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Coracle book

I am exploring the world of self publishing, and to start I decided to update my “How to Make a Coracle” book. I now have copies in full colour printed onto uncoated heavyweight paper. With this relaunch I am giving away 2 copies of this book to 2 people who will be chosen at random after clicking the share, like, and comment below on this blog. This will take place on the 7th March 2015. Postage will be paid to wherever in the world it is to go.

The book is for sale here and through my website at £6.50 inclusive of postage. For a limited time only you can purchase it for the introductory price of £5.50 inclusive of postage.

Postage Country

The book details through images and text, how to make a wooden lath frame coracle. There is also a chapter on how to make a traditional coracle using willow or hazel rods.

If you want to sell, or even distribute ‘How to Make a Coracle’, then please get in touch. It is barcoded with its ISBN number to comply with international standards for book sellers.

I have been filmed making coracles on a number of occasion by various UK production companies and have never received any video copies but I found this video on Youtube. It is me showing Alex Langlands who is making a coracle on the television programme The Edwardian Farm. The Edwardian Farm and The Victorian Farm have also engaged and recorded the skills of friends including Robin Wood, Owen Jones and Stuart King, to demonstrate their green wood work

My next publication is a book on shaving horses, with lots of detailed plans on making various types of horse. I have asked people from around the world to contribute images and the response has been fantastic. This book should be out in time for the Bodgers’ Ball, in May.

If you have a Shaving horse type work holding device, and have good pictures of it, then drop me a line. Your horse might end up in the book.

Postage Country

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Bristol

Every time I go to Bristol, which is a couple of times a year, I always have to go to Bristol Design in Perry Road. This is one of the few shops selling second hand woodworking tools. I always come away lighter in wallet and heavy in hand. If you ever find yourself in Bristol do have a look and buy something. Shops like this are becoming increasingly rare and need our support.

Are there any other shops in the UK like this one? Do let me know.

Detail of church next to St Nicholas Market

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Green woodwork courses for 2015

Green woodwork courses for 2015

25th and 26th April Spoon carving
£65 one day £110 for 2 days.
Beginners and intermediates. Spoon making first day with sharpening, design, and
advanced knife work on the second Come for 1 or 2 days.

3rd Oct Fanbirds
£75
Learn to make beautiful fanbirds from one piece
of wood. You will make 2 to 4 birds during the day.

24th-25th Oct Tool making
£175
Make knives and hook knives for
green woodwork. Make a small forge to use at home. I will teach you how to make
tools on a budget with a simple set up to use at home or workshop.

The ever popular one to one workshops, from £140 per day. £250 for 2 days, £350 for 3 days.
Discount for 2 people £250 per day. £380 for 2 days £600 for 3 days.
More than 2 of you then the daily rate is £80 per person.

Wednesday afternoon and evening weekly sessions £15. I have space on the afternoon session.

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Sheaths for Mora 106 and 120

Been having myself a bit of fun recently. Making more wooden boxes for knives that fit not only the knives I am making but also the Mora 120 and the 106.

They start off with a simple box with a leather hinge ( bottom of picture ). There is a cut out in the box so that the fingers can grasp and pick up the blade. As the knife is being picked up by the blade, the way it is balanced, means the knife pivots into the palm of the hand. The box is held shut by a pin through a round peg.

The next 2 boxes uses the round peg to lever the handle of the knife out of the box so it can be grasped. Push down on the peg and the handle rises from its home. These boxes have sliding dovetail hinges set into the end of the box.

They are ash with a hand planed finish, and all edges knife worked. No treatment has been used, the wood is bare. You can oil,  paint, or chip carve. Personalise them how you want. I often just leave them bare and over the years a beautiful patina will develop.

 Leather hinge box only  £30     
With a Mora 106 £50.
Leather hinge box with lever mechanism £45 
With a Mora 106 £65.
Wooden hinge box  with lever mechanism  £70  
With a Mora 106 £90.

Email me, and a Paypal invoice will be sent to you.



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APF Log to leg Championship

Last weekend was the APF, a large show for the forestry industry. Lots of massive and very expensive kit for sale, with part of the show ground dedicated to various greenwood crafts. I took part in the log to leg races on the pole lathe. A great show, with lots of debate on how to improve not only our times, but also the quality of the pair of legs we turn in the races. I am also off to the Bentley Woodfair near Lewis in a couple of days time, so only a short post

 Milo marooned on a small green island of grass in a sea of mud

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Holy wells, wood and a bowl

Being an humble craftsman, holidays are usually taken in a tent. This year we went up to North Devon.  We enjoyed a gift from our American friends, the tail end of hurricane Bertha, which added to scenic value. Larger waves and the challenge of standing on the cliffs for any length of time.
Anyway enough of the Englishmans favourite topic, and back to business. My wife and I enjoy walking and searching out beautiful, or historic spaces, so in North Devon we found ancient Holly wells that date back to the mists of time. I also like to find a bit of fallen or cut wood to make a spoon or two out of.

So the first are from St Nectan’s well in Stoke very near to Hartland.

Made from very slow grown oak. I do not usually make eating spoons from oak, but they do have a lovely grain.

 This is the Holy well at Welcombe, again next to a St Nectan’s church. A dead branch of willow was found and a small scoop made. Dead willow can have a beautiful golden glow to it with a graduation of other colours. This willow was well and truly seasoned and beginning to rot in places.

Stonemasons use to carve beautiful headstones, these had a grace of proportion and design to them. some of the inscriptions can sometimes be a bit toe curling. I took these photos as a possible starting point or chip carving designs
 

Contrast the old ones to the modern headstone.  There must be a niche for stonemasons to create something far better and individual.

I cannot go on holiday without looking in shops that sell old stuff. I found this little gem in one such place. Asking its province was told it was probably olive or something from the east. It is sycamore and the marks on it tell me that it was turn on a pole lathe from an axed out blank. It is not perfect in form, the bottom being too thick and the walls rather thick in places. Who knows how old it is.

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Edale

A couple of weeks ago I got back from another wonderful Spoonfest. The problem with teaching is that there never is enough time to talk and carve. I taught a lot of sharpening workshops, gave a sharpening talk and sat in the spoon chair, and then drove home.
Among many people from all over the world was Phillipe Steele from the States who has set up the Spooncarving, Green woodworking and sloyd Facebook page. Years ago I sold him a spoon via the Bodgers forum, apparently this was one of his first bought or traded spoons.

On a quick break from teaching I found Phillipe by the fire with his axes. It was interesting to find out that his hands are not really much bigger than mine but his handles are massive. So massive in fact that it would be dangerous for me to use these axes. For Phillip these are fine and he has problems with smaller handles, which cause him a lot of pain.

Most of you know that I like smaller handles and I do bang on about it. Tool handles are personal and it is very important to have handles that suit your body. So experiment and find out what works best for you.

 Below is my hand holding the axe. Not much difference in hand size, but difficult for me to use.

 Martin was flashing his gold leaf about, and Keith happened to be sitting quietly when all at once he was gilded with a golden spoon on the forehead, talk about gilding the lilly.

I met a lot of wonderful people and wish I could have spent a lot more time chatting. I bought yet another axe, this time from Robin who has designed and is having made very nice axes. It is good to see a functional, affordable axe on the market.
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Knives, sheaths or boxes?

I have come to the conclusion that boxes are better than sheaths for storing knives in, this includes hook knives. This is because most of my carving takes place in the workshop, at shows, or at home. These tools don’t do bushcraft. Knives rarely go back into the sheath when carving, but they do go back into boxes. This way I am less likely to have accidental nicks in the blade.

Made entirely with hand tools, axe, plane, saw, chisel, knife and drill. The wood is ash, bits and bobs that have dried out in my workshop that was stuff not use on the pole lathe.

This box was made for my MaChris knife. The hinges and catch are dovetailed into the main box. 
These boxes are great for practising chip carving techniques. Using ash is  a challenge as it is very hard.