Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life.

Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life. Sunset at Telegraph Point.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Interlude - Artisans' Expo at Mondrook

It is always a pleasure to attend workshops and demonstrations no matter where they are held.  This weekend there is a superb Expo being held at the Artisans' Retreat - Tinonee Road Mondrook - near Taree, and I was lucky enough to attend the opening day today.

Peter Calabria, the owner of Artisans' Retreat, was on hand to show off his new Cougar Lathe, and to demonstrate his ultra thin walled technique in bowl turning.  He will be workshopping over the next two days. He was kind enough to include all of the following artisans in the expo.

Alan Williams is one of Australia's finest makers of beautifully sculptured bandsawn boxes.
Apart from seeing his expertise on the bandsaw, we had the opportunity to talk hand tools - in particular the old hand tool makers.

His planes repertoire consisted of a Stanley number 5 jack plane, but fettled for smoothing, and a venerable Stanley 65 low angle plane.  Both of these were set with a Japanese laminated blade and a tight mouth for fine results.

We both agreed on the quality of the old Ward and Payne laminated blades from Sheffield England.

Speaking of quality hand tools, Colin Clenton was there with his superb selection of measuring and marking hand tools.

He also carried with him a wide selection of hand planes from Terry Gordon.  These need no introduction and are highly regarded world wide.

Not bad for a couple of local boys!

One little snippet that I got from Colin was this piece of tool making history trivia that made me laugh.  One of the well known brands of quality marking gauges had a brilliant reputation for tolerances and quality control, but left the labelling of their product until the end of the assembly process.

Having produced a splendid product, they then stamped their logo on the blade - this distorted all of the built in tight tolerances by around eight thousands of an inch - negating much of the work already done.  Doh!

Howard Archbold is a traditional bodger, making magnificent chairs from black locust - a timber that he works green.  The pieces here were only cut from the living tree the day before.  They have straight, even grain and are impervious to termite.
His bentback and windsor chairs are a work of art.

All of his work is done with hand tools - drawknives, a pole lathe, scorps and compass plane, as well as a bow saw - and the world's largest mallet - are part of his tool kit.
Fantastic to watch him in action.

Doug Moseley, used to be the blacksmith at Timbertown in Wauchope many moons ago.

He is an artist with iron and steel, and is now one of the few itinerant blacksmiths in the whole of Australia.

You will note the portable forge on the right background of this picture.

He makes the working of this most utilitarian of metals look so easy.

Furthermore, all of his work is bespoke - no mass production here - every piece a work of the blacksmith's art.

Doug not only crafts iron, but he also offers classes to any aspiring blacksmiths who want to get started in the dark arts of  metal magic.

Here, the love of my life has found a couple of items that really interested her.

Whatever has she got in mind!

Madame Lash indeed!

Peter Minson is a third generation glass blower who combines science with art in his creativity and his designs.

We were drawn to his demos like moths to a flame.  He will offer a full day workshop on Monday. Stunning work.

Finally, for me anyway, there was Warren Targett - Luthier.

As woodworkers we are constantly surprised and delighted by the quality of the work produced by our colleagues, and others who work in wood.

Warren's guitars are a sight for any woodie's eyes.

Here is one is for frequent fliers, and it folds up to store in an airline overhead locker.  When the headstock is right next to the bridge, you know that the guitar is going to be different.  This one is finished and is not a work in progress - what the ...............?

The Artisan's Expo was an absolute joy for me today, not just in meeting such wonderful craftsmen, but also in catching up with woodies that I correspond with but seldom meet.
Here is a full listing of the caftsmen and craftswomen presenting:
Alan Williams
Anne Mitchell, Peter Minson
Doug Moseley, Howard Archbold, Warren Targett, Colen Clenton, Adrian Clark
Michael Mogy, Grant Calvin, Donna Carrier, Christine Calabria
Peter Calabria
Daryl Lattimore, Warwick Mitchell, Erna Dykshoorn, Vivienne Scott

It was wonderful to see so many people seizing the day!

Special congratulations to Peter Calabria and Artisans' Retreat for creating and sharing this fantastic event.

Happy woodworking to all ..............


  1. It was a terrific weekend, but you forgot to mention the wonderful sausage sandwiches from the local Manning Great Lakes Woodworkers!! LOL!
    I've just come away from a wonderful two day workshop at Artisans Retreat where master craftsman Alan Williams taught 7 students how to make his special bandsawn boxes. A wonderful experience.

    1. How could I forget that fantastic steak sandwich.
      So glad you enjoyed the experience as well Claire.
      Kudos to Peter for hosting such a great event.