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green wood workshop – 4 days

(make a pole lathe/shaving horse)

Our  Four Day Green Wood Workshop is suitable for beginners and improvers.
Green Wood is freshly felled, still sappy wood. To work it requires a set of simple techniques based on an understanding of how wood reacts – both to the tools, and to the drying and shrinking processes. Because it is green, the wood is soft and easy to work with hand tools, and because of this, green woodwork creates little waste, and can utilise small trees and logs. It is therefore green in all senses of the word – especially as at Bore Place the trees are felled as part of ongoing woodland restoration and sustainable management. Our courses and volunteer days are about learning woodcraft and helping with the conservation of Bore Place.

Pole lathe turning has traditionally also been known as “bodging”  Originally this was the term used for pole-lathe turners who turned out just the cylindrical parts of a windsor chair (eg the legs).  Originally located in woods at the edges of towns, their pole lathe construction was so simple and easy to move that it made more sense to take the tools to the woodland, rather than the wood to a workshop.  The pole lathes that you can make during our course below follow a similar design, and are treddle lathes.  They do also use some sawn wood however!

The term bodging can also be used to mean making something using only the tools and materials you have to hand, but still producing something serviceable.  Not to be confused with “botching” which of course means something completely different!

date:17-20 May 2019 (full)
11-14 Oct 2019 (full)
15-18 May 2020
overview:Suitable for the beginner and the improver, spend four days getting to grips with green wood techniques: sawing, axing, shaving and pole lathe turning. Make a stool, a pole lathe and/or a shaving horse, or produce a range of smaller items such as gates, garden seats, besoms, carved spoons and bowls.

This course is structured around one or more projects chosen by each student. For example, many choose to “set themselves up” by making a pole lathe and a shaving horse (approximately two days on each). Making a pole lathe is largely a standard carpentry project, while the horse is entirely a green wood project. The lathe and horse work together in the preparation and finishing of green woodworking and are invaluable for making everything from the humble dibber to a Windsor Chair.

Alternatively, you could spend all four days working on a 3- or 4-legged stool, or a range of smaller shaved or turned items - eg candlesticks, tent pegs, gate hurdles, rounders bat and rolling pin.
start time:day 1: 9.30am tea/introductions for 10am start
days 2, 3 and 4: 10am start
lunch:approx 1pm - 2pm
please bring a packed lunch. Hot drinks will be provided.
finish time:approx 4.30pm each day
cost:£220 per person (extra charge of £70 for pole lathe materials)
what to wear:Wear sturdy shoes or boots at all times. Please also wear warm, comfortable clothes that are suitable for the current weather conditions. You will be outside for much of the course
course size:maximum of 8 participants
what to bring:all tools and materials will be provided, but please feel free to bring along any interesting tools!
how to book:Booking Form
location:Courses and volunteer days are held at Bore Place, between Edenbridge and Sevenoaks, Kent. Bore Place is an environmental and educational charity on a 500 acre organic dairy farm, set in beautiful low weald countryside. Converted farm buildings and a Jacobean Manor House offer accommodation if required, with walks and local pubs to enjoy when you’re not wooding! Directions will be sent to you once you’ve booked on a course and can also be accessed from the Workshop Directions Page.
accommodation:Camping facilities are available (toilet and shower) for £25 per night. Please contact Bore Place for more information.
Limited Bed and Breakfast options are also available, with prices starting from £83.40 per person. For B&B, please contact Bore Place for more information.
There are also two beautiful yurts on site - see Free Range Glamping for more information.

If you have a particular green wood project in mind, and it hasn’t been mentioned above, please do contact us to discuss your ideas as there is some degree of flexibility.


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John Waller, Underwoodsman
Average rating:  
 1 reviews
by David on John Waller, Underwoodsman

Overall the course was excellent, and in a fabulous location. John’s knowledge of working with green ash I felt was second to none and is obviously something gained from experience rather than being told or reading a book. The course size was just right, few enough to allow John to spend sufficient time with each person, but enough for there to be good laughs and banter between us. I will be in touch in future about another course as this one has given me the bug for it.

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