Weekend gathering

I hosted a gathering this weekend at my woods for a friends 50th birthday party.

The plan was to practise skills and to do some green woodworking, but we seemed to spend most of the weekend eating and drinking!

I made a chocolate bannock by using a cooking pot as an oven.

Here’s the end result.

Although I had a sleeping bag, Saturday night was by far the coldest night I have ever had while sleeping outside! I did not sleep much and was up at first light making coffee and preparing for breakfast.

On Sunday I made a parachute tepee to enable people to shelter from the wind.


As my friend Robin at Treewright has just posted in a previous thread I thought I would promote him EVEN MORE!!! by showing you something he demonstrated to me when we were working together at the Scout Jamboree last summer.

Not everyone has the materials, time or space for their own pole-lathe, but a bow-lathe is a small and simple alternative. Below is a picture of Robin in action using his bow-lathe.

I guess you could say that it is based on the principle of the bow-drill, because you use a bow to rotate your work instead of foot power as used with a pole-lathe.

All you need is a stable base (I used a piece of scaffold board for mine) and two uprights fixed securely to the base. Drill a hole towards the top of each upright and insert a coach screw (or similar) through each, having ground a point onto each bolt to hold your piece of work securely. Use two nuts to secure the bolts in position.

At one end you can incorporate a simple wooden handle to tighten one bolt to hold you work.

and finally fix a piece of wood between the two uprights as a tool rest

Now axe a length of wood into a rough “round”, place the bow string around using the same method as with the bow-drill and secure your work between the two bolts.

Now using a couple of bodgers chizels, move the bow backwards and forwards to rotate your work and turn the wood into whatever you require!

Green woodworking group gathering

It was the monthly gathering of our green woodworking group again today. The day started very well with me being given an old picture of a Finnish Skolt Lapp woman making cordage out of Reindeer sinew, by rolling it on her cheek. This is a method I have never encountered before.

If you look closely at the picture you can actually see the cordage the cordage vibrating as she rolls it.

Then I was asked to make a fire in a creative way, so decided to see whether the winter sun was strong enough to make fire using a condom and crampball fungus (as mentioned here). My friend filmed this piece of film for me and if you look carefully you can see the smoke starting to appear as the fungus is ignited.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This is my friend Will, turning out a Alder bowl on his pole lathe.

and here the children are also learning to use a pole lathe.

Everyone enjoyed the day, especially with the beautiful spring-like weather.

Simple bench or trestle

My friend Will and I made some benches for students to sit on when attending my courses. Will had seen these made and used as trestles by carpenters in Romania.

Two four inch diameter logs are split in half to form the legs. One end of each leg is reduced to a wedge shape as you can see below.

We marked the shape of the leg tops onto a Wych Elm log with charcoal and then made a series of cuts

then I chiseled out wood with a knife and batton to form the grooves for the legs to go into.

Each leg was then knocked into its groove and if necessary minor adjustments were made to produce a tight fit.

Once all four legs are in, you can cut off the bottoms of the legs to achieve the ideal height.