Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Book and Egg

Hi all,
Just a quick one to let you know one of my books "The Reluctant Pom" is currently free to download from Amazon. Here is the link. Please grab a copy now and have a good laugh.

I mentioned in my last post that I was doing another Pyrography egg, this time with a harebell design. Well here it is, finished with several coats of melamine lacquer.
It has come out really well and you can see that I have used the none outline method and I think it works really well. Please let me know what you think.

Well that's it for now, short and sweet because I just didn't want you missing out on a free book. The free offer is open from today until Saturday, I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, 5 October 2018

yellow pen and shelfie

Hi all,
In my last post I said I would show you the pen I was about to turn and another shelfie. Well here is the pen.
Yellow and black and puts me in mind of wasps, of which there are many at the moment. I keep a swatter by my side at all times whilst sitting in the garden. I know there a few people who are of the opinion that if you leave wasps alone they wont hurt you, well if you think that, I' sorry , but it is only a matter of time before you get stung. My mother in law and my step daughter were both in the live and let live camp until they were stung this year. Suddenly they have gone off wasps.

Anyway, back to the pen. It wasn't supposed to be that colour. When I first turned it and cut in the beads I tried to make it look like basket weave. So, I coloured in a pattern with red and black markers and left some of the squares the natural wood colour. I'll be honest with you, it was crap, so I lightly turned the colours away and re did the pyrography lines. I'm very pleased with the pyrography, the long lines were marked out using the indexing facility on my lathe, and burnt in with my Peter Childs pyrography iron. The lines which go around the pen were burnt in by holding a piece of veneer in the groove that was left by the beading tool. The colouring was done with a yellow Winsor and Newton pro marker and I think it has come out rather well.

Right, onto the Shelfie. This one is a little bit smaller than the first one I did and he has his eyes under his hat. I made it small because I wanted to see what he looked like painted.
Here is the original that I recently posted.
And here is the new one, which I have painted.
Not sure which is best, so I'm going to do one the same size as the first and paint that to see what it looks like. I'm also working on a new pyrography egg for my collection. This one has a harebell design on it. I will hopefully show you them in my next post. My only problem at the moment is time. My mrs has a list of jobs for me to do including fitting a new cooker. Not an easy job because it will entail cutting a space in the work surface, please keep your fingers crossed for me and I will tell you how I got on in my next post.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018


Hi All,
Sorry I know it's been a couple of weeks since I've done a post but I have been really ill with the cold from hell. I'm getting on for seventy years old and I've had my fair share of colds and never resorted to calling them the flu, I've had the flu and believe me it is twenty times worse than a cold. Anyway, this cold was the worst I've ever had, it lasted almost, 3 weeks so you can tell how bad it was.

Still, I did manage to do a bit of whittling. I wanted to try more figure carving, so I followed a video on youtube made by a carver called Gene Messer. Below is the result and not bad considering he doesn't show any pictures at the beginning, so you have no idea what the finished result is supposed to look like. until you are done. I call the figure "The foreman" miserable as sin and hands in his pockets is what most people think of when you mention a foreman.

If you fancy having a go, here is a link to the video.

I quite enjoyed following the video and I picked up a few tips along the way, and armed with that information I decided to have a go at doing a shelf sitter of my own design. If you are not familiar with the term "shelf sitter," it is just something that sits on the edge of a shelf usually with the legs dangling down. I don't like the term shelf sitter so I called mine a shelfie.

He was carved from a piece of 1.5 inch square lime wood.
I think he looks kind of cute even though his face is a little bit flat. Flat faces are the trade mark of the novice figure carvers, so I've obviously got a lot to learn. I have been surprised by how much help there is on youtube for  those who would like to carve figures. I would recommend it to anybody because it has all the ingredient of a great pastime.

1) Very little equipment is required, a carving knife that cost about £9 and a carving glove that cost a fiver. is all you need to get started. You will need a lump of wood of course but you can start with pine from your nerest DIY shop.

2) It takes up very little space. You can even do it in the lounge if you want to by catching all the shaving on a lap tray. While the weather has been sunny I have been sitting on a chair in the garden whittling away without a care in the world.

3) It is a great hobby for those who want to be creative. You can either follow plans and patterns from books or design something of you own.

4) Your creations can be used to decorate your own home, used for gifts or even sold.

5) Raw materials in the form of Lime wood is relatively cheap especially in small sizes if you get it from a proper timber merchant like G and S timber.

Anyway, it is certainly one of the best hobbies that I have tried and I've tried quite a few.

So what's next? Well I've got a yearning to turn another pen and I've had thoughts about that shelfie. Part of me wants to paint it because I think it might look better, but I'm worried about spoiling it. So I will probably do a similar one and see how it looks when it has been decorated. I will show you them both in my next post.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018


Hi All,
Just a quickie to you know that I have a free book offer running that might be of interest to some of you. The book is called "Carp Rustlers" and is the first in a series featuring, "The fishing Detectives."

Please download a free copy from Amazon and have a good laugh. I hope you enjoy it. To get your free copy just follow this link.

The book will only be free until Saturday 15th of September so why not do it now.

By the way, I've also finished another pen that should have been turned from a piece of holly. The bloke next door knew I did a bit of wood turning, so when he cut down a small holly bush he asked me if I wanted the trunk. You could hardly call it a trunk because it was only about an inch and a half thick at the most. Anyway, I accepted it and promised to make him a pen from it. This was about a year ago, I knew it would be no good doing it straight away because the wood would be too wet and it would crack when it dried out.

Anyway, I left it for about a year and then at the week-end I decided to give it a go. I cut two pieces to be used for pen blanks, turned them down a bit and then drilled the holes for the tubes. At this point I didn't know if the wood would still crack, so I didn't glue the tubes in yet because I didn't want to wast them. I decided I'd wait a couple of days and see what happened. Well I'm glad I did because the very next day one of the blanks had a big split in it.

I know some people get pleasure from turning wet or unseasoned wood, but I'm getting too old to be bothering with wood the splits. So now on it will be season wood only for me.

To rescue the situation, I made a pen from fully seasoned piece of lime.
The black lines are pyrography and the colouring was done with markers. It then had several coats of melamine lacquer. Looks nice enough for me and the bloke next door said he was chuffed with it so everybody is happy. I've been doing a bit more carving and will show you that in my next post.
PS, Don't forget to download the book.

Saturday, 8 September 2018


Hi all,
Some of you may know that I purchased a lathe so that I could turn my own pieces of wood for my pyrography projects. It has worked out very well but sometimes there is no need to bother with wood turning at all. Recently, my wife ordered some eggs off Amazon with a view to painting them, I said I could turn her some but didn't want to put me to trouble. When the eggs arrived I was amazed at the quality and the price so I nicked one for a bit of pyrography.
I drew on some honeysuckle and set about it with my pyrography iron and it came out well. The price of the eggs was so cheap and certainly not worth me making them on the lathe. Here is the link on Amazon

These eggs are perfect for pyrography and I have decided to do a bowl full of them to sit on our coffee table with a variety of designs. I did another one almost straight away, but this time a drew a random flower pattern on the egg.
I also tried a different pyrography technique. Usually, and in the case of the honeysuckle egg, my process is to draw the flowers and leaves and then outline them with my spoon tipped pyrography iron. I then shade in the rest.

However, for this flower pattern, I didn't bother with outlining and just went straight in with the shading. It is hard to pick up the difference from photos, but in reality it gives a much more pleasing effect. It certainly takes away some of the harshness and leaves the object smooth to the touch. I shall be trying it again soon.

If there is one difficulty with doing pyrography on eggs, it is the finishing part. I like to give mine a couple of coats of melamine lacquer to give them some shine and protection, but they are difficult to hold whilst applying to lacquer. So seeing that I'd decided to do a bowl full of them, I made myself a little jig to make the finishing easier.
Here it is in all its glory. A couple of nails glued into dowels and a frame to support them. It only took about a hour to make and works wonderfully.

All comments welcome.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Carving a Whoot

Hi All,
I've been busy doing something a little bit different. My wife has written a children's book about some imaginary creatures called Whoots. That's fine, the only trouble is she has asked me to illustrate it for her. It will be a bit of a challenge because although I'm not bad when it comes to drawing trees and flowers etc, I'm haven't got a clue when it comes to figures, especially ones that reside in somebody else's head.

I did manage to draw something along the lines that she thought would suit the illustrations in her story, but it was very static. So to give me some assistance when it comes to drawing figures in more active poses and not just in profile or a front view I thought I would carve a set of figures and use them for the basis of any future drawing.

I hope that all makes sense.
Anyway, here is the first character from her book. His name is Samlore.
He is carved/whittled from a piece of lime and his clothes are accentuated with pyrography. Basically he is a bit of a doggy type thing in a posh blokes clothes. He isn't anything special but the Mrs likes him. Now all I have to do is a full family of them

I'm finding this whittling/carving quite interesting. I does keep the grey matter turning as you try to imagine the shapes you are trying to create. I also find it very soothing for the soul. Perhaps it's because some of it takes me back to my childhood. Having spent my younger years in the countryside, I always had a knife and was always whittling things out of wood.

 It's funny how times have changed because back then most of us lads had pen knives and some of us had sheath knives that we wore attached to our belts. There was never any trouble and nobody ever got stabbed, but now kids can get locked up for even daring to look at something with a sharp blade.
It's a shame how the world has gone, but that's life.
 I am now halfway through doing some pyrography on a wood egg, so I will show you that in my next post. Eggs are great for pyrography and all sorts of decoration plus they are cheap. I'll give you a link in my next post.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Triffid Desk Pen

Hi all,
I finally managed to finish the desk pen that I started a few week ago. It has been a long process but I believe it turned out alright. So here it is, What do you think?

My wife isn't sure about it. "It's either great or hideous," she said then started laughing. That knocked my confidence a bit so I put images of it on a couple of forums to see what other users thought and almost everybody liked it. One thing is for sure, there isn't another one like it anywhere. in the whole while world and that feels good.

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I like it. Granted it might not be every body's cup of tea but they don't have to live with it. The thing is, I've now started getting other ideas for long desk pens and holders so keep an eye on this space, you never know what will turn up.

The project I'm working on at the moment is something completely different. A couple of years ago my wife wrote a children's book, but before publishing can happen it needs illustrating. I volunteered for the job but then realised I didn't know how to draw figures. I'm okay with roses, flowers and that sort of stuff but when it comes to figures I haven't got a clue. To make matters worse, the characters in her book are in her imagination so trying to get that down on paper is very difficult.

So, my solution is to make a set of wooden figures that I can then use as models for the illustrations in the book. Might be a daft idea but I've started the first one and will show it in my next post.

Any questions or comments please fire away.