Saturday, December 3, 2016

Recycling a Pallet into Quality Kitchen Ware: Spoons and Spreaders.

Browsing through the pallets and packing crate materials on the verge of a local import business, I spied a pallet which sparked my interest. This company imports machinery from the USA, so the wood is all US and Canadian in origin. However, this grotty looking pallet was not the usual lovely northern hemispherical softwoods I like to recycle.
This one looked like it was made from American White Ash. I only know Ash after having made a Staircase from American White Ash, back in 2010. The blog post about the build is here:
That was the first time I had worked with Ash, so I was able to spot it in the pallet.
I chucked the pallet in the back of my ute, and drove away with it wondering what it would be like.

The American White Ash pallet... so much potential...
These pallet timbers are thin (about 1/2") and around 3 - 5" wide. Many are cupped, so when planed down and flattened you end up with a finish thickness of between 3/8"(10mm) and 1/4"(6.5mm) - an ideal dimension for converting into kitchen spatulas.  The three Gluts would have spoon carving potential, as they were about 1 1/8" (30mm) thick. 
The grain in the Ash was evident, despite being rough sawn and soiled.

The ISPM 15 Mark says Heat Treated in the USA. But what timber are these gluts made from?
Interestingly, the material the three Gluts were made of was not Ash, but had a medullary ray pattern very similar to what I understand Sycamore or Beech has. It would be great if someone from the USA would be able to advise me on this!

In the weeks that it took me to complete writing this post, someone came into my workshop and suggested the glut material was Sugar Maple. A hard Maple. That could well be it! this stuff is certainly very hard...

The boards cut from the Pallet, giving me 20 sticks from the top and bottom, and three gluts.
So now the challenge: How many Spoons and Spatulas can I make from the Ash Pallet?
For those who have not done this before, here is how you can use hand tools to make a Spatula.

1. Making Kitchen Spatulas from the top boards.

The 20 short sticks derived from the top and bottom of the pallet were  rough sawn and soiled. Many were also cupped and with shakes (splits) coming in on the end. That's OK, we can work around these.
I started with a pretty good one, to get the hang of the material. After pinning a temporary planning stop on the bench, I used a nice sharp No.5 jack plane to create a flat planed surface on each face of the stick.
Planing down the first of the Ash sticks, with my trusty Record No.5 Jack Plane.
With the stick prepared, now it was a case of marking out spatulas on this blank canvass. I just worked around the defects and the splits. I could get two out of this piece. with the shapes drawn on the stick, it's time for the Coping Saw.
Laying out a pair of spatulas, working around the defects and end checks (splits).
A member of the family of Turning Saws, the frame of the Coping Saw can always be kept out of the way. They are so easy to whiz around curves. To reduce vibration, the stick is moved upwards in the vice as the saw cut progresses down the hill.

The Coping Saw is a quick way to cut the flowing shapes from the stick.
The secret to the Coping Saw is to use a nice regular continuous action, using the full length of the blade, and keeping the blade perpendicular to the work. Piece of cake.

The end result, after completing the sawing out of the spatulas.
Before long, both Spatulas are cut out ready for the next step - the shaping.

The best tool for much of this is the Spokeshave, with the spatula held in the vice. With the flowing shapes, there will be changing grain direction, so the direction of the tool in relation to the work will vary to reduce tear-out. Careful - these tools are so much fun to use, you can find yourself  "in the zone" and before you know it, you'll emerge from your trance-like state to find your handle is super thin!!  

What a joy to use! The Spokeshave is the tool of choice to clean up the side profiles.
While the flat bottomed spokeshave is easiest to use, the curved bottomed model will shave inside curves of a tighter radius than the other.

When there is cantankerous grain, skewing the spokeshave to do a slicing cut works well, giving nice spiral shavings. 
Remove the spatula from the vice periodically, so you can check that the curves and parts have the grace and proportions that are pleasing to the eye. With the outer shape completed, it's time to do the bevel on the business end of the spatula. A bevel on one side or on both sides? that depends on the style, the anticipated use, and your personal preference.
Use slicing cuts, with the spokeshave askew to the work, so you can remove material without creating a "blowout"on the ends.
The last part of the shaping is the bevels on the end. The Spokeshave again is the tool of choice.
With the shaping done, it's time for the small refinements. Will the handle be squarish on the edges, round or slightly rounded? It's your call... Spokeshave, abrasive paper, or maybe both? 

The two completed spatulas, placed in the stick from which they were cut.
The final stage is the sanding. Ideally, you want to do as little sanding as possible. Best to use the edge tools for the bulk of the work.

Adding the finish completes the process. I used Australian Orange Oil for this. It is food safe, penetrates well as it is very thin, and dries quickly. Lovely stuff. The spatulas look delicious!

The first completed pair of Spatulas. Not bad for a grotty looking pallet left on the side of the road! 
Now to make the rest of the short boards into spatulas...
I will make a bunch of Ash spatulas from this wonderful resource. Thankyou pallet!

2. Making spoons from the pallet's gluts.

The three gluts (the spacing boards on edge separating the top from the bottom, giving room for the forks of the forklift) are a heavier material, so have much promise for making a few spoons. However, many of the nails were still in the tops and bottoms, and were almost impossible to pull out. So I would mostly be working around the nails...

Laying out a spoon amid the nails, cut-outs and defects.
Most of these spoons will be eating spoons I think, as it will be harder to get longer cooking spoons from the material, due to the stuff we have to work around. No problem, we'll get what we can. Maybe we can get a few Butter Spreaders as well from all the small bits in between?!

It is easier to hollow the bowls before cutting out the shape. with the board cramped down on to the bench.
Laying out the spoons would be an interesting challenge, working around nails, nail holes, splits, and defects in the timber. However, there would be some nice spoons in these sticks... 
After drawing the spoon shapes, a mallet and gouge is used to hollow out the bowls of the spoons. The bits left over can make a few Spreaders.

The first couple of spoons emerging.
With the spoon shapes cut out, the rest is down to a mix of knife work and spokeshaving.

One glut will give a bunch of things, here cut out before the shaping is undertaken.
This glut material, probably Sugar Maple, is very dense. Ideal for tough Spoons and Spreaders!

A nice spoon side profile. More work to do yet on this one.
So the story unfolds. While I have not yet had a chance to complete the spoons, I am posting this now, even though the spoons are not yet completed. But you get the idea!
Maybe I will get to post the pics when I have completed them.

Remember, there are some amazing pieces of timber out there, currently in the form or pallets and packing crates, just waiting to be up-cycled! I hope this story gives you some inspiration.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Here's your chance to Make a Shaving Horse.

The Shaving Horse. It is a fantastic device, which appears through the centuries in pictures, documents and woodcuts. Used by Coopers making barrels, Wheelwrights making wooden wheels, Bodgers making chairs, and green woodworkers making everything from brooms and rakes to hurdles and axe handles - the Shaving Horse rules supreme with its versatility and the shear joy of using it.
The best companion for a Shaving horse is the Drawknife -  and of course the Spokeshave too. It is essentially a foot operated vice, which comes in various forms and styles.

On Saturday 26th November 2016, I am offering a public workshop "Make a Shaving Horse". We will use predominantly recycled wood, sourced from building salvage to packing crates, to build our trusty steeds. The charge is $200 and all the materials are included. The workshop is being run in Canning Vale, Western Australia. Bookings essential, via email.
Places are limited, so don't miss out!
I fell in love with the Shaving Horse at Roy Underhill's place in North Carolina, 2013.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

September 2016 workshop program.

Better late than never! The September workshop program is finalised, with a few adult workshops and lots of kids workshops taking place in the first week of the Sept/Oct school holidays. Check them out! you will find them under the Upcoming Workshops link.

A new workshop for kids aged 8-14.  Knifework.
Remember when kids all had pocket knives and loved to use them, shaping the end of a stick?
How come we took the knives away and wrapped our kids in cotton wool?

All the fun was taken out of public playgrounds too, as we somehow got all risk-averse and incredibly boring. It's taken more than 20 years, but at last there is some sense returning. Have you noticed the high climbing frames and big swinging stuff returning to the public playgrounds. Hooray!

It is well understood that kids need to learn through taking risks, through physical challenges, and through engaging in nature. If kids in earlier generations could learn to safely use pocket knives, there is no reason why kids today cannot also learn to safely use sharp knives.
We are offering this whittling workshop for kids, and will teach them to safely use and handle sharp wood carving knives. It is a glorious thing which kids love to do, and another win for sanity. Don't let your 8-14 year old kid miss this workshop!  

Spoon Carving for Kids workshop returns.
This is a fantastic workshop, though it also is only offered for those kids aged 8-14.
Look what I made, Mum!

It is a wonderful thing to watch the kids start out with a piece of seasoned wood, most of which has been rescued from the wasted stream, and transform it into a beautiful and functional kitchen utensil.
Felix the Legend: "I made this spoon from a bit of wood like this!"

Another new kids workshop: Make a Small Picture Frame.
This is a fantastic workshop, which we have previously only done with adults. Using wooden moulding planes, as used by cabinetmakers and joiners for centuries, kids will make their fancy profiles for the frames, then rebate the back for the ply, then mitre and glue the corners. Such a wonderful thing to do, and such a sense of achievement!
Putting the finishing touches on a small frame. Nice job!
The other kids workshops  in this September School Holiday series:
  • Make a Kitchen Chopping Board
  • Make a Kitchen Spatula.
  • Make a Cajon Drum!
A new workshop for the adults:  Make a Leather Sheath for your Axe or Draw Knife.
It's a great way to protect that sharp edge on your tool and also a great way to protect yourself when handling these tools while they are not in use. Leather guards and sheaths. I was a leatherworker in the late '70s and early '80s, then did lots of leather furniture components in the 90's, so it's been fun to dust off my leatherworking gear and make my own sheaths for my large collection of edge tools.

I am also looking forward to sharing these skills with others.
Psst! Check this out... This was me in 1977 making leather belts and bags!
No handbags, belts, hats and sandals this time around - just sheaths and guards for deliciously sharp axes, drawknives, and other edge tools.

Other adult workshops on offer in the September series:
  • Refurbishing Old Tools.
  • Saw Sharpening.
  • Carve a Wooden Spoon. (from seasoned wood) 

Here are some answers to questions people often ask:
Bookings are best done by email. When I am teaching I don't answer my mobile phone.
You can pay on the day with either the right cash or by card.
Bookings are essential.
You don't need any prior woodworking experience to participate.
The workshops are run in Canvale Road, Canning Vale.
Sturdy covered shoes are to be worn by everyone in the building, young or old.
Every workshop program is a little different.

I reckon that should just about cover it!
Pleased feel free to flick me an email with any further questions.
Don't forget to LIKE us on our Joy of Wood  Facebook Page 
You could also follow the Joy of Wood on Instagram

I hope we see you at some of our workshops soon!

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Joy of PalletCraft - Recycling Pallets and Packing Crates.

Pallets and packing crates are moving around the world in the countless millions  every day. The majority are made from wood, and while many are reused again and again, there is a massive number here in Australia which end up in landfill. 

Madness, really, for the following reasons:

1. Organic matter in an anaerobic decomposition process (buried deep in the ground) produced methane. More than 20 times more dangerous for global warming than carbon dioxide.

2. Wood is a great energy source. It is solar energy trapped in the lignin, cellulose and other matter which makes up plants. Better to burn waste wood for its energy than to  bury it in the ground. The carbon dioxide produced in combustion can be taken up by growing trees if we plant them!

3. Wood is a wonderful natural organic material which is renewable, recyclable, and reusable. Unless it rots or is eaten by insects, wood can be used again and again for Millenia.

While there is a lot of quasi recycling going on out there due to the trendy nature of the concept, those pallets and packing crates bound for landfill offer a real opportunity for wood recycling.

I have coined the term "PalletCraft" as a generic term to give a name to the activity. Of course, packing crates and dunnage are also a wonderful source of timber too, which often offer more options than the standard pallet.

PalletCraft is delightfully simple, requiring very few and very basic tools. With a hammer, hand saw and some nails, we can create some amazing stuff. Add a pinch bar and some pincers to aid the pulling apart and denailing process, and your options are greatly expanded. If it helps, a pencil, square and measuring device will enhance the quality of your work too. A few dollars spent at a flea market can get you all the gear you need. No electric tools are needed, making the activity very accessible and safe for people of all ages and levels of experience.

Ah... The joy of PalletCraft!

How about this Day Bed shown below. Made in pieces so it can be carried to an upstairs apartment balcony and readily assembled. I helped Nathan to construct it from mostly standard pallets, with a packing crate giving us the longer material for the backrest. So simple. Next it was to be painted and have cushions made for it. Very flash!

I am running two PalletCraft workshops in July 2016 - one for adults and one for kids. Check the "Upcoming Workshops" page for more info.

Come share in the fun!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

July 2016 Workshop Program with the Joy of Wood!

The public workshop program for July 2016 has been organised.

This includes these School Holiday workshops for kids aged 6 - 14:
  • Make a Kitchen Spatula
  • PalletCraft for Kids.
  • Make a Kitchen Chopping Board.
  • Make a Cajon Drum.
  • Make a Small Lidded Box with a Sliding Lid.
And offered for the first time:
  • Carve a Wooden Spoon (NOTE: for kids aged 8 - 14) 
Parents are always welcome to accompany their children to the workshops

For adults and young people aged 15 and over, we are offering:
  • Restore Old Tools     (a Tuesday evening)
  • Carve a Wooden Spoon from Green Wood     ( a full day Sunday)
  • PalletCraft - Recycling Pallets and Packing Crates        ( a Saturday afternoon).

Come and join in the creative fun with us at the Heritage Woodcraft Centre,
Unit 1 / 30 Canvale Road, Canning Vale, Western Australia.

Bookings are essential.
Bookings and enquiries are best done via email to

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Workshop Program for March / April 2016.

The next batch of workshops have been organised, and should offer something for everyone.
School holidays fall in this period, so there are several workshops for kids included in the program.
Here is an overview of the workshops on offer:
  • Carve a Spoon from Green Wood. A full day workshop.
What a fantastic opportunity to get primal, using ancient skills and techniques to make something lovely and functional!. Spoon carving is all the rage around the world at the moment.

  • Introduction to Wood Carving. A 2 hour morning workshop.
We will do some relief carving as we learn and use a few techniques to craft something wonderful.
The pic below may be more complex than we'll do in the time, but you get the idea...

  • Sharpening planes and Chisels. A 2 hour morning workshop.
Learn these basic skills and make your tools sing again! They don't work well if they're not sharp.

  • Saw sharpening. A 2 hour evening workshop.
Learn to give new life to your old saws. You'll be amazed at what a difference it will make!

  • Pallet Craft - Recycling Pallets and Packing Crates. A 3 hour afternoon workshop.
What a hoot! Let the pallet/packing crate speak and create something very cool, so simply!

  • Make Kitchen Spatulas. A 2 hour morning workshop.
These simple but very useful kitchen utensils are a delight to make and to use.

  • Make a Small Lidded Box. A 2 hour morning workshop for KIDS.
The kids will make a very nice box to hold small treasures in. Heaps of fun.

  • Pallet Craft for Kids. A 4 hour afternoon workshop for KIDS.
It's amazing what the kids will cook up using some basic hand tools using this material.

  • Make a Kitchen Chopping Board. A 2 hour morning workshop for KIDS.
Another useful kitchen utensil and so much fun to create. Take it home and get cooking!

  • Make a Useful Carry Box with Handle. A 2 hour morning workshop for KIDS.
An oldie but a goodie. A great little project and a favourite of ours. You will note that the  info on the flyer does not match - the dangers of cut-and-paste. Your kid will be stokes with the outcome, as they make a very useful carry box which can hold so many things - that's why we don't call it a tool box!

  • Fast Tracked Spoon Carving! A 2 hour morning workshop.
For those of you who are time poor... a heap of the work has been taken out of the process, so you get to knock up a kitchen cooking spoon in record speed! It's still a lot of fun, though...

You will find the info flyers in the UPCOMING WORKSHOPS PAGE. This will give you dates and times, etc.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Reflecting on the Joy of Wood journey through 2015.

We seem to be motoring rapidly into 2016 already, so I don't want to miss this opportunity to reflect on the 2015 year. As I write this, I am away on holidays, 200 miles from home. So amid the canoeing and other summer activities with grand kids and other family members, I have grabbed a few rare quiet moments to write this post.

The dilemmas of Social Media and the time it consumes.

There have been many less posts this past year on this blog than previous years.
I lay the blame squarely at my own feet for putting time and energy into posting on both Instagram and the Joy of Wood's Facebook page. With limited computer time, getting involved with both of these platforms has reduced the time available for the blog. However I have found that the FB page has become a useful local communication tool and Instagram has become a great source of inspiration - seeing what others around the world are creating with wood. The other great source of inspiration is Pinterest which has also suffered from neglect through 2015, as I have posted very little myself - though I have often looked at others' work there. Tough choices for a time-poor Woodworker!

More time needed to carve spoons!
Let's have a look at the spread of activities we have engaged in during the 2015 year:

Taking the Joy of Wood to Primary Schools.

We did a range of woodworking incursions in a number of schools once again in 2015, which are always a lot of work but a heap of fun to do. Some of the highlights would be the pre-Fathers Day workshops at Subiaco Primary and Swan Valley Anglican Community School, where kids have their Dads come and help them while they make their Dads a present for Fathers Day!

Kids and Dads doing it together - making Fathers Day gifts.
We also worked with Year 6 students at Gidgegannup Primary School to make a Sound Garden out of recycled objects.
The Metal Marimba - part of the Sound Garden.
There were an array of other schools we worked in, but interestingly since the last few successive years of government Education Budget cut-backs, the bulk of our schools work has been reduced mostly to Kindergarten and Pre-Primary classes, where there still seems to be some discretionary funding.

Phil explaining to a class where wood comes from at the start of a session.

There was a lucky Dad out there who received this...
It is always such a delight to see the way these 4 - 6 year old kids quickly get the hang of using hammers, nails and saws - which is facilitated by us as we provide appropriate sized benches and hand tools, plus the coaching and instruction appropriate to their age and stage. The rest is up to their creativity and enthusiasm, which always abounds! Wonderful stuff, from which the kids benefit so much.  
A delightful dinosaur creation. All the young fella's own work!

We also do workshops with groups of Home Schoolers at the Heritage Woodcraft Centre.
These kids each made a beaut stool from recycled packing crates.

Taking the Joy of Wood to Festivals.

Offering woodworking experiences in public festival environments has been an important part of our activities for some years now. Mostly aimed at kids of all ages, we also have many adults and whole families who spend time with us making stuff.
It always draws a crowd - the sound of all those hammers pounding.
We will commonly have 25-32 hammers out on the benches, plus around 4 - 8 saws at the Sawing Station, which translates into hundreds of people participating during the day. We go through a lot of wood - almost all of which are pieces of assorted softwoods derived from packing crates, off-cuts, and other wood rescued from the waste stream. It is all part of the strong environmental message behind what we do and how we do it.
Great seeing families enjoying making stuff together. 
It's all hand tools, nothing electric, so it is not unusual for people to wander into our tent or area, and exclaim with more than a hint of emotion: "This is just like my Grandad's workshop, where I used to make things with him when I was a child". It's great when you see three generations together all making things at the one bench, too.
Light running out does not deter the enthusiastic crowd. Hilton Harvest Twilight Fair. 
The Festival work is a great way of helping people know what we do - as well as being, for the Festival Organisers, a considerable asset to their Event.    
Concentration on the face of Jasper, a four year old.

Sharing the Joy of Wood through public Demonstrations.

In 2015,  I had the pleasure of doing Green Woodworking Demonstrations for Timbecon at the Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth Wood Shows. A great opportunity to check out the Wood Shows on the other side of Australia, it also gave me a chance to meet some other green woodworkers around the country, and some spoon carvers too. Great to network like that.
My setup in Sydney, the first morning, before the hordes arrived.
Spoon carving demo, with Mora knives, on behalf of Timbecon.
(Picture by Australian Wood Review)
 I really enjoyed doing the demos at the Wood Shows. It's a great way to meet lots of interesting people and offer instruction and guidance to the many people who engage with me. As well as spoon carving, I demonstrated the bodging process, from log to stool, using froe and beetle, axes, draw knife and shaving horse, pole lathe and other hand tools.

On my Double Spring Pole lathe, at the Perth Wood Show.
I also started to do public demonstrations in some festivals with my trusty Double Spring Pole Lathe, based on the mid 18th century German machine made popular by the legendary Roy Underhill of the USA. This delightful foot operated machine always draws a crowd when in use, and I like to invite members of the public to have a go.

For me this is all part of the environmental/sustainability message, encouraging people to better utilise prunings from parks and gardens and the trees we are loosing daily from our Urban Forest in Perth due to "Urban Infill" and the insatiable desire to have bigger houses on smaller blocks.

A nice load of Olive wood, which was later made into so many beautiful things.
Pre-industrial woodworking skills and techniques are so delightfully simple and primal. It is amazing what you can make with an axe, knives, a draw knife and shaving horse. It is so sad to all those trees just getting chipped up. What a waste of a resource. Lets sequester some of that carbon in the form of green wood furniture and woodcraft! The public demonstrations provide a medium to help communicate some of these values, skills, techniques, possibilities and opportunities.

A lovely stool - one of many things made from this Cape Lilac Tree.

Sharing the Joy of Wood through public Workshops.

Since early 2009 I have been running public workshops in using traditional woodworking hand tools and techniques. Over the years the number and variety of workshops and projects has been steadily increasing. In 2015, this increased considerably due to the commencement of my little experiment I call the Heritage Woodcraft Centre - my dedicated teaching space made possible through an arrangement with Timbecon, in Canning Vale.

The first of many Spoon Carving workshops held at the Heritage Woodcraft Centre.
For many years I have used the lovely space at Earthwise in Subiaco, also at City Farm in East Perth, then more recently the Vic Park Arts Centre, and an assortment of other locations I have hired to run workshops in. Of course, my aging body is delighted to not have to lug tonnes of gear in and out of these venues all the time. Bonus! I now have benches which remain set up. All I need to do is pack the tools away, sweep and vacuum the floor, and not pull apart and move the very heavy benches in and out of the ute and trailer. I like it.... Of course, there are still some public workshops I run in other places, but the exhausting need to move so much gear around is no longer the norm.

Kids and parents making things together,
in workshops we ran at the Canning River Environmental Education centre. 

Andy tests out the folding shaving horse he made at a Shaving Horse workshop.

The variety of workshops I offer continues to increase, though there are some favourites, like spoon carving (both green wood and seasoned wood techniques). I plan in 2016 to offer a wider array of workshops and projects as I get the Heritage Woodcraft Centre more set up. It is a work in progress.
Andrea with the beautiful Lund Stool she made on a Green Wood Stool making workshop.
More nice Lund Stools from another green wood stool making workshop.
All green wood Spoon Carving starts with some axe work.

Sharing the Joy of Wood through One-on-One Tuition.

This has been a delightful unexpected benefit from having a dedicated teaching space. Thursdays have emerged as private tuition day, when I have some regular long-term participants and other one-off participants. This includes the evenings as well.
Palletcraft. Nathan made this planter box with trellis behind, from packing crates.
Nathan making an open tool box from recycled material.
I love Thursdays, as I really enjoy this work where there less time pressure, and great opportunities to work with people in very targeted ways. We make what they want, while I do the teaching, coaching and encouragement. I hope to add a second day of private tuition during this coming year if the demand is there. It's a fantastic way for people to build some skills in the area they really want to, on the projects of their choice. 
A couple of great custom Saw Horses made buy the morning guys. Beautiful.

The morning guys doing set-out boards to scale as they design their Bar Stools.
If you are interested in tuition, please contact me. There is an hourly rate for the tuition, but you can bring a friend within that rate if you wish, effectively making it two for the price of one. Our focus is on traditional hand tool woodworking skills and techniques - from the foundational skills to the very advanced skills. Therefore we can make just about anything!

Experiencing the Joy of Wood through my work as a Cabinetmaker/Joiner.

I often feel I am the luckiest bloke alive, as I do restoration/renovation/repair work on lovely old houses, build furniture and joinery for discerning customers, and engage in community projects with my woodworking skills and experience. What a delight it is to work with wood every day:  To feel the pleasures of that interaction between wood, mind, body and hand tools; to convert rough looking or old timber into dimensioned material and products of great beauty; and to make a contribution towards a more sustainable existence by recycling timber which would otherwise have gone into land fill.

Building a beautiful jarrah mantelpiece for Anna's home.

Job done. It's a pleasure to do work like this.

In early 2015, I finished working on Anna's house after a 3 year journey moving from one task/project to the next. Built in the Art Deco Era in the mid 1930's, the original house was enlarged and an additional storey added. What a privilege, to get to do so much on one lovely home over that 3 year period - including the staircase, kitchen, other cabinets, doors, windows, floors, fireplace, pergola, a big ceiling area upstairs, and much more.
One section of Anna's lovely kitchen, made from WA Blackbutt.
Funnily enough, there are a couple more things to do on that house now in early 2016. Many blog posts were written about work on the house over that 3 year period - and so many more I could write if I could find the time!

Hall Table, made entirely from old jarrah floorboards.

Every part of the two drawers were also made from the old floorboards. 
An array of other interesting jobs came along during the year, including a Hall Table for a new house made entirely from some jarrah floorboards from the old house which was demolished. Then there was a couple of signs I carved for a cottage in Fremantle, etc.
One of the two carved jarrah signs.
In the latter part of the year, I started working on another old house. This time a very interesting architect designed place built in 1930, which is an interesting mix of Arts & Crafts style and a bit of of what I call "quasi-Tudor"(?) on the inside. Two storey with a very steep pitched roof - I imagine it a bit like a classic dolls house.
View of the rear of the house, sporting new tiles on the roof.
Extensive renovation/restoration in progress.

Despite this house being very run down, I am pleased to say the new owners decided to renovate and restore rather than demolish this iconic building. A great decision! So I move into 2016 still working on this lovely and very interesting house. What an honour to get to be so much a part of this fantastic project!  There are many challenges and problems to solve in these old buildings, so I reckon they help to keep me sharp.

Laying and hand nailing down 2nd hand jarrah flooring in the expanded kitchen.
Bathroom window upstairs. I hung the sashes,
made and fitted the linings, sill and architraves - as per the original style.

Closing thoughts.

I rarely do the workshops and school gigs on my own. I am lucky to have a pool of wonderful people who assisted me on many programs. So I would like to acknowledge and thank Phil, Megan, Shani, Ryan, Anna & Cam for the contribution they have made during 2015. Thanks, Gang! It is a pleasure working with you all.

The connection between people and trees, wood and civilisations, goes back throughout human history to very ancient times. Humanity has a innate connection with wood as a natural material.

The Magic of Making is undergoing a huge resurgence of interest in the western world, as modern people realise we have become enslaved to our screens and high tech interfaces which actually separate us from some basic primal needs and pleasures, and disconnect us from others despite the plethora of social media options. People are coming together to learn traditional skills, like knitting crocheting, cooking, and woodworking - in ways which foster communication and interaction. As we come together to create objects and art pieces both functional and aesthetic, we are building community and helping to heal some of the ills of the modern world.   

Traditional Hand Tool Woodworking continues to provide fundamental joy and delightful sensual experiences for so many people of all ages through The Joy of Wood activities across a range of forums.
For those of you who have participated in the last 12 months, thankyou for your support. For those who have not yet engaged in an experience with The Joy of Wood, I invite you to join with us and have a taste of the simple delights on offer. However, be warned - your life may never be the same again!   

All the best for 2016,
Greg Miller.

You can't help but love using a draw knife.
While they have been I use for over 1000 years, this fancy version was patented in the USA in 1895.
I love using it!