Sunday, 14 February 2010

BBC mastercrafts woodland workshop with Guy Mallinson and Monty Don

If you watched the program and want to find out more about this sort of craft and where to learn here are some links and resources. If you missed it and are in the UK you can see it on iplayer here.

The BBC are not allowed to link to "commercial sites" so the first link must be to Guy Mallinson's website here and if you want to keep him at his computer and out of the woods you can chat to him via his new blog and facebook page.

For those that want to learn more about these techniques without going on a course the best resource is the forum of the Association of Pole Lathe Turners and Green Woodworkers. I answer technical questions there Mike Abbott and Guy post there too as well as most of the top green woodworkers in the country and a fun bunch of amateurs too, recommended. There is a section on courses there information about tools, raw materials, everything you need to know.

I have no doubt Guy's courses will be filling up fast for this year but there are other folk around the country running similar courses in chairmaking in the woods. Probably the best known are Mike Abbott and Gudrun Leitz
Other folk you may want to check out are
Ben Orford
Steve Tomlin
Sean Hellman
Robin Fawcett
David Saltmarsh
Alun Heslop
Peter Wood
And if anyone fancies building a coracle you want to see Terry Kenny who was in the program and I blogged about last year.

Whilst making a chair in the woods is a great holiday course very few folk keep going with it at home because it requires a lot of commitment in terms of space, very specific raw materials and time. This is why I prefer to teach other green wood crafts particularly spoon and bowl carving which fit much better into today's busy lifestyles. They are the most popular courses in Scandinavia but are only just taking off in the UK. Having said that my courses are nearly full this year.


  1. I really enjoyed the show. Green Wood is such a lovely material to work with. I love passing on traditional woodland skills and showing people how to make use of wood that otherwise would just just end up on the fire. We run courses in Sussex at our main woodland site and Amberley Museum. See for details.

  2. Hi Rob, great info and hopefully I will have my first go at pole lathe turning soon. I will probably make a mess though!

    I saw Ben Willis last year doing some pole lathe work, his mobile lathe was very lightweight compared to the heavy lathe you use in your workshop, but then he does need to transport it. I watched him work for quite some time and also had a good chat with Ben and his partner. Te chairs that Ben had made were fantastic, just as in the program, it is something I'd like to have a go at after enjoying sitting in a chair this morning made from riven wood at Sheffield Wildlife Trusts main offices.

    Say hi to the family!