Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A Third of a Tithe???

In the wider Bloggery, words blurring into obsolescence have recently been brought back into focus for another brief outing.  Not that old words have much to do with this piece other than I'm a turner of sorts, that is to say a maker of Treen or, perhaps, even a Treensmith.   Now treen, according to my 1932 New English Dictionary is "..an obsolete territorial division in the Isle of Man, the third of of a Tithe..", but we all know that it means wooden, or rather non-furniture domestic items made of  wood.  It is usually used about antique Victorian or Edwardian pieces such as little boxes, pots, bowls, stirrers, games such as billy buckets, not always turned and often country made.
As a turner of small pieces, they must all be treen no matter how much artistic intent I attached to them and no matter how much I decorate them.  Rather humbling for those of us that have moved from craft to art and have studios instead of workshops.

What I try to do is to take something like this log that I picked up from a wood pile on a Farm where the contractors had dumped it, and turn it in to a something like this.

That's the theory, and for the most part it works out just fine.  In this case I really should learn my woods.  I'm not sure what the log was from, but it held water like a sponge and the end grain was like turning feathers, it was stringy in the extreme.  What it is I'm still not sure, perhaps, willow or maybe, poplar.  What ever it was I'll try to avoid it in future.

The process is straightforward.  Take a log, about as long as it is wide, split down the middle and through the heart wood and mount it on the lathe with the bark side facing out.  Rough out a bowl shape with a spigot.  Turn it over and mount spigot in the chuck and rough out the bowl.  Leave the blank about an inch thick, wrap in newspaper and leave to dry for about a month or so.  That was done but in this case, perhaps because of the high water content, the blanks were covered in a black and white furry mildew.  What we have to do for our art or craft.

1 comment:

  1. I rather think that you might be a treenager rather than a treensmith. Whatever you are, you are obviously very skilled at it if that bowl is anything to go by. In the latest piece it was the mildew that was to blame, obviously.