recent work

12" Sycamore platter turned and carved
Another 12" Sycamore platter turned and carved
Walnut Bowl with lettering
Pineapple lamp stand made from a recycled Mahogany newel post

Small Walnut bowls


A 3 legged chair based on a design in Jack Hills country chairs book

Green man carved in oak based on a cousin of mine for his wife

Green an in Oak

A Memorial Bench at College Lake

Building a memorial bench

 Memorial bench in Green Oak to commemorate Graham Atkins MBE

I was recently commissioned to produce a memorial bench with a carved inscription for College Lake Nature Reserve, a Buck Berks and Oxon Wildlife Trusts (BBOWT) flagship reserve to commemorate Graham Atkins MBE the visionary and creator of  College Lake.

The basic concept was to build a rustic oak bench and if possible to build the bench from green oak that had been grown on a local BBOWT reserve.
Tim Read the Bernwood Forest project manager with BBOWT identified a tree that was scheduled to be cut down in a newly made clearing along one of the rides at the Finemere a BBOWT reserve near Quainton.
Felled oak in Finemere Wood 18th Feb 2015
The tree was then cut into three 8 foot long pieces for ease of transportation.
Once we had the wood at College Lake our next problem was how to convert these logs into the planks that we would need to make the bench from.
We had spoken to some local sawmills who would either did not want to do the job on unknown wood as it may damage their saw mill or wanted to charge a very high fee to plank the wood for us.
One of the people we contacted was Steve Roberts of the Chiltern Green Timber Company he came over to discuss the job with us and after seeing the wood and understanding what we were trying to achieve came up with, a good solution that would work well for both of us and a prospective date was agreed.
Steve Roberts arriving on site with Joe and the mobile mill at 8:30 am on 30th September 2015

 The mobile mill was set up and cutting started about 10:00 am and the butts moved around to so skilfully by Steve and Joe aided by 2 grappling irons and various wedges

After 6 cuts we had 2 planks at 3” thick and 2 planks at 2 “thick. 
Steve used a ripping chain saw attachment on his mill to cut our planks, he then cut the second butt getting 4 2” planks from that.
Steve and Joe were all packed up and on their way back to base by 3:00pm.
Contact details for Steve Roberts of the ChilternGreen Timber Company

We now had the planks so the building work began
The wood was transported to the workshop of a local wood carver and sculptor Mick Waterhouse in Cheddington who kindly agreed to let me use his work shop and who helped me to shape and cut the boards to make the bench.
As the boards were quite heavy and the final positioning of the bench would be around 100 meters from any roadway allowing vehicle access, I needed to make sure the bench could be transportable in pieces enabling us to carry each piece to the final site.
The joints used on the seat together were called mortise and tenon and once assembled they would be pegged to hold the seat together in its final position at College Lake. 

 Cutting the mortise into the Bench ends ends

Then cut the tenons to suit

 With all the joints cut the first fit
With both of the ends attached to the seat the real test
The next day the back was fitted with help of a big clamp
All together for the first time
At this point I must thank Mick Waterhouse for the kind use of his workshop and for all his help and time, especially helping me to move the very heavy pieces of wood around.

You can see some of Micks Waterhouse's carvings on the wall behind the bench if you would like to see more of his work please visit his web site

Still a lot of work to do getting the ends to a more stylish shape softening the edges and clear away all the saw marks before carving the inscription.
A copy of the original College Lake Logo carved into one of the bench ends
The wording hand cut into the back of the bench
The day came to install the bench at College Lake and with a lot help from the fantastic college Lake volunteers the bench was finally installed.
Building the bench on site and pegging the joints
The bench finally installed in one of Graham favorite spots in wardens wood, looking over College lake and the surrounding hills from Ivinghoe beacon to Pitstone Hill

Small Wren added to the bench end

The College Lake Volunteers having a well earned rest after installing the bench

The Site has been tidied up and a nice woven willow fence added.

I hope that everyone who uses the bench can begin to understand why Graham Atkins was so enthusiastic about the area and especially what a wonderful nature reserve he created for us to enjoy.

Summer 2015 work

An original design of a running hare hand carved in English Walnut mounted on stone a commissioned for a friends Birthday

3 Birds carved in oak from a design my wife found on the web

2015 work

Barn owl made from an old Oak fencing post inspired by an original ceramic design by Anthony Theakston. I saw his work at a show at Hatfield House a few years ago and wondered what it would look like in wood.

Mirror alphabet carved in Oak from an original graphic design by Scott Kim which seems to work well as incised lettering on wood.

A whale carved in Iroko

Solar Green man in Oak from an original Chris Pye Design

Detail of Solar Man eye

Another copy of a Haida original this time a "Wolf "in Walnut

This is part of a series of carving that a group of woodcarvers who meet at Queen Park Center in Aylesbury have done to depict the activities that go on there.
I chose to show Pantomime and have based this carving on a original Picasso drawing taken from his "pantomime horse studies" which was created for Jean Cocteau's ballet, "Parade," in 1917. With of course some traditional English pantomime wording.

My wood carved signs at  

College Lake

 As you walk around College Lake you may see some new wooden signs that have gone up. I have replaced 2 old wooden signs that were made in the early days of the reserve that had got to a point where it was no longer possible to repair and renovate them. The original boards were done to depict the surrounding Chiltern Hills and show the hill line and point out other reserves and places of interest around the College Lake.

The first sign that I replaced (Above) was installed in 2013 on the west side of the reserve and looks out towards Ivinghoe Beacon. 
It is made from locally sourced Ash, from the sawmill at Ashridge. 
The board I was offered was quite twisted and gnarled but had some very interesting figuring within it and  because of this I chose to produce a simple carving showing the hill line with incised lettering and few token trees and hedge lines  to allow the figuring in wood to show through.

With the second sign (Above) which is sited on the east side of the reserve and looks out over the hills from Tring Park to Aston Clinton Rag pits. 
It is made from locally sourced Sweet Chestnut (again from the local sawmill at Ashridge), the board I was replacing only showed the hill line and picked out other reserves and points of interest in the view.
With this sign, as the wood is fairly straight grained and good to work, I  have been able to add a lot more detail of tree lines, scrub, hides and islands. 

About me 

I have been a volunteer with BBOWT at College Lake since 2009.
I really love the place and enjoy working with the conservation teams on site and around the other BBOWT Bucks reserves, as well as being a volunteer guide at College Lake most Sundays. Its amazing to work outside with a great team of like minded people, watching the changing seasons and finding out more about the local flowers,birds and butterflies. 

In 2011 I decided to take some formal woodcarving lessons at the Queens Park Art Center in Aylesbury run by a local Cheddinton woodcarver Mick Waterhouse and I have found woodcarving to be fulfilling stretching and very enjoyable.

I started doing commissions in 2013 and have also sold pieces at local events.

To find out more about College Lake  please click on the link at the top of this page.

Snake design found on the web done for my son in Lime and coloured

Liberty's Pelican  
Carved in oak from a design on Chris Pye's website. The piece is 14" tall and 5.5" square.


3 legged stool  
Made from ash with oak legs and incised lettering made for my cousins daughter. 
Stools are a bit of a family tradition that I am trying to keep alive. Both my brother and myself were given stools similar to this when we were young and I still have mine after nearly 60 years.