Posts Tagged ‘craft holiday’

Making chair legs

Yesterday I had a lovely day outside my workshop starting to make use of the ash logs I collected in the rain a few weeks ago making things out of trees. I had stacked the logs carefully as they had come out of the tree trunk.

an ash tree stacked under cover.

an ash tree stacked under cover.

I barrowed one of the sections from the best section together with a section from the butt section up to my cleaving brake outside the workshop. (In fact I didn’t get round to using the butt section).

 2 sections in the barrow

Using a selection of three froes, I cleft the section to yield the material for 6 long legs plus lots of other bits. It was surprisingly sensitive to pressure from the froe, which is why I used the micro froe for the later stages, so that the split wouldn’t run too far along the log before I could control it’s direction.

cleft in half with very big froe Starting to cleave the second halfThe blanks for 6 legs plus 5 other lengthsP1060127

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four of the legs came from just under the bark and had perfect grain. The other pair were from the inner section and had a slight wiggle near one end so I cut them shorter………..and the sun came out – wonderful! I made a peg to hold the ‘curtain ring’ which is the gauge to determine a uniform thickness for the leg.

 

 

 

 

Sunshine at last a curtain ring peg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However perfect the grain may appear, it is never going to be perfectly straight, which is why the process of cleaving and shaving has the advantage over sawing and turning to maximise the strength of the fibres running along the whole length of the leg.

wood is never dead straight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of the other 5 lengths I was able to make 6 front seat rails and 16 laths (to be bent in the next day or so at the same time as the legs.

16 back laths 6 front seat rails

 

 

 

 

 

I also managed to make a couple of crests and a back seat-rail out of the remainder as well as 2 large tubs of kindling and a few little bits of firewood but it was to dark to get a pic by then.

A wonderful way to spend a relatively benign December day.

Mike’s final woodland courses

The extra course in September, from 14-19th has now fully booked but we sometimes get cancellations a month or so before the start of a course, so if you wish to take part in a course this August or September, don’t be afraid to send us and e-mail to see if any places have arisen – abbott@living-wood.co.uk.

If you’d like to be one of the first to attend our small-scale courses at Greenwood Cottage next summer you can see the first few dates on the previous blog. We plan to add more dates for next summer, once we have finished the courses this September.

Spring in the Woods

At last! After a mainly cold,wet summer last year followed by the long, cold winter, we started our first course of the year this week.

I think the miserable winter must have put people off the idea of a week in the woods, so we only had four bookings on this course but it gave me the opportunity to train up this year’s assistants. Stephen has returned as the main assistant, having worked with Barn as an assistant in 2009. Johnny, James and JoJo will be taking it in turns to work alongside Stephen in guiding this year’s students through their chair-making courses.

Stephen carefully sighting Hans as he locates where to drill into his chair legs

Stephen carefully sighting Hans as he locates where to drill into his chair legs

Yesterday the sun shone non-stop from the dawn chorus until sunset, so having made all the parts for the chairs during the first two and a half days, we moved some benches onto the field at the edge of the woods to start assembling the chairs.

James helping Ian assemble his side panel

James helping Ian assemble his side panel

We were also able to use the magnificent dining table built last year by Owen, Steve and the other volunteers. As well as using it at lunchtime, it also serves well as a woodwork bench with a view across the valley to the Malvern Hills in the distance.

Hans cutting a mortice while JoJo and Fransisco squeeze together a chair frame

Hans cutting a mortice while JoJo and Fransisco squeeze together a chair frame

By lunchtime our simple solar water heater had warmed 7 gallons of water to just the right temperature for a shower.

Fransisco replacing one of the water containers back into the solar heater after his shower

Fransisco replacing one of the water containers back into the solar heater after his shower

The next two courses are about fully booked but we still have places for the course from June 10th to 15th. After the dry cold March and the showers in late April, I fully expect a blazing June, so book a course place soon and you will hopefully be able to spend a creative week,  basking in the Herefordshire countryside.