Tag Archives: elm

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.


I thought it was holidays

But not if you work for yourself, and you work in green wood.

August is very busy, sorry for not posting. This week I’ve been to two events, one 111 miles away in Leicestershire’s Beacon Hill National Forest Wood Fair, and then Kilnsey show, just a couple of miles up the Wharfe river from my workshop.  It’s a stunning location on a pan flat flood plain site with Kilnsey Crag louwering over the whole proceedings. It is very traditional with a fell race to the top of the scar next to the Crag, lots of cattle classes and the finale is harness racing (also known as trotting) with on course betting.  It was a very cool start with frost on the grass.  After it warmed up a little, a plague of midges descended so we got a shavings fire going which smoked the blighters out.  Finally it turned into a glorious day, which was a jolly Good Thing as Kilnsey has been plagued by the wet Summers for two years.

Here’s how the trailer looks when fully loaded for an exhbition:

Just a pile of junk really, but soon turns into this:

It was an excellent location at the entrance to the REAL village section of the show which highlights upland Dales industry in four marquees, I was pitched at the entrance to the village so everybody came past and nearly all stopped to watch and quite a good few to buy, make orders or invite me to their own shows.

Luckily there was an amplified sheep shearing contest three times in the day, lots of calls of “Foreblows” and “Longblows”, as well as a fencing (post and wire, not rapiers!) demonstration which I decide not to compete with, but as they finished I had a ready-made audience.

The people visiting and showing were really friendly, and I don’t think I got a daft comment all day.  Some of the Dales children were very dry too.  Obviously in training for becoming Dales farmers.  Jane had a serious conversation with one 9 year-old and one of the key questions he asked, after establishing that I was in business “for mesel”, was “Has ‘e got a log splitter?”  I had a chat with a farmer from the top end of Nidderdale about alder and clog soles.

The Hampshire branch of our family turned up and a couple or three had a go on the machines:

Theo decorates a woodland elf.

Daisy attempts the amazing ‘cut the lady in half’ trick.

Jenkie had a go on the pole lathe – change from a power lathe, I must have a go on a power lathe some day!

At Beacon Hill National Forest event I entered my first log to leg race, and picked up a few tips to improve my rather poor results (last in both races!) for the APF big event later this month.

I also purchased a rather fine 9 foot by 2 inch thick slab of elm for bench seats: