The washing machine brazier

A pictorial blog from some events the Wympole Green Woodworkers were invited to.

We did this one at Sutton Hoo where there are some famous Saxon burials.


How to make a coracle part 1

Shane, Jayne and David busied themselves making the framework for a coracle out of Jim’s willow.


How to make a coracle part 2


How to make a coracle part 3


Spoon making

Others spent their time keeping warm and making treen: spoons, candlesticks (I think) and cricket stumps.


Tony’s plum candlestick?


Le Chef and the rocket log

The most popular spot was the rocket log that we brought along as it was bitterly cold with a biting wind: hot tea and charred meat were always available!!!!


Rather well done I’d say!

The cold weekend didn’t dampen the spirits of the other stall holders either. They demonstrated their skills and knowledge and it was a delight to walk about the site. I especially liked the linen demonstration- boy, making cloth with flax is very labour intensive…first you soak it to free the fibres from the rest of the plant (which incidentally means you club it to death) and then you spend ages combing it so that you can spend days spinning it before it is woven into cloth. No wonder clothing was passed down when you died!!!!! Nowadays clothing is so cheap it discarded on a whim.


Making linen from flax


The flax shop


Willow shop


Errr… a round willow object


Oak seat


The blacksmith


…and his shop

This gentleman blacksmith had a shop full of his work and I was rather intrigued by the snakes made from rasps- the flattened rasps took on the texture of snakeskin.


Hooks galore


Snakes alive… made from a rasp

There was a woodman hewing oak beams and John was fashioning bowls.


Hewing an oak beam


John bowl making

The main reason we were asked to attend was because it was a sort of Saxon market fair and the National Trust had asked quite a few people who could demonstrate rural skills related to the items found under the burial mounds. Although none of us could match the magnificent metal work we did make everyday items that could have been found in the Saxon period.


Saxon replica sword


Saxon replica helmet

Not sure about making a helmet but I would love to have a go at making a woven saxon blade. Instructions are provided below. Maybe a small dagger to start with!!!



How to make a woven Saxon sword blade


Cleft oak planks


A pocket full of gold (I wish)

There is a museum on the site which has quite a bit of information about Sutton Hoo and the Saxons and I did notice the GOLD coins… wouldn’t it be nice to stumble across some when digging? (I wish!) Also in the museum was a replica ship burial of the Saxon king- interesting, although I was more taken by the cleft oak roof and peg fixings.


Willow fence

The next extra meeting was at the Harlton Community Orchard which David had organised; unlike the Sutton Hoo event it was a gloriously sunny day.


David showing how to cleave some ash


David’s stall


Jane’s rough weave rug


Willow bird feeders


The start of an elm bark basket


Children’s wildlife discovery walk


Jim’s bowl for the week ( he’ll have 52 at the end of the year)


Children enjoying willow bird feeder making

The Wympole Green Woodworkers seem to be spreading their wings which is very pleasing- the group is growing in size and will need a proper home soon. What is especially nice about going elsewhere as well having a home base at Wimpole is that there seems to be a resurgence in interest in practical skills; maybe, just maybe, people are beginning to rebel against the electronic age or at least wish to have a break from it.

About Sadeik

You may ask why "Sadeik" well it means friend in arabic. Worked in Jordan a lot doing tree surgery you see. I have worked in forestry since I left school with a two years in Telecom. Went back to forestry and tree surgery as it may not have paid as much but was far more interesting and dangerous. Spent a lot of years mountaineering, caving and canoeing too. At 29 I went to Bangor University to study Forestry and soil science then did an MSc in Water engineering all very interesting. By a quirk of fate in 1995 ended up helping sort out the woodland and park at Wimpole, funny thing was then I only intended to stay six months or so, but 18 years later I'm still here learning all the time. That's the best bit, if I wasn't able to learn something new every year I would not have stayed and as you get older you realise that the grass is not so green in the next field after all. In fact my patch is getting greener while much of the rest is getting browner.
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