Friday, 29 March 2019

Oak and Brown Oak Gate with Saxon Oak Rivets

I've just finished this Oak gate with Brown Oak rails. I like the colour contrast. I'm part way through making the other two gates for this commission. All are in the same style - a four bar gate with let-in dovetail brace.

Each of the braces has a kink in it, which I think adds a nice visual touch. These braces are riven from the 'nose' of a cleft. In other words they were the pointy bit of a 1/8 segment of a split log. This part of the log was laid down towards the beginning of its life. The kink was caused by the young Oak loosing its leader, possibly nibbled off by a deer, and a side shoot straightening out to become the new leader. This results in a 'dog leg' which fades over time as the tree grows. When we split a log open, the idiosyncrasies of the young tree become visible to us and we can also see the little pin knots which we one the side shoots of a sapling. When you put a log through a sawmill, these features are called imperfections, but one of the beauties of green woodworking is they can become features, as we can follow and preserve the grain rather than cutting through it. These 'noses' are too thin for gate rails but are perfect for the brace and add a bit of character to the gate.

These dovetail braces need holding on with more than just a peg, so I use an Oak rivet. It is a peg with a bulbous end. The other end has a slot sawn in it. After banging through the hole, a little wedge is inserted and the rivet is held fast. I saw this style of fixing holding together a door made of riven boards in the reconstruction Saxon house at the Weald and Downland museum.

The protruding wedge is then cut off. I believe that this method of fastening was used in Britains oldest functioning door, the Anglo-Saxon 'Pyx' door at Westminster Abbey, although I think possibly that those had wedges on both sides.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Cleft Oak Gate

This is a cleft Oak picket gate installed in a pretty Cotswold cottage garden.

It is held together with Oak pegs and copper nails. The gate posts have been hewn from cleft quartered Oak.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Greenwood Dining Table and Chairs

I haven't been very good at posting photos lately. I have been very busy creating though, and shall endeavour to share some more of my work soon. I also get very caught up in the processes of making and rarely remember to take photos of the processes involved, but here are some photos of the recently completed set of dining chairs and table.

They were made using traditional green woodworking methods, but are not entirely traditional in style, as I have adapted them to my tastes (and hopefully the tastes of the client!), incorporating added flair to the legs and spindles, facets and natural curves for the table components.

The table top and chair seats are Elm, the legs, stretchers and spindles are Ash, chair combs are made from old Oak barrel staves and all wedges and pegs are also Oak.