Making My Bed and Other Stuff

DSC_0073 The wind storms that hit Britain this past 7 days peaked overnight here in my county at 95 knots (109 miles per hour), which takes it from gale force well into the hurricane level if my schooling memory is correct. The damage is not too extensive because Wales and high winds are synonymous with well built. DSC_0026 Especially when you live one third of your day in a castle. We went without electricity from 11pm last night until this afternoon. In my way to work at my Penrhyn Castle workshop I saw trees down and arrived just in time to find one being removed from across the road. DSC_0036 Deeper in the woods, down by a fast-flowing and turbulent river, were beech trees 2 1/2 to 3’ across and 40 feet high. Leafless and still and lying immovably bedded in the wood’s earth, I traced my fingers into the massive broken stem and again in the snapped off, equally massive limbs and wondered what force could wrestle and twist a trunk so powerfully  down. DSC_0077 Did you ever see a wrestler lift another wrestler and slam him down on the mat? That’s what one tree looked like. Anyway, there’s many a ton of beech, oak and other wood there for the using.

Christmas passed with simple beauty and calm. Phil came over Christmas eve because Hannah was working and we had fun talking about non-work stuff and righting the world. Christmas day was a shared day of prepping and unwrapping and I felt the pure pleasure of writing my journal with a brand new fountain pen. So smooth and soon to be even smoother as it wears in. I did spend some time relaxing and drawing for a book I hope to publish with my drawings. Still uncertain about the path I want to take as yet but still my favourite woodworking book of all time is Aldren Watson’s book Hand Tools, Their Ways and  Workings. My book will likely not be a popular book in today’s world of publishing, but I still plan on completing it. Drawings convey more than photographs somehow. They cut to the quick when too much information confuses the content in an image. Bit like colour versus B&W photo’s. I think some times, most times, our western culture is crowded with too much. Amazingly, when you refine  and define your worklife, when you make choices that carry you in a direction you want to go in, regardless of whether others feel you contradict theirs,  you see things with a certain type of clarity in the midst of the forest.  I like that.

DSC_0017 My bed progressed again today and I managed to start the cloudlifts I want for the foot and headboard. The overall bed is coming together as I want it and I have seen that develop in phases I planned for. The Auriou rasp is nice for the work I have been refining by. It cuts quickly and leaves a very nice and level surface I can then refine very quickly with a flat mill file. DSC_0050 I used my “poor-man’s dowel maker for the tenon pegs and managed to leave the tops square by stopping short of the squared section and using the chisel to round over the last 6mm or so. Driving the pegs went well and the tenons pulled up just fine to the shoulders. DSC_0070 I am impressed by the strength, flex and resilience of sapele. Also, it works well if you want a really dark contrast united with these features too.


  1. I am glad you were able to weather the weather OK, having spent most of my life in SW Florida ( Ft. Myers, Naples area on the Gulf side ) I have seen and been through a few hurricanes and they are not pleasant. Looks like you might have a nice stash of wood there for future projects and glad to see and hear the damage was minimal.

    Your bed is coming along nicely and looks great.


  2. Paul, I have recently retired due to health reasons and I find myself drawn back to hand tools. I enjoy your blogs and videos. Depending on my health, my wife and I plan on visiting the UK. We are from Nova Scotia.

    I have never been to the UK and it’s on my bucket list. If you are open to it, I would like to meet you personally and visit your shop.

    Keep up the great work.


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