Rather than a bunch of keys, here is a bunch of key fobs!
A second batch of 25 key fobs made to the same design as those below. This allows the hotel to have two key fobs for each room, plus a few spare for sale to guests.
A batch of 25 key fobs, turned in oak and based on the shape of a Staunton chess castle. They were made for Amberley Castle Hotel in West Sussex, and each is pyrographed with the name of a castle, reflecting the names of their rooms. The design is based around a gold plated keyring set, and is obviously adaptable to other shapes. More
A trophy made for Denefiled School in Reading, to be given to the best student on their Duke of Edinburgh Award programme. CHARACTER is an acronym for something, but I cannot remember what it stands for.
The trophy is made from ash, with a map reading compass in the centre. The base is designed to hold a 6 x 2 inch engraving plaque to record annual winners. More
This trophy was developed in consultation with Richard, a customer who provided an initial idea for his football club's Top Goalscorer trophy. A few emails back and forth and we agreed upon this as the final version. The ball is 5 inches in diameter, made of sycamore with 12 pyrographed pentagons, each with the club's fox logo. The three struts are rosewood, and it stands on a triangular olive ash base. More
A request from David for a primary school science trophy resulted in this microscope design. The piece is all turned from oak, and stands about ten inches tall on a seven inch diameter base. More
Another finial for a summerhouse. This one is on an 8 inch base and is about 11 inches tall. It was supplied untreated, so that the customer, Gary, can paint it to match his summerhouse. I am told the summerhouse is hexagonal in shape. More
Linda sent a picture of the finial I made for her, on top of her newly built summerhouse in London. The room is cedar shingles, on top of painted walls. The finial was provided untreated, for painting to match the main summerhouse. This is one of the largest finials I have made to date. More
Hugh requested a trophy based on a design with a disc resting on a plinth, but with some specific details. An osprey pyrographed in the centre, space to attach a horseshoe on the front, a map of Rutland on top of the base, and an inscription on the base. This is to be awarded to the first person to complete a circuit of Rutland water by paraglider, a feat apparently as yet unachieved. More
A slimline pen turned in yew. The box is pyrographed with a sun, moon and stars emblem: the pen was made for Maddie, who is fascinated by the night sky and astronomy.
My first use of a timber from Mozambique known as brown ivory. A hard, closely grained wood which turns well. Used for this retirement gift for champion chiseler Nick. More
A large burr oak bowl, sixteen inches in diameter and standing about three inches tall. The multiple swirls of grain amongst pips and cracks brings this piece of timber to life, and no attempt has been made to fill any of the small fissures or bark intrusions. A unique piece: like a fingerprint, there will be many similar, but only one with this patterning. More
Three tea light holders turned as a set, all from a single yew log. Heights are about 3, 4 and 5 inches. and base diameter 2.5 inches. A wax candle likeness comes from the creamy white sapwood of the log, while some character breaks through in the orange brown heartwood, revealed as the diameter decreases towards the top of the holders. More
There is a gallery of tea light and candle holders.
Some Christmas trees, turned from single pieces of small branches of yew. They are just about three inches tall, and about an inch in diameter.
The trees have been highly polished with three coats of wax, finishing with a hard wearing carnauba wax.
Nine acorn keyrings, made just slightly larger than real acorns - about an inch long and half an inch wide. Made from evergreen oak, with the end pyrographed to resemble the acorn cup. All slightly different shapes, as real acorns would be.
The keyring is gold plated, fastened to a stud which slots into a tube that goes through the centre of the acorn. More
A little laburnum mouse turned in response to a plea for help. Gayle contacted me to ask if I could do a replacement for the one that her dog had got hold of and chewed. Her daughter's favourite. More
Malton School had a second Celebration Evening this week, with 31 trophies being presented for excellence, endeavour and representation in subjects and school life. Subject trophies attempt to symbolise some element of the subject - as for religion and science shown here. More
Sarah asked if I could make some card holders for playing card and board games. 30cm long with a 5mm groove at the top to slot the cards in. A slight taper from centre to ends, and slightly different ends give an individual style to each one. More
Sue commissioned two trophies to mark her retirement after 24 years as a higher level teaching assistant at a school in Devon. These two 10" diameter discs have a flat ring turned on them, to allow the placing of engraving shields annually to mark the winners.
Andrew requested two acorn key rings with the simple inscription "Oak Nut". Apparently this is a family joke stemming from one autumn when his brother pointed out all the "oak nuts" under a large oak tree.
The acorns are about 2 inches long and over an inch wide, with a tube down the centre holding the pip and the ring. More
Linda requested a large acorn finial for her new summerhouse down in London. After some discussion as to how large would be appropriate, we settled on an 11 inch tall acorn on a 14 inch diameter base. To create the requested 4 inch thickness for the base, three pieces of ash were used, in the end amounting to about 5 inches high.
Jermaine requested two more chisels to act as Design Technology Awards at a school in Tottenham. These two are "black" walnut on oak bases. They are inscribed on both sides of the plinth.
Ron also requested five pen sets with inscribed boxes. The pens here are Slimline twist pens with satin gold metal parts, turned from evergreen oak (quercus ilex). More
Ron requested a tea light trio with some dedications on the barrels. This little set is made from holly, a slightly unusual wood to come across for woodturning. It is white when cut, but turns a greyish brown as it ages. This has a little speckling and spalting in it to make it more interesting. The inscriptions are pyrographed on.
Adam, who requested a thistle finial back in August, was kind enough to send me a photo of the finished product on his summerhouse, stained to match the rest of the building. . More
Two trophies made for Malton School's Key Stage 3 Celebration Evening. A Young Cricketer trophy, made from ash and padauk, and a House Cup turned from oak. Just two of 27 trophies made for the event. More
Two triangle peg solitaire puzzles, made as awards for the winners of the Junior and Intermediate Maths Challenge at Malton School. The pegs are (wooden) golf tees, the boards are oak. The badge is enamel. the inscriptions are pyrographed.
Another clock, this time made from a piece of burr horse chestnut. This one has a four inch diameter skeleton clock movement, slightly smaller to accommodate the large burr.
Full of character, I make these burr clocks when I find burrs - they can be hard to make to order as the burrs are not readily available..
Two burr oak mantel clocks, with 5 inch diameter skeleton movements. A popular item, but be aware that they can only be made when suitable burrs "come up", and no two will be alike. More
Another chisel 'trophy', made as a gift for Sophia, with an intriguing inscription requested by Jack. Made in sonokeling rosewood, with a cedarwood base. More
A communion tray for Caton Baptist Church, designed to hold forty communion wine glasses.
The whole piece is made from oak, with two boards planed and smoothed, a turned handle, turned spacers between the layers, and turned button feet. More
A roof finial for a summerhouse, based on a similar item I have made in the shape of an acorn. This piece stands about 12 inches high, and is 7 inches wide at the base. It is made from cedarwood - used for its high resistance to rot - and left untreated so that a stain can be applied by the customer to match the rest of his summerhouse.
Being a thistle, it will come as no surprise that the customer lives in Edinburgh. More
Another acorn finial, this time for my own use in the garden. I recently refurbished a twenty year old pergola which had become weighed down with ivy and suffering some rot. I put a roof on, covered with felt shingles, and then put this on to top it all off, with a roof boss underneath. The acorn is cedar, the base is ash. More
Two more peg looms made for a lady I used to work with.
Thirty dowel pegs with a small hole in for threading the wool, all in an ash base. Just over two feet long. No woodturning involved anywhere in these, just drilling and planing. More
Another cricket trophy. This one is to be presented at an annual challenge match between Harrow Wanderers and Gemini, to be played on 31 July. It is in memory of a former club member, A J N Dawson.
Like other recent cricket trophies, it is made from ash, with olive ash for the base, and padauk for the ball. Everything was finished with three coats of wax, the final coat being carnauba. More
A solid oak mantelpiece resting on turned oak supports, made to measure for my sister-in-law to fit above this small electric stove. It was based on a similar mantelpiece which I have in my own home.
The oak is in its natural colour, quite light, and there is a small amount of burr in the supports.
Everything was finished with three coats of wax, the final coat being carnauba. More
A lady who was retiring wished to donate a trophy to her school, to be awarded for leasdership. Discussion about suitable symbols led to a chess-theme, with four different sized pawns and a king or queen figure in the centre, The piece was made from olive ash and sapele, in recognition of the lady's name (Olive). Pyrography was used to add an inscription and a school badge. More
Another chisel as a resistant materials award for Northumberland Park School in Tottenham. Bubinga on an oak base. More
Another pentagonal trophy to be presented as a maths achievement award at a primary school in St Albans. The whole piece is made from sycamore with some lovely rippling, and is about 10 inches across by 12 inches high. Inscriptions are pyrographed onto the base and the centre of the trophy, and this year's winner is noted on the small pentagonal shield attached to the trophy at the top. More
Five more spalted beech acorn awards, this time for Atkins Aerospace company in Cheltenham. Some really nice spalting in this wood, with marked contrasts from creamy white to black. Pyrography was used to add the inscriptions on the trophy bases. Quite large, at 4 inches wide, by 9 inches tall. More
Six more flame trophies for kiln-dried wood providers Logs Direct. These are made in spalted beech, and are awarded to a wood fired restaurant each month as a "woody award". Obviously the design is made to match the context of the award.
Another unusual request. No woodturning involved in this one, just some general woodworking skills. This is a peg loom - wood is threaded onto each peg and then is woven to make a cloth. The block at the front of the picture was the model for the loom, the one at the rear is my copy. More
An unusual request - a "wedding log". The idea is that guests at the wedding all sign their names on the wood. The scale is lost in the photo - this is a slice of ash, 3 feet long, 1 foot wide sanded, sealed and inscribed.
This trophy was requested by a man in Cornwalll who wanted to present it to a former teacher who had led an expedition to climb the big peaks in Britain way back in 1973. This included Ben Nevis.
The trophy is made from olive ash. The plinth was made large enough to take a brass plaque which the customer was going to attach. More
A selection of acorn keyrings in different sizes. They all have the same gold key ring kit, but vary in width from about 7/8 inch to 1 3/4 inches. The ruler is in the photograph to give some idea of scale.
All are made from oak, with pyrography used to give the cup effect.
A child's four-legged stool with a picture of Thomas the Tank Engine pyrographed on the seat, similar to the Bertie Bus stool I made a couple of years ago. In fact this one is for the same family. There is also an inscription around the rim of the school, marking Thomas James' birthday.
The whole stool is made in ash, which adds an interesting grain pattern to the picture. More
A request for an acorn finial for a summerhouse. This is 12" tall overall, with a 9" base and 4" wide acorn. All made in cedar, used for its high resistance to the effects of the weather. It was left untreated as the customer is going to paint it to match his summerhouse. A roof boss was also made in the same wood, to fit inside the summerhouse at the apex of the roof.
A lady requested a money box in spalted beech, and particularly liked the more barrel-shaped versions. I confess I agree with her taste, and I will probably make all future money boxes more barrel shaped.
This customer collects small wooden items, and enjoys the spirituality of them, often taking a piece with her to the woods or the mountains for a quiet, contemplation amongst the wood still growing. More
I gave my first woodturning demonstration last week, to the members of Snainton Woodturning Club. A couple of hours showing how I turn trophies (using an individual disc trophy as an example) and how I add inscriptions using pyrography. There is a fairly full illustrated write-up of the demonstration on the Snainton Woodturning Club website.
The frogs arrived this week with the onset of a few days of mild weather and sunshine. Lots of frogspawn resulted in between the rushes and irises. Hopefully this will survive the inevitable frosty days yet to come. Newts are also in the pond - but harder to photograph!
Not much exciting happening in the garden at the moment, though the heathers are coming in to flower and snowdrops are beginning to push through. At least the birds provided some patterns in the brief snowfall last week, before the grey damp misty days returned.
Climbing apple trees for picking is not the easiest or safest pursuit, and waiting for them to drop if you have a hard surface underneath means cuts and bruises (to the apples), so this apple picker is a good find. Made by Wolfcraft, it fits on the end of their extending pole, and is simply a nylon bag with a toothed ring around the top. A twist and the apple is bagged. The pole doubles up with a saw attachment for high level pruning.
The Aspilia Brasilian gold continues to flower and increase in size, its flowers now dangling over the pot far enough to rest on the table. I am guessing the first frost is going to finish it off, unless I take it into the greenhouse and let it continue for a while longer. Getting on for four months now since first planted up. It needs plenty of water, though a couple of times when it has dired up, it comes back to life once given some liquid.
A little updating on the gallery of trees which is on this site, spotted on travels through the year. These two are a 200 year old tulip tree at Dalemain, near Penrith on the edge of the Lake District, and a renovated holly tree in the gardens at Wentworth Castle, near Barnsley. There are many more on the trees pages.
There always seems to be something for all seasons at Newby Hall gardens, near Ripon. Lots of colour still in evidence on our last visit, including two shamelessly brilliant colourful dahlia borders near the restaurant. Also in evidence as cut flowers in the Hall itself, spotted on an interesting guided tour of the house.
Parcevall Hall Gardens near Appletreewick in the Yorkshire Dales is not the easiest of places to visit, tucked away on a hill up a quiet valley. But that is no doubt part of its charm, a beautiful, tranquil place for calm and reflection, away from busy modern life.
This has been a good find this year. Aspilia Brasilian gold, sold as a patio plant or hanging basket plant. I bought four small plants and put them in a 12 inch pot and they have bushed out and flowered for a couple of months now. Still going strong..
A new roof and turned roof boss for a twenty year old pergola. This is the underside of the acorn finial pictured in the woodturning section. The two pastimes occassionally merge. A few detals of the original building plus this year's renovation project are on the site. More.
The patio garden at Threave in Dumfries and Galloway. A National Trust for Scotland training garden, it has different areas showcasing different types of garden design. A brilliant place for picking up ideas that might fit in your own garden.
A delightful visit to Helmsley Walled Garden, on a sunny day when the massed colours were at their best. We visited this garden when Alison Ticehurst first started the renovation project in 1994, and have seen it mature into the brilliant garden it is today. We will be back!
The Mirehouse is a beautiful light-filled country manor house near the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake. Frequented by Tennyson and other poets in the past. Today the gardens offer a pleasant walk through woodland, scented ornamental planting in the beehive garden (a rejuvenated walled garden) and other planting around the house.
The deep blue flowers of the Dalemain poppy, photographed on site at the impressive gardens at Dalemain House in the Lake District, near Penrith. Meconopsis grandis Dalemain grow in abundance in a semi-wild area of the gardens, two to three feet high.
Askham Hall near Penrith is now a boutique hotel, but the garden is open to visitors. And what a lovely garden, with meadow, woodland, long terraces, topiary, and a large, working kitchen garden. Providing food for a delightful cafe on site. Developing furhter, with new planting in evidence.
A visit to Lowther Castle near Penrith, where Dan Pearson has designed a garden around and inside the ruined stately home. Also in the woods are the remains of pleasure gardens and Japanese gardens - the outlines have been excavated, but not restored. A work in progress, it will be worth revisiting in a couple of years time
This impressive visitor was found resting on our front door one day. A little internet research on ukMoths.org.uk reveals it was a female muslin moth, diaphora mendica. Apparently the male is a dull brown in comparison. Described as quite common, but it is the first time we have spotted this one in the garden. I hope its caterpillars eat the dock and chickweed that the website mentions, and not our plants.
Columbine, Granny's bonnets, or aquilega. These plants have been with us since we arrived 30 years ago. They self seed around the garden, and come up in a variety of colours ranging from dark purple to white. We let them grow where they want to, occasionally pulling out the odd plant that doesn't fit with its surroundings.
The ferns have been unfurling in their almost primeval way. We have a variety of different types, but sadly I forgot to make a note of what each one was as we planted them. This one has a tall, erect habit and is one of the last to unfurl.
Almost the spring equinox, and a few days of sunshine (though not a lot of warmth otherwise) has brought out the catkins on the corkscrew hazel. This is a shrub for all seasons, with the contorted branches highlighted in winter, the catkins in spirng, the curious leaves in summer, and then the clusters of hazel nuts in autumn. Very popular with the birds as a perch..
I gave a talk to Boston Spa Gardening Society yesterday evening, entitled A Virtual Tour of Yorkshire Gardens, the first time I have given this talk for a few years now. Slides from the talk, plus a map of Yorkshire showing where the gardens are, and brief notes on each, are available in the Garden Talks section.
A carpet of snowdrops covers the ground in the woodland at Burton Agnes Hall, near Driffield. The grounds are open to see this spectacle, although the house remains closed for a few more weeks. The snowdrop coverage is really very extensive, not just a few patches here and there.
Very worrying bare patches have developed on two low growing box hedges in the last two months. I have seen box blight in gardens around the country. Is this it? I have a lot of box topiary in the garden, I hope it is not all going to be attacked. Other bushes are not showing symptoms as yet.
Watching Julia Donaldson's and Axel Sheffler's Stick Man animation over Christmas made me look in the stick basket (I save reasonable sized twiggy clippings to use as kindling). And look who I should find - a friend of Stick Man. To be honest he is actually two sticks glued together, but please don't tell my granddaughters that I have cheated. Having watched the film, I will probably now spend every visit to the stick basket looking for potential stick friends.