Woodsmithery has been in the great outdoors again today with our second village fayre event, this time in nearby Albrighton.

If the two events we have done so far have taught us anything it’s:

  1. Trestle tables wobble… a lot.
  2. A bowl of water with a sign that reads: “Water for your dog or short people with low standards” gets a lot of cameras pointed at it.
  3. Solid oak doorstops get a great deal of attention with people usually saying “oooo”, “ahhhh” and “hmmmm” while hefting them around thoughtfully.
oak doorstops
Now available: solid oak doorstops made to order

So now we’re back home I thought I’d write a quick post for all those kindly people who relieved me of business cards to let them know that I’ve just added the doorstops to the Woodsmithery shop here!

Etsy is a funny old bird, so I’ve had to list small, medium and large doorstops with prices attached, but the reality is that if you want something different I can make pretty much any size. Just drop an email to info@woodsmithery.co.uk or leave a message here, telling me what you have in mind, and I’ll get back to you to work out the details.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking in the shop for something you saw on the table then fret not – I’m adding things online slowly (I’ve been pretty lax), so it’ll appear eventually. If you want to beat me to it then send an email and I’ll reply as soon as I can.

Our first village fete

My wife and I handed out loads of business cards today at our first ever village fete/craft fair – and where better to do it than in Pattingham where Woodsmithery is based?

It was a terrific day, and much more successful that either of us imagined, so I thought I’d write a quick post to thank everyone who took the time to have a chat and relieve us of some of our wares.

We literally returned from two weeks in France yesterday afternoon and things are really busy for the next 24 hours (I’m currently watching the football and at the final whistle we’re driving 200+ miles to the North East to collect the dog from his Grandpawrents) but I’m going to try to find the time to update the shop with all of the things that visitors to the stall will have seen today.

So if you took a card and have popped in to see what’s still for sale, please accept my apologies and come back in a day or two to see everything that’s still waiting to find a loving home!

Studying the crotch

Every now and then I’ll use the word ‘crotch‘ when talking about wood and I have been ordered by the Good Lady Smithery to explain what the hell I’m going on about.

It’s pretty simple – look at that tree over there. No, not that one… the other one. The one with the pigeon in it and the knobbly bit that looks like a bum.

sweet chestnut crotch
There’s a bowl in this sweet chestnut crotch somewhere

See where the branches divert away from the trunk and head off to do their own thing? See the Y-shape they create as they leave the trunk? That’s the crotch, that is. And if you can’t work out how it came to be called that then you should have paid more attention in your school biology lessons.

The good thing about crotch wood is that rather than just having regular grain patterns that you might see in, say, a normal branch, this features a collision between two or more lots of grain running in different directions, thereby creating more visual interest and perhaps contrasting colours and patterns. And if the crotch features more than one branch, then the more interesting and complex it becomes. This is more noticeable in hardwoods which already feature striking grain, such as oak or walnut, but isn’t so obvious in more bland woods like sycamore.

Cutting a lump of spalted silver birch crotch into bowl blanks. The pith is particularly susceptible to checking so has to be removed (that’s the bit on the ground)

Crotch wood comes with its own unique set of issues, however. A regular lump of trunk, when fresh, will begin to shrink as it dries out. This can be seen by cracking (aka ‘checking’) which starts at the centre of the rings (aka the ‘pith’) – which isn’t necessarily the centre of the round log – and goes to the outside surface where the bark is/was.  But grain that heads all over the place inside the crotch is less predictable. Checking still happens, but with two or more piths involved the cracks can go in different directions and create warping which either ruins or improves the whole piece, depending on your point of view.

So there you go. Now you know. Crotch wood isn’t as rude as my wife – with her mind in the gutter – seems to think it is.

Welcome to Woodsmithery

Hello, and thank you for popping in to Woodsmithery.co.uk

This is a simple site for the moment, designed to give visitors a little detail about us (read: ‘me’) and what we (‘I’) do. If things go according to plan it will be updated as time goes on and there may even be a little bit of bloggery to highlight some of the things I’m up to or have a whinge about the latest stuff to go wrong in the workshop.

If you like what you see please take a moment to go to the Woodsmithery Shop page – or go straight to Etsy – where you’ll find a few finished projects available for sale.

I’m happy to consider commissions too (although I can’t guarantee anything!) – just go to the Contact page and fill out the form. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. You can also contact me direct via email at info@woodsmithery.co.uk