Member’s carvings Feb 2018

Carving for Towneley Park Nature Trail by Richard Colbran

The notes below have been taken from the Towneley News 2018

Smallholdings Trail

This nature trail was instigated by a Park Ranger about seven years ago, in collaboration with the Friends of Towneley Park. It provides an easy walk of about three quarters of a mile, on good paths, starting opposite Riverside Car Park entrance.

There are ten marker posts around the trail, each capped with a carving representing a natural creature which might be seen nearby, namely speckled wood butterfly, heron, fox, frog, swallow, toadstool, rabbit, wren, dragonfly and hedgehog. The carvings were done by members of Lancashire and Cheshire Wood Carvers, but inevitably the weather has taken its toll, and some rot has set in.

During last summer, remedial work was started, involving three members from both groups.  Two carvings which were beyond repair (one having been vandalised by a woodpecker!) have been replaced and re-sited away from overhanging trees, to help the wood to dry out more quickly. The other carvings have been patched up, with some re-carving and use of filler. More new carvings are under way to replace any further write-offs.

One outstanding feature on this trail is the flowering of the Southern Marsh Orchids in late May or early June, and this is said?to be the most northerly habitat for this plant. Riverside Car Park has picnic areas, toilets and a refreshment kiosk, as well as a children’s play area to enjoy on your return.

There maintenance of these carvings is on going in 2021











Carving Hydrangeas and Found Wood by John Adamson

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 signs of beetle in the softwood. He used a Sabur donut tool to get the shape of the flower heads and a forstner  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.

Garden Friends by Stuart Hood

Stuart says ” .  I always find it hard to make up my mind what to carve next , so whilst clearing out my shed I found some old carvings I had done five or six years ago, these are the lower two on the stump and one on the back of the shed. I also found a couple of pieces of wood and decided to carve another two spirits. These are the two newer ones on the top of the stump. As for the type of wood, I think the top one is sycamore and the others are pine from the stump when it died some years ago. All I’ve done is give them two coats of Danish oil and hung them out to dry.  


























Fence post art by Richard Colbran

My Garden Friends

Richard says –  Over the last 20 years, a major interest has been the production and maintenance of out-door nature carvings for the local parks, making trail-markers and other interesting features for the benefit of the general public.

Seven years ago, when re-jigging our garden after a house move, we decided to add some small nature carvings on top of our own fence posts.

Suitable subjects were found, and wood selected from workshop oddments – oak, elm, ash, cherry, tulip-wood and mahogany.

Carving was mostly with conventional gouges and knives, and the best method of fixing them to the posts was that used for fixing walking stick handles, with an axial steel dowel embedded in epoxy-glue and sometimes a wood-screw to hold everything tight while the glue sets.  They have been finished with a variety of exterior PU varnishes or oil blends, none of which have stood up to  weather conditions, despite yearly attention.  Splits have developed in several of the earlier samples and some further repair work is needed

In the days when visitors were allowed in the garden, the carvings used to attract lots of interest, and as there are still a couple of posts uncapped the next subject may be a Covid-19 virus!

A memorial to the great lock-down!









































On August 2nd, Club members enjoyed a visit to the collections of craft workshops now housed in the Old Workhouse, King Street, Pateley Bridge.


Joseph Hayton, the stone mason, invited us into his workshop, and told us about his career and his carvings. Among those on show were two carving of Green men, one in Tadcaster limestone and the other in a much darker shade was one in Killkenny limestone from Ireland.

Outside we met his father John Hayton who was carving a scene onto a giant oak beam which had been commissioned to replace one that had gone rotten in the roof of a local hall.? (more of Joseph and John’s carvings can be seen on )

Another highlight of our trip was the visit to the glassblowers where Andrew Sanders and David Wallace showed us their skills with a full demonstration of how they made bowls, vases, wineglasses  and paperweights. They fascinated us with a full description of the chemicals involved and the simple tricks of the trade to get trapped silver bubbles, sprays of flowers, etc.  Some of us were mesmerized and could have watched for hours. Their website shows more of their work.  ( )