two notes from England

First, from Chris Currie, a friend from the Regional Furniture Society -some pictures of brackets.

First, Chris had posted a comment on the post I did about brackets,   then sent the photos thru. so now here’s the photos along with Chris’ comment:

oak table, Oxfordshire

“…a Communion table I saw recently, the brackets on the long rails applied – tennoned and pegged and sort of flush to the rail, those on the side cut out from a single deeper rail – so flush to the face. Will send you some pics. You will love the timber – great example of the ropey stuff joiners in parts of England were using. The table is in Oxfordshire – good arable country and long way from the sea – so pressure on timber was probably heavy.”

here’s a detail:

bracket details, Oxfordshire table
front view of table

Next up a photo of some spoons that Wayne Batchelor made. He sent this photo, (along with some period ones) – I liked his so much I aksed if he would tell me about how he made them, etc. So here goes:

Tudor spoons by Wayne Batchelor

Here is Wayne’s letter about his carving. He mentioned a class he took with Robin & Nicola Wood…

“Over the past few years I have been trying to master the skill of traditionally making 16th- 17th century style wooden eating spoons. There is not a lot of evidence from that period of wooden spoons, but there were a few found on the Mary Rose and others in museums. There is some variety in shape but generally they have the same basic design with a large round bowl and short handle. Stylistically they are comparable with pewter spoons of the period and are illustrated in the paintings of Pieter Brueghel. One of the spoons from the Mary Rose has a bowl 60mm wide with a handle 140mm long. That is not a spoon you can easily put in your mouth so they must have been used like soup spoons. They are generally quite flat with a shallow bowl but with a subtle curve to the rim of the bowl. Those from the Mary Rose have plain handles with a tooled finish but the handle can also be decoratively carved. The few I have seen are described as being made from maple.

For making my spoons if I can get hold of Maple I will use that but I tend to end up using Sycamore which is thought of as a weed around here so readily available. Firstly I rive the green log in to spoon size billets longer than the finished spoon will be. I score around another spoon on to the blank to give me a shape to carve to and then do all my shaping with a small axe. I’m sure in the past this would have just done by eye. I find it easier and safer to leave a long handle on the spoon at this stage. After I have roughed out the spoon shape I use a Frosts wood carving knife to refine the shape of the handle and outside of the bowl. Then using a Svante Djarv hook knife I shape the inside of the bowl to a shallow curve and carve as close as possible to the rim edge. I tend to rough carve a few at a time and then let them season for a bit. Then I will go over them again with the knives and get as clean a finish as possible and cut the handle to length. If I decide to decorate the handle I just hold the point of the knife like a pencil and cut small “v” shaped grooves. This seems to be the traditional way of carving spoons and can be done very quickly in proficient hands. Accepted wisdom is that spoons were left with a clean tooled finish. Earlier in the year I had the opportunity to handle one of the original spoons from the Mary Rose and the finish on that is very smooth on the inside of the bowl and rim, and the back of the bowl only has very feint tool marks which to me look like some effort has been used to smooth the bowl perhaps by scraping. My carving skills at present don’t give me the very smooth finish of the originals so this is where I depart from period techniques and rub some very fine sandpaper over the bowl which leaves a similar finish. I also like to dip mine in warm raw linseed oil as a finish but I have know idea if this was a period technique.”

So, thanks to the Brits I did a blog post with next to no work… here’s the links, first to Regional Furniture Society. If you like furniture history, consider joining. even for those over here, not over there, the journals and newlsetters are really well done. worth having:

Chris’ personal website is here:

I have seen some of Wayne’s stuff before, on the forum at the Bodgers’ website – I read this forum now & then. there can be some good stuff there…

One thought on “two notes from England

  1. Dear Pfollansbee,
    Very interesting, Interesting blog, I would like to share my own blog with you. If your are interested please email me back and I will provide you with the Link :)
    Nice One!
    Giles Perry (London)

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