Back to that learnin’ lark
We have plenty of educational toys.
is it time you learned your number pairs upto 10?
..or for you engineers!
and then there’s geography
We sell these fair-trade, simple spinning tops with the well-balanced price tag of £1.90
..But, if money is no object and you can find that extra 10p, you can upgrade!
The Snake Charmer Spinning top
After an uneventful trip to Ikea, I was reminded of a visit a few years ago that was more eventful and searched the archives for my thoughts on that visit:
Having purchased an immoderate quantity of raw pickled fish, I left Ikea, and unusually, remembered to remove the parking ticket from my wallet, before sitting upon it, and thus negating the awkwardness of extricating it at the barrier . With the aforementioned ticket held at the corner by my teeth, I approached the spiral of the exit ramp at a reckless pace and for once finding it clear of drivers who value paintwork above the thrill of a helta-skelta, plummeted with reckless abandon. I straightened at the bottom, and hit the window button as I coasted genteelly in close to the ticket machine and nonchalantly proffered my ticket to the mouth of the receptacle. It was at this point that my impressive exit went awry; the course of events were altered by the damp corner of a piece of cardboard, as the ticket instead of sliding smoothly into the machine, held fast and buckled. As I released, it flexed and catching the breeze, skipped down the verge. Fixated by the errant piece of cardboard that signified freedom from this suddenly oppressive structure, I tried to exit the vehicle only to find I was penned in by the manically grinning ticket machine. Quickly I reversed the car, mouthing an apology to the first of the growing queue, leapt from the car and chased the errant voucher,that gamboled in the breeze; a simple printed receipt that had gained it’s freedom at the expense of mine. I entered into a less than dignified stamping dance and eventually regained mastery over that piece of paper, then returned to my car, much subdued and bereft of the erstwhile feeling of superiority; taken from me by a small rectangle of recycled tree pulp.Down To The Wood
We now stock a selection of these beautifully finished, polished wood boxes
The wood comes from the roots of the Thuya tree, a shrubby conifer indigenous to southern Morocco. The root has no other uses and would usually be burned when the tree was felledDown To The Wood
- Round box with spherical lid as shown above (flat base) £12
- Square box shown below £9
- Egg £5
- Mushroom box £12
I’m Ray, also known as ‘Driftwood’ Ray. My early history is unknown, but I was found washed up on a North Devon beach a number of years ago. As a driftwood log, time and tide hadn’t been kind to me, I was fairly battered and starting to fall apart. I was rescued and carried home, then put somewhere out of the elements, to give me time to dry off. Nothing happened for five or so years, in truth I thought I’d been forgotten, but I lived on as a vague memory of a never-finished thought. Then one day, a photo of a Stingray jogged that memory and finished that thought. I was taken down, dusted off, and after half a decade of inaction I was thrown into a couple of weeks of frenetic activity and my true-self emerged. I may have grown on land, but the sea made me.
First, we sort through the coppiced timber looking for potential wands.
Anything with honeysuckle curled around it is a possibility
Next, we cut them to length on site. I use a saw called a Silky Gomboy (catchy name). It is a Japanese saw and like many Japanese saws it cuts on the pull, not the push.
The wand is then clamped in a shave-horse, you push with your feet and it clamps the piece, leaving both hands free to use the draw-knife to shape the business-end of the wand.
A final bit of whittling to finish the ends
The shave-horse is a versatile clamping device. Usually it grips the piece whilst you work on it; but this works for me.
The wands are aga-dried. That’s the same as kiln-dried, except for the obvious. They are left for about 24 hours at 100°C, this dries off the moisture so the surface can be sanded smooth. It also kills off any woodworm or bugs that may be in the wood.
The dreaded sanding, we use four different grades to get a super-smooth finish
Here we leap-frog from centuries-old techniques straight to the 21st.
This is a laser-engraver made from the stepper motors and the laser from a computers CD writer
The juxtaposition of the the natural twisting bark and the highly polished blade shows off the true beauty of the hazel and creates a very satisfying wandDown To The Wood
Down at Pondhead enclosure, the Bluebells are coming on thick and fast.
Click on the box on the right to go full screen, then use the arrows on the left to see what it looked like when we cut it in January.
More can be found about Pondhead and the work of the volunteers here: http://www.pondheadconservation.org.uk/
We’ve never stoked cork products, it wasn’t so much the argument whether it’s wood or not, more the simple fact that while wood is textured, grained and infinity variable, cork is just a little bit plain; too homogeneous to have the character of a hardwood.
But you can’t help feeling a little sorry for an environmentally friendly industry that has been usurped by composite corks and metal lids, so we’ve had another look, and look what we found:
Necessity is the mother of inventionproverb
Featured above is our medium pot stand, cork fishes strung together on a hemp cord, but the cork has an infinite wave, this is not printed on, but is a natural consequence of not processing the cork so much and the result: well we love it! (we also have large pot stands)
Below are place mats and coasters using the same technique
And if you think cork is just for kitchens, have a gander at this:
So, we’re now stocking cork, and proud.