Monday, 15 June 2009

Pole lathe for School groups

Had my first school group visit the park for a session of polelathe work, we made billets and got to grips with the basic hand tools such as axe's billhooks and draw knives. we showed them how to set up the lathe and got things set for the next session.

Its great passing on a little to others some thing that they would have never seen before. One of the lads there had seen it on the Country file the evening before and was dying to have a go.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Demo Day

Have been asked about attendng a day for a local volunteer group to show them the pole lath and how it works, Not quite sure on what date yet but should be good to let others see what its all about. Not had a chance to get much done with it of late but will do towards the end of the week.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Pole lathe course

We had Robin Fawcett come to capstone to run a course for us here and a couple of the bushcrafter came along alos for the weekend. It was great to hear som uch more about turning and being shown some of the more detailed stuff we can no do.

I have also set up a meeting for the bushcrafter's to come along and show there skill's this will be in June will keep you posted on the date.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

New tools

My new tools will help me with my new allotment as well as i can make up a range of things that will come in handy with Plot 40. I now have 2 sets of chisels and they are 3/4 skew 2 flat 1.75 roughing out gouge and a 9mm spindle gouge.

Things are going to get interesting as im going to have to share my time with the new plot but im sure i will manage some how

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Coppicing has started

Well we have started coppicing at the Country Park this week and there is lots of Ash around right now we have started on a small area of wooded area at the top end of the park. I am lead on this work taking place so we pulled in athe whole team to get things moving.

With a big fire burning the brush and potatoes in the fire for lunch we all enjoyed jacket tats with beans, cheese and coldslaw. im sure there will be some aching muscles this week as its always hard to get in to the heavy work first time in the year.

The team have done a great job working this small area of woodland

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Association of Polelathe Turners Kent Meeting 11th 12th October

What a great weekend was had by all (Nice to meet you all) driving to the site in Cranbrook Kent the mist and fog was very heavy both days but when the sun burnt it off what nice days we had.
When i arrived i started the fire on the Saturday and had a chance to have a chat with John the host of this event, so then i unloaded the pole lathe and my beech plank ready to make my shave horse over the weekend. People started to arrive not long after i was in place, there was around 15-20 people throughout the day some stopping all day some passing through. There was lots of chestnut shingle's being made by 2 brothers and people trying there hand at making them also.

Sunday started a touch earlier as there was few few hardy souls that stopped the night in the damp but hey they had fun in the local pub. They headed out to get bacon, mushrooms and eggs all in a fresh bread sandwich yummy. John and Mike started making some goblets and let others have a go out turning out the centers

I enjoyed the whole weekend and look forward to taking part in the next the group has a good feel to it and no one is scared of passing on knowledge to others.
Image above Mike Gordon Sussex Group

Thursday, 9 October 2008


Guide to bodging
Selecting a not too old, leggy (quickly grown) beech tree within a stand would have been the ideal choice for the bodger. Tools needed to be a bodger are limited to a saw, axe, chisels, draw-knife and a lathe (traditionally a pole lathe) for turning. He would have a lonely existence working from temporary woodland workshops near to where he had felled the tree. The tree would be sawn into billets about the right length for the chair legs. The billet would be split into many pieces using a wedge. The axe would be used to shape the pieces into the shape of a chair leg. The axe would only sharpen on one side. The bodger would then use a two handled draw knife to refine the shape of the leg. Finally, using a pole lathe (made of wood and string) the bodger would finish off his work. The finished chair legs would be left in the woods to season for a few weeks (depending on the weather) then taken to a centre for making chairs. Once at the centre the benchman (dealing with the sawn part of the chair) and the framer (dealing with assembling the chair) would take over.

Origin of the name bodger
The name bodger may have derived from Badger, as the life of a bodger was similar in many ways. As they spent the whole day in the wood only coming out in the evening. Although, this has not been confirmed.
The Pole Lathe
The modern lathe is powered by electricity but the pole lathe was power by foot.

It was called a pole lathe because the 'driving string' was attached to the 'tensioned pole which was up to 12 feet long'. The driving string was rapped around the piece of wood being worked on and also attached to the 'foot-powered treadle'.

The bodger would press down the treadle causing the wood being worked on to spin in one direction. He would use a chisel rested on the 'tool rest' to cut the wood to the required shape. He would take the chisel away from the work when he takes his foot off the treadle as the work is turned in the opposite direction by the action of the tensioning pole.

There were two other parts to the pole lathe.The lathe bed and the puppet The puppet could be moved within the bed to allow for different length pieces of wood.

I am now a member of the Association of Polelathe Turners (APT)