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Taking up a Green Woodworking course - at York Wood Crafts

Taking up a Green Woodworking course – at York Wood Crafts

by Paul Morton ~ 23 October, 2014 ~ one comment

After we bought our woodland, we were given £300 by Woodlands.co.uk for a course and I chose a green woodworking course for two of us - me and my 11-year old son, Thomas. The course is designed to give beginners a taste of a variety of the skills and techniques that are used in green woodworking.  Before booking the course, I spoke to Ben at York Woodcrafts about the suitability of the course for my son; and was really pleased that Thomas could attend as he already had some tool handling skills.

During this 2-day course, our main project was each making a stool and as part of this we learnt how to select wood and understand the wood shrinkage from its green state. We split wood (Cleaving) with a Froe (a splitting chisel) and a Beetle (wooden mallet) - which really helps you understand how wood grain can be twisted, depending on where its grown. Read more...

Making walking sticks - from stems picked out of the woodlands

Making walking sticks – from stems picked out of the woodlands

by Angus ~ 3 October, 2014 ~ 3 comments

Peter Jones and his sons make walking sticks on a serious scale using sticks they come across in the woods, where they do their forestry work.  They use chestnut, silver birch, oak and hazel.  But they avoid using willow, as it goes brittle once it's aged.  Apart from finding the right stick to work on they need a steamer for bending the tops of the walking sticks and a good supply of sealant and varnish for protecting the finished sticks.

"Honeysuckle makes the best twist sticks" advises out Peter Jones, who comes across a lot of twisted stems in Kent and East Sussex.  As a result, he is able to trade these with fellow stick makers in more northern English areas - they give him carved tops for walking sticks in exchange for good twisted shanks.  But even among twisted sticks there is variety: the slower growing trees such as holly and oak twist more slowly whilst the fast-growing chestnut twists quickly.  Though he also corrected me pointing out that the maker of walking sticks should really be called a "stick dresser" Read more...

Woodlands and forests in Shakespeare's plays

Woodlands and forests in Shakespeare’s plays

by Angus ~ 16 May, 2014 ~ 4 comments

William Shakespeare grew up in a leafy part of the country, Stratford-upon-Avon, and woodlands and forests were a very important part of many of his plays.  Forests were large areas governed by a different set of laws and they could include  marshes, bogs, fen, pasture, cultivated land and woodland.  Famously, Shakespeare made the "moving" of a woodland a pivotal point in his play 'Macbeth' when Birnam wood "moves" to Dunsinane as soldiers use branches as a camouflage in their assault on Macbeth's castle.  But he uses woodland settings in many other plays and the forest carries deeply symbolic meanings Read more...

Noises of a Didgeridoo Maker

Noises of a Didgeridoo Maker

by stuart murdoch ~ 11 May, 2014 ~ one comment

For many years now,  I have been making Didgeridoos. It all started with a friend of mine, who taught me how to make them. Sadly, he has now passed away, but he has left his legacy with me.  As a hedge-layer, I can gather an abundance of woody material, collecting them from path clearance work, coppicing and other woodland management tasks.  I try to ensure that I keep as environmentally friendly as possible by only taking sticks that are going to be cut out anyway.

The development of the Didgeridoo Read more...

Spoon Carving - with Barn the Spoon

Spoon Carving – with Barn the Spoon

by Liz ~ 6 March, 2014 ~ one comment

There is something wonderful about creating an object that is functional, and it is particularly wonderful to create one that serves a function as fundamental as eating.  To be able to do that using just the strength and skill of your hands is very precious. For a number of years, I had dabbled in whittling and spoon carving, and could already hack out a reasonably spoon-shaped object but,  becoming increasingly frustrated by my inability to make more progress, I needed further guidance.  It was time to choose a course.

If you own a wood, or have access to woodland materials, it is important to do justice to those materials however you choose to use them, so I wanted to learn from a master craftsman. A search of the internet revealed that Barnaby Carder was delivering courses within easy travelling distance.  Read more...

3D Printing in wood, insects and clay

3D Printing in wood, insects and clay

by Angus ~ 28 December, 2013 ~ 4 comments

Large numbers of 3D printers are now being produced and used for home use.  It is estimated that the worldwide market in 3D printing will be £3 billion within 5 years - but what materials are used for printing?  Most currently use plastic filament (mostly PLA or ABS), but some printers are being developed to print using more natural materials such as clay or wood, and even 'mushed-up' insects.

Standard home-use 3D printers can print in "wood fill" using a mixture of plastic and wood to create objects that look as through they are wooden whist avoiding many of the issues with production of objects using real wood.  The image below this post shows an array of objects 3D-printed by a desktop machine using a "wood fill" filament supplied by ColorFabb, part of the Dutch company Helian Polymers.  This woody filament contains 30% wood Read more...

Creating a sustainable Christmas

Creating a sustainable Christmas

by Victoria ~ 23 December, 2013 ~ 5 comments

As you reach to buy the last roll of Christmas wrapping paper, spare a thought for the route it has taken to get to you.  Christmas is renowned as the time of over-indulgence.  The use of wrapping paper is no exception.   Every year 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper are used to disguise the gifts we give and receive.  This, according to The Guardian’s Hilary Osbourne is the equivalent of 50,000 trees.

Plenty of people will admit the wrapping and unwrapping of presents at Christmas is part of the festive ritual.  However, it is having serious environmental consequences.  In the UK, alone, enough Christmas wrapping paper is thrown away Read more...

An enchanted Christmas

An enchanted Christmas

by Dick ~ 9 December, 2013 ~ one comment

Many of us who are regular visitors to the National Arboretum at Westonbirt in Gloucestershire are familiar with some of their most popular events such as ‘Treefest’ over the August Bank Holiday weekend and the spectacular autumn displays of colour in the acer groves.   This year though – acting on the recommendation of one of the catering concession holders at Treefest – my family and I decided to make a visit to Westonbirt’s festive special: An Enchanted Christmas.   Read more...

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