Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Persuaded by my charming daughter in law, Jen,  to join her in entering the craft section of the local county show I put in 4 items, 3 in the faceplate section, a neat little sycamore bowl, a coloured hollow form and the very large coloured hollow form.

Having last months entry for the challenge to hand I though I would put that in the "turned between centres" section.

First in this group was a spalted pedestal bowl.

The small Sycamore bowl took third

The small Hollow form took second in the same group

And the challenge entry "Essence of Egypt"  took first in it's class!

And the icing on the cake was that Jen, also won two first prizes with her entries as well!! :)

Posterity project.

This old gun stock came from a double barreled (side by side)  Elephant rifle, hammer action and made by Cogswell and Harrison, the London gun makers, probably about the 1920's (that is a rough guess) I am pretty sure the guns calibre was a 500 express.
The gun was given to my father by a German count who was a family friend and at that time even, the stock was already broken, the gun being something of a curio. No one ever got round to properly fixing it (in fact it really needed an entirely new stock, an expensive item!) and the gun has long gone, but the stock turned up recently as something to be disposed of, so I picked it up and will make something of it as a kind of momento, I don't know what yet. I am pretty certain it will be Walnut, but how figured I don't know.

As far as I remember (the guns history in the family goes back over 45 years) the gun did not have any great monetary value despite the prestigious name on the side plates. There is no name or other marks on the remaining original stock fittings, that is the small plate under the half pistol grip. The butt of the stock has a steel plate that may have been original, but it looks kind of rough for a C&G piece of workmanship, the steel strap extending down the grip is an attempted repair of the stock, not a success.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Preseli Laburnum

Back in the spring I received a call from a farmer in the Preseli mountains who had seen my work at an earlier craft fair and who had offered me some Laburnum when it was felled, the felling had been done and so we went to collect the prize. As always when anyone offers me wood, I always make them something from it as a thank you and as a memento of the tree etc. The big problem this time though was not realised until later, once I started to prepare the wood for storage it became obvious that it would not really be much good for anything of any size, the timber was pretty old for it's size and had shakes all through it, no doubt from the harsh conditions up the mountain, but there should be sufficient to get a piece or two out.

First task then was to at least sort out a piece for Richard, the farmer. He and his wife had recently refurbished their house, utilizing a good amount of Ash from a tree felled outside the building, widow sills and various beams and shelving had been made and there was a considerable usage of the more rustic parts, nice looking it was too. So in keeping with that theme I went for a somewhat rustic piece (not that I had a lot of choice!)

I had roughed it out back in the spring, and even that proved tricky as one of the shakes broke clean away and had to be re-glued into place, I used gorrila glue as it filled the rather gappy crack where the wood parted.

It was not until I got to work finishing it though that I noticed that it had burrs, I have not seen a Laburnum burr before, but combined with the already complex Laburnum grain, the burrs look very nice. I have included a couple of close up images of the Burrs.

There were quite a few drying cracks as well that did not really enhance the piece, I decided on a colour fill for these, I took a couple of pictures and opened them in photoshop, then inverted the image, this gave me a colour, the exact opposite of the wood, I blurred this to get an average which was a mid Grey-Blue, this would be the best contrasting colour. To get the colour, I used some Ash sanding dust (I save lots of dust in little bags) and mixed up some stains to get the colour as close as I could, I dried it, then mixed the coloured dust into an epoxy resin and used it to fill various gaps. It actually ended up a bit darker than was ideal, but it works for me anyway. Plus it was an entirely new idea as a way to get the colour, next time I will make it lighter (it goes darker when it gets mixed with the glue)

Here then is the completed piece, I hope Richard likes it, it should fit in with his new house very well I feel.

Friday, August 1, 2014


A week or so back I was very pleased to see I had sold one of the Olive Ash Boxes,

once it arrived at it's destination in Canada, the customer was more than pleased, so much so she wanted another in the same wood, did I have any?

Just one reasonable piece left!

After several different designs were considered, she settled for this one.

 Which has resulted in this Olive Ash version.

The lid fit is very smooth and nice, having sufficient suction to hold on despite any shaking, yet easy to remove, (you don't want your customers to be wresting with the lid!)
This was met with the very favourable comment " Absolutely gorgeous!!!! I love it! "  

New box sold!! :)