Saturday 16th June. Ray Ashton, a retired woodwork teacher talking about Wood and Machines

I worked out that Ray is about 90, and he had a wealth of knowledge of how wood has been used.      He started as mater craftsman, but saw an advert for woodwork teachers in the Manchester Guardian, applied and got the job.     He retired early as teaching was no longer but occupation it had been.   His talk was of woods he had used, where they came from and jobs they had been for.     It is difficult to write a detailed report of his talk as it ranged over such a wide

19th May 2018 – Richard Colbran talked about Relief Carving

Richard is a long standing member of the club with a wealth of experience.

He brought in a number of his relief carvings and gave us a talk relief carving.

He discussed a number of tricks and tips around adding dramatic shadow, the difficulty of perspective in high relief carving and thinking about the grain in three planes.



Richard discussed his use of colouring, the types of wood he uses and how he treats pieces differently for outdoor display on projects such as the nature walks in Townley Park.

He is a keen woodworker and likes to use these skills to make his own frames for the carvings, these enhance the carvings and are ofter taylor made to match the images.



17th Feb 2018 Carving Hydrangeas and Found Wood By John Adamson (member)

John had been working on the carving of hydrangeas since the day of our show at Hollingworth Lakes in October 2017.    It was an unusual choice of subject and he took us through the thought processes and tools used.     The wood had been chainsawed down to the heartwood at sometime and still showed sings of beetle in the softwood. He used a Sabur donut tool to get the shape of the flower heads and a forester drill for the layout of the florets.      There was a disasters along the way when the flower heads and the vase came apart.   The broken stems were held together with insulating tape and copious quantities of superglue fed into the damaged area.     The florets were coloured with blue shoe polish as the amount of colour could be adjusted late on in the process more easily than with paint.  The stalks were painted with acrylic paint and the vase finished in Vaseline.     







The hydrangeas were an unusual form of John’s normal way of carving using Found wood.   Found wood, he defines as ‘not machined”, as Bought is an opposite of Found, and all Bought would is machined.     With various examples, he showed the advantages of found wood.      It is far less boring than square bought wood, and has the strength that the growing tree builds into the wood, so there is less problems with short grain etc.   He takes penknife were ever he is and carries a 6 tooled Flexicut knife set on holidays.

The Expert Panel

The Christmas Meeting

February meeting 17th Century New England carving

17 century carving

We watched a DVD on New England 17 Century carving by Peter Follansby.   This was a bit controversial, as at previous meetings, when this had been suggested members had stayed away.    The DVD was very clear and introduced a subject that we are unlikely to get a speaker for in this country.     The laying out and carving were simple and much done by eye.   It seems from later experiments that the eye and the hand had to have considerable experience of the processes involved for them to be done with such ease.

17 century carving 2

The work was carved on green oak that Peter split direct from the log rather than sawn.    The outside was allowed to dry but the inside was green.   This apparently gave a crisp edge to the cuts, but an easy ride for the gouge / chisel through the wood.   The curves were scribed with  a compass with a sharpened metal metal points on each leg.     Only 6 tools were used.   Most work was done with a V tool.    This looked easy, but a skill that must a have taken lots of practice. The straight lines were scribed using a try square.    Any other elements relied on that eye again.

17 century carving 3

The little ) ( marks were made with two cuts of a gouge, again by eye.       It seemed that it did not matter what you did as long as you repeated the action in similar places in each pattern.   So a “mistake”, in that it was not what you originally intended, does not matter as long as you made the same “mistake” on each repetition of the pattern.     This felt wrong, but as long as you have not told anyone what it was going to look like, it does not matter.   In all it was a refreshing change to our current practice