Friendship Poles

Friendship poles are an American idea we pinched. They usually attract a lot of attention when put out on display at our shows.
Club members were provided with a piece of lime wood 2 x 2 x 4 inches with a hole drilled down the middle and asked to carve something; anything interesting.  We had no idea of the variety of carvings that would be produced.  Almost any member can look at a carving in one of our exhibitions and unerringly approach the carver who made it.  With the friendship pieces these “normal” subject matter and approach were no guide to the carver.























Using a Scroll-saw by Paul Metcalfe

Paul Metcalfe and his friend Martin from Red Rose Woodturners gave us a very interesting and informative talk on using a scrollsaw.


Examples of Scroll workExamples of Scroll work

Patterns are easily available on the web and Paul recommended. These are free but a donation can be made to Help for Heroes.
Their “bible” for all their work is “The New Scroll Saw Handbook by Patrick Spierman published by Sterling Publishing Co. Inc. New York

Here are some of the hundred of tips that they gave us:
Hardwood is better than softwood;
Use only the best plywood (5mm) for smoother edges. They get theirs from C&W Berry Ltd Leyland Preston
The thinner the wood the smaller the blade especially if there are tight turns.
Check that the blade is at 90 degrees to the wood, and tension is tight but with a little give.
Bare wood with a drawing on can be used but they recommended using tape which apparently gives the blade lubrication.

Martin demonstrated cutting an eagle’s head out of 1/4″ maple wood.  First he used spray mount glue to stick the pattern to the wood and then covered it with sellotape before cutting it with blade number 2 or 3.   On the other hand Paul liked using Frog Tape (he used the green colour.) He covered the wood with Frog Tape then spray mounted the pattern on top.   His demo was of a name plate (SHED) made in pine from an old bed. On the photo you can see the result of tilting the resting plate at 3.5  degrees and always cutting in an anticlockwise direction this allows the cut out to be pushed upwards. If you cut clockwise the letter will be pushed down. (Spot the mistake in the photo where he made the centre of the letter D by cutting in the wrong direction.)

Scroll saw workScroll saw work

They used a Hegna Machine costing about £350 but also favoured the dearer Excalibur. They make delicate items with these. If any of our
members only want one for roughing out before carving then a cheaper model will do.  Having heard this, I went home to get out my scroll-saw from Aldi costing £25 to give it a go! Watch this space.
Report by Gillian Smith

P.S. by  John Adamson

I watched this space and saw nothing.    One nugget of information I got from the talk was,  that the saw blades are stamped out of the metal, and that is the reason that they do not cut in line with the blade, but off to one side.


Covid Carving Suggestions

Now that Boris has dropped his Rule of Six bombshell, it is obvious that we will not be able to meet to carve for some time, so I thought that I would share with you some of my “On Holiday” carvings.    We go on walking holidays and often are carrying all our belongings in a rucksack from one night stop to the next.    This restricts  the weight of our stuff, so wear one and carry one of all items of clothing is a general rule, a half used tube of toothpaste, and no room for any carving tools except my trusted Opinel pocket knife.      I pick up small interesting bits of wood as I walk along.   They have to be pocket size, and suggest what might be carved.    I am not expecting you to go on a walking holiday during the Covid experience, but you might find interesting bits of wood when pruning trees or bushes.   You don’t need any special space for doing this, although a very accommodating partner is required if carving on a carpeted surface.   I have confused chamber maids in Abu Dhabi by carving in my hotel bed!!

Abstract Mother and Child in Vine wood

Bowing Man in Vine Wood


Woman in Vine Wood

Horse’s Head in Rotten Wood


Knobbly Head Wood Unknown

Warrior in Root of Unknown Wood


Dish – Wood Unknown

Woman doing Press up – Wood Unknown


Animal and Shell – Woods not known.

Sitting Fat Man – Wood Unknown






































































Abstract Mother and Child in Vine wood

17th Century New England carving

17 century carving

In March 2016 we watched a DVD on New England 17 Century carving by Peter Follansbee. 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