This year I had to travel miles right across the country to near Cambridge, and what a Ball it was. This year I was asked to do a sharpening workshop and I scheduled this first thing in the morning. Lunch and then a demo in how to carve a dragons head, and the a bit later a fan bird carving demo. I did not get around to see any demos, but I had Sunday free to see if I might have won anything in the competitions. The competitions are split into lots of categories: professional and beginner pit there skills against each other and there are often surprises. I love this democratic vote of all the members judging each entry and deciding which is the best. This year I knew I had some stiff competition in the non turned treen sectionas John Waricker entered a beautiful legged bowl. My huge shrink pot came second. As far as I know this is the biggest shrink pot made in this country for centuries. If you know better please prove me wrong. The pot is beech and the base is western red cedar. The lid is rippled willow with a walnut handle pinned in with ash dowels and pegs. Home made milk paint was used for the colour and fake gold leaf. Finished on the outside with oil.
My bowl was not placed and this year no bowls won prizes, they all went to turned drinking vessels.
The spoon class was at last split into 2 categories, knife finish and sanded finish. I put one of my dragon headed spoons in and won. To my great surprise I also won the overall spoon prize and I got the Barry Plant spoon trophy for a year. Some of you may remember that I made this trophy some years ago. Apparently Barry would have approved of my spoon and the fact that I also won his trophy.
It sometimes is odd looking back on old work, and can easily find fault with it. What is done is done and we cannot change that, but I am always driven to do better and proud of my critical eye. More on this in another post, where I may revel some work that I made and was so proud of at the time but cringe in horror at now.
The half hour challenge is my favourite competition. This year it was a balancing dragonfly. I will be teaching this at the Sussex and Surrey coppice week in August, and I think these workshops are open to anyone. I feel that this dragonfly needs just another 5 minutes of knife work, just to finish it off.
Tim Stevenson made the most beautiful wooden axe mask and holder which fits on the belt. This was featured in the Bodgers Gazzette that goes out 4 times a year to members.
My young friend Anna Casserley also impressed me with her peddling spoon trolley. This closes up into a box on top and her chopping block goes underneath. In all very well thought out and very practical.
As usual I could have done with another day. I forgot to photograph and buy some of Siomons Lamb’s wooden flowers. These are some of the best I have seen, there is always next year as we only meet at the Ball, or on the Bodgers forum.
Just back from Yandles spring show in Martock, Somerset, about 60 miles away from home. I was asked last year if I would like to demonstrate at their Autumn show but I was already committed to another event. Yandles is a saw mill and tool and craft shop. Run in and around a family run sawmill which has plenty of character and lots to explore. What is really great about this show is that it is free, the emphasis is on sales of tools and wood with all the major manufacturers demonstrating and talking about their products. Lots of wood for sale, a lot of which is planed.
Do pop along in the future even if you are a green woodworker, you will find something for you.
Robert Sorby has a large display of their turning chisels and other stuff they make like the Pro edge sharpening system. I bought one a few years ago from Yandles and like it very much. Talk about traditional British solid engineering. This machine is solid and very well made. To put the icing on the cake it is also made in the UK. This seams to be my sharpening system of choice and the Tormek rarely makes and appearance in my workshop these days. If there is enough interest I will do a review on it some day.
Yandles also puts on a good display of craft demonstrators, these are ongoing through the 2 days.
My set up. I was demonstrating fan birds. I took along a shrink pot to finish and a few handles to carve, but the interest in the birds was overwhelming.
I bought a travisher kit from James Mursell
and very much look forward to making it up. I will be doing a review on this when I get time.
Paul Haydon has designed and made a boring kit for drilling holes in chair seats. He sells the main metal parts for £60, a very useful tool with more than one use. email@example.com
Next to Paul was Nic Westerman demonstrating axe making, great to watch and Nic’s axes are a wonderful design, sorry no photos.
One last photo of a little saw, this one made by Mafell has a cutting depth of just over 7 inches. I know of lots of tables saws that come nowhere near that.