Choosing Wood - LondonGreenWood

The idea that the lovely folk at LondonGreenWood altered the landscape of my day to day might sound a little exaggerated but really, that is rather the case. It was the starting point for so much that will follow in the blog before which I had never picked up and axe or I'd never sized up a length of wood for the things it held; I'd never eaten my breakfast with something I had made, something that I had taken from a log to a little spoon whose warmth and feel remind me of the wonders in the hand made.

Now, after finishing using my little spoon I may go forage for wood or split some from my small but growing store of greenwood, sections of sycamore and hazel. I will almost certainly pick up an axe each day and may, at the end of the day, hold in my hands another little spoon that I have made. This time I spend, cutting away slivers of wood to unearth the spoon or knife within has become a centre for me, the place I head when the world is swirling. That is a post in it's own right though and for now I just hope to share that learning these skills can be pretty wondrous and that these are a grand bunch to do it with.

The course covers tool care and sharpening, wood selection and preparation, axing techniques and the skills to safely carve using straight and crooked knives (curved blades for making the bowl of a spoon). Over the 4 days you'll try your hand at carving a spatula, butter spreaders and of course a spoon or two. You'll most likely head away with some wooden items but the emphasis is on process and technique, it may go wrong (and believe me, if you continue to carve, sometimes it certainly will. Most weeks I still watch at least one spoon's neck get just a bit too thin.) but the key thing is that you'll retain the knowledge and ability to give it another go, to carve all the spoons you fancy.

Return afterwards and you'll find folk happy to share their knowledge and help you develop further, or simply good company to sit and make lovely things from trees with.

More info on the next course and the group in general can be found at

The group runs every Thursday as an open workshop in Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington, wood and tools are available along with advice, tea and sometimes Julian bringing along a cake, those are particularly good days. The workshop runs on a donation basis with the proviso that you attend the intro course before heading along. The course runs over 4 days, usually 4 consecutive Thursdays.