Tuesday, 26 June 2012

I'm afraid this blog has now moved, please visit www.benjaminsbarn.blogspot.com for Furniture, Furnishings & Wood-turnings.
 Sarah Harvey's Gypsy wagons & Sign-writing can now be found on Facebook; Paint Your Wagon

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Waxing and Waning

As the seasons change, we too are leaving a chapter in our lives, to grow, explore and hopefully get more creative.

Ben is making the most beautiful Oak Shelves as a commission. As usual he surpasses himself with diligent and elegant craftsmanship, every new piece he makes has to be better than the last.....integrity always a value.

The photos never quite do the makings justice, the feel of the warmth and finish is lost, but here is one of him working on them...I'm sure he will include better pics later when sanding and waxing has bought the beautiful design to life.

Whilst Ben waxes, I wane, not for long I hope! The sun's renewal is a grateful force, that will put a bit of hope into us all. I'm waiting for some mica flakes to turn up, something new to play with, and to put a bit of spark into some work!

Happy Springtime To All x

Monday, 24 January 2011

Belated New Years Greetings! x

Being snowed in was a blessing really...got a few things done while the fire roared and the outdoors sparkled....including our compost loo! Ben has been busy mending his planer..oh the patience 2 and a half days of lining up and persistence, I would have lost the will to live by now...lucky these machines don't rely on me and god forbid if there was ever such a thing as a mechanical paintbrush!
Have enjoyed making some commissions for Christmas Presents, including a "Girlie" Leather Bill Hook Cover and some signs for a couple of lady's new venture...the sage green wagon has now at last left the yard and sits in an Orchard, being played in by the owners Grandchildren. Hope this year brings fun and creativity ...and a dash of prosperity for us all X

Monday, 13 December 2010

Book-matched Yew table

Here are some pics of the Yew table I started before the DOS, it's still not quite finished, it just needs a final sanding & polishing and then a bit of fine tuning to get the pegs to sit right. Hopefully once it's finished it will go to a gallery or, somewhere safe!
We have both been very busy but don't actually have much to show for it yet, my most recently turned bowls went to good homes before I got pics but, if I do find any pics I missed I will post them at a later date.
The table is made from book-matched planks, the whole thing is made from a single log which was sliced into 6 pieces, the top & sides all match but, the shelves are from opposite sides of the log.
Absolutely stunning wood with lots of character, the colour doesn't show up too well in the pics most of the dark streaks are actually a very deep red which is described as 'flame'. Hopefully once it's polished they will show up more. The 2 pinkish spots at the end of the top is a small piece of very rare Australian Jarrah which I've used to fill a dead knot. Over time this wood changes to an amazing burgandy red.
Anyway, Merry X-mas to all, we'll try and blog again before the year is out!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Moan moan moan!

I've been such a lazy blogger of late..but have felt like doing a lot of moaning and thought I'd best not ..but, hey ho, thats life!! I've nearly finished the on going long standing sage green wagon now..phew.just a little more to go it's colours are subtle so don't show up to well in photos. (first moan!) I bought a horsebox to live in ..an Iveco and after the initial 'oh my giddy aunt what have I done' I'm getting used to the idea of having to mend numerous leaks re-registering the thing, finding all sorts of fiddlearse annoyances that must be fixed ...long winded exasperating headaches of whatdoyoudoforthebestspaceuse etc when I really love to live in a cosy little woody shack and I've got an ugly metal box! (2nd moan, that consists of a few!) On the bright side, there is Ben, who stresses not and can figure out solutions (after a period of time) I've huffed and flompt about before the period of time. We've stripped horsey compartments and metal, have a tub full of huge nails, screws, rusty bolts and now are planning to weatherproof the 'thing'. I'm sure I'll eventually warm to it when the woodburners in and toasted marshallows are on the go...that however will be a while...and a very cold while!!
Craft Fairs...well...less said the better for me..great for a local social event (easier making a living being hired stalker)...but I'm rather bored with them, I have to say..even the cakes were rubbish at the last one.. I wasn't going to put that, just in case, but, honestly they were naff. I may have to stick to pretty pictures in the future, as I have nothing of value, use or of real interest, except to anyone else who fancies a grumble. May start a cynics page. So here's a pic of 'the thing'....mmm....the green wagon and a custard on I did ages ago...just because I like it. Happy Grumbling!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

As promised, I've finally taken pics of some of my new(ish) home-made chisels. They are all made with an extra strong, hard & extremely sharp Cobalt steel. This metal is actually designed for cutting ultra tough metals (titanium, stainless steel, Inox etc.) which allows them to out-perform normal chisels by miles. They stay sharp up to 15 times longer than normal HSS (high-speed-steel) and stay sharp for weeks when used on only wood (my regular chisels require re-grinding every couple of hours at best). They are even capable of turning stone on a wood lathe!
The very best thing about them is that the steel is designed to work at red-heat. Normally the grinding of a chisel is a very precarious process as any over heating of the tip will destroy it's temper (requiring a complete regrind to remove the affected portion) - these chisels love it!
Some of the handles are a little messy, I would like to get them a little more professional looking but, once they've been used a bit they all look the same anyhow!
The first two were actually birthday presents for Sarah to complete a set that her Dad gave her;
The Yew wood handles polished up beautifully and definately have the nicest shape and feel of all the handles I've made. Yet to be ground & sharpened....
All the others have been made with more traditional Ash handles, as I use them most days I didn't go to the same lengths to finish them off as nicely. The first is a strangely named 'Skewchigouge' (skew chisel & gouge in one) - copied straight from the Axminster catalogue.
A very versatile chisel it also makes one hell of a scraper!
The next is a shorty, (maybe this should have been for Sarah...), yet to be ground for use as I can't decide which of three options to go for but, it'll either be specially for beads or coving.
Next one is a square ended scraper, very useful for narrow openings - bottom of narrow bowls, egg cups etc.
The next is another copied straight from Crown tools in the Axminster catalogue - a 'splay tool'. The diagonally ground diamond tip allows it to be used like 5 different tools in 1. Only problem is that it's so sharp that if you have an accident (a 'dig') it'll go straight through the work before you can flinch - I have literally cut work in half by mistake!
The last 2 are; this very thin parting tool,
(this 1 is actually designed for cutting work in half)....
....& this large scraper which is work in progress - the tang needs lengthening before fitting into the handle and the end needs to be rounded on one corner for finishing larger bowls.
But, it hasn't been all play and no work! I finished this small Oak bedside cabinet/table for a lady, unfortunately it went before I could get decent pics - a dark dingy woodshed isn't the best place to take pictures but, it was raining outside so I had no choice!
Lots more plates & bowls to show too but, no piccies yet so they'll have to wait for the next blog.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Finally I've got round to taking (& sorting through) pictures for a new post! It's taken a bit of a while to get back into the flow of things after the DOS exhibition but, the workshops now back to normality (a mess!) & not a moment too soon as the farm is now under offer! Where we'll be a year from now is anyones guess so for now we'll have to make the most of the space....

Been doing a few more bud vases;
I really like these Yew ones;
Very interesting wood with lots of character.
More mushrooms, this Hawthorn one is my favourite;
More frames, Yew mirror;
Yew frame with a picture Sarah drew many years ago (it's actually a photo copy of Sarah's picture - the originals even nicer!)
& a Hawthorn frame, with a photocopy of a very old wood cut;

A few bowls that I'm happy with, they were actually ready for the exhibition but I've only just got round to posting the pictures!
This Burr Oak bowl with copper is my favourite.
.....despite the fact that it took 2 days just to fill the holes with the copper powder!
This spalted Elm is also very pretty, the wood was chucked in the firewood pile a couple of times as I didn't think it would turn well but, I'm glad that I did save it!
This other Elm bowl isn't quite so pretty, but still nice wood...
& this Apple bowl goes beyond spalted, the missing chunks had rotted out before turning it so it was a bit nerve-racking trying to hollow half a bowl!
The rim was actually flat when turned, but it was so green that it's warped out of all proportion!The Yew table is very nearly finished so hopefully it will be ready for my next blog - well worth a look!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Fairy Toadstools on a Sunday Afternoon!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Just a quick thank you to all who came and visited us at the DOS exhibition. And a special thank you to all those experts and crafts people who offered advice & some handy hints & tips!
We are back at home now so it shouldn't be long till we've got some new stuff to show and share...

Sunday, 5 September 2010

It's here! Do please come and see us at the Studios if you can....there is lots to see..and the drinking of tea!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Season of mists.....

As Autumn creeps in with evening nips and shooting stars, the flower seed collection is growing, the echinacia is covered with bees and butterflies, and I've finished making 140 leather oak keyrings, some removable diary/note/recipe/sketch book covers. These I have enjoyed, the usual 'decorating' business was employed ..but it was good to work with other materials for a change....rather than sticky paint! They sold well at The Blackdowns Woodair, so it spurred me on to make more. I do love my old Treadle Singer Machine......when it goes wrong however the air turns a nasty shade of blue, and Ben tinkers about for 2 minutes, and she's away again. "The trouble with Sewing Machines is" said a repair man to a friends Mum "...is that women will fiddle with them!!!!' This is fine by me....let men be men and fiddle with machines....and let the ladies sew like demons!!

I've made felt mittens today....from a Ben shrunk jumper which I lamented about for at least half a day ( now I'm thrilled he did!) Now, we're set for chilly wintry mornings at craft/farmers markets!! Not usually that previous with things...I almost feel smug!! Happy Autumn to All