Wednesday 4 July 2018


So, the installation of the noticeboard corresponded, with a week of hot days. There could really not be a more pleasant site, overlooking the Deer Park, fields and woodland on Dartington Hall estate.

The noticeboard is going adjacent to these lovely gates, made by my friend Jeremy of

The noticeboard is based upon Dartington Church lych gate. However, unlike the lych gate there are no supporting banks to the side. So we are going for a double-whammy of earthfast or concretefast post and feet morticed into the posts. It's larch so the posts and bottom of the feet have been charred to help prevent rot.

It's erection day.

The accomodation is compact and bijou, but then it is a noticeboard!

As the last cedar shingle was nailed to the roof, these oak leaves landed on the ridge. That's what I call a topping-out ceremony!

Saturday 16 June 2018

Deer Park (Short)Noticeboard

At extremely short notice, we have been asked to create a noticeboard for the grand opening of the new Dartington Hall deer park. When is it we ask? 9 days time is the answer.
Best crack on then!

By all means try this at home, but please wear more sensible footwear!

Pulling the plate square. Ratchet straps are where it's at, this week.

Moving on

We recently moved house. The new place has a lot more space and the workshop is getting crowded. A great opportunity to empty one and fill up the other, with all the lovely things that I make. It's great to see my settle in a domestic setting at last.

The doors here are narrow and there's enough renovation to do without widening them, so there was only one thing for it; drill out a few pegs. Even when drilled, they didn't want to come out, a testament to the strength of the drawbore joint!

Although the settle has settled, so to speak, I am holding it together with ratchet straps for now; you never know when wanderlust is going to take hold.

We have an ash and elm hedge out the back with a few maybe thirty year old trees in it. I am loathe to cut down an ash, with chalara dieback about to devastate the UK ash population, but one was leaning precariously over my daughters' new bedroom. Down it came! Lots of lovely bowl material.

I was recently asked to replace some window frames. Although probably only a hundred years old, the houses they belong to are within the curtilage of a grade 1 listed building. The conservation officer's interest was focused on the steel windows that the wooden frame contains.

What is far more interesting, is the construction of the wooden frame and the dormer itself. On closer inspection we realised that the window frame was the main part of the dormer's framing. Replacement was out of the question without a huge amount of disruption to the tenants and the roofing process, which was already in full swing. What at first appeared to be fascia, was actually a cap to protect the rafters.

So repair was the best option. On cutting back the oak cill on the first window, the construction was exposed. Pegs and wedges.

Worth preserving, so a new oak cill was cut to fit around these original features, the stiles had new pieces of timber scarfed in and the new cill planted over this work. This way, in a hundred years time, maybe someone else will still be able to see how these dormers were constructed, two hundred years previously.

On other windows the cills were still reasonably intact, so thin oak caps were fixed on and new 'rafter caps' installed.

And then the roofers installed new lead. New fascias on the side, and ready for painting.

Dartington Hall estate has opened a new deer park, surrounded by a restored stone wall, which dates back to the 9th century!

A new noticeboard is needed for the deer park. We are basing it on Dartington church lych gate. The original is oak, but we are re-creating it in larch.

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Panning for gold

Dartmeet is the point where the East and West Dart meet, before continuing as one through south Dartmoor and onwards to the sea. Most of the bowls and furniture I make, is made from trees that grow within a few miles of the middle stretches of the Dart. Between the high moorland, where ravens glide, and the lower tidal stretches, where salty water daily mixes with the peaty torrent from upstream. The bowls are of the Dart, so Dartmeet seemed like a good place for a photo session.

Crow. Oak. Boiled with Iron. 550Lx250Wx100H

American Black Walnut (from Dartington Estate). 370x200x48

Ash. 320x190x65

Cherry. Dartington Estate. 450x190x100

Oak. The first Dragon Bowl I made. Pre-bowl gouges. Six years ago! 820x90x240

Ash. 520x200x125

Cherry. Dartington Estate. 450x185x80

Ash. Sleepy Hollow. 630x275x200

Ash. Sleepy Hollow. 600x190x130

Sycamore. Ladle. Scoop. Totnes. Just outside the old town wall. 100 yds from where the seaward Dart meets the tidal Dart.

Oak. Dragon Bowl. Huxhams Cross. 1340x260x320

Cherry. Dartington Estate. 350x250x80

Oak and Bronze. Sleepy Hollow. 730x450x145. This last one is why I was asked, by a passerby, "Are you panning for gold?" .........