Sunday, 16 December 2012

Are people still visiting this blog?

It would seem some of you are.  Amazing.

Well, tomorrow, I start my last week of paid work - 24 hours and that's that!  I haven't saved up as much money as I'd have like, so I won't be able to do everything I want to do at the scale I wanted to do it, but the plan is to sort out a studio space and a new wood kiln, and make some pots, and hopefully make some money before I have to find another job.  Hoping to take at least 4 months out.  So watch this space.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

New clay, please.

I can sincerely say, since the last time I made a pot, I haven't made another one.  And that time was at Nics - see previous post about the throwing large course.  Anyway, haven't had time.  But today, this arrived:

450Kg of assorted clays - all stoneware and four bags of Margaret Frith porcelain - mostly the stoneware is the Svend Bayer clay.  Anyway, I decided I'd shift it into the shed, as currently my garden looks like this:

Anyway, I got as far as this:

when this happened:

Two stories there - one terminally flat tyre, plus a heavy thunder storm.  So, I got fed up at that point, and the rest of the clay ended up on my original clay heap, where the clays seeps from their bags, only to be replaced by Ants.

So this is how I left it.  Thankfully, I got some energy and the rest was moved this afternoon.

Not that I have any time to make pots, nor do I know what to make.  I have a few things that are inspiring me at the moment.  Currently, my 'studio' shed isn't in a great state - it's full of old pots I'd made at Hunstanton, over a year ago, and a group of kittens.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Don't all laugh at once.

Monty Don has a lot to answer for, for making me think I can do this (I can't.)  But I'm having a go.  So I made the shaving horse to make some tools - paddles and anvils.  I made two anvils as they're just a round of, in this case, cherry, with a slight bevel on the edge. 

But it's the paddles that are the bit I find difficult.  So I watched the master crafts episode again (I managed to find it on DVD.  In Australia!!!)  So using a froe, and a bit of wet ash kindly donated by Matt, I cleaved an 8 inch length in two after taking off a slight top edge.

The wood is partly white and partly a sort-of brown wood which seems very wet.  The brown is hard to cut but the white is like butter.  Anyway, I persevered.

Here's the first paddle.

It's a bit uneven and it's very very heavy.  Look how thick it is:

Anyway, it feels quite nice in the hand.  The draw-knife wasn't easy to use in making the handle, but again, I did what I could.

The second one (remember that's the first time I've used the tools, let alone made a paddle) I decided to split the other bit of wood differently.  Like last time I made two top cuts, and then made two middle cuts to make pieces more like little planks.  This time I wanted a longer paddle - short handle, long blade.  The log was a bit longer.

And here we have it:

It's a lot thinner:

It feels like you cold give someone a good spanking with it.  Or, if they are no good for making pots, then I could use them to pat butter.  They do feel rather nice in the hand, I have to say (I don't know what that says about me though.)

Here are the tools, which I bought from a green woodworking centre near Durham - they're nice tools but I have a nail coming off and a couple of blisters now.  I must say I like the froe best.

Anyway, Nic, when he makes these, burns them with a gas flame and then brushes them, which might help to make them flatter (although they are reasonably flat, but not perfect.)  I also need to cut some cross hatching in to them, but I'm not sure how to go about that yet (I used a grinder on the anvil.)

Well, that was this afternoons work.  I still have three bits of wood to try and make some better ones but they'll have to wait as I'm off again tomorrow for a few days.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Anne Mette Hjortshoj at Goldmark this weekend.

Here's a link to Anne Mette's video from Goldmark.  I haven't watched it because my crap BT internet of 200-odd kbps isn't enough, but I'm sure it'll be a good show.  Not sure i'll get there though.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

What kind of an idiot...

...would buy a really knackered broken-down fuel inefficient tipper truck, to wield things about the country, when it would be cheaper to hire one or just pay for the delivery of stuff.

Oh.  Hang on...

All I need now is a cheap/free wood source.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Wasting time?

After the throwing large course, there are a few things I think I need to get sorted out; paddles, a kick wheel and a large bench.  I have an old table that'll do as a bench until the barn is sorted (a kiln! I need a kiln too, of course.)

So, for the paddles I thought I'd try a bit of green woodwork and so I've built a shaving horse, based on a designed found here.

Well, it isn't that sturdy because the instructions say use 90mm coach screws but most of the wood is in threes and so 120mm thick, plus I didn't have a 6mm wood bit long enough for the 130mm screws I had.  So it's just tacked together with normal wood screws.  It isn't even that comfortable - I may have to buy a cushion.  Plus, I was looking through some book somewhere and they made paddles out of marine plywood - I could've done that instead.  Oh well, it works.

Well I say it works, except where do you buy a draw blade?  A modern spoke shave is more like a razor blade, and no one sells the long knives with two handles.  I'll have to do a car boot or auction to find one.

I have also found this plan for an onggi-style kick wheel.  I know it isn't what Nic uses, but I haven't got room for a large wheel like his, and this looked fairly easy to make.  I found the plan here.

Anyway, I took the plan up to the local hardware store and forge, and neither of us could explain exactly how it worked - it's a bit short of information.  I notice Adam Field has left a note:

"The plywood is simply screwed and glued together, and the wood given a coat of Thompson's Water Seal. I think the posts are lag screwed into the second from top and bottom sheets of plywood along with being glued into their mortised holes, but they might just be glued. Most of the cuts were made with a router, included the mortises in the plywood for the posts. The top bearing is a 1 inch-shaft thrust bearing that we salvaged off of an old kick wheel. It is lag screwed using its flange mounting to the underside of the top laminated plywood disk. The bottom bearing I found at a salvage dealer in town (it might be something like a clutch throwout bearing - I'm not sure) The bottom bearing mostly carries side thrust and is simply a press fit into a routed hole in the bottom plywood disk."

which helps a bit.  We did wonder why it didn't have a bearing at the top, and what kind of bearing to use.  But I am still not sure how it works (we presumed the solid rod was welded to the plate at the bottom, that the bearings were thrust bearings and that the bottom wheel just sat over it, the top one screwed on to a flange.  Anyway, I might start making the wheel and wheel head and mull over how to proceed.

Of course, what I should be doing is putting up my polytunnel...

Sunday, 18 March 2012

First pots in over six months.

I've spent the weekend at Nic and Sabine's, on their 'Throwing Large' course.  I hadn't thrown any pots since October 2011 - not really wanted to, not got around to it - but have come back mildly inspired.  

I learnt about making pots through coiling, using Nic's doughnut method, and in parts.  The bottle above has a silly handle, but must have been 16 or 18 inches tall - coiled.

The jar above is about 6 inches tall - just used to test technique of making in two parts.  Although I'd tried all these methods, the only one that had worked for me was making pots in parts, but I reckon the pots I made were more chance than anything.

Can't say much more as my internet hasn't been working, but all in all, it's been a brilliant weekend.  I think Nic is thinking of doing another in September - I can highly recommend.

That is all.