Noah’s Ark Version 2 – 2016

So another year another ark. Displaying the previous one at a Christmas market I took part in late last year revealed that people wanted a larger one.

I may have mentioned in last years Noah’s Ark that my Dad (an enthusiastic model boat builder) had gone to great trouble to draw up plans for an ark for me, along with an 8 page instruction letter on how to build it before I made the 2015 version. Much to his annoyance I had not made that ark to his specifications as I didn’t have enough Oak to go around. It was my intention to make this ark one day when I got round to it.

My Dad’s Plans For The Ark. Drawn on 12th January 2015

My Dad hasn’t been well lately. He was diagnosed with leukaemia the day before I was due to do my Christmas market this year. He spent 3 months in hospital including Christmas which proved very hard for my family. A dose of chemotherapy has knocked my dad back and felt I had to do something to cheer him up. Many phone call conversations were discussed about this ark and boat building, so felt I should have a stab at building it while I had a bit of time on my hands.

So on 17th January 2016 work on the ark began. My dad had originally suggested I use the egg box method of building the hull but felt that this wouldn’t give me the right shape that I was after. So I instead opted for the bread and butter method (the wood being the bread and the glue being the butter). This involved me having to take dad’s current blueprints and converting them into waterlines. I had decided to try and make the hull out of plywood laminated together. The hull was then clamped together and left overnight.


Then the shaping began. I used a number 5 plane to plane out all the ridges. This took two hours to do and in hindsight said to myself I wouldn’t deal with plywood again. I used this material as I had never carved with it before but I know of a few carvers who had, so decided to give it a go.


A cap at either end (Fore and aft?) were then added to each end and then left to dry overnight. These were then shaped the next day.

The superstructure and trim were then added to the hull and then primed

A roof was then added and then began the long job of working out what colour to paint it. I wanted something rustic and pale greens were applied but felt this wasn’t right so opted for a rustic red and antique white superstructure instead.


Detailing was then added. Doors made from offcuts of oak trim were glued to the superstructure. The hull I felt needed something this break it up and so decided to paint gold fish on here and a bit of decoration on the trim.

Work then began on making the animals. I used some of the templates I had made for the previous ark and scaled them up but also made a couple of animals I hadn’t made before, most notably the crocodiles and polar bears. All of these were made from offcuts of pine and whittled by hand with a carving knife. These were then sanded and painted.

Noah and His Animals

So the ark was now completed. Its fate is yet to be decided but will most likely be donated to a local sunday school. I don’t feel I could sell it as its a prototype, many corrections have been made on my dad’s plan since, such as the shape of the hull etc. But two more I do intend to make later in the year and should be on sale in time for Christmas.




Christmas Shop Window Display For Little Havens Hospice


So after leaving my old voluntary position at Thameside Nature Park (in rather spectacular style I should add), I quickly found myself in need of a new voluntary position. This I quickly found even closer to where I live at a local charity shop Little Havens Hospice in Stanford Le Hope. I had already been doing a bit of voluntary work for them restoring a dolls house before deciding to jump ship. This has probably been one of the best decisions of my life so far.

So back onto the subject I am creating this post for. Some time after I started volunteering fully at the shop I was asked if I wanted to help out with the Christmas shop display for the window. Which I was really keen to do. (I have always wanted to dress a shop window since I was a kid) I came up with a couple of designs but in the end we decided upon something simple, that wouldn’t require lots of materials, effort and would also be easy to store. A simple Santa’s sleigh with reindeer. All of this was made from two sheets of plywood. I think the total cost was around £35 for the wood, plus £10 for paint. Sometime midway through the build I discovered that Little havens hold a competition for the best Christmas shop window display and that all shops keep their display a secret from other shops. So the posting of this project has been delayed until it is installed. This was built in early October and took less than a week to construct.

The Sleigh

The plan was to use one 8’x4′ sheet of 9mm ply for the sleigh. This was drawn out freehand on the bottom of the sheet to avoid as much waste as possible.



This was then cut out with my father in law’s jigsaw and provided the template for the second side.

After Day One Both Sides Cut Out

The second day was spent cutting out the panels for the back, seat and floor. This had used up almost all of the plywood sheet and as a result this meant that I wouldn’t be able to put in a floor all the way along the bottom. These parts were held in place by sections of 2×1 screwed to the insides of the sleigh and remain out of sight.


The next job was to then drill holes through the seat and front panel. M6 bolts were then added. The whole lot was then dissembled and then primed and painted.




The Reindeer

These reindeer were cut out of one 6mm sheet. They needed to be as flat as possible for storage reasons and so decided to go for the slot method to make them stand up and make them look 3d too.

IMG_20151002_125335269The first reindeer after it was cut out with the jigsaw.

IMG_20151002_164440931After day one of their construction. Now just lots of painting to do on them.


With it’s black undercoat.


While I waited for the paint to dry I began work on their noses. I took the lid of my spray can and drew 3 circles per reindeer and then cut them out.


One circle was then held up against the tip of the reindeer face where I wanted the nose to sit and a line was then marked. These were then cut out


These were then glued into place with the semi circular one in the middle.


These were then loosely sanded down and primed and painted.


The nose checked to see if it fitted ok before it’s top coat.


Antlers then given a spray paint of gold

IMG_20151012_155956507_HDRAnd then bodies themselves given a top coat


The completed reindeer. Bells were later added.

Meanwhile Grant Robinson and Kim Horrod created an amazing north pole sign for the display. This was made from an old fabric tube, kindly donated by the upholstery shop across the road and a football sprayed and then mounted to the top. I made the base out of some old shuttering plywood we had knocking around.

The north pole sign almost complete

On 4th December the shop display was brought together and here is the finished results.

A small fat robin I also carved out and now sits on top of the north pole.


Me on the left with Kim in the middle and Grant on the right.

The shop window will be on display up until Christmas eve, so if you are in the Stanford Le Hope area, please drop in and have a peak for yourself.

Noah’s Ark

Everyone knows the story of Noah’s Ark and whether it really did happen or is just a fairy tale it still holds a powerful message that should be passed down through the generations. The message that we are here to care for the earth and its other inhabitants and to show respect for them. I believe this now holds more weight with the impact of climate change and the decline in a lot of species of the animal kingdom as well as the destruction of the environment too. One day when I have children one of my projects I had scheduled in to do while I was pregnant was to build a Noah’s Ark and tell them the story of Noah, his Ark and all the animals he saved. How one man could make a difference upon the environment and hopefully make my children respect the environment as a result. I had recently mentioned this to my Dad, a keen model boat builder (as well as planes) and I was amazed when he sent me through these very intricate plans for an ark based upon a very loose sketch I had given him to go on. He had put in bulkheads and a keel  into his design, which I wasn’t expecting at all. Along with the design were 8 pages of instructions on how to build it. I now have these plans stuck to my wall and look at them everyday, more in awe of my dad’s attention to detail than how to build the ark itself. I still needed a lot of bits to build the ark to my dad’s liking and so thought I would put this project to one side and do a couple of projects I had been asked to do, with the intention of gathering materials for it in the meantime. A couple of weeks ago however I received a text message from a very good friend of mine who was fitting a new kitchen sink into his worktop. It was solid oak and “was as hard as steel” and was asked if I wanted it otherwise it would be taken to the dump. This is the picture I received with the message. IMG_9523 I said I would take it, although at the time had no idea what to do with it. While I awaited it’s arrival I came up with the idea of using the worktop to help me create the hull of a small Noah’s ark. A prototype if you will to the one my Dad had drew up for me. The plan was to laminate the worktop together, using the laminations from front to back (I’m not seaman so I’m sure someone will correct me with the proper term) to imitate the planking on the ark’s hull. When I received the top I had a bit of chipboard and screws to remove and then cut some excess bits off. You can see where I had started drawing on the wood to make sure my template for the hull fitted the worktop. IMG_20150317_101259882_HDR I then had to plane off 10 years worth of Danish oil using a woody jack plane, which proved to be easier than I thought. IMG_20150317_101704774_HDR The side profile template was then drawn onto the worktop IMG_20150317_102924193_HDRThen cut into it’s sections. You can see that one of the laminations is running vertical, rather than horizontal. This wasn’t a problem as I would hold this piece in the middle and wouldn’t really be affected by the carving process as much as the others. IMG_20150317_105355858_HDR These were then glued together and left over night to dry. IMG_20150317_105849672_HDR DSC_4345 After 24 hours the clamps came off and the top profile was ready to cut out. You can just make out the brown pencil marks on the deck and sides. DSC_4346To do this on such a curved surface in a big bandsaw would be too dangerous and so mounted the ark to a piece of scrap plywood to hold the ark at a good and safer position. IMG_20150318_095909910_HDROnce roughed out, the f clamp I use to hold the work so my hands are well clear of the bandsaw blade. IMG_20150318_100616718_HDRI then used the two screw holes I had used to mount the plywood to then mount a mounting block to. (Although this proved pretty useless in the long run as the sides of the ark were pretty flat for my vice jaws to hold.) IMG_20150318_101712115_HDR The hull was then carved (Sorry I lost the picture of this) and then rasped to a more even finish. Next I worked on the deck. A 1cm line was marked all the way around the deck and then this was carved out. I decided to leave part of the middle section with the end grain face to create a sort of tenon for the housing for the cabin. IMG_20150319_120814499_HDR The whole hull and deck were then sanded and cleaned up before work began on building the cabin. After much fettling on the deck the cabin was finally glued into place over the tenon. DSC_4354Once dried the windows were then drilled into place using a 8mm drill bit. IMG_20150320_113224879_HDR Now came the tricky part of mounting the trim to the hull. I am a fan of adding contrasting wood to my carvings and a lot of the time I use Oak and Walnut. It was decided to use Walnut for the roof and also add a walnut trim around the top of the hull. This was done before the roof was mounted so I could get me clamps in place more easily. Strips of offcut walnut was ripped down and then soaked in boiling water for an hour before being held into place with lots of f clams and my carvers vice. This was done for both sides. IMG_20150322_114935414_HDR

IMG_20150323_152757288_HDR Once dried and the trim was reduced so it would meet the top of the hull (I had deliberately cut over the length to allow for mistakes at this stage and would also make lining up the bottom of the trim much easier too) The roof was then mounted into place. IMG_20150325_092822027_HDRand then given a coat of shellac (you can see some of the animals I have already carved by the hull) IMG_20150328_093304984_HDR Now a base needed to be added to hold the ark stable. It did already sit pretty stable, but wanted to mount it. This verson would be more for display than a toy. I bored into the bottom of the ark using the holes that were use to mount the mounting block and made two 16mm holes into the hull. I then used the piece of plywood that I used to original bandsaw the arks shape to make the two corresponding holes in the base. These then had two holes bored into them using a 15mm forstner bit. Two lengths of 16mm dowel (salvaged from something I was about to throw out) were then glued into the base (not the ark end yet as I would need to remove it to work more on the base). IMG_20150330_170509473_HDR

IMG_20150330_170834208_HDR I wanted to add waves to encase the ark. So I took some offcuts of softwood left over from Dave’s current project and ripped these in half. I then bandsawed waves out of them. IMG_20150331_150919220_HDRLoosely assembled. IMG_20150331_150905931_HDRThe wave pieces were then sanded and glued together. Then they were painted. It made sense to paint the inside first before the base was fully assembled as the hull would make a lot of the areas difficult to reach. One coat was added to the outside but another coat would be added once the base was glued together. IMG_20150404_143622665_HDRThe ark was then glued to the base and left to dry overnight. The picture below shows the waves assembled, but these have not been glued into place yet. (Not the two white blobs on the roof – these are doves minus the olive branch) IMG_1064Gold paint was then added to the waves just to compliment the oak. Dave had suggested white at the top of the waves, but felt that this was too much and so opted for white. I was aiming for a folksy style and felt that gold would achieve this look much better.


The Completed Ark, Minus The Animals


The Animals

Most of the animals were made from offcuts of ash I had left over from the garden bench I was building before this project. A profile was drawn and then cut out on the band saw before carving with a knife and then sanding. A number of people have made comments on how many animals I would have to carve but as the hull is solid oak and the deck surrounding the ark is quite narrow not as many animals had to be made. These would all be fixed in place as I decided early on that this would be a display piece and not a toy.

The first animal I made was the giraffe. It made sense to make the tallest animal first and then work down. The natural colour of the ash worked really well as the main colour of the giraffe and then painted spots onto them later on.

photo 4
My First Giraffe (Pre Spots) Carved From Ash. One of my sewing pins I placed next to him as a guide of just how small he is.

The next animals to be made were elephants and hippos. Both carved out of ash and then painted. The tusks for the elephants have been made from copper wire and then painted.

Some of the animals I have carved so far. From Left to right, Camels, Elephants (a dark grey, not black like shown in the photo), zebra, hippo and giraffe
The Ark with it’s animals (the hippo and Zebra are on the other side).

This project isn’t completely finished. I still have Noah and his long suffering wife to make, along with a few other animals, but am finding it a challenge to carve them as they are so small and so another method is needed. So I have decided to take a break from this project until I find a solution but felt it was at least ready to showcase on this blog.

I should add though that I still have offcuts of the worktop which I intend to use in another upcoming project so nothing will go to waste I hope.

My New Garden Bench


So if you have read some of my other posts and pages on here, you’ve probably concluded that I don’t sit still very often, especially in the garden and I decided it was time to make a small, simple seat that would also be functional, like a saw trestle and not cost the earth. It was originally intended for my allotment plot but am having trouble letting go of it. I now sit quite happily in the sunshine (when we do get it) whittling away on it.

This bench is made entirely from ash, there are now fixings to it either, only wood joints and a bit of glue. The Ash was also donated to me by Essex Wildlife Trust from the local wood, Linford Wood. The two pieces I was given were off of a very large branch which had snapped and was now proving to be a hazard to the public.

Linford Wood
The Only Picture I have Of The Ash Logs Before They Were Worked On. As You Can See This Bench Didn’t get Much Use.

This was left to season for nearly a year before I started work on it. I then began splitting the logs to make up 4 legs and the seat top. The 4 lengths that would become the legs were then bandsawed into squarer lengths and then turned roughly on my lathe. I didn’t know what the final width would be at this point and so thought I would at least get them round first and then turn all the others down to the thinnest leg.

The Legs. The Two On The Left Having Been Roughly Turned While The Other Two Are About To Be Turned Down.

After a final thickness was decided the other legs were then turned down to suit. I added a slight taper at the bottom of each leg just to add a bit of interest to them.

The Legs All Turned Down To The Same Thickness, Along With The Almost Finished Bench Top (Upside Down)

Four holes were then bored into the underside of the seat top. These would act like mortises for the legs to fit into. Determining the angles was quite daunting and so decided to just wing it. I first bored one hole at a angle I guessed at and then used a large wooden screw left over from an old wood clamp we had to help me gauge the position of the other three legs. Boring the holes proved to be immensely tiring on the arms I should add.

Over Half Way Through Boring The Holes For The Legs. Our Hand Brace On The Floor Proving To Be The Perfect Tool For The Job.

Now I had the size of the mortise holes I could then make the tenons to fit into them. These were made on my lathe and each leg was then mounted back into the lathe and a tenon was turned at the end of each leg to suit. I have no pictures of this process I’m afraid.


The legs were then fitted into place. The feet obviously didn’t sit square with the ground because of the angle of the legs and so these all had to be marked and then cut before all the legs were finally fitted permanently into place.

DSC_4331 DSC_4333

I had originally intended to carve bees into the underside of the seat top but had spent more time than I anticipated on making the whole thing I decided to use my pyrography pen and burn the bees in place instead.

Underside Of Bench Top.

The Bench was then varnished and ready to use.

Me On My New Bench, Just To Prove To Myself That It Could Take My Weight.



Tree Cake Stands

The Finished Cake Stand. As modelled by Mrs Victoria and Mr Carrot Cake

I love cake! And so down at the tearoom at the Thameside Nature Park, where I volunteered I was asked to create something that would house three cakes in a small area. These cakes I should add are massive and very heavy (as well as very yummy too). So I needed to make sure that they were given a proper stand that was not only tough but would also compliment the cakes and possibly with a nature theme.

This is the rough drawing I came up with…

Concept design submitted. The allows on the drawing were to illustrate it rotating (which was quickly dropped)

Basically 3 trees with a 13″ platter on the top of each one. The dome housing the cake would then act as the trees canopy to balance the look. I was hoping to have this on bearings so they could then rotate but I was told to “just build it and see how it went”. So I was then given the green light to make it.

Due to costs I had to try and make this for little money as possible. So the plywood that made the base and platters I was kindly donated by volunteers Adrian and Robin who were currently working on a hare project and so had lots of plywood at their disposal. This plywood I should add was extremely good quality, the best I have ever used. The trunk of each tree would be made from 3×3 softwood and the branches cut from 6×2, both of these were kindly donated by Dave who had them left over from his new Workbench which he is currently building.

So with all the materials located, it was now time to start building the stand. Although I still needed to work out the heights of each tree and so there would be enough clearance between the cakes as well as if the volunteers would be able to reach the cake etc. A good way of making sure there was enough clearance I found was to have the platter placed on top of paint tins I had in the house. This was the setting I eventually settled on.

Paint tins helping me work out the height and spacing of each tree.

So now I cut all the 3×3 to the length/height of each tree. I already had templates drawn out for the branches and so began cutting these out on my bandsaw.

IMG_20150207_204321335_HDR IMG_20150209_141935942_HDR

  The branches were then secured in place with some dowels fitted into the trunk and the lower branch. Screws fitted down from the platter into the top of the branch supported the top of the branch in place too.

I needed to add some support on the bottom as the cake would make the whole thing top heavy I needed to add something to help stop the whole thing topple over. So I decided to widen the bottom, to give the impression of roots. These were made from the offcuts of the branches I had bandsawed out and glued (with the help of these massive F Clamps) and pinned to the bottom.

IMG_20150209_154245376_HDR IMG_20150209_143804023_HDR

I decided to start off with making the largest tree of the three. The trunk was first carved, mostly using large gouges, rasps and occasionally an axe to give the tapering trunk. The branches were next carved, using a similar fashion (but without an axe) and this is how it looked at the end of day one.

After Carving

With the rough work done, it was now down to rasping the rough surface to a more even finish

After Rasping

A small amount of detail was then added to the bottom to emphasise the roots further (don’t think I would do this again in hindsight) and then the whole tree was given a good sand over.

Work then began with the next two trees. As these were smaller than the previous one I fitted these together more quickly.

IMG_20150211_154913972_HDR IMG_20150217_153322655_HDR

I then concentrated on the work of the second tree which would be the middle tree building up the roots again like I did for the first one. While this took place I had primed the first tree ready for a top coat (which I was still awaiting a response on).


The middle tree then had the same treatment as the one before it and was carved out more quickly (and without the use of an axe too).

A final colour was finally decided and this was then added to both trees. It was also decided that the stand was becoming too large and that the third one would be dropped. I didn’t mind this as I had other projects I wanted to do.


A base was then added and then had a coat of clear varnish put on top to help it be kept cleaned. A layer felt was then added to the base to help grip the surface of the worktop a bit better too. This also meant that my makers mark then had to sit on the top of the base, rather than the underside, something I wasn’t really happy with. In hindsight I could have put it under one of the platters, which I may do next time round.


The cake stand was then collected to be placed into the tearoom. However when I popped in a few days later I had found that the cake stand had proven too large for the kitchen and also proved to be a bit of a hazard to the other volunteers with one bashing their head on it.

But I was allowed at least to finally see it all assembled with the cakes sat onto it, even if it was for 5 minutes just to get this picture. Volunteer Vicky happy posed with it to give a size of the stand.

The finished Cake Stand with volunteer Vicky giving a size of scale.

 It’s Future?

Well as I write this post, it is still at the Nature park and was going to be used as a shop piece instead. I wasn’t really happy about this as this wasn’t what I had made it for and felt it would be a bit detrimental to the stand. The design I had done had to have two cakes or domes on the top in order to complete the design and so decided to sell it on. At this present moment, it has been intended to Coalhouse Fort who have yet to collect it but we shall wait and see….

I was disappointed about it not being used in the place I intended to see it in use. But it was pretty much doomed from the moment I made it as it would have been too big/tall anyway. But am happy it has had interest elsewhere and also has taught me techniques I hadn’t thought of doing with my carving work before, which has solved a problem I had been having making my future bird bath for me garden.

Mothers Day Creations

A Finished Afternoon Tea With My Cake Stands and Tulips in the background.
Yes its that time of the year again when we all put extra special effort into that special lady who brought us up into something to be proud of. Yes its mother’s day again and while most will go out and buy their mum some chocolates, flowers and a cards I decided to make a slightly more lasting effort for my mum.

I personally don’t approve of the commercialisation of the whole day and so refused to go with the grain and decided to make mum both a card and gift. I know my mum likes tulips. I can remember them in our garden when I was young (and many being knocked down by my footballs too) and so decided after the success I had had with my valentine’s roses to have a stab at turning and then carving some tulips.

These turned out to be much easier than I thought and so made mum 5 in the afternoon, mounted them onto canes and then painted them. Here is the finished result.

Mum With Her Tulips On Mothers Day

I will admit that I could have just gone to a shop and bought normal flowers for her but these would still look as fresh as the day I made them for many years to come. I could also post these to her many days in advance too via the postman. Also my mum owns two cats who will demolish any plant life that comes into the house, so it made sense to make them from wood.

I selected a branch that had been cut down from my neighbours silver birch tree well over a year ago and turned these on my lathe like a spindle but with a row of tulips instead. I have no pictures of the process for the tulips but do for the valentines roses I made a month or so ago so this should give you a general idea.

The Tulips Mid Way Through Turning Them On My Lathe
The Completed Row Of Tulips. These ones are made from Ash unlike most of the others which were made from Silver Birch.

These were then cut into individual buds and then power carved with detail. Tulips don’t seem to have as much detail as roses and so these took less time to do.

These were then mounted onto canes and then painted.

DSC_4387I do quite enjoy making these flowers as they are so simple and don’t require a mass of wood or my time to do. I took these down to show my good friend Renae and she liked them so much that she wanted some for her mothers day afternoon tea event for the tables. I was already working on the plate stands for the event, tracking down 30 plates cheaply proved to be quite a challenge but as usual charity shops provided the goods. A big thank you should go out to Gill Wright for making them possible too.

These plates were then decorated with paw prints and then the holes drilled/bored on Dave’s bench drill. I only broke one plate in the process and this was when I dropped it.

Just out of the oven and before drilling
The Finished Cake Stand. With Badger Prints at the bottom, Fox Prints on the Mid and I can’t remember what the top ones are.

And it survived Under all that weight of food too!
So everything came together quite nicely for Mothers Day, the postman had delivered my mum’s flowers and card and all the plate stands and tulips were completed on time. The only thing that could have been better, as with good ole blightly, was the weather, which put a dampener on things. However the mum’s taking part in the afternoon tea seem not to have noticed.Perhaps because of all  the food she had laid on or the effort that Renae had put into the event and it really showed through. It’s people like her who make these events extra special and I hope that she knows that she made many mothers feel extra special today.

Excellent Table Setting By Renae Laybourn.

And The Card?

Well I couldn’t just send my Mum flowers could I? Of Course not! But as I said earlier, I hate the commercialisation of the day and so decided to make my own card in a recycled way.

My Birthday had been a few weeks before and my mum had sent my card in a lovely pink polka dot envelope and this I then kept and reused to make this simple affair. The felt body was made from offcuts I had left over from the cake stand project and the wire antenna were made from strands of copper wire left over from the installation of our electric cooker.

Mums Mothers Day Card
Mums Mothers Day Card

Dave Liked It and so asked me to make one for his mum too. I didn’t have much polka dot paper left and so made the butterflies smaller and used another coloured envelope my sister in law had given me for my birthday too.

The Mother In Laws Card
The Mother In Laws Card

Valentines Day.

DSC_4258 Valentines Day is that day for all of us to tell the other half how much we love them to bits, buy card and chocolates and go out for fancy meals. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for my other half Dave I’m a cheap skate and don’t believe in the commercialisation of this day, fathers day or mothers day. However I am also a big hypocrite and will happily make things to sell for it too. I was asked to come up with some decorations for the tables of an upcoming romantic meal being held at the nature park I currently volunteer at. These were to be little gifts for the couples to have. In the past Renae had given the lady of the couple a fresh rose but (I’m assuming) thought it would be more practical to have wooden ones as they would be a lasting memento too. So I got to work on coming up with a rose. I was asked to make 15 of these.

valentines poster
The Event Poster, which I made.

These were made from a straight silver birch I had left over from my neighbour tree and these were all turned on my lathe in a row.

Silver Birch before being turned
The birch branch now roughed out and ready to shape.
Halfway Through Shaping
Almost Finished Shaping Them, Using Mostly A Spindle Gouge.

These were then cut to individual lengths.

Halfway Through Cutting Them Off Of The Spindle. Still A Bit Rough Around The Edges.

Then a hole was drilled into the bottom and then detail was added with my power carver.

After Using My Rasp Bit And Just Before The Final Sanding.

These were then mounted to canes and then painted using a tester pot of red paint I had left over from the decorating of our lounge.

The Finished Article.

But What About The Men?! Surely They Didn’t Go Home Empty Handed?!

 No they didn’t. I had also made up some little hearts that I made from Sapele wood that my neighbour was chucking out. This was in good condition apart from the large amount of evenly spaced holes made buy some nailed that had been hammered into it. This didn’t affect the finish though as I just bandsawed around these.

The Finsihed Sapele Hearts
The Finished Sapele Hearts

My Swap With Wildlife Artist Terence Lambert

So I have been struggling to find a good post to begin my blog with that was considered newsworthy for some time and I have finally found one.

Back in October this year (2014) I was volunteering at the Thameside Nature Park (Mucking) in it’s tearoom and this was during an art exhibition being held here by the artist Terence Lambert. I hadn’t heard of this artist before but found his work pretty impressive and deemed his prices way too out of my budget.

So I continued with my work that day and had brought one of my reindeer along to show my boss Renae and she immediately showed Terence. I gritted my teeth at this point expecting him to look at it say “very nice” and hand it back and continue with who his was talking to. I was then caught off guard by him asking what else I did and we then struck up a conversation about art. I found my portfolio (which I keep on my phone) and he was drawn to this bumble bee I had carved late last year of a bumble bee.


I was quite surprised when he then asked if I still had this and if I was willing to part with it. Strangely enough I had had a conversation with Dave about it before I left saying I wouldn’t part with it for anything as I loved it so much. I then decided to strike up a trade and suggested we exchanged artworks. One of his sketches for my bumble bee. We agreed and Dave later that day bought in the bumble bee, slightly confused as to why I wanted it brought in after saying that I wouldn’t part with it. I then handed it to Terence and he then told me he would put it in his glass cabinet along with his carved warthog he had. He took my name and address and said he would send me a sketch in return. I was most thrilled by this exchange and it also changed how I thought of well known artists. I thought most were very arrogant and unapproachable but found Terence very approachable and he would quite happily sit and chat to myself, other volunteers and also visitors to the nature park, even if they didn’t buy anything. He gave me a lot of good advice too.  I looked into him at a later date and was quite impressed by his past commissions, famous collectors of his work etc, so went away thinking I had possibly made a very good swap indeed.

A month or two later a package arrived on my doorstep addressed to me and was slightly confused as to what it was. I was thrilled to open it and discover this inside. He even drew a little bumble bee on it like he said he would. I received a lovely limited edition  Christmas card too and then returned the gesture by sending him one of mine too. I will forever treasure this and hope that one day I will get to thank him in person for his very generous gesture and giving me a big confidence boost.