Monthly Archives: July 2012

Yew’ll enjoy these draining days off in the meadow.

I’ve had a very busy week at home with my grown up children.  Some of the highlights were SSSI wild flower meadows (above). Finishing a yew draining borad, visiting Saltaire – again (still good), getting lots of bike advice, cooking and eating, drinking beer from Saltaire, Ilkley, Rose Cottage and Belgium.  And, of course, le tour de France!

The Wild flower meadow is at the site of the fever hospital between Grassington and Hebden in North Yorkshire.  It is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest because it is a now rare example of the diverse flora that used to grow in hay meadows, now sadly almost all blown away by the change by farmers to making silage from mono-cultured perennial rye grass.  There are about 50 species in this meadow, here are some of the ones we spotted from the flagged path through the two fields.

Meadow sweet (the tall white ones), dog daisy, Great Burnet, ribbed plantain.

Buttercup, scabius, red clover, sorrel,  goatsbeard, yellow rattle (seed heads).  The latter is a very interesting plant, as a hemiparasite it attaches itself to the roots of other plants in the meadow to extract nutrients and water.  It prefers to paratise grasses which thus encourages growth of the flowering herbs and suppresses the growth of competing grass.

I’ve also had to get the draining board finished for my son and his wife to take back home to Brooklyn.  We decided to keep it as natural as possible with the draining runnels following the grain like rivers:

It is a beutiful bit of yew, even if it was a challenge to plane.

On the way back from the airport, we called in at Ravenden Wood at Smithills Hall, Bolton.  A clough wood – that is in a steep-sided stream valley, very peaceful after the big city of Manchester and its airport.

Dappling through the beeches

Fine spalting in the stump of a very recently felled beech.

Town and country.

 

 

Get a new head & make a spoon

I’m trying to refine my spoon carving skills.  Making spoons is not my main day job, and I’ve had slow sales, then in the last week, I’ve sold three, taken an order for an engraved one and had the best one I ever made stolen (it was made from a crooked branch and was a cranked ladle with a pointed pouring lip – birch, if you see it, smack its bum and send it home, it had a hook on the back to hang it off the side of a pot – here it is:

).

I’m going to concentrate on making this spoon as seen in the above series.  Pretty small and thin and with endless opportunities for decorations at the top (the commissioned one will have  a hazel nut, echoing the wood type).

There is no Summer in the UK this year – the Jet Stream has gone on holiday apparently! However, the meadowy sides of the road into Bolton Abbey don’t seem to mind, these spotted orchids have grown very tall:

I’ve been making the shave horse modification as  Peter Galbert has neen kindly telling us about.

I got to the final stages today

Planing the base of the bed – from sweet chestnut.  Look how you can hold a piece of wood.  Holdfast at the far end. A dog underneath to slope it 10 degrees (or 1″ in 4″, I believe) and a dog aside, to stop the work wandering about the bench. It looks so rough as I was using the scrub plane.  Finished it off with the jointer.

I did some glueing yesterday. This is the leg with the ratchet.  Notice the filled tooth where I drilled for a dowel in the wrong place whilst talking to a passerby.  I don’t use steel cramps much but they were very useful this time, and here’s a wooden one …

Blimey!  Bit of an bondage moment, but these pieces are very technical.  The wooden cramp is great.  I tried to make one (an other unfinished project).  They work so well , I must make some more.  I acquired this one at The Bodgers’ Ball this year in Devon.

This is the old horse stripped down readying for the new Smarthead (© Peter Galbert).

The slot needed enlarging:

I noticed the original cut-out was done with the chainsaw, I was a bit quieter this time and chopped it out.

That’s about as far as I got as I managed to break the top-toothed member in testing.  I’d used ash and the gluing hadn’t taken (lousy planing I’m afraid t have to blummin’ admit (again)).  I’ll be remaking it in elm – no way that’ll split.

Watch this space but I’m off work for a week now, breaking in my new clogs

… so don’t hold your breath.