Saturday 2 December 2023

First one to one course

First one-to-one student today. Julian came on a long way, learning to carve a flower and much else. The sun rises late here, in the valley, and it was a chilly night, but I soon had the workshop toasty with the woodburner.

Mr. Crow sits waiting for the first rays to come over the hill.

Burner on. Focusing on carving today, so we'll need it.

Julian's pleased with his work.

And so am I.

Happy carving Julian!

Saturday 14 October 2023

Bread and Butter

It's been a year of heavy oak work, some lighter oak work and some oak carving. Now is time for some bread and butter work; a run of sash window repair. Shhhh, don't tell anyone I can fix sash windows!

This poor old thing has seen some action; opening out from above a butterwalk, looking down Totnes Fore St. past the market square.

It's the top sash, with the bottom/meeting rail to the right. The meeting rail, unsurprisingly being only 1" thick, is rotten. It's been repaired before and definitely needs replacing. The pegs that held it to the stiles, however, are as good as they were 150+ years ago, as are the stiles.

You can see, top left (or rather you can't), the moulding obscured by fifteen layers of paint. Before I took it out of the frame, I thought it was an ovolo moulding. Several of the glazing bars were beyond saving, but that fortunately means that I can cut through one to see the original profile. Cavetto and bead!

A handsome moulding. A few rebates cut and then a hollow and round moulding plane. Fun, fun, fun. I could only save two glazing bars. It's testament to the original joiners, but even without glazing bars and bottom rail, this frame was solid.

In with the new parts, pegged, glued and tenons wedged. Re-glazed with putty.

It's not all meat and two veg. Plenty of bread and butter between times. And there's certainly many sliding sash windows round these parts, to be restored.....

Saturday 23 September 2023

Out came the sunshine.....

 ....and dried up all the rain. So Jon, the riven oak joiner, got out his froe again....

I've mainly been hunkering inside while the storms raged, so hats off to all the brave souls who came to my Open Workshop. The gazebo survived; even though it's screwed down to the concrete; it still nearly went into kite mode in the gales the other day.

So, good to get out in the sunshine and do some actual riving.

Some rail and stile stock for the next cupboard, and some small panel stuff for beginner's carving courses running soon. 

Cleaving off the sap.

Still, that hunkering down inside has been productive also.

If you're interested in doing a course get in touch.

Thursday 21 September 2023

Visitors from Estonia

It's been an eventful week. Lots of visitors and some special ones from Estonia. Meelis Kihulane is a heritage woodworker from Estonia specialising in bentwood items. He has been in England this week, seeking out other woodfolk who are trying to keep traditional handcrafts alive. He and his friends did me the honour of visiting on Tuesday, which was a pleasure. We discussed many things, and he invited me to come to Estonia.

I believe he played a part in the re-publishing of:

Of course, I asked him to sign my copy.


Ever since reading the book, I have been intrigued with all the traditional items that were, and still are (thanks to Meelis) made in Estonia, so it will be fascinating to go and see. Hopefully we will collaborate in the future!

It was a stormy day, very much brightened by their visit.

Thursday 14 September 2023

V&A panel

The great thing about having an open workshop for two weeks, is that I actually have time to carve. With the sun streaming in it's ideal conditions, so let's crack on.


I've been meaning to attempt carving this panel for some time.


It's a panel which is held in the V&A, although I've only got an old photo in a book to work from. The original forms part of some wall panelling from a 1600 Exeter house. I think the house might have been demolished a long time ago, so we can be grateful that someone saved this part of it.



It's interesting to carve because the main part of the strapwork is lower than the border, to allow for the satyrs, monkeys, fruit and what-have-you, tangled up in it.