Sunday 6 March 2011

How wonderful is Wood?

So this weekend I went on the long awaited whittling course, it was run by the Northmoor trust who are the charity who manage local beauty spot whittenham clumps (more info on both these things can be found here . I've wanted to have a go as whittling for ages (I have a very talented uncle who makes chairs, bending the wood by steam generated from his aga, picture of the chair he made for me included below, isn't he brilliant?!?). Can't say I have any hope of competing with Uncle Julian any time soon but the course was aimed at those starting out so I signed myself up. Well what a day! In the morning we went off up the clumps with a couple of rangers, they explained briefly about the different types of wood, what natural characteristics we should be looking for for each of the different things we could make (I chose to attempt a spoon and a spurtle, it being my ambition to bespurtle the entirity of this isle). Then we each selected a few bits of wood (they regularly coppice so there was quite a bit of seasoned wood on the forest floor, I chose cherry for the spoon (which gets redder with age) and Hazel for the spurtle. We also manageed to find a baby deer in one of the piles, which bounded off as soon as it saw us). Wood gathered it was back to base where our guides lit a fire and explained the basics of cutting safely (always away from you) and handed out tools (a knife and a spoon gouge, that was pretty much it!). I've got to admit it was pretty addictive, and it was lunchtime before we knew what was happening (unfortunately I lost concentration at one point and cut myself, oops, managed not to bleed over my wood though, which is the main thing). The afternoon passed in much the same way and before I knew what was happening it was time to go home. My cherry spoon was certainly taking shape but I just couldn't stop staring at the colour of the wood, beautiful. The trust very kindly said I could bring some more home to practice on so I now have a small pile of wood waiting for a rainy day in my porch. The other brilliant thing that happened was that a chap who teaches woodwork turned up just as we were leaving. Turns out he teaches woodwork in the evening at a local school, which is literally just round the corner from me. He has given he his details so I'll have to see if I can arrange a more perminant time to whittle! I should also mention the title of this post was nicked from the wonderful telling the bees, a live version of the song can be found here, I think the chap has a point, it is pretty amazing!

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