Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Today, a white Christmas
It has been many a long year since we have had this, it always enhances the sense of wonder, and the magic and joy of the holiday for me.

All the more so, with it having been over 65 degrees here two days ago. It is less than an inch, but enough to be a "mantle of white"

A merry Christmas and a happy new year to you

Friday, December 13, 2013


Low of 7 at 4am

Up to a balmy 12 by 6. Sundays snow melted by Monday, Tuesdays snow is still on the ground

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Collapsible furniture

If you have been reading this you know my interest in collapsible furniture. Here Chris Schwarz is getting into the act.



Sundays snow was quickly gone
Turned to rain Monday morning

Yesterday's stayed
Twenty point three degrees this morn

Sunday, December 8, 2013


This is primarily a gardening blog, and the first seed catalog arrived on Friday so it's time to start planning for next year, but in the mean time I'm keeping occupied with woody works.

Tonight we see the first significant snowfall of the season

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Improvised large dividers.

Two yardsticks held tightly at one end with a clamp allowed me to mark off 44" into even thirds, with no math and no measuring! Easy-peasy

The smaller dividers for transferring dimensions (at least in this case)

Sunday, December 1, 2013


Here we see the broad axe used in a freshly riven surface, to smooth the work and prepare it for the plane

And how the axe brings down the high spots

Thus we trade our riven surface for a hewn one.

And as an added bonus, a free side of chips!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Axe types

Here are my axes there are several different types, only a few are redundant

Also in the picture is my attempt at replicating the rule from the Mary Rose, the larger marks are one inch, the half circles denote 6", so you can get a sense of the scale of these things.

Fist is the standard American felling axe. The us had a great many trees, and the shape of the axe had to change because there was so much to do.  Long handled.

here is a lath hatchet, these were used for cutting, splitting and nailing on lath in preparation for plaster.  Being flat across the top lets you nail into corners.  Thin lightweight blade for all-day chopping.

not entirely sure about this hammer-hatchet, though i'm pretty sure the previous owner put the handle in the wrong side of the head.

same basic idea, but an octagonal poll (the hammer side) and a notch in the blade for pulling nails.  This makes it more of a shingleing hatchet.

This is probably my most frequently used.  I've had it a long time, bring it camping.  the hammer is a bit flaked off on one side, and i burnt the handle at one point doing something stupid. 

Now we are getting into the broad-hatchets.  These next three come to a bevel on only one side.  These are for hewing and finishing off surfaces that have been split and preparing them for the planes.

This one is made by Winchester.  It is quite heavy but it works very well.  The handle will need to be tightened up a bit but this is a great hatchet.  I expect to make a lot of use of this.

here is another broad hatchet, no make indicated.  This one looks good, but it needs to be sharpened much better than it is currently for it to come into it's own.

Another broad hatchet.  This one is quite interesting.  the poll has prongs toward the helve (handle) that seem to me to be a nail-puller, but i can't imagine why you'd be pulling nails when hewing.  Makers mark stamped deep into the blade, three curved bits with a square in the middle.  i think there's a VA in the square but it's hard to make out.

Ah, the broadaxe.  Again, bevel only on one side, more like a chisel than a knife.  Don't know what happened to the handle, and i havent' made a replacement yet.  Maybe when that shavehorse gets finished.  The funny thing is, i had an adze, and that handle i have but i can't find the head!

Here is the biggie, 12" broadaxe.  Heavy!  long handle, bent away from the plane of the blade.  Haven't used this guy much at all yet.

And here is the medieval axe.  small and lightweight, it does a decent enough job, but the other ones work better.  But it looks so cool!

The last tool is one that gets a lot of use as well, especially on the shavehorse, is the Froe.  the side of the blade that is away from the handle is the sharp part (toward the ruler in the picture)  that gets driven into the end grain where you want it to split, with a fore club or wooden mallet.  This will convince the log to split where you want it (to a degree at least)

There are also the maul and iron wedges, though you can make wedges out of wood, which would be called gluts, to help you pry boards out of your logs.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Just a few flurries here and there this morning, when I went out to ope the chickens. Low temp today was 33.2

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Autumnal garden

Ripped out the dead basil, saving what seed I can for next year. The tomatoes and beans are dead as well. Also got some Spanish black radish seed pods, more of those to come. The Portuguese kale and Swiss chard are delicious, sweetened by the frost. The peas are still going, hopefully we will get some peas off them before winter tightens its grip

Monday, October 28, 2013

Last tomato

With the cold snap, this is the last tomato of the season...

It was good, too. Fully ripened on the vine

Thursday, October 24, 2013

It's frosty

Low temp last night of 31

The growing season is getting old, though the kale should be sweeter now

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Shaving horse 3

I don't know why but I like to reassemble the log after its split. I guess to see where each piece came from when it was still in the log

Shaving horse, 2

Here at the log site I've split it into manageable chunks, to get it back to the workshop, across the river there.

This is the only dry path... Yikes!

Shaving horse

The river brought me a shaving horse. It's right here inside this log...

I just have to coax it out, with wedge and froe

Friday, October 18, 2013


Wild strawberries have invaded my patch. So now I have nice examples of wild, alpine and modern all mixed in. The problem with this is the wild ones have no flavor

Both the wild and the modern put out runners, in the modern the leaves are bigger and the runners fleshier, the runners on the wild are thin like wires. The leaves in the wild though are very similar to the alpine. So great care must be taken to not remove the wanted strawberries

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Wooden bench

So the river brings me this nice weathered slab of something, and I think wow that would make a nice bench. So I cut holes in it with a spoonbit drill, and hewed this twisty chunk of cherry into billets for the legs of it, which I then shaved down to fit with a couple of drawknives, and drive home with a mallet. No modern tools at all.

Spanish Black

This is a monster radish!

It's neighbors are flowering this monster just keeps making more root

Asparagus berries

Spanish Black

This is a monster radish!

It's neighbors are flowering this monster just keeps making more root

Monday, September 9, 2013


So William has produced!

One boll is opened, the other not yet

John mandeville, writing in 1350, speaks o wool grown on trees, and here is a print from his book. The boughs are flexible enough that the tiny lambs can graze

The seeds are buried in the cotton, in this case there were six in this quarter of the boll


A modest one, but yummy

White carrot, alpine strawberry, Portuguese kale

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Bed five gets three rows o Spanish black radish, the earlier planting of this is let go to seed


Bed ten gets peas with garlic chives up the center