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Any bodgers in the group

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default Any bodgers in the group

Post by Shmizer on 21st October 2010, 1:59 pm

I am a greenwood bodger. I build chairs out of birch primarily, using no power tools. little more than a spring pole lathe (well bike free wheel lathe really), a shaving horse, froe, mallet, drawknife, mortise and tenoner. Most of my tools are home made.

Would love to share tips if anyone is interested.
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Post by mark barker on 21st October 2010, 2:12 pm

Wow! What a great way to be making stuff! I love working on the lathe, but I've never used anything but an electric on. There was a TV series on some time ago about reviving lost skills and one of the episodes covered traditional woodworking, and I made a mental note of the chap that ran he course with the intention of getting info about the course and maybe signing up. Sadly my mental notes have a lifespan of around 3 blinks and the info is now lost!

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Post by Shmizer on 21st October 2010, 2:24 pm

it really is satisfying. as a cabinetmaker in Toronto, i couldn't imagine a shop without electricity, but since going off grid, i cant imagine a shop with one. The pacing is entirely different and certainly more labour intensive, but there is a great satisfaction, going from wood to finished product, all without plugging in a single tool (well to be honest, I do use a gas chainsaw to fell trees and cut them down to manageable size, I'm not a complete masochist after all) The speed of production is much more human. Like riding a bike through the countryside rather than driving...one gets a lot more out of it.
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Post by Compostwoman on 21st October 2010, 3:25 pm

Yep!

I have a wood and run various courses in there for both adults and children. I make spoons, mallets, carve gypsy flowers and do all sorts of bits and bobs, including small scale charcoal making.

I have a lovely shave horse which was a home made birthday present from my husband, am in the middle of building a pole lathe and I am slowly learning new skills as I go.

Wood Troll is another bodger , as is Badger and there are many more

Mark B, you need this link for Mike's courses in green woodworking , and if you do come on one, come and see us as we are only a few miles away Very Happy
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Post by Shmizer on 21st October 2010, 3:53 pm

what a great group. glad i stumbled across it
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Post by Compostwoman on 21st October 2010, 3:57 pm

I think your interests and knowledge will add to it as well!
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Post by Mike on 21st October 2010, 4:30 pm

Shmizer wrote: little more than a spring pole lathe (well bike free wheel lathe really),....... Most of my tools are home made.

I'm not a bodger but want to comment on something that can be useful in all similar situations.

We perhaps shouldn't be too hidebound on traditional tools, too unwilling to introduce a bit of simply technology from our own time that could improve some tool device from centuries before.

A freewheel (one way drive) from a bicycle is a perfect example. It's not that were too stupid to make such a device a couple hundred years ago but that back then the manufacture of such a device would have probably cost a year's income for a bodger. There are a lot of examples of things like this.

We should be alert to the possibilites where some bit of ancient technology could be vastly improved by the addition of some simple thing from today that they didn't use back then only because not available to them.




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Post by Guest on 21st October 2010, 10:18 pm

Shmizer, I would love to hear a bit more about the bike wheel part of your lathe. I have a pole lathe and strong leg muscles!

Mike, one advantage of a pole lathe is that it stops instantly if you stop peddling, also there is a lot more involved than just the power source. If you have a constant rotation you also have to have 'live' centers with all the bearings that involves. A pole lathe only has two 'dead' centers made up of two steel spikes.
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Post by Mike on 21st October 2010, 10:34 pm

Wood Troll wrote:
Mike, one advantage of a pole lathe is that it stops instantly if you stop peddling, also there is a lot more involved than just the power source. If you have a constant rotation you also have to have 'live' centers with all the bearings that involves. A pole lathe only has two 'dead' centers made up of two steel spikes.

I need to clarrify?

a) Stop rotation instantly? -- just because not a bodger doesn't mean I have never used a lathe. Having more than a little difficulty trying to imagine what purpose served by rapid stopping of rotation.

b) Need live centers? -- that's just jumping too far toward modern technology?. With the traditional pole lathe it's the same rope. With a "freewheel" the pole rope operates that one side of that and the other side to a flywheel (the bicycle wheel?) and a rope from that around the work. How then are the centers any different?

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default Re: Any bodgers in the group

Post by Robin Wood on 28th October 2010, 8:14 am

I am a professional pole lathe turner I am not a bodger.

The term bodger as applied to turners is a recent term first recorded in 1910 and applying to around 20 chair leg turners around High Wycombe. Chairmakers and turners everywhere else in the UK and abroad were simply known as turners and chairmakers.

When Mike Abbott wrote his book green woodwork he found it good for getting press coverage to play on the bodger theme, the press always liked the term and titter a little about it. I personally think it is not historically accurate description of what most folk do (no one just turns chair legs because the chair factories have gone) but more it does not help us raise the status of our craft as it is easily confused with the derogatory term bodger (one who does a bad job/temporary fix) which is much more widespread and dates back to Shakespeare.

As for the old idea that continuous rotation is better, you can try to argue the theory but in practice a reciprocal foot powered lathe wins every time. No one ever complains that a hammer is inefficient because it goes back and forth.

Benefits of stopping rotation? When anyone is turning a bowl they need to stop and look several times eg to see if all the roughing out marks have been removed, I would guess typically 5 or 6 times during making a bowl. On a powered lathe this means turning off waiting for it to slow down and turning it round by hand to see all round. I stop peddling, it is still instantly, I press the treadle gently to turn the bowl 1 rotation allowing me to see all sides then I am off again, the whole process took less than a second.
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Post by Compostwoman on 28th October 2010, 11:51 am

I'm a bodger because I work in a woodland, in a bodgers hovel...I like the term and am trying to re claim it from the derogatory meaning. It is also good to get a conversation going Very Happy


Last edited by Compostwoman on 28th October 2010, 2:40 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling!)
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Post by Adrian on 28th October 2010, 12:54 pm

I'm not a bodger, i just mess around with bits of wood, still learning to carve spoons and aim one day to build myself a pole lathe

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Post by Mike on 28th October 2010, 2:01 pm

I'm not sure the term "bodger" needs any such restoration.

There are a great many such terms which have both a literal and a figurative use (and the latter may have a derogatory meaning or a meaning that sometimes is derogatory). Part of the richness of language. "Bodger" is a good example of that. Because the traditional bodger's tools of the trade were "homemade" (or made right out there in the woods in the rough work shelter) we get the figurative usage "makeshift" which can be either positive (how creative) or pejorative (how primative, how jury rigged).

If had to carry everything on your back the plus side of on the spot improvisation using materials that were there and didn't have to be carried in would be obvious.

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Post by Jaded Green on 28th October 2010, 2:22 pm

Bodgers - I read this as badgers yesterday. We've certainly got one of them
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Post by Compostwoman on 28th October 2010, 2:39 pm

Well to each their own, but I like the term and will continue to use it. Laughing
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Post by Robin Wood on 30th October 2010, 5:09 pm

I have no problem with folk using the term though I think it is good to know that it did historically only refer to those few folk around High Wycombe and is a recently invented word with no known etymology. The etymology of the makeshift bodge is very well recorded over 500 years.

Mike Abbott no longer uses the term feeling that whilst it served well to gain publicity for a few years it now devalues the skill.

There are other misconceptions about bodgers the most common one being that they were itinerant and lived in hovels. They were well respected members of their local communities lived in cottages, grew veg etc. They walked to work in the woods and were no more itinerant than a forester, dry stone waller or any other agricultural worker.
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Post by Compostwoman on 30th October 2010, 7:03 pm

Bit like me then,. I live in a cottage, grow veg and ( I hope) am well respected
lol!

and walk down to my wood where I have a hovel to shelter in while I do stuff. I also have to have somewhere for the students to cower if the weather is dreadful.... Rolling Eyes Smile
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Post by Adrian on 30th October 2010, 11:00 pm

I suppose it could be possible to claim/reclaim Bodger as a positive self labelling . Thats the wonderful thing about our language, so flexible and ever evolving Smile

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Post by Compostwoman on 30th October 2010, 11:16 pm

I just really love the idea that a word which sounds rather unpromising ( bodgers hovel sounds pretty dire!) is actually rather a nice place to work in! In a wood, with a fire and sheltered from the elements, working to the sound of birdsong and leaf blowing music...and the things I "bodge" are actually rather lovely and not slipshod at all.

It IS all about interpretation and meaning and evolving, isn't it Very Happy
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Post by Adrian on 30th October 2010, 11:29 pm

Being a grammar nerd, I am quite keen on the evolution of words and language. Given the high quality of work that the new practitioners of the pole lathe produce, I wouldn't be at all surprised if, in time, Bodger became synonymous with craftsmanship.

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Post by Compostwoman on 30th October 2010, 11:31 pm

I just like the sound and "feel" of the word in my mouth.

Smile
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