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.


Oh no, not another grand Yorkshire day out!

Last week we had yet another day off and set off into North Yorkshire heading for the coast. On the way we stopped at Hackfall wood which has been a pleasure wood since 1731 complete with follies, waterfall and fountain. More here. A very peaceful day on a beautiful sunny morning, set in a deep gorge:.

The fountain was not playing, only works on Sundays apparently, worth going back for.

We went next to Shandy Hall, Coxwold, which is where Laurence Stern lived and wrote some of Tristam Shandy (available in audio at Librivox. This is another hidden gem, the house only opens twice a week, not on the day we were there, but the gardens alone are worth the visit. Very quirky indeed, lots of nooks and corners and hidden delights and shady seats.

I fancy making a copy of this simple stool, it is four-legged actually, but one was missing. The benches were rather unusual too:

The planting was beautiful, this bunch reminded me of oriental warriors:

Having had a look at the church in the village, we noted a stylish gravestone, unusual in having decoration on the reverse side.

Finally we visited Bempton Cliffs on the East coast, very busy with thousands of nesting sea birds including gannets, fulmars, kittiwakes, guilemots, and puffins.

More stools

Development of a stool.

Three legged stools are quite popular. They were often used in places where the floor was uneven as they are self levelling – stools with three legs do not rock. So they were used e.g to sit on when milking, they are good for this as the front two legs allow the tilting forwards that’s required when getting to the teats at the far side of the beast. This was taken to an extreme in some areas with a belt on one legged milking stool:

I’m making two three leggers at the moment for a client as previously mentioned. I already had a five minute one made from scraps so I could sit and carve bowls in the so passé vertical bowl clamp. It was rather an oddity with a longer leg to accommodate the slope on the workshop floor. That’s the really rough-looking one at the right of the picture above. Then I made a prototype, but based on a round-topped one so I laid out the legs on the same basis – dividing a circle into sixths (then thirds) with a pair of compasses. This didn’t work well – see the one at the back with the wedges sticking out. I’m going to remodel the top into a shape that reflects the leg layout.

However, I’m rather pleased with the way this one is going:

I’ll get it glued and wedged today.

I’m also working on making more space in the workshop by rationalising the lathes. I’m combining the bowl and spindle lathes into one, making new poppets for the single bed original lathe and reorganising the stiffer pole than drives the bowl version. It’s also time to sort out the horse, I’ll be sawing a log to provide a new bed for it, of the conventional style with a flat bed. Watch this space…

And for a little relaxation a shrink pot in alder:


What a great place for an afternoon out,  Yorkshire Sculpture Park at Bretton Hall.  Even found an oversized froe:

There was some stunning marble sculpture work by Peter Randall Page.

Some were outside, and there were lots inside (no photography!)

Well worth a visit, and I’m looking forward to the exhibition of David Nash’s work from May 2010.  Amazingly solid sculptures in wood like this:

We’ve also been taking a leisurely look at my other favourite, brewing:

This is a Yorkshire Square fermentation vessel at Black Sheep Brewery at Masham, N Yorkshire.  It’s a traditional method of fermentation developed in The West Riding of Yorkshire, using slate slabs and a separate floor near the top where the yeast head collects and then is sprayed with the fermenting beer once an hour.  The old part of the brewery is in the kilning area of a former maltsters:

After Masham we drove down to Lotherton Hall near Leeds.  An intriguing Edwardian furnished mansion.  This piece especially caught my eye, way out of period being 16th century, but much easier on the eye than e.g. the sycamore inlaid grand piano:

There was a pair of really good stools the like of which I’ve never seen before:

Deeply dished seat and three curved legs through tenonned into the seat which was cunningly much thicker in the middle underneath.  Looks really comfortable, but sadly no chance of trying it out without leather trousers as protection.

Vices and buffets

Amazing what you can do with a few bits that have been lying around waiting to join the firewood heap:

Pop it in a hole in the new bench and hey presto:

Turn the cam:

new bench vice! So strong it will hold stuff for adzing:

Also got a couple of stools (or buffets if you live in God’s Own County) finished


Today was buffet day. This is what we call what others may call ‘stools’ but that’s a bit too funda-mentalist for me though.

My Sunday apprentice Richard assembled his buffet – post and rung and very good it looked too.

Here’s a line of the current mass production.

In order, the Hawthorn, Nim reworked (see last post) on her hols (horrid father, making his daughter work on her hols).
Then today’s progress, buffet still in Spanish windlass, which I call a tourniquet which is less words but harder to spell. Wedges still sticking out, prior to sawing off and finishing, but to all intents now a buffet, Elm top and Ash legs, rungs and stretcher – my favourite woods.

The last one – a better proportioned buffet – sold,sorry- , thinner legs than it’s younger brother and shorter – small is beaut.

And … may have sold the leather clad one in Strid Exhibition Hoil! Fingers crossed. And started negotiations with Bob to sell a BIG bench to t’Estate which was formerly a trestle to support the table at the Saudi Day.

So all in all a pretty four-legger day.

Started with a good breakfast:

The centre-piece of which was an Austrian pancake, entitled nockerlen with an umlaut on t”O’. They were going to be simple breakfast pancakes, but we made them so often when our children were lil that the receipt book disintegrated and was composted. So we now have nockerlen (with an umlaut on t”O’), and the production involved one less pan:

It was good to have Nim home for a while, all this splitting up families in the Modern Whorld, not too good methinks. Anyways we enjoyed our brekkies: