Monthly Archives: April 2010

Rungs and legs

I’m making some three legged stools. This needs three legs for each one and three rungs (fairly obviously). I’m not sure yet how many stools there will be so I’ve made plenty of legs and rungs. They are not all the same as you can see:

What I’ve done is turn these up getting the best sizes out of the ash logs I’ve used. So I’ve ended up with a random selection of sizes. Two stools have to be of a specific height for an order, but the rest can be what I fancy as they will be stock items for sale as is. Looking at the legs I need to turn up a couple more to get full matching sets.

Random has a resonance with me as my father was a stone mason and random walling was often mentioned at home, that’s walling where the stones’ courses are just as thick as the beds being extracted from the quarry. Here’s an example of random stone walling (from a supplier’s site):

This all fits in with a book I’m currently reading “The Unknown Craftsmen: a Japanese Insight into Beauty”by Soetsu Yanagi and Bernard Leach.  This is a fascinating and illuminating read centred around the hand made artefact.

Balsam poplars

Yesterday morning I managed to remember to visit the balsam poplars as the buds break into leaf.  The name gives the game away – they have a distinctive odour at this stage, rather pleasant.  They do look a bit out of place compared to the rest of Strid and will be removed in due course under the “Recovering” SSSI status (see the oak in the foreground to take over?).  They grow very rapidly and take root very easily from branches left on the bank.  They are rather brittle too – three lost their tops in a medium breeze last year.  The timber is very open being fast grown and I found a sample difficult to turn, but I bet it would be OK for carved bowls.

The odour is quite strong until overtaken by standing in a bunch of these fellows:

Wild garlic.  See the flower bud coming?  They do smell very strong when bruised.