Foxfire

This book was a birthday present from the New Yorkers (my son Will and his wife Eva).  It is an extraordinary book, a collection of articles researched by school kids in the late 1960s and first published in a Northeast Georgia school magazine.  This volume (and there are at least 10 more) concerns home life in The Appalachians and is full of first-hand stories of a life gone by with pictures diagrams and photographs.  It reminds me of The Whole Earth Catalogue vein of culture. It tells history in a much more immediate way somehow that some books on English country life which, while interesting and informative, seem to be more remote from the people who lived e.g. in The Yorkshire Dales as the information about the people is less and more about their skills and equipment (However, I was reading a fascinating account of oatbread making in Life and Tradition in The Yorkshire Dales by M Hartley and J Ingilby but that’s another story!).

Anyway in Foxfire amongst a lot of other fascinating things I’ve not had a chance to read as yet there’s a picture of Bill Lamb’s shave horse.  I think this is the most minimalist horse I’ve ever seen.

It was used for dressing shingles.

I thoroughly recommend at least this volume of Foxfire (which is the first one) and I will definitely be dipping in to volume 4 which appears to have a something on the pole lathe:

(By the way, I’m aware of the criminal problem with the editor in later years, but he has probably suffered enough over that)

And on that subject I can report that the Japanese style minimalist cleaving break works really well.  I’ll take a photo today of the one I’ve made from a sycamore log I’ve had lying around.

Wild About Wood

Just back from Castle Howard, North Yorkshire where I met Saul Blenkarn, swill maker.  He’s from Hexham and if you want to contact him his phone number is 07818 452 322. He was taught by Owen Jones. Beautiful baskets and a great way of displaying them

I loved his simple shelter, makes mine look way over the top, I feel a redesign coming on for next year’s dos.

I had a great pitch, just in at the entrance, in a grove of small Hornbeams, the first stand visitors encountered, and they all certainly seemed to enjoy my true bodger weekend, turning out the rungs for a set of 6 dining chairs – that’s a whole lot of rungs, nearly got them all done though.  The children were very interested as always, and one of them after having a late go on the lathe, helped us pick up the horse shavings.

This was the first woody event at Kew at Castle Howard arboretum, and seemed to be a success as they will be holding it again next year.

Back to Strid tomorrow, hope the midge repellent fire is not required again