I have been attending the Burgess Hill Shed for about three years now and to date have made a variety of items all of which have given me great satisfaction and pride. My background is not practical or technical. I spent 40 years in Education firstly in the classroom and then more in the management and administration side, basically behind a desk.
Coming to the Shed gave me the confidence to make things. Importantly the other members were there to give guidance and encouragement, something that I was greatly in need of. I started very basically making decorative shelves for my grandchildren’s bedrooms, an idea stolen from a small shop in Rye. I moved on to various other wooden items, making a “Shut the Box” game, chopping boards, dog feeders and wooden Christmas trees.
Recently I was taught to turn wood on the lathe by another member, David. What a fantastic experience and a process that captivated me; as I write I can’t wait for the next lathe session. My first effort was a small bowl and then I produced a biscuit barrel (I hope to give a short outline of this in a later blog) but the knife pictured in this post is the culmination of all my newly acquired skills and confidence and a perfect example of how the Shed is as much about sharing skills and working with others as making things.
This knife has become a treasured possession and one that I use everyday in the kitchen for food preparation. Before some of the regular shedders shout out “you didn’t make the blade!” I can tell you that the blade was part of an old kitchen knife that had lost its handle through constant dishwasher mistreatment. So I had the blade which had a small shaft with a hole through it where I think there had been a rivet to hold the handle. It was the start of me using pre learned skills and benefitting from the help of more technically minded shedders.
I had a small piece of Oak which, with my new skills, I turned on the lathe to the shape I wanted, I then drilled a hole for the shaft which led me to the next challenge drilling through the handle for the rivet. Now you may think that was a simple process and for some of the others in the Shed it would be, however it requires precision measuring, a good eye and a bit of know how. Up pops one of the members, Colin, who guided me through the process of measuring, drilling and riveting. Again sounds simple but the first problem was to exactly line up the drilled hole in the handle with the hole on the knife shaft. My fellow shedder helped me to do this with expert guidance, callipers and a good eye. Then it was finding a rivet of the right size. We had to improvise and use a nail, (it would have been at this point, left to my own ends, that I would have quietly given up). But no Colin encouraged me to carefully widen the hole on the knife shaft using the pillar drill and hey presto the nail fitted perfectly. I was then guided on forming the rivet with hammer and file. Finally using a draw knife, chisel and sandpaper I ended up with the finished product.
Such a simple thing needing so many processes which a few years ago I would not have had a clue how to do. Undertaking this sort of thing in a friendly atmosphere amongst other shedders with so many tools and resources seems a perfect way to spend a day!