A few days ago I was chatting with a fellow wood worker who it turned out was looking for someone to make the oak pegs needed for a timber framing project. After a quick look at an example, I made a couple of dozen which he seemed very pleased with, and a larger order soon followed. Later that week I was working with a colleague milling oak for a client who was embarking on his own DIY timber frame. When I arrived on site I was greeted with an enthusiastic “Ah you must be the peg man”. I agreed that I was quite possibly a man who could make framing pegs and after a quick discussion another order quickly followed.
This is a lovely example of just how nice it is to make things for people, be it pegs, chairs or a rolling pin. Although in the past I had only ever made a handful of these pegs for my own use, this encounter reminded me that the ability to make just what is needed to the exact specifications is easily taken for granted. I am very proud to be the peg man and although it is repetitive work it is something I will never grow weary of. It is, both satisfying and useful- what more could you ask for in your work? I look forward to making many, many more pegs and friends who need them.
With the chance to show off my work at a few local shows coming up, I am trying to put together a few pieces for sale over the next few weeks. Working with two of my favourite materials, yew and ash I am in the process of making five stools (or small tables depending on your preference) simultaneously. All five will be made from the same two materials, from the same two trees using the same or very similar methods with the same basic design. I can already tell however that they will each have very distinct characters and appearances. It is the wonderful thing about working with wood the ‘green’ way. The shape and finish of each stool or table top is dictated largely by the grain pattern and shape of the raw sab. It is a case of embellishing what is already there rather than entirely controlling the finished appearance. This in turn influences the height, shape and complexity of the legs and ultimately the finished piece.
Working like this requires no pattern to follow or conform to and the angles and layout of each piece can be approached individually and therefore uniquely. It is quite literally a case of if it looks right then it is right. By following a few basic rules and using your instinct and intuition anything is possible.
I will post pictures of my progress with these and look forward to seeing the family of stools when they come together.
Next month I will be demonstrating at Okehampton and Chagford shows (10th and 17th August respectively). I will be offering woodworking tutorials and selling my wares. For both shows I will be sharing a pitch with Jim White of Whitewood Management, who offers a fantastic range of local timber and will be demonstrating his mobile saw mill.
My main focus this summer will be to promote the courses, particularly to families. The one day pole lathe course is a great family activity and I am currently making child sized shaving horses for my own four and five year old children.
I would suggest that from eight years and over, the one and two day courses are perfect fun family activities. Under sixteens are half price so you could always team up with your children to make a stool or table on a longer course. What could be more special than a piece of furniture for your home that you and your children made together? There are a huge variety of activities that can engage young children, they can make their own rounders or baseball bat or even a greenwood sword, quite possibly more fun for me and the kids than for the parents!
If you think this is something that your family would enjoy please use the form to book a place and remember, if the dates available don’t suit you then you can contact me with your own dates. Come and find me at the shows to have a taster session and introduce your children to a new outdoor hobby.
I will be running workshops later in the summer where families with young children can make there own coat racks or mug trees from green ash. This really is great fun for all families with primary aged children and older. This activity can easily be incorporated into the courses to ensure that your children get the most out of the day and manage to make something entirely on their own.
So for a fun family day out as part of your summer holiday, get in touch and we can arrange your bespoke course tailored to the needs of your family.
All children will be expected to rub Milly (the dog’s) tummy and throw sticks (there are always plenty of sticks!).
Today I finished off (almost anyway) two very different stools. One in Yew and Ash to be used as a seat for playing the quitar and the other a footstool for a very beautiful farm house. The smaller of the two has a lovely patterned Oak top with Beech legs and Hawthorne stretchers. It is the second piece commissioned by the couple and like the first is made entirely from their own wood. Continue reading “Two very different commissions”
Most of my time in the last few weeks has been dedicated to getting the workshop ready for courses later this summer. There is still a lot to do but Jack and I have finally finished the work bench. Made from recycled fire doors, old pallets and reclaimed wood the bench will provide a secure surface and clamping point for assembling and finishing furniture. By the end of this month the workshop will be operational with six pole lathes, chopping blocks and shaving horses as well as the means to make lots of cups of tea. Later in the year I plan to install a wood burner with a drying box for turned legs etc and a pizza oven (might as well put all those shavings to good use). Continue reading “Pallets and plywood”