Sunday 11 October 2015

Ancient anaglypta and fallen heroes

I have been involved in some varied stuff lately, no surprise there! We had to rip out the old sink unit and make a new carcass, to house this new butler sink and oak worktop and drainer.

Lurking behind the old unit was some ancient anaglypta.

Then Adrian called me and asked if I could help with a fallen beech art project. Happy to oblige. Basically, taking slices through the tree while he took photos of the changing grain.

All was calm until 2pm and then the wind got up. This beech tree had heroically stood in it's hillside copse through many seasons. I remember about 8 years ago, driving down this lane, one of it's companions had fallen. Now only one remains. The wind was whipping up the sawdust into whirling dervishes; I'm not surprised the tree had given up the ghost last winter.

One of the slices bore a resemblance to the USA.

So we thought we'd carve it up for ourselves.

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Who's in the house? Follansbee, Follansbee

I have been too busy to post lately. At the end of July, Peter Follannsbee came over the water to run a Carved Box course with New England Workshop. You kind of had to be there...or I did.

Lots of fun, Peter showing us how it is done.

I've never seen any of Peter's dvds, so it was great to see him carving in the flesh.

 One evening we went on a field trip, stalking old oak in churches around the Somerset countryside.

Up the bell tower.

To look down the bell tower.

To look at the old bell framing.

And a carved pulpit, which wasn't oak.

A couple of boxes made on the course. The chap's on the bottom shows promise!

I have been making stairs and cabinets etc.

And converting a chunk leftover from Peter's course for a new chest with drawer.


 We've been on family camp, where there was a lot of this.

And this.

But couldn't resist some of this.

Tangent split on ash. An ad lib bench.

A wee bit of carving.

And a new sign for the camping field gate.

My first real attempt at forgery; some gimmel hinges for the big chest.

I have noticed some gaps appearing in the floor of big chest no.1. They apparently weren't dry enough before I installed them. So it is out with them, cut a new end board wider than the last, and back in with the middle spreader board, before re-nailing and making the chest rackless once more (will have to be careful to allow the floorboards dry enough next time).

A SofaStage puppet show.

And off to Cressing Temple Barns for the European Woodworking Show.

Tuesday 30 June 2015

Weald and Downland Woodfair and a Saxon Hall

Summer solstice weekend saw me at the Weald and Downland Museum in Sussex. A perfect place for a Wood Show, set amongst 50 odd (mainly timber-framed) buildings that have been rescued and reconstructed on site.

I augered out the holdfast holes in the top of the new bench. The holes were fractionally too small, so needed widening slightly with a gouge. I spent both days demonstrating all day long. I prefer that to having a demonstrating slot, I just potter along working as I would in the workshop and only launching into joinery banter when asked questions.

There was a fantastic horsedrawn timber forwarder which has been made for the museum recently.

My neighbours had these beautiful dugout boats.

The museum started a project eighteen months ago to build a Saxon hall, based upon archaeology found at Steyning. The project is being built by Joe Thompson, museum carpenter, with input from some eminent experts such as Damian Goodburn. Oak and sweet chestnut were hand-hewn last winter by curator Julian Bell.

I stayed on for a couple of days to help get the carpentry off to a good start. It wasn't my first Saxon build, but certainly felt the most authentic.

Some used 'mortice axes' for chopping mortices or 'locks'.

I used my small forest axe because it is so versatile. I reckon if a Saxon had only one tool, it would be one that could do many different jobs.

I soon realised that chopping down the sides of the mortice was bad, chestnut likes to split more than oak! I solved this by using diagonal cuts to sever the fibres, only slicing along the grain to clean up.

The building archaeology at Steyning consists of post holes. It is supposition what was going on above ground. However, a lot of timbers have been excavated from the mud of the Thames which demonstrate a Saxon carpentry which was the forerunner of medieval timber-framing. So the joints and methods we were using here are not without precedent.

This is the wall plate, which will interrupt and clasp the door frame, and be fixed with a wedged trenail.

End wall posts and tie beam temporarily in place. Wall posts are tenoned through plates and tie beams, projecting above. Rafter feet cup over these projecting tenons.

Door posts and lintel in.

Not bad for two days work, a lot of it in the rain. I am sure by now, a week later, with many willing hands the hall must be nearly finished.

Ic i forlaetee!