Category Archives: Green woodwork

My day job.

Red wallet day

My friend Ruth Pullan called by the bodgery today with the new wallet I’d ordered.  Turns out to be a magic one that boosts your sales and the money just flows into it (I even sold a couple of elves as I was packing up , one to a little girl from her pocket money and one to Lotty.).  Here it is:


The cover looks out of square – but careful inspection will also show it is actually out of focus at right because the amount of cash is swelling its belly! See next photo.

Bursting with cash (only had a penny in when Ruth handed it over)…

SAMSUNG CSCAlso holds that important plastic stuff we all seem to need …

SAMSUNG CSCas well as notes (bills) …

SAMSUNG CSCReally good lil wallet though.  Un-dyed, veg-tanned leather and thread, hand stitched.  It is meant to age gracefully, and in my work pocket it will age.  Check out Ruth’s work here.

Today, besides running a deer making course, I have been finishing off this peg rack for the new outstead at home.

SAMSUNG CSCIt’s yew with ash pegs and fastened to the wall with French cleats (more on this later as I fit out the workshop with them).

SAMSUNG CSCIt was quite a challenge to plane – completely dry ‘softwood’, and totally erratic grain.  Holds lots of stuff that doesn’t belong in our cottage any more:

SAMSUNG CSCThe coats are mainly used when I’m mashing my beer.  Last Friday I ran my first brew in the new White Rose brewery:


Outside view, complete with green oak cladding.

This is the run off stage with the brew kettle coming up to boiling. Half this operation used to take place out of doors Winter and Summer.

A few tweaks are required – make the mash filter smaller diameter to fit in the old mash tun that will sit directly atop the wood-burning boiler.  Rewire the mains lead for the kettle so it will actually fit into the water-proof socket with the lid closed as intended.  I think I may be able to get rid of the sparging liquor vessel as I can just about get to sparge strike temperature in the hot water system.  I’m burning dry small wood the get a fierce hot burn and get that water temperature up to the critical 150 F.

Anyway, just for fun I’ve also got a hand pull beer engine working in the beer cellar


(Hang on, there seems also to be : minced meat, marmalade, wine and misc cooking equipment, and … it that a Christmas pudding I spy too? -Ed)

The white plastic gizmo is a valve to stop the, very low, CO2 pressure forcing a syphon through the pump when not required (That is running beer on tap when it shouldn’t be.)  I’ll be turning a new handle to replace the rather hackneyed pony riding scene.

Post scriptum:

Apologies if anyone has trouble with the speed of loading this post.  My ISP has upped the allowable file size from 2 mB to 10 mB.  I used to reduce the photo file size to comply with this and with the increased allowance didn’t bother this time, but there is a loading time premium to pay.  I’ll get them smaller for the next post.


It’s all connected up you know.

Someone ‘liked’ my little Instagram picture of straw skepmaking in the Strid Bodgery.  Just an aside, I wish they’d used other words than ‘like’ and ‘friend’ on the Big Imaginary Tree of Knowledge.  The thumbs up is more like it.  Anyway, the liker (we don’t have friends on Instagram, but scary ‘followers’.  Just another quick aside, I do find it hard in my dotage to distinguish in my memory the difference between following and followers – who is following whom?) ahem, yes the liker was erthewoodworks.  Well she’s really known as Susan (much more friendly name!).  I had a look at her pictures and then her website.

Susan’s not been posting on her blog for long, but there is great potential so I’m adding her to my Netvibes dashboard.  She’s interested in old oak. Like Rivers Joinery and myself.  We should form a club of oakies, there seem to be few of us in the UK with a working interest in our carved oak heritage.  Any other UK oakies, please get in touch by a comment below.

OK the connection came from Susan’s blogroll (list of interesting twigs on The Tree (Bitok)) link to Tools and Trades History Society. As I examined the leaves on the TATHS twigs I fell upon an amazing resource:

This 1988 issue of the TATHS Journal contains an article by Ray Tabour on The Craft of Riving Wood.  The article is the best resource I’ve found on splitting or riving hazel rods.  Ray wrote the article from the knowledge of the remaining skilled workers.  Here is the prophetic end-piece:

“ln the last 40 years woods, woodmen and the craft of woodmanship have declined at a rate unparallelled in their 3,000 year history. Mass production has little place for variable raw materials whose variable conversion needs skill, judgement and adaptability. Another generation could see woodmanship consigned to the history book.

Of the three woodmen who have taught me their craft, and whose skills I have tried to reproduce faithfully here, only one is still at work in a Suffolk wood. One has since died, and the third retired, neither having been replaced by a younger man.”

There has been something of a revival in The Woods for example The Bill Hogarth Trust in the North West of England.  Only just in time though!  And the problem of skills ceasing with no replacement followers-on is being addressed by The Heritage Crafts Association. And it was the HCA selfiday on instagram with the tag #HCAworkspace for which I posted my own straw skep making instagram.