Wednesday 31 December 2014

Happy New Year

In carving oak, I am often conscious of making something beautiful that will endure. Walking on Dartmoor at the weekend, I was walking on a huge volcanic plug, which will no doubt persist for far longer.

Both have beauty, but some thing's beauty lies not in their steadfastness, but in their transience.

Happy New Year everyone!

Friday 28 November 2014

Crux Craft Fair

I have broken my Craft Fair virginity. Wahey!

Here's the set up for the first evening of the weekend.

Wall plaques, boxes, coat racks, chopping boards, door stops, holly spatulas, holly bookmarks etc. all inside a large settle (minus seat boards).

When making a whopping piece of furniture, its probably a good idea to measure your transportation device to make sure it fits. As usual my cavalier side, threw caution to the wind (an attribute I find often gets me through making joined furniture successfully, you kind of just have to go for it!). This time providence shone through, one more half inch on either dimension and.....

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Roll up, roll up, roll up......

Get your lovely 17th century (mini) box here.

6"x6"x6" with a 7" square lid. This and other such little gems for sale at Crux Craft Fair. Come on down!

Thursday 13 November 2014

Draw bore and getting ready to go to Totnes Market

I don't know why I didn't put this photo in the last post. But here it is. A shot of me drawboring the new lid for the mini-chest.

Off to do a stall on Totnes Market tomorrow, so I thought I better give things a shine. I gave the chests a coat of beeswax polish.

Then put them in front of the woodburner to warm up before polishing.

They got a bit too hot and it had the effect of melting the polish and making it sink right into the oak, darkening in the process. I like how it looks.

I will be taking this new stand alone panel.

But I shall not be standing alone, as I will be sharing the stall with the lovely chainsaw-carving Hannah. Not that she carves chainsaws you understand. Here's one of her chairs.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Old chest, new lid.

Its almost two years since I found the oak tree, which was destined to be this chest. The tree had fallen out of a hedge near Rattery, just up the road. When I made this chest I gave it a flatsawn single piece oak lid cut from the same tree, unlike the rest of it which was riven. With one thing or another, it has taken until today to make the lid, that the chest really deserved.

Its now ready to go Crux Craft Fair on the weekend of 28-29-30 November in Rattery, from whence it came! And hopefully someone might want to give it its forever home.

Thursday 6 November 2014

Mills, spills and angels

I think we may be helping to manage this piece of oak woodland in the near future. So we took the new chainsaw mill to slice up this windblown oak and get a feel of the place.

The tree is only 18-20" but luckily the Granberg mill is easily shrinkable and thanks to Rob at who supplied us with extra bracing, we soon fitted the 3' bar and chain and set to. Unfortunately after a few planks the chain derailed and on investigation, it became obvious the chain tensioner had snapped. Under warranty, no problem! Off to Radmore and Tucker to get it sorted.

While they were sorting it, I went for a wander around the local Exeter streets. Just next door is the "House That Moved".

I did a course on roof framing about four years ago at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in West Sussex. They have there lots of buildings dating from the 13th C to victorian times which have been dismantled and rebuilt on the site. This though, is a different animal. It was jacked up, onto a cradle and winched round the corner.

Commuting to work is such a drag.

The new 10 prize medals has been de-rusted, sharpened and pressed into work outlining (maybe its a 2 sweep).

Have been experimenting with gold leaf...

and oil spills...

seventeenth-century influence, product of a twenty-first-century world.

Creating new patterns of angels (geese again) and teaching myself how to carve them.

Monday 27 October 2014


I acquired the usual old bit of iron from the boot sale yesterday.

Ok, its a bit rusty, but its ten prize medals, 1" with a 3 sweep I think, and only 50p. Worth trying to save.

Bethany wanted to go to an "olden days place", so we went to Powderham Castle. It was the last chance this year as it closes on the 30th October. I have not been before, I thought it was not a 'real' castle, but although the crenellations etc. are relatively modern, it turns out that the original structure is over 600 years old.

We went into the chapel before having a guided tour of the main residence (it is still a family home today). Lovely pew ends.

I love the simplicity of this corner cupboard.

However, the different styles, methods of carving, patinas and subjects made me begin to suspect something amiss.  Back in the chapel foyer.

"The peaceful and appealing little chapel was originally built around 1450 as a 'grange' or accomodation for visitors to the medieval castle. The 16thC carved pew ends come from St. Andrews Church in South Huish near Kingsbridge which is now a ruin cared for by(this sounds so sad) the Friends of Friendless Churches. In 1866, when parts of it were already 500 years old, the parishioners of St.Andrews decided that the repairs it needed were far beyond their means and it was abandoned. The pew ends were given to the 11th Earl of Devon, who converted the Powderham grange into the chapel in1874."

That makes sense. The original church's carvings were probably added to, re-framed, moved about, copied and then finally the whole lot was moved here ...then added to, re-framed, moved about, copied.....

But this bit of panelling may have arrived in the present day, original and complete.