Archive | March, 2013
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Chop Chop

14 Mar

Usuba

Japanese Usuba Blade hafted in Pear Wood and Buffalo horn

The blade of this knife is of damascened steel and is as sharp as a microtome. I made it as a gift for my daughter and future son in law so that they might chop vegetables more efficiently. They are getting married in August and I have promised to make them a celebratory wedding bed. So I’d better get on with it….chop, chop!

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Take a Stand

12 Mar

Take a Stand

Guitar Stand in Blue Mahoe (A Jamaican hard wood from the Hibiscus family)

It seems to me that even a humble musical instrument stand deserves to be made to the highest design standards. I made this folding guitar stand from Blue Mahoe – a lovely hard wood from the hibiscus family beloved of bowl carvers in Jamaica. Based on two book matched raked ‘L’ shaped pieces joined by a piano hinge. Vertical and horizontal armatures were joined together by through dovetails and the whole finished with Danish Oil. The piece was designed for a more traditional acoustic guitar, but it fits my Ovation beautifully.

Make the little things well and the bigger designs will shine.

The Razor of Occam

10 Mar

Occam’s Razor states that ‘entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily’. In Science this has been taken to mean: of two competing theories the simplest one is preferred. Unfortunately, we humans multiply entities unnecessarily on a daily basis; problems, conflicts, worries, requests, emails….. yet simplicity is what we crave. 

Sometimes you can try to buy simplicity and convenience – a nice new smart phone, a clever piece of technology, a package holiday – on the outside these will be nice and shiny and labour saving until you have to programme them, read the instructions or change your hotel because it hasn’t been built yet.

Perhaps simplicity can only be achieved by involving our hands in the equation – simplify by making it yourself, taking it to bits by yourself and reconstructing it by yourself. We are naked apes not consumers, liberated by a quirk of evolution which freed our forelimbs to make tools, fire, Idols, chairs, boats, houses ….. using plant material and wood.

Cleaving an oak log to make fencing using wedges and a maul

 

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First Fish

9 Mar

First Fish

The first carving I ever made as an 11 year old school boy

I am often asked how I started as a woodworker. The simple answer is I have made things from wood for as long as I can remember, but the first serious carving I did was inspired by my Woodwork Teacher, Mr. Poulson. A quietly spoken educationist who drew this fish carving out of me over a number of weeks in 1969 when I was about 11 years old. I drew a fish turning in water to catch a minnow and just kept carving away at a lump of spare mahogany until this emerged. Mr Poulson was particularly insistent that I work the dorsal fin until it was really thin. He never gave an A for a piece of woodwork (A- was the top mark), but he gave me an A for this. Lovely, lovely man, I think of him every time I sharpen a chisel, pick up a set square or use a marking knife – he lives in my bones.

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The three Graces

7 Mar

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

Daughter, Mother, Wife

The one in the middle made me, the one on the left inspired me, the one on the right rebuilt me. The three Graces in my life – all give me laughter and love.

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Cradle of Life

7 Mar

Cot elm and maple

Elm and Sycamore rocking cradle made in 1999 for my niece Thea

I have made a large number of cots for friends and family, sprogs have cried in them, pooped in them, sledged in them. Mum’s have used them as toy tidies, planters and book boxes. I have sent them abroad as flat packs, carved them and loved them all. I have even delivered a cradle 20 minutes after the birth of a baby.

I love making cradles, all babies deserve to rock

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Henk

7 Mar

Henk

Good place for inspiration and to lift the spirits – Fontana di Trevi, Roma

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Henk’s Woodwork

7 Mar

Henk’s Woodwork

Bespoke furniture, tools, carvings, toys and original designs in hard wood