A trip to Scotland, MaFe meets JamieVisiting my friend Jamie Speirs. This is a short picture story of a wonderful travel I just ended last week.First a visit to Ireland and then Scotland.The blog will be followed up by blogs about projects I did as I was in Scotland. My sister is married to an American General Consul and they are stationed in Belfast, so when I decided to go and visit her, I contacted our LJ buddy Jamie and asked him what he thought about me coming for a visit on my way...
If you ever go to Scotland (Edinburgh) you MUST MUST MUST go spend a 1/2 day at Abbottsford – the home of Sir Walter Scott. For the lover of carvings, it’s incredible. These are a few pics of just one room – his writing room or den.. .Sorry for the fuzziness of the next one. This was a carving in a chair. I guess I was so excited I couldn’t stop shaking ;) .This is a carving on the armrest of another chair. It’s a little worn due to wear. .Every cor...
I closed the shed in October last year and took the toolbox inside as I had no intention of working through the winter on this project – even though it was near completion. The cold damp air is not good for the wooden tools and they deserve better at this stage in their lives even if they have withstood worse in the past….. So Christmas passed, then January, February, March; finally in mid-April, I re -installed the toolbox and started work again. The frame of the chair was already glu...
I wish I knew more about mushrooms and toadstools; Inkcaps appear from time to time, and rubbery, orange or brown alien things are there in the short grass some mornings and gone a few days later. Wrens are bobbing about outside the window today looking for insects in the bushes, maybe it’s the “flying school” wrens – they’ll be around all winter as they don’t migrate, and in the spring (RSPB website) the males will build several nests and the female will choose the nest she likes best. “W...
I have to “rough cut” the curved pieces of the chair now and, to come back to the jig-saw question, you can’t use a jigsaw to cut a curve in 90mm beech. Admittedly it’s not very easy with a bowsaw but it is possible. What if you halved the piece of 90mm wood, cut it with a jigsaw, and glued it back together again? – Yes, you could do that; but there isn’t a jigsaw in Mr Wake’s box, nor is there a power point in the shed. End of discussion. The other alternative, if you remain uninspired...
The timber is still moist to the touch and heavy, probably about 28% moisture, but it will be easier to cut in this condition and will dry quickly with a smaller cross-section. It is time to rough-cut the components. You may remember that I have already selected and prepared pieces for the main members – the back legs. All this hand-work makes you think of efficiency in a way that you may never have thought of it before. If you have ever cycled around the countryside and taken a wrong t...
Leaving the tool chest for a moment; we go back a few years to the Domesday Book and 1086 and an interesting fact – 13 saws were recorded in the kingdom, bowsaws were common at the time so what kind of saws were these? Probably not sawmills; mills are mentioned aplenty and millponds too but they were agricultural mills. These are probably pitsaws, a gruelling job for two men; one of them in the pit and the other steering the two-handed saw and balancing on the level tree-trunk as they r...
“Maybe he was a pattern maker”. Alexander, my oldest son, is an engineer and was looking at the collection of gouge chisels as I put their tray back in the chest. I was wondering why Mr Wake had so many gouge chisels and whether that was a clue to his job. All the tools in this chest are marked “C Wake” but I know nothing else about him, except for what I can guess from the chest and its contents. “You just want to show off your collection of tools, that’s why you’re doing these arti...
In some ways I would be proud to have “Bodger” on my CV. The gentlemen who made chair spindles in the beech woods in and around Buckinghamshire when Charles Dickens was writing were called Bodgers. It’s hard to see where the connection with “botching a job” comes from but there probably isn’t one, apart from the fact that they come from the same, older, root. Bodgers were not “botchers” or “butchers” or “cowboys” even, they were skilled woodsmen who cleaved beech wood and then turned the...
You may be wondering when I am going to stop daydreaming and get on with making a chair. The short movie that I produced to accompany this entry provides a ‘short-cut’ to the main action! It’s just that I know that some people are going to ask “What’s the point in making furniture by hand?” and I think that it’s difficult to explain, I certainly can’t put it in a sentence. I have read entire books by people who have tried to answer this question ( e.g. David Pye – “Th...
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