I’ve spent a little while up-dating the Resources page; it now has some very jazzy links to various boards on Pinterest, a few extra free patterns and a list, in date order, of the technical articles that have been posted on the blog over the years.
You probably know that the Bristol Channel has the second highest tidal range in the world. Ever wondered what that looks like? This is the tidal range in the centre of Newport, a mile or three inland of the Channel, up the river Usk. The day before the photos were taken a pair of porpoises were spotted here, presumably having followed trout or salmon up-stream, which is why I took my camera.
Apologies for the reflection on the glass. The six story building should give you some idea of scale!
OK, its a bit morbid, but I do like wandering around graveyards – we used to play find the oldest grave when my parents dragged me round various Cathedra and ancient churches when I was much younger than I am now – and this is my favourite memorial, particularly for the sad history that goes with it.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Morgans of Tredegar House were among the richest and most influential families in the country. Courtenay Morgan, Lord Tredegar, had two children, Evan and Gwyneth, who were very close. Evan was a fascinating character, a real party animal, skilled artist, occult practitioner, Papal advisor and gifted animal trainer. Gwyneth was a beautiful socialite and something of a Bohemian who fell into bad company. At the age of 29, Gwyneth died under mysterious circumstances, possibly of a drug overdose. Her body was pulled from the Thames and some say her pockets had been filled with stones to weight her down. Such a terrible disgrace was felt by her father that he refused to bring her body home for interment in the family grave. On Courtenay’s death, Evan was finally able to bring his beloved sister home and he raised this gravestone to her memory; it’s very Evan in feel, I think, and very beautiful, but, I always wonder why he buried her in her own plot instead of in the family grave.
I ended my last post with ‘now I’m off to build some bows’ and so here they are. The first one ‘Branwen’ or White Raven was made for the Primitive Archer forum Trade this year (sort of a secret Santa) and I have held off posting it until my recipient received it. The bow is a holly bow with water buffalo nocks and a carved-and-painted grip. The arrow pass ‘button’ is antler. I must confess to being really sad to see this one go, even though it is right handed (I’m a lefty) and too strong for me at about 45 pounds draw weight at 24″, it is still by far the best bow I have made.
Hopefully, before too long, I will manage to scrape together a few hours to run up to the Cotswolds and pick up the Brest tiller so I can post some more about it, but in the meantime, here is the other bow I am working on – a hazel primitive bow, nearly finished but still way too strong at 50 pounds when drawn to 24″
Confession is good for the soul, or so they say, so completing the tiller in time for delivery to the British Village organiser all got very hectic due to the Danish oil failing to cure – there was zero penetration of the oil into the hawthorn and it just sat on the surface of the carving and sulked – I think the timber is too dense, maybe?? Anyway, a re-carve and soap wash allowed a wax finish to take instead – the re-carve also made the rope-work really good and deep, looks very lovely. Thing is, in all the rush, I forgot to take the photos of the completed tiller!! If you are in the Brest Maritime festival pop down to the British Craft Village and check it out, otherwise I will publish a set of photos in a few weeks time. It might be for sale if someone wants to make an offer that’s not too cheeky – it would take about 70 hours to do another one, but this one owes me more like 100 hours – prototyping always takes a long time. Now I’m off to build some long-bows.
The lion-headed handle just has too strong a colour contrast so I spent much of the weekend carving something else………
There is relatively little left to carve, just two sets of whipping and a section of knot-work, and then the final carve all over – about another 20? hours work – but the delivery deadline has been brought forward a week, so lots to do in the time available.
Just a quick progress update, this stage raises the central ‘dot’
the pattern is drawn on (centre of above photo) and pressed in with a gouge of the correct profile before the background is wasted away with a small straight-edge and the buttons are rounded over with the same tool