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As always, there's a lot of stuff going on, and work and the weather are conspiring to give me a few head-aches. The lead up to Christmas is always hectic - everybody wants work finishing before the holidays. This coupled with the freezing cold weather and snow have meant that there are jobs waiting to go out of the workshop that have had to wait, so my work space is slowly getting smaller and smaller. I'm currently sharing the workshop with a huge pile of Windsor chair seats and spindles, and well as a solid oak back door, a set of shelves and several large and unwieldy bow-back formers. Today, it has been these that have been causing me problems.

I have some bow backs and arm rails to steam and bend to shape. This involves finding some nice straight grained green ash or oak, cooking it in my steam box for a few hours, and then wrestling it around the aforementioned formers without breaking anything. This is not a very easy job, and all of my steam bending efforts in the past have taught me that its always best to prepare and steam several more bits of wood than you eventually need to allow for the seemingly inevitable breakages you tend to get if there are any imperfections in the timber.

Today has been frustrating in a way, although I think I knew I was taking a risk with the odd bits of wood I'd put aside to bend - none of these was perfect, but worth a go 'just in case' I got it to work. Well, I tried, but I failed in all four instances! A lot of steam was produced - some of it from my ears as the final stave of oak split as I bent it around the former! Back to the wood pile tomorrow to find some wood with straight grain and a forgiving nature - wish me luck....

Fitting leg spindles into an oak seat

The installation of a wood burner in the workshop is proving popular with visitors

A little birds nest I spotted on my dog walk today - perfect

Frost on the inside of the workshop window

Snowy commute on Monday morning

Sometimes a log looks dull, but you start to mill it and it shows its inner beauty - a fantastic slab of olive ash

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