Specially brewed for the Recycled Bodgers Ball (my favourite beer from this brewery however was the Black & Tan mild- very good indeed). Every year there is a theme to the Ball and this year you could make something useful from waste that would be associated with green woodworking.
For the first time I took the Essex hose layer fire engine out for a run and had a co pilot- Mr. Gordon. It took a few hours to get to Walesby Forest in Nottinghamshire …and when we got there it was raining. Never fear, the trusty MJ Bedford had a warm interior which quite a few people came to share (especially the little wood stove and spirits).
The first shop to go to on Friday was the tool shop- it’s actually a very good charity called Self Reliance; they collect donated tools and send them to Africa but there are quite a few they can’t use and, oddly, they seem not to require the green wood working tools, garden tools and an assortment of others. Unfortunately for me they do send all the blacksmithing tools to Africa but it didn’t stop me from buying a couple of good axes, some hedge laying bill hooks, a small First World War spade, a vice and three sledge hammers of varying weights (been looking for a few for blacksmithing). Even Gordon bought some axes and a knife. All proceeds go to run the charity which is also why I like buying tools from Self Reliance. Keep up the good work (and, anyone who has tools they don’t want, send them to this charity, it’s a worthy cause).
Saturday was a day of demonstrations for which we did a mowing demo with scythes and people were encouraged to have a go.
There was a lot to see and have a go at. The basket making was popular, so was bowl making and I took special note of the bowl clamp horse thingy ( I’ll have to make one of these as it is difficult carving bowls freehand). There were spoon carving demonstrations and the best one for me was the one that showed you how to do some very intricate work on the spoon handles ( well impressed with that!).
Another nice demo was the tent-peg making- Terry Heard from Dorset can make 800 a day while the old boy who taught him could do 1000! I had a go and, well, could do better.
Time to enter my items into the main competitions- I put a stool in, a birch burr spoon, a pair of spindle knitting needles, an elm burr bowl and a carved heart with an arrow through it. I wondered how I would do?
The knives were good and I voted for these ( every member of the Bodgers gets to vote on what they think should win and the votes are totted up to see who wins each category). Alas, I did not even come third with any of my entries.
However Tony got a first prize for his remarkable saw, well done Tony.
Sean Hellman was present as usual and had a tent full of goodies, he even had a flock of fan birds.
However the most interesting item that he had, to my mind, was the new type of shave horse. I will have to purchase the plans as these shave horses can be used for all sorts of jobs and can be used by all sorts of people large and small. I also likes his three-legged log bench ( I must have one of these… well, make one).
Seemed to be quite a few people peeling elm bark but one man won the day with his elm bark baskets. He did have sweet chestnut ones and has tried willow but said he found the elm ones more durable. Although not demonstrating these he did demonstrate making simple elm pots.
The pots are made from one piece of freshly peeled elm bark, cut to shape and stitched with elm bark twine.
Another demo was the riven oak furniture.
For a long time now I have been fascinated by furniture made purely by hand, especially when the planks have been riven and not sawn. It produces a very distinctive type of furniture, hard to replicate. Might try my hand at making some furniture for the lorry.
First competition on Sunday (and a new one at that) was the spoon and egg race, however it was also a three-legged race! A hilarious race for fun.
The thirty minute challenge was next- the idea here is to make something to sell within thirty minutes. I said I would make a ram’s head hook and got quite a few remarks about not using wood and all that – didn’t say in the rules it had to be a wooden thingy did it?!
Gordon seemed well enough to man the fan ( he proved to be a good wind up merchant too). Seriously, I would not have been able to make a hook without Gordon’s help so I was very grateful to him. Burnt my fingers, made a mistake at the end but… managed to finish with thirty seconds left. The judging was tight and I was very pleased to come second. Always great fun to take part (and nearly win to boot).
Next was the team ‘log to leg’ race- Kate, Mark and I competed against another five teams and, this time, we didn’t come last… in fact we came third- yippee! Then there was the final competition- the individual ‘log to leg race’… oh dear, I didn’t do too well… it started with a flourish but then everything went to pot, BUT, I didn’t come last and that’s a first 🙂
A good time was had by all and then… it was time to go home!