Oak candle holders
A set of six oak candle holders

Candle holders

20 December 2017

Six oak candle holders commissioned by Heather, for her Christmas table, a slight adaptation of a design she suggested. They are made in two sets of 3, designed to hold dinner candles, and vary in height 2 inches, 3 inches and 4 inches, with a base diameter of about 3 inches. They have solid brass inserts.

More on candlesticks and tea light holders.

Oak school trophy
Oak disc awarded in memory of Davina Kirk for most commendations.
Oak vocational trophy
Award for the best Vocational Student 2017

Davina Kirk and Vocational Awards

20 December 2017

27 trophies for the annual Malton School senior celebration evening. Here are just a couple.

More in the 2017 trophy gallery

Geography trophy
Geography trophy - a globe on a square plinth in spalted beech.
Fox and geese game
Fox and geese game in oak presented as a maths prize

Geography trophy and Fox and geese

20 December 2017

Two more trophies for Malton School - a geography award and a maths puzzle given to the UK Maths Competition Best in School winner.

More in the 2017 trophy gallery

Turned yew snowmen
Snowman families and Christmas trees turned in yew. Woven jute scarves.
Turned yew snowmen
Snowman families and Christmas trees turned in yew. Woven jute scarves.

Christmas trees and snowpeople

18 December 2017

More small groups of Christmas ornaments - all turned from yew. Snowman, snowlady, snowgirl, snowboy.

More on snowmen figures

Poc poc
Poc poc figure from Abney and Teal.
Carved wooden pocpoc
Poc poc figure from Abney and Teal


22 December 2017

My niece's little boy Frankie just loves Abney and Teal on TV, and in particular the Pocpocs. This one is carved from elm - no turning involved - and is about 3 inches high.

Rugby trophy
Rugby trophy for a junior rugby club in Lancashire

Rugby trophy

20 December 2017

Liz requested a rugby trophy to presented weekly. I suggested this design: a rugby ball on a kicking tee. The ball is turned in sycamore, the base is ash. Around the plinth five very appropriate words are inscribed: Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline, Sportsmanship. I think the trophy is to be awarded weekly or monthly to the best player or contributor in the club (a junior club).
More on this rugby trophy and sports trophies.

Turned yew snowmen
Snowman families and Christmas trees turned in yew

Snowmen and families

4 December 2017

This group of snowmen flew off to Melanie for Christmas in Boylston, Massachusetts. There are four families each consisting of a snowman and snow woman, snow boy, snowgirl, and snowtoddler. At the back are Christmas trees. All turned in yew, with ebony and mahogany hats, and woven jute scarves. More on snow people.

Acorn gift
Acorn gift for a researcher at Sky Sports Rugby Union

Acorn gift

2 December 2017

Johnnie requested a leaving gift for a colleague, based upon acorn trophies seen elsewhere on this website. This one is turned in spalted beech, and has a somewhat cryptic inscription to the departing member of staff.

Acorns have a lot of symbolism, and can be used to the birth of ideas, the growth of mighty things from small beginnings, the hope of renewal. This is probably why they continue to prove popular.
More on acorn trophies.

Bud vases
Small bud vases on show at Ryedale Woodturners exhibition.
Woodturning exhibition
A selection of items on sale at Ryedale Woodturners exhibition. Some may still be for sale.

A few exhibits at Ryedale Woodturners show

25 November 2017

A selection of items at my woodturning club show. More from the turning exhibition.

Turned wooden mouse
Spalted beech mouse with matching box

Mouse and house

14 November 2017

A small mouse in front of his house, a lidded box made from the same spalted beech. He fits in snugly, if he curls up his tail. Leather eyes and tail, and African blackwood eyes.

Requested by Margaret for a Christmas present.

More on turned wooden mice.

Yew dishes
Three shallow dishes made from a single yew log.

Yew dishes

14 November 2017

Small dishes made from a yew log, retaining some of their natural bark around the rim. These are about 5 inches in diameter and a couple of inches high. They were made following a request from Margaret for a small bowl to put keys and coins in.

More on yew natural edge bowls.

Ball finial for summerhouse
Aged and worn ball finial in need of replacement.
Ball finial for summerhouse
Large oak ball finial - 6 inch diameter ball on an 11 inch base.

Ball finial in oak

8 November 2017

Richard asked for a ball finial to replace the rotted one on top of his summerhouse. An 18 cm diameter ball turned from 2 oak blocks, resting on a 27 cm base. Osmo oil finish. More on summerhouse finials.

Golf trophy in wood
Golf trophy based on a large driver

Golf pairs trophy

5 November 2017

Nigel asked if I could make a golf trophy based on a shortened wood. This one has the club carved from goncalo alves, an African blackwood handle, and an oak shaft. The plinth was made to a 2 inch depth to accommodate some engraving plaques at the rear. More on sports trophies.

Summerhouse finial
Ball finial for a summerhouse.

Ball finial

24 October 2017

Carol asked for a large ball finial for her summerhouse in Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire. This one is a six inch diameter, resting on a 10 inch diameter octagonal base. All in larch, left untreated ready for painting or staining.

More on summerhouse finials.

acorn trophy
Swimming trophy in the shape of an acorn.

Acorn trophy

24 October 2017

Andy in Auguerstertal, Switzerland, requested a trophy in the shape of an acorn on a circular plinth. This one is made from spalted beech. The acorn is 4 inches in diameter, the base 5 inches, and the whole trophy stands around 10 inches tall. It bears the inscription Baarbierians Open Water Swimming, and will be awarded by the Baarbierians club for swimming competitions in lakes surrounded by oak trees (hence the acorn). More on acorn trophies.

Turned wooden mice
Small mice turned from yew branches.

12 mice found in the shavings

20 October 2017

A dozen small mice found in my workshop amongst the shavings. As usual these are turned from yew branches, with African blackwood eyes and leather ears and tails. About 2 inches long. More on turned wooden mice.

Summerhouse finial
A 5 inch diameter larch acorn on an 18 inch diameter ash base.
Summerhouse finial
Chris's summerhouse in Braunton, Devon, with the finial in place.

Summerhouse finial - acorn

18 October 2017

Chris sent me a photo of his summerhouse in Braunton, Devon. One of the largest bases I have been asked to do, with a 45 cm diameter. In larch and ash. More on summerhouse finials

Summerhouse finial
Circular wooden trophies with pyrographed inscriptions and enamel badge TR210

21 disc trophies for Malton School

18 October 2017

Into production mode in recent days, producing 21 circular oak trophies for Malton School's annual Celebration evening for their Key Stage 3 students. Each has the winner's name pyrographed on, and an enamel school badge. More on disc trophies

Cricket trophy
Young cricketer of the Year individual trophy. In ash, with the ball in padauk. TR211
House Cup turned from wood.
House cup turned from horse chestnut. TR212

Young cricketer and House Cup trophies

10 October 2017

A Young Cricketer of the Year trophy turned from ash and padauk, and a House Cup in horse chestnut, presented to the student with the most housepoints in the year.
More on cricket trophies and trophy cups

Maths trophy
Fox and geese game presented as maths competition winners' prizes.

Fox and Geese maths trophies

18 October 2017

Two Fox and Geese pegboard games inscribed and presented as Maths trophies to the winners of the Junior and Intermediate maths challenge competitions at Malton School. Made from oak, with wooden golf tees used for the pegs. More on maths trophies

Summerhouse finial
A 5 inch diameter larch acorn on a 10 inch diameter ash base.
Summerhouse finial
Peter's summerhouse office in Tamworth, Staffordshire, with the finial in place.

Summerhouse finial - acorn in situ

10 October 2017

Peter was kind enough to send me a photo of his summerhouse in Tamworth, with the finial I made installed and painted to match the house. The summerhouse is used as an office, when Peter is not looking out of the windows!
More on summerhouse finials

orienteering trophy
A pair of orienteering trophies for Claro orienteering club, based around Harrogate.

Orienteering trophies

27 September2017

Linda requested two trophies for the Claro club orienteering league, based around the Harrogate area. These have the now standard features of a central orienteering compass, inscription, and a plinth for adding engraving plaques. About 8 inches in diameter, made from olive ash. More on orienteering trophies.

Summerhouse finial
A 5 inch diameter larch acorn on a 9 inch diameter larch base.
Summerhouse finial
Ian's summerhouse in Oundle, Northamptonshire, with the finial in place.

Summerhouse finial - acorn in situ

25 September 2017

'Tis the season for summerhouses! Another finial, this one for Ian in Oundle. Larch, 9" diameter and about 12" tall. Ian sent me a picture of it in place. More on summerhouse finials

Summerhouse finial
A 5 inch diameter larch acorn on a 12 inch diameter ash base.
Summerhouse finial
A 5 inch diameter ball on a 9 inch diameter octagonal base.

Summerhouse finial - acorn in situ

September 2017

Max sent me a picture of his finial sitting on top of a fine example of a summerhouse. The hope is that it will weather to the same grey tones as the cedar roof shingles. More on summerhouse finials

Acorn finial
An acorn finial for a summerhouse in

Acorn finial

6 August 2017

Peter requested an acorn finial on a ten inch diameter base, with some specific requirements for grooves on the base to enable it to fit comfortably on his summerhouse. The acorn is larch and the base is ash. The finial was provided unfinished, due to be stained to match the summerhouse.

More on acorn finials

Summerhouse finial
A 5 inch diameter larch acorn on a 12 inch diameter ash base.
Summerhouse finial
TA 5 inch diameter ball on a 9 inch diameter octagonal base.

Summerhouse finial - acorn stained to match

5 August 2017

A fniial for a summerhoue in Surrey. The owner, Colin, was kind enough to send a picture. More on summerhouse finials

money box
Personalised christening money box for Olivia Rose.

Money box

8 july 2017

Valerie requested a small money box barrel for Olivia Rose's forthcoming christening. This one is made from olive ash, and is about 4 inches wide by 6 inches high. There is an inscription giving the date of birth and other details on the underside of the barrel. The barrel is a tight push fit, so Olivia could get her money out when she is a little older, unless the top and bottom are glued together. More on money boxes

Growth mindset trophy
A duo of trophies, to be awarded for Growth Mindset and Christian Values, at Temple Grafton Church of England primary school

Growth Mindset Award

8 July 2017

Two trophies for Temple Grafton School. One is the Christian Values Award, the other the Growth Mindset Award. They are turned from olive ash, and the discs are 10 inch diameter. Small discs will be added around the trophy to mark the winners each year. The disc rests at a slight angle on a plinth, supported by a peg at the rear.

The Strategy of the Genes
Two ladies "playing chess" with the chess board and pieces in the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh. Penelope Kay says: "The Strategy of the Genes is one realisation of the DNA codes [Dr Pipps Thomson] works with, the a,c,g and t notations given weight and volume as playing pieces in a game whose rules are obscure. The title of the piece is taken from the late Professor C.H.Waddington's book of the same name." ​

Strategy of the Genes

11 July 2017

Penelope tells me that the "chess set" I made back in April, now named The Strategy of the Genes, has been on tour around Edinburgh. It has been to the Assembly rooms - where the two ladies in the picture are looking at it - a shopping centre, and a conference with Dr Pippa Thomson, who originally inspired the work. It may next move to the foyer of the University psychology building in George's Square.

Uli Arndt trophy
A science trophy in memory of Uli Arndt. Presented by the Culver family to a primary school.

Uli Arndt trophy

8 July 2017

Annabel requested a science trophy for a primary school, to be presented in memory of her father Uli Arndt (1924-2006), who worked at the Medical Research Centre Laboratory of Molecular Biology, specialising in X ray crystallography.

The trophy is based on a similar version made in February of this year. This version is made from burr oak. More on science trophies.

Summerhouse finial
A 5 inch diameter acorn on a 7 inch diamer base. All in cedar.
Summerhouse finial
TA 5 inch diameter ball on a 9 inch diameter octagonal base.

Summerhouse finials - an acorn and a ball

1 July 2017

Two more large finials for the tops of summerhouses. The one on the left is made from cedar, on the right the ball is cedar, the octagonal base is larch (cedar is not always easy to source in the right size). More about summerhouse finials

Young Inventors trophy
Young inventors trophy

Young Inventor

17 June 2017

A request came from Ali for a Young Inventor's trophy for The Roche School. Made up of elements that a young inventor might use, all turned from spalted beech: two screwdrivers in a stand, a soldering iron and plug, a reel of solder and nuts and bolt. All standing on a pyrographed spalted beech plinth, inscribed with The Perry Prize for Creativity.

Golf trophy
Golf driver turned wooden golf trophy

Golf driver trophy

5 June 2017

A request from Gary to make a golf trophy which was based on the chisel trophies and a previous golf trophy, but with a driver head, and resting on a golf ball. The result was this trophy made from a variety of wood. Golf trophy

Leadership trophy
Individual leadership trophy

Leadership trophy

5 June 2017

A request came from Lyssa at Ringwood School to see if I could make an individual trophy for Leadership, to complement the larger perpetual trophy that I made for the school last year. The result is a four inch diameter trophy reflecting the shapes used in the original - chess pieces - and olive ash was used once again to tie in with the name of the lady who originally commissioned the trophy. More on this Leadership trophy

Mouse box ornaments
Three turned mice with matching boxes for them to nest in.

Mice in boxes

16 May 2017

A request for three mice with matching boxes came from Paul, for his granddaughters. His idea was to have ears and tail poking out of the lids, and for the mice to make their nests in felt inside the boxes. Ash, bubinga and oak were used. Mice in boxes

Football trophy
Clubman of the year, turned in spalted sycamore
Football trophy
Players' player of the year

Football trophies

26 April 2017

Two more trophies for the Fox football team in Derbyshire. The vase shaped version is in sycamore with the fox hiding inside the vase. The second is a disc standing on a triangular plinth, made from ash, with the fox cut from contrasting sapele wood. Football trophies

Genetics chess set
Pieces symbolic of genetic code letters, simulating a chess set.

Strategy of the Genes

26 April 2017

An unusual commission from Penelope, a sculptor who designed this piece for the Royal Edinburgh hospital. It is based on shapes created by revolving the four letters used in coding DNA - a c g and t - to form pieces similar to chessmen. These were then placed on a board made from 16 coloured squares. Strategy of the Genes

Key fobs
Key fobs turned in oak.

Oak key fobs

28 March 2017

Rather than a bunch of keys, here is a bunch of key fobs!

A second batch of 25 key fobs made to the same design as those below. This allows the hotel to have two key fobs for each room, plus a few spare for sale to guests.

Oak key fobs

Key fobs
Wooden key fobs turned in oak and pyrographed with room names.

Castle key fobs

22 February 2017

A batch of 25 key fobs, turned in oak and based on the shape of a Staunton chess castle. They were made for Amberley Castle Hotel in West Sussex, and each is pyrographed with the name of a castle, reflecting the names of their rooms. The design is based around a gold plated keyring set, and is obviously adaptable to other shapes. Oak key fobs

Duke of Edinburgh Award trophy
Duke of Edinburgh Award trophy, turned from ash.

Duke of Edinburgh

20 February 2017

A trophy made for Denefiled School in Reading, to be given to the best student on their Duke of Edinburgh Award programme. CHARACTER is an acronym for something, but I cannot remember what it stands for.

The trophy is made from ash, with a map reading compass in the centre. The base is designed to hold a 6 x 2 inch engraving plaque to record annual winners. D of E Trophy

Football trophy
Top goalscorer of the year trophy for a football club in Derbyshire. (Winners name deliberately blurred out.)

Football trophy

20 February 2017

This trophy was developed in consultation with Richard, a customer who provided an initial idea for his football club's Top Goalscorer trophy. A few emails back and forth and we agreed upon this as the final version. The ball is 5 inches in diameter, made of sycamore with 12 pyrographed pentagons, each with the club's fox logo. The three struts are rosewood, and it stands on a triangular olive ash base. Football trophy

Science trophy
Scientists of the year trophy for primary schools in London

Science trophy

15 February 2017

A request from David for a primary school science trophy resulted in this microscope design. The piece is all turned from oak, and stands about ten inches tall on a seven inch diameter base. Science trophy

Acorn finial
Finial made for a summerhouse, bare wood for painting, 8 inches by 11 inches

Acorn finial

12 February 2017

Another finial for a summerhouse. This one is on an 8 inch base and is about 11 inches tall. It was supplied untreated, so that the customer, Gary, can paint it to match his summerhouse. I am told the summerhouse is hexagonal in shape. Acorn finial

Summerhouse finial
Finial made for a summerhouse in London.

Summerhouse finial

12 February 2017

Linda sent a picture of the finial I made for her, on top of her newly built summerhouse in London. The room is cedar shingles, on top of painted walls. The finial was provided untreated, for painting to match the main summerhouse. This is one of the largest finials I have made to date. Summerhouse finial

Airsports trophy
Airsports trophy to be awarded for the first paraglider circuit of Rutland Water

Airsports trophy

5 February 2017

Hugh requested a trophy based on a design with a disc resting on a plinth, but with some specific details. An osprey pyrographed in the centre, space to attach a horseshoe on the front, a map of Rutland on top of the base, and an inscription on the base. This is to be awarded to the first person to complete a circuit of Rutland water by paraglider, a feat apparently as yet unachieved. Airsports trophy

Turned wooden pen gift
Pen turned in yew, with a pyrographed box with sun, moon and stars emblem

Maddie's pen

20 January 2017

A slimline pen turned in yew. The box is pyrographed with a sun, moon and stars emblem: the pen was made for Maddie, who is fascinated by the night sky and astronomy.

Wooden pen and box

Chisel retirement gift
Chisel turned from brown iveory, resting on an inscribed oak plinth.

"Chiseler" retirement gift

11 January 2017

My first use of a timber from Mozambique known as brown ivory. A hard, closely grained wood which turns well. Used for this retirement gift for champion chiseler Nick. Wooden chisel gift

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Queen wasp
Queen wasp with male wasp in an ambrace

Queen and male wasp

6 October 2017

We spotted this pair of wasps clasped together for at least half an hour, flying and on the ground. The larger one is a queen, the smaller one with the large wings is a male, who exists at this time of year simply to fertilise the queen who will then hibernate over winter and found a new colony next year.

A good crop of pears in Autumn 2017
Pear arch
Pears trained up and over a trellis arch

October pears

October 2017

This year seems to be a bumper one for pears. We have never had so many and in such good condition since we planted our Conference pear about 25 years ago. We have one bush planted and trained either side of a trellis arch. The trick now is to catch them just when they are ripe!

Box blight
Incinerating box blight casualty
Box blight
Box blight attacks established box topiary

Incineration of box badly affected by blight

4 Sept 2017

Severe box blight led to a decision to cut down and burn some 18 year old topiary. A hard choice. More details about this drastic treatment of box blight

Dyffryn Fernant
Cottage garden planting in front of the house at Dyffryn Fernant

Dyffryn Fernant garden

August 2017

Set in a valley near Fishguard in Pembrokeshire. A private garden open for people to ramble through the different named areas and enjoy the casual feel of a garden belonging to someone. Grasses, bog plants, cannas, ferns, are just some of the memorable features. More on Dyffryn Fernant garden

Colby Woodland Garden
The walled garden at Colby, Pembrokeshire.

Colby Woodland Garden

August 2017

A return visit to Colby Woodland garden near Amroth, Pembrokeshire - 20 years on from our last! Open spaces and wildflowers complement the ornamental walled garden near the entrance, with stone and trickling water offsetting the established planting. More on Colby Woodland garden

Laugharne Castle
A 19th century garden laid out in the ruins of medieval Laugharne Castle.

Laugharne Castle garden

August 2017

An unusual setting for a garden, inside the ruins of a medieval castle. This is actually a restoration by Cadw of what the gardens might have looked like when they were established in the early 19th century, as part of Castle House's grounds. More on Laugharne Castle

Tredegar House parterre
A parterre in the Orangery Garden at Tredegar House, made using minerals

Tredegar parterre

August 2017

A parterre in the Orangery Garden is shaped from different coloured sand, shells, lime, coal and other minerals, complementing the mown grass and minimal planting. Elsewhere is a wilder Orchard Garden and a colourful Cedar garden (dominated by an old cedar). More on Tredegar House

Hardwick Hall
A view of Hardwick Hall from the orchard area of the walled garden.

Hardwick Hall

17 August 2017

Hardwick Hall is a fine Elizabethan house in Derbyshire, not far from the M1 (sadly near enough to hear the constant drone of traffic). Since our last visit some years ago the stable block has become the entrance and cafe, leaving the ktichens in the house more authentic. There is fine herbaceous planting iin the courtyard at the front of the house, and a walled garden with a mix of wild areas, orchard and herb garden. More on Hardwick Hall

Hydrangeas in full bloom

Hydrangeas heavily laden

August 2017

Hydrangeas heavily laden with bloom this year, after a year without any flowers in 2016. Pruning at the wrong time was no doubt the cause of the missing blooms last year - I cut them back in winter. This year I didn't prune at all, and the flowers came in abundance, though on leggy stems.

Beningbrough Hall
Doorway from the herbaceous border to the restaurant area at Beningbrough Hall.

Beningbrough Hall

23 June 2017

Every time we visit Beningbrough Hall gardens there is something different that catches the eye, either because of the change of season or because of a new development. This corner has an enticing view through the doorway. More on Beningbrough Hall

Spiders' nest
Hundreds of tiny spiders in a nest

Baby spiders in their nest

7 June 2017

Two fuzzy balls appeared in the garden this week, both on the box plants. Closer inspection revealed hundreds of tiny spiders. When the bush was disturbed slightly they all spread out, only to regather in the ball once things had quietened down.

Red azalea
Brilliant red azaleas flowers cover the entire plant for a couple of weeks.
Purple azalea
A delicate purple variety purchased from Poets Cottage at Lealholm in 2016

Azaleas in pots

20 May 2017

I don't have acid soil, so azaleas need to be grown in pots, where they do quite well. They also have the advantage of being able to be moved into a position for best viewing during flowering, and then moved away to a shady area when they fade. As is often the case I cannot remember the varieties.

Sizergh Castle
Acers in the rock garden at Sizergh Castle

Acers at Sizergh

22 April 2017

Cold but sunny on a visit to Sizergh Castle, where the rock garden excelled with the old acers coming in to colour. Elsewhere the new stumpery was well planted, and now leads up to the long herbaceous bed in a natural progression on going through the gate to the gardens.

Levens Hall topiary
Topiary neatly clipped at Levens Hall

Topiary at Levens Hall

20 April 2017

Topiary at Levens Hall is amazing all year round, but particularly good in Spring, underplanted with primroses and with tulips. The structure of the garden comes to the fore, with hard pruning of limes and other shrubs, all waiting to burst back into growth. Blighted box borders have been replaced with ilex crenata and willow wands.

Muncaster Castle
Rhododendrons in bloom at Muncaster Castle

Rhododendron at Muncaster

18 April 2017

The rhododendrons, azaleas, camelias andmagnolias at Muncaster Castle in the western Lake District are enormous in places, and covered with colour at the end of April. This view is from the castle terrace, looking out towards the hills of Birker Fell.

Holker Hall
Tulips underplanting the ornamental hawthorns at Holker Hall

Tulips and structure Holker Hall

17 April 2017

Holker Hall is a stunning garden all year round, with something of interest always happening. The old tennis court garden was planted up with early tulips, and the bare structure of the shaped ornamental hawthorns is almost as appealing. As the daffodils were fading elsewhere, the rhododendron were coming in to bloom.

Forced rhubarb
Rhubarb forced under a terracotta pot.

Rhubarb forcer

April 2017

Two terracotta rhubarb forcers do their job in the vegetable plot, producing bright red and pink shoots on the new growth of rhubarb. We have to be careful though, if left too long the force their way out of the pot, knocking off the lid. Last year this resulted in a cracked lid as it landed on the path. The stalks taste much sweeter than if grown naturally, hardly needing any sugar when cooking.

Frogs in pond
Frogs gathering in the pond in early March.

Frogs' arrival

12 March 2017

The frogs arrived this week with the onset of a few days of mild weather and sunshine. Lots of frogspawn resulted in between the rushes and irises. Hopefully this will survive the inevitable frosty days yet to come. Newts are also in the pond - but harder to photograph!

Footprints in the snow
Footprints in the snow on a cold January morning. Mainly blackbirds.

Footprints in the snow

18 January 2017

Not much exciting happening in the garden at the moment, though the heathers are coming in to flower and snowdrops are beginning to push through. At least the birds provided some patterns in the brief snowfall last week, before the grey damp misty days returned.

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