Monday, 30 August 2010

Trent Park

A couple of us decided to take a trip out to a forest to try some green wood whittling. During the seasoning (drying) process (which may take some years for large logs), wood loses around 40% of its mass as water leaves the fibres, leaving the wood stable and unlikely to crack or warp too much when it is finally used. Before this has occurred, the wood is called green. Green wood is usually much softer and is frequently used for carving smaller or disposable objects where stability over time is not important.

We settled on Trent Park in North London and as we arrived and started to make our way through the oak-woods we decided to penetrate the forest beyond the designated paths. Our explorative spirit brought us to crawling through dense vegetation of fern and nettles for ten minutes before we gave up and made our way back to the trails.

Most of the fallen wood in the forest was in a semi-disintegrated state and so totally unsuitable for whittling but were on the other hand a perfect growing ground for mushrooms. We were instantly mesmerized by the fungi life-form and abandoned our search for wood in favor of the bizarre and diverse species of mushrooms.

We came across a great many different types. Slimy, dry, miniature and some that looked like an exploded alien. The most useful mushroom for a whittler is probably the birch bracket (also known as razor strop fungus) which - sliced and dried - can be used to get a really fine edge when honing of a knife.

Characteristic spongy cap of the bolete family of mushrooms

As we strolled out of the woodlands and onto the open fields, we came across a dislocated limb from an oak-tree that Jack cut up with the foldable saw. The wood was very damp and quite hard, but we still managed to carve some odd spoons.

On the way home, we drove past the 1930s Piccadilly Line extension's beautiful stations at Southgate, Oakwood, etc., built in a kind of English garden city-Bauhaus-Stijl, geometric fundaments and elegant window frames.

Wood frame

My sisters wooden frame glasses. Think they are made by some Japanese designer.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Some Show

This is some images from the first BTWC show a couple of months ago. More can be checked out on our flikr page shortly.

Bird by Alex

This fantastic wood-suit was made by Urara and the accompanying cat hat is made by Anna.

Different woods on display and Lyle´s head

Knives and an ulu in the center made by Mark from a cross-cut of a railway track, ebony, and copper pins.

Study for whittlings by Shelly

A close-up of whittling by Adam C

Beer-God by Brian

The BTWC zine, poster, and a copy of serpent-box used by religious snake handlers in USA. Serpents were made for the box as a part of our show program.

Jack held a talk on the mathematical basis of the patterns found in plywood.

Homer plaque by Jack

Freak in a cage by Jana

A small display about John Dillinger, the infamous criminal who managed to escape from prison using a secretly carved wooden gun.

Friday, 13 August 2010


These spoons were done by Jamie, an old-time BTWC member.

While on residency in Rotterdam a couple of months ago, he set up a whittling club in his studio, all properly equipped and furnished with homemade wooden furniture including a Rietveldt pallet-chair.

The spoon above was made by Millie and the crazy spoons below are from
the digital database of the British Museum