Category Archives: Just for Fun

Things made that are, well, a bit frivolous and ‘just for fun’.

A Touch of Class

Thought it was time to go a bit ‘high end’… So here’s my ebony and brass pen.

Ebony & Brass Pen

I seem to keep fiddling about with the idea of ‘segmented turning’, i.e. mixing wood types to create patterns, but the idea of mixing materials keeps nagging too. So laying brass through wood seemed like a good idea, and – heck – why not go for one of the hardest woods around. In for a pound an’ all that. I reckoned the contrast might be quite nice.

Must say I’m right pleased with the result. NEXT!

Crumbs, A Bread Board Pen

Just for Mum…

A while ago I made a new bread board for my mum (article here) as the old one that had been on the worktop since year dot – at least, as far back as I can remember – had over the years become somewhat… knackered.

Mum's Old Bread Board
The Old One
Mum's Bread Board
The New One

But… what to do with the old board? I try to keep the place as clutter free as possible but, to be fair, I’m quite rubbish at it; lots of strange bits of wood are stacked away for ‘something one day’. Anyway, I’m rambling. I made a pen! Chopped a bit of the old board off, popped it on the lathe and squeezed in a few bits of metal with a spring and voila!

Mum's Bread Board Pen

It’s even got a dollop of rubbery stuff on the end so Mum can stab at her Kindle more efficiently.

A Lovely Pear On Camera

Please do go and view this on my YouTube Channel too, so the numbers can go up nicely. And SUBSCRIBE too please; that’d be lovely 🙂

What A Lovely Pear

The first play with a bit of the recently acquired pear tree has rendered some rather lovely results, if I do say so myself! The chunk on the left of the picture below was chopped a bit more and popped on the whirly machine (lathe) and the results were very pleasing indeed.

Sawn Pear Wood

Here’s the video footage of the bowl being made. It’s speeded up quite a bit, but slowed back down for the fun bits like the nail I found buried inside, and the cake…

So here it is, the first proper bowl I’ve made from green wood. #happywiththat

Pear Bowl

A few days later…

So… turning green wood is fun. It’s a lot more forgiving on the blades than hard dry stuff, and the aroma can be delightful. But it’s green, so it’s full of moisture, and that moisture will evaporate at some point. In this case, ‘the point’ was over a couple of days after turning the bowl. Not really surprise as the amount of wood left was/is little enough that any moisture hasn’t got far to go before finding freedom. So the bowl dried out quickly, the crack that was already there got bigger, and I thought it was going to split in half pretty quickly. It didn’t do that in the end, but the warping was fascinating to watch.

The finish I’d put on (just wax) has deteriorated too, especially on the inside, but that can be easily remedied. All part of the learning curve!

Warped Pear Bowl

The warping has actually given a nice ‘scoop’ to the rim, so hasn’t made it total bin feed. I can see now why some turners like to work with ‘green’ and just let it do its thing for an organic and unique end result each time. There will be more…

To see a video of this bowl being turned, there’s a separate article here, and/or you can visit my YouTube Channel.


Half A Pear Tree

I recently put feelers out on Facebook asking if anyone was, or knew of anyone, taking down any fruit trees that I might be able to purloin a few bits from.  I’ve fancied having a play on the lathe with some ‘green’ wood, and coupled with the facts that fruitwood seems to be nice to work with, and can have lovely figuring (patterns in the grain) I thought it was a worth a shout out. I’d already got a couple of chunks of cherry from a friend, and that was drying out nicely ready for working.

And what do you know… just about a week-ish later, a ‘phone call…

“I’m just taking down a pear tree. Half of it’s in the boot. Shall I come over?”

Err… I’ll put the kettle on!

Pear Logs

And so it arrived. Very heavy, being so fresh, but I could see it was going to be beautifully figured. It was more than sixty years old and had been planted by my friend’s grandfather. The sapling had been bought from Abergavenny Market when its planter’s daughter was about two years old, so from that we could work out its age, more or less. Why is that of any importance? I’ve decided that as far as I possibly can, everything I make now will have provenance to go with it. So anything I make from these lovely chunks of pear will go out with a tag that tells the new keeper exactly where the wood came from, and in this case, how old it is, who bought it, planted it and nurtured it, and when it was felled.

The piece you see in the header of this article – from close to the base of the trunk I believe and a bit more than a foot across – was cleaved in half shortly after arrival and a section put through the bandsaw to see how it looked. And it looked good…

Sawn Pear Wood

So now these pieces are being laid out to dry and will take a  long time (years, probably) to become properly seasoned, but I’ll be having a play with a few pieces while still wet/green/fresh.

Let’s see what they turn into…

A Few Pens Worth

So after a play with some ornament tubes that needed a pen mandrel on the lather, I thought it was maybe a fun idea to have a go at making pens. Might as well; got the kit now…

The Lovely Lady H chose her desired types and I set to work. Not such a difficult task really, but my ignorance of what’s actually required came to light within, oo bout five minutes! And now I have most of the gear, so now I can make pens. And I’m going to make more.

It didn’t take long for a special request to come in, so shortly after the first four were created, this wooden ‘bolt action’ one was made for a friend. People keep wanting ’em, so hey… I’ll keep making ’em 🙂Bolt Action Pen

Spalted Eggs

What’s that? A new style of cookery chefery? Why no, it’s just craftery.

Spalted BeechBy using the kit and caboodle normally used for making pens, I decided to make some small ‘Easter Tree’ ornaments. Some were made from pencils in the same basic style as my Christmas baubles, while some were made with different types of wood stuck together (segmented turning that’s called; sounds awfully technical) and some from a bit of beech tree that I’d had stored for a while that had grown some lovely patterns through its grain (“spalting” sounds so much better than “fungal growth”).


So here’s a quick video of one of the latter being turned.
(Please do go and view this on my YouTube Channel too, so the numbers can go up nicely 🙂 )

The final touches were made with brass loops and finial thingies, and look like this:

Mini Egg Baubles

These are available via Homemade Wales, if you’d like to buy some!

Mini Spinny Egg

Please do go and view this on my YouTube Channel too, so the numbers can go up nicely. And SUBSCRIBE too please; that’d be lovely 🙂

37 Pencils

I should probably have started with turning a few shapes on a solid lump of easy-to-work wood, but no. The idea was in my head, so it had to come out, and this is what came of it. Having set up the lathe in a decent position at long last, I decided to make some Christmas baubles… out of colouring pencils!

Madness you might think. But no, insanity I tell you.

That was back in 2014. In 2015, after someadjustments to the method, I made a few more that went down to the shop (Homemade Wales) for the Christmas season. Sold out within a week!

37 Glued Pencils - Before & AfterSo in a nutshell, the first job was to glue up some logs of pencils. 37 of them to be precise.

And then it was just a case of bunging the ‘logs’ on the lathe and turning them down into something that I quite like to consider as rather marvellous.

I say “just”. It’s somewhat more involved, delicate, and sometimes hazardous than “just”.

Please do go and view this on my YouTube Channel too, so the numbers can go up nicely 🙂

So here are a few finished items…

Christmas Pencil Baubles
Baubles #1 and #2.
The First Pencil Bauble
The very fist bauble turned. No finish applied.
Christmas Bauble made from coloured pencils
The third bauble turned; varnished, ribboned and hung on the tree.
Bobbin Style Pencil Bauble
From the 2015 Collection; bobbin style, and ready for the shop.
Ball Style Pencil Baubles
From the 2015 Collection; little balloons
2015 Pencil Bauble Collection
The 2015 Collection















New thoughts now for the 2016 Collection…

Wanderful Magic

How’s this for a jolly fine bit of magic makery?

For those that don’t know, my ‘day job’ is an entertainer; a magician to be precise. Fun eh? I get to travel about all over the place performing for all kinds of lovely people at weddings, business events, house parties, etc. etc. I’m also half of a double act and am Creative Director at SideShow Events, and there we have a number of comedy character acts that also travel all over the place to entertain the masses. In December of 2015 we were asked to create bespoke ‘Harry Potter’ style characters for a major event in the centre of Cardiff, so what better excuse could there be to make some posh wands?

The main picture up the top there shows my lovely wand next to the chunk of wood it came from. Well, the next bit along the chunk anyway; the next wand was soon to come from that bit too.

I’m thinking these types of thing might be a good retail idea… what say you?