Monthly Archives: February 2010

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.

Back from Derbyshire


I’ve just returned from an excellent bowl-carving course run by Robin Wood in Edale, Derbyshire.

I went via Halifax which I must say, I’d forgotten contains some fine stone buildings:

The course was held in the tidy little village hall and I stayed in the YHA with a couple of other course members.

Mind you it didn’t stay tidy for long – seven people hacking away at logs carving swedish bowls for two and a half days produced quite a good number of sacks of shavings.

Robin is an inspired and inspirational teacher and I’m sure everyone had a great time, if they got as much out of it as did I. We all produced decent bowls and learnt important techniques.

I made a couple of curvy bowls, I am very pleased with the second, boat-shaped one. A little more work needed but the form is there.

An important part of the course was learning how the look at what you’re working on and what are the essential parts to concentrate on, like the main lines of the form, if you want to find out more book onto one of Robin’s courses, he also runs spoon making courses which are a little less physically demanding and a good introduction to the joys of making useful things with your hands from green wood. You can buy tools from him too,

read books and chat over tea, coffee biscuits and excellent home-made lunches served on wooden ware and eaten with wooden spoons, even the tea and coffee containers deserve close study:

I also met a bunch of very interesting people with common interests

All in all an excellent outing. Expect extravagant hand carved bowls coming to this blog soon!