Thursday 20 July 2023

Recording pattern

It's all too easy to take photographs these days. However, it's not long ago that it wasn't so easy. In the not so distant, if I saw a carving pattern that I liked, I would sketch it out, and later maybe sit down with pencil, compass and paper. 


A lot of the patterns on seventeenth century furniture were laid out in a similar way, but directly on the oak, scratching with compasses instead of pencil. Centrelines, maybe crosslines, pacing out using compasses and then arcs from all those points. 

The sweep of curved gouges would then dictate a further part of the design. Then v-gouge or 'veiner', used freehand, might fill out the spaces betwixt and between.

Then 'grounding' the background, and stamps of various cunning pattern to highlight.

It is surmised by some, that apprentices, would, over the course of time, learn the patterns and become so used to their execution, that less laying out was necessary; they would produce the patterns by rote.

From my own experience, I think there must be some truth in this. Familiarity with a v-gouge certainly helps when knocking out s-scrolls and the like.

However, I must confess a weakness for measured drawing; fond memories of classes at school. It was probably the most useful thing I was taught there. I don't think technical drawing is even taught in school anymore.

Of course a rough sketch can also be useful when working out 'new' designs.


Tuesday 18 July 2023

A day in Exeter

This blog started with a trip to Exeter, and yesterday was another. The ladies were shopping, but I had other plans. I was hoping to visit St. Nicholas Priory again, but it was closed. You can see photos of it on my very first blog post.

I had to settle for another look at the guild hall.

The door was made by an Exeter joiner named Nicholas Baggett; he was paid £4 10s for his work in 1594.

I'm going to focus here on the door. It is one of several similar doors in the Exeter area.

Walking up the hill from St. Nicholas to the guild hall, there is St. Olaves church.

An angel therein.

A tudor rose on the font.

Also on the font.

Friday 14 July 2023

Another good day for oiling

Another good day for oiling. Inside today, because the rain that has been threatening for weeks, finally came, all at once! I was loving the ebonised oak bowls the other day, but this darkened, oiled ash gives the oak a run for it's money. Look away if you don't like gratuitous pictures of oiled up texture on bowls.

I will post photos of the whole bowls when I find a camera that is big enough.

Tuesday 11 July 2023

A good day for oiling

Today was a good day for oiling. The sky was glowering and threatening rain. It's been very dry here during the early summer, so any rain is a godsend.  It will fall on Dartmoor, and slowly make it's way into the Dart. Dart means oak river and once it's passed through the peat it takes on it's dark colour. These bowls are made from trees that grow near the Dart, they take it's colour.

So, there has been a lot of finishing of bowls going on this week. The bowl horse came galloping into action.

I will be opening up my workshop as part of the Devon Open Studios 9-23 September. Come and see these bowls and others, furniture and lots of other carving.

Saturday 8 July 2023

Pillar bases

 I've made a few steps forward with the pillars. They have been waiting patiently for bases for a while.

Unlike the capitals (totally carved), I started by trying to turn the bases. I soon realised that the orientation of their grain would not allow me to do this, so ended up carving them also. It did make me think how to make a round form without a lathe.


This arrangement worked well, allowing the base to be turned around while sawing to depth, chiselling and subsequently gouging to finish. It's easy to loosen and tighten the bench screw with your mallet hand to move the base between strikes. The holdfasts keeping it all solid.



It's glacial pace with this, but as usual, lots of other things to take up time; some much bigger pillars on the cards this week!