Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cutty Sark off-cuts

I have a lot of off-cuts and fragments from my making of various objects from the ships timber.
Some of these I have found difficult to use in the usual way so I have created some other things that might appeal to the visitors.
The two seascapes utilise the hull timber immediately below the muntz metal that clad the ship, This has a wonderful crusty verdigris texture which looks just like a rough sea. The addition of some burnt timber for rocks and a turned lighthouse cut in half and skies using the more grained wood complete the picture.
I have bought a small lathe in order to turn the handles of the magnifying glasses. I lost my original lathe many years ago in a workshop fire. and never bothered to replace it but it has been good fun re- discovering the world of woodturning.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Waddling Penguins Return

I stopped making penguins in 1996 after my workshop fire. This month I have a delightful Czech toymaker, Jana working with me and so I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to return to them. They are bigger than before and have improved skis. Jana has made an excellent job of shaping and painting. They were originally inspired by waddling ducks made by Ron Fuller who had seen them in Nuremberg Toy Museum. I made them early in my toymaking career and they continued selling well for many years. 

A second portrait of Captain Woodget

Here is another portrait of dear old Captain Woodget, master of the Cutty Sark in its most successful period. This is painted on fragment of the rock elm hull ( you can see on the left the nail holes where the muntz metal was fixed)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Yoga studio and the Yogawall

At last, the completed Yoga studio.

Three panel birch plywood wall. Enough for 4 and a half students according to yogawall.eu!

Maple floor, a reclaimed Nokia stand from the NEC Birmingham finished in white Osma hardwax oil.

Dimmable studio LED lights (only 30 watts total)

Lovely dimmable-to-almost -nothing perforated plaster pendants.

The original Victorian fireplace now contains a Jotul woodburning stove on a Mexican handmade tile hearth.

The fish eye lens makes the space look narrower than it is. The space is 6x4 metres enough for 8 students.

The fittings for the wall are from www.yogawall.eu and consist of plates with a spring loaded socket that receives the ball of the other components. This system was designed by Kedric Wolfe in the early 80's after he injured his foot on one of the older system's wall hooks.
Each one of the 27 plates has been set into the panel in a routered recess and bolted through to a larger plate on the back.
After watching a number of videos of the wall in use I became aware of rather disturbing creaks so I mounted the panels onto wall battens with rubbercarpet underlay and introduced a 3mm gap between the boards so that nowhere is wood rubbing on wood.
The wall now will have to be tested before use by an expert on climbing walls. Fingers crossed. No make that legs crossed!

Now does anybody know any half students interested in Yoga!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Star of India and Captain Woodget's portrait

I made this dinner plate sized version of The Star of India for the Twinings tea tin Christmas tree this year at the Cutty Sark. 

The original is a beautiful domed object about 40 cms in diameter which I hadn't seen before I made this version. A new one has been made for the stern of the ship and has the look of a jelly mould and is much deeper than the original. I did this from the original drawings so has a much sharper edge.  

A portrait of Captain Woodget painted on a piece of the hull material which is rock elm. It is studded with brass nails which were used to hammer on the muntz metal which covered the hull and was one of the reasons the ship recorded such high speeds.
It is the first painting I have done in many years.
Captain Woodget was much loved by the crew, fearless and eccentric he roller skated on board, was a phographer, bred Collies and took them to Australia. He was born on November 21st 1845, one hundred years to the day before my own birth.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Circumnavigating E14

The calm waters of Limehouse Basin
This is Cito, a Thames Waterman Cutter. A solid 300kgs of GRP, ten metres long; she has six oars in line; six rowers sit on fixed seats, there is a cox in the stern to navigate and steer and room for one passenger. I was invited to join the crew to row from Greenwich Yacht Club across the Thames to Bow Creek and Bow Lock and then down along the Limehouse Cut to Limehouse Basin and back out onto the Thames returning on the long loop of the river to Greenwich.
I found it easier to pull in time when I could hear the oars dipping and the regular rhythm of the oars in the rowlocks. It was extremely satisfying when the six of us became a single unit working in unison. It was much more difficult with the noise of the river and wind and the choppy water of the Thames to keep in time.
Rowing, they say exercises 85% of the bodies muscles. I asked Peter Waugh the cox which were the muscles that weren't involved and he indicated the ones between the ears!

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Royal Seal of Approval

A Craftsman at the top of his game

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was presented with a seal made from Cutty Sark teak at a dinner to celebrate the many years of his association with the clipper.
I have had this note from the offices of Lord Sterling

..... the seal was very well received by His Royal Highness. He was clearly delighted with it and insisted on carrying it personally from the table to his waiting car at the end of the meal and was playfully shaking the seal by its head to watch the movement of the body.

Subsequently we have had a note from his Equerry in which he describes the Duke of Edinburgh’s thanks for “the wonderful seal” presented to him. He goes on to say “it was very skilfully made, clearly by a craftsman at the top of his game”.