the judging, hypothermia could have set in if I’d hung around a couple of hours wet through (well, not really; my feet were still dry). Here’s my length:

I won second prize – a bill hook, lost to the winner because I’d left a couple of gaps at the bottom. It was rather wet:

This guy’s wringing out his gloves.

Earlier in the week I had a chance to tidy up the workshop in Strid, moved the sales booth to the side and raked out some of the two foot of shavings. I think it looks a lot more open:

There are a couple of bowls I’m working on, the far one is a bird bath in chestnut.

I’ve felled an alder tree, that should make some good bowls too – watch this space!

Bowl pix

OK, so here are some photos from the other day.

Here’s the dog bowl

And this is what it turned into

It’s drying out now and then I’ll oil it up. This should bring our the colours.

Here’s the bird bath

You can just make out the iron staining from the reaction between the tools and the tannin in the chestnut.

Good for a bird bath though I think.

Rather heavier than a bowl for food use, but the weight is intended to keep the thing still when it’s windy

Here is the current work in progress. It’s made from a section of the big old silver birch we’ve felled in the garden, so it’s not for sale but will stay at home as a memento of the tree and my father who planted the tree donkey’s years ago. I’ll post another picture when it’s done, it’s rather large!

OK, busy ‘day off’ today preparing for a demo to a group of power turners this evening in York.

Ghostly water drinker

Sorry no photos today. The phone’s battery was flat and camera at home. Update tomorrow hopefully.

I have a log of what I thought might be willow, but which turns out to be chestnut. Not too good for indoor bowls, but great for outdoors as its high tannin content is a good preservative against the weather. When green it also makes a dark blue stain in contact with steel, so spoiling indoor work. So I decided on the spur to carve a bird bath. Using the new tools I bought on the recent course it only took just over an hour to produce. I ambled down to the River Wharfe and brought it back up to the workshop, spilling a little on the way. A couple of hours later there was no water in the bath. Drat, does chestnut pass water (pun intended)? A couple who had watched me starting it wanted to buy it, but I was not happy about selling a leaky vessel. At home carried out some research on chestnut properties, no hint of it being leaky (I was going on the basis that the timber has large, visible vessels that the sap passes along). Filled it with water an hour ago and it’s still full. What I think happened is a mysterious thirsty dog had a good drink and emptied it.

Funnily enough I also decided to carve a water bowl for our friends the dogs (as they tend to say in France, except in French, of course). Nice and heavy, and an exercise in a round carved bowl.

I need to get some birch over from home tomorrow and carve another proper, civilised bowl for humans, afterall they’s the ones what pays, but hopefully they also like bowls for their friends the animals and birds.