Most of my ash splint baskets are made to order, particularly the large pack baskets but I currently have the following baskets for sale. P&P is just £4.50.
My baskets are individually handmade from pounded english ash making each one unique. If you are interested in commissioning a basket, please email me stevetomlin8[at]gmail.com.
Ash splint basket, hazel rim with bark on, steambent ash wood handle.
6″ to rim, round opening 7″x7″
Ash splint basket, hazel rim with bark on, steambent ash wood handle.
6″ to rim, oval opening 6.5″x4.5″
Ash splint basket, steambent ash wood handle.
6.5″ to rim, round opening 8″x8″
Ash splint shopping basket.
10.5″ to rim, opening 16.5″x9.5″
Ash splint wall basket, steambent ash hanger.
7″ to rim, opening 7″x4.5″
Ash splint table basket, steambent ash ear handles.
4″ to rim, opening 12″x12″
Happy new year to you all! It’s the time of year when the holidays are over and we start to think about the year ahead. It’s always nice to have some plans in the diary and activities to look forward to.
In 2017, why not come and spend a day with me and other lovely people on one of my short craft courses? It’s a great break from the busyness of normal life and you’ll come away refreshed and with new skills to enjoy long after the day.
Learn to Scythe
The Austrian scythe is a lightweight, efficient tool for managing all kinds vegetation from gardens and orchards to meadows and riverbanks. Sustainable, fun and quiet, my courses cover everything you need to know to safely set up, sharpen, mow and maintain your scythe.
Carving wooden spoons from green wood has become a massive hobby over the last 5 years or so with people from all walks of life discovering its pleasures. I’ve been carving and teaching for over 15 years including every year at Spoonfest and love to pass on these skills.
A one day course will give you an introduction to the skills of carving with an axe and knives while the two day courses allow us time to develop those skills and look at the craft in more depth.
Fan bird carving
A beautiful, delicate bird carved and folded from a single piece of wood. I’m one of the few professional makers of these in the UK; on this one day course I’ll teach you my special techniques to make them for yourself.
Ash splint basket making
Thanks for all the love and interest in my ash splint baskets, particularly in response to the two backpack baskets I made just before Christmas. I am currently working out the details and planning to start teaching this year. Please keep following the blog or sign up to my newsletter to receive updates.
I’m incredibly pleased with this pair of ash splint pack baskets which I’ve just finished making. I love the full, bellied shape and the size of them is ideal carrying all your essentials without being too big or cumbersome. The ash comes from Cartmel in Cumbria and is pounded into splints before being graded, cut to thickness and scraped smooth. A steamed ash handle on top of the basket allows you to easily pick up the basket with one hand.
Each basket is finished with top quality leather straps from Clayton’s tannery in Chesterfield and solid brass buckles from the Abbey Foundry in Walsall, UK.
The pack basket measures 18″ tall to the rim and is 14″ wide at the belly. They are made to order, please contact me at stevetomlin8[at]gmail.com for more information or to place an order.
I’m really excited to be displaying my work this week in a pop-up shop in Kendal town centre. I’m there from Monday 5th to Saturday 10th December, 11-6pm each day. The shop is at 28c Finkle St, opposite Beales.
I’ve been working on my stock and have new wooden spoons, carved salad bowls, as well as a collection of ash splint baskets.
There’ll of course be wooden spoons galore and my fan birds which make beautiful, unique Christmas gifts and decorations. As well as a chance to pick up some presents, you’ll also be able to see me working as I’ll be demonstrating my crafts in the shop throughout the week. Look forward to seeing you there.
I definitely saw both sides of the weather while teaching a couple of scything courses in Caithness in Scotland for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust last week. We started out with high winds and heavy rain but a group of hardy volunteers and crofters turned up and scythed in high spirits and full waterproofs. Then, just a few days later the second group were enjoying beautiful late summer sunshine as we used Austrian scythes to mow a Scottish wildflower meadow which is home to the great yellow bumblebee.
One of the most important aspects of these courses is the opportunity for students to try peening a scythe using the jig, a good indoor job.
On the final day we got word that a nearby vintage tractor event was taking place with some oats being cut. We picked up our scythes, made our way over and gave an impromptu demonstration to a large crowd of interested farmers. Of course we were asked to cut the part of the field where the ground was wet so the reaper binder couldn’t get to and the oats hadn’t been weeded. A local farmer even commented that what we’d cut ‘would have been nearly impossible for the machine to manage’. Not bad for a group that only learned to scythe the day before.
Last week I was in at Sefton near Liverpool, teaching another urban Learn to Scythe course for Sustrans. This project is developing an area of cycle path at the start of the Trans Pennine Trail to convert an area into a community wildflower garden.
The site was a daunting mix of brambles, thistles and himalayan balsam growing along a busy cycle path. Nonetheless, I was confident that the scythe could tame it and set about showing the two Johns how to use the scythe is different ways for the difficult vegetation.
The safe nature of the scythe meant we didn’t have to close the cycle path while we worked and there was plenty of interest from passing cyclists and locals. The results of their efforts were amazing to see.
John Callaghan, the project leader later wrote to me:
I have to admit I’ve had some concerns about the project and the amount of work that is needed at the site… I could never have imagined that buying two scythes and receiving the training you have provided would allow me to realise that the project is fully achievable and well within reach even with minimal interaction of other volunteers. The scythe is an awesome tool.
Visit www.merseysidenorth.uk to find out more about the project and get involved. If you have your own project where you think scything could help, get in contact with me to arrange a training course: email@example.com
I’m really excited to be teaching some Learn to Scythe courses in city settings this summer. This weekend I have been working with a group of Sustrans volunteers teaching them how to scythe to manage the vegetation along the Fallowfield Loop, a cycle path through South Manchester.
There are patches of grass as well as rougher areas of brambles, rosebay willowherb and bindweed so, with two days available, we started out in the nicer areas to learn the principles of cutting grass with the scythe before tackling the tough weeds using some different techniques. There was also time for sharpening, peening and practice of how to pass on their new knowledge to other volunteers.
What a fun group of folk too; I suggested they should look ‘urban’ for the team photo to emphasise the city location and they didn’t let me down.
If you’re interested in getting involved contact the Volunteer Co-ordinator, Abigail Pound on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 923 6050.
It is such a pleasure to spend the summer travelling around the UK to wonderful meadows and meeting lovely people who want to learn how to scythe. I get lots of great feedback in the form of comments on the day and photos of people mowing their own land after the course. I thought I would just share this note from a participant on a recent course I taught for Cumbria Wildlife Trust which also shows you’re never to old to learn and that the scythe is suitable for all ages.
“What an enjoyable day this was. The tutor was the best I have had at any other course. He had the knack of giving knowledge in a very pleasant manner and I finished the day feeling I knew all I needed to, in order to complete my wish to scythe – once I had practised of course all the techniques so expertly shown. Because of my age (80 years) my family thought I would suffer with aches and pains but this was not the case at all. I loved every minute.”
In response to requests from Learn to Scythe students, I am running a Peening Workshop on Sunday 16th October where you can learn how to peen a scythe and sharpen it for the best possible cut.
Peening your scythe is an essential part of keeping it cutting easily and cleanly. Hammering on the blade can seem pretty counter-intuitive though and a scary prospect the first few times you do it.
During the day we’ll mainly cover the use of the scythe peening jig but there will also be an option for students wanting to learn freehand peening on a scythe anvil.
We’ll be based at Bell Sykes Farm, Slaidburn – the Coronation Meadow for Lancashire and, as well as learning to peen, you’ll be able to meet and network with other scythers from the North-West.
The cost of the workshop is just £50 including refreshments, places are limited to 10 participants. For further details and to book email email@example.com
Posted in scythe courses, Scytherspace
Tagged 2016, anvil, Austrian, course, freehand, jig, peen, peening, scythe, workshop
It was National Meadows Day a couple of weeks ago and in celebration of our wildflower meadows, BBC Countryfile had a special Meadows episode last night featuring Simon Fairlie and Andi Rickard talking to Matt Baker about the scythe.
Catch up with it on iPlayer starting at 30min:
My Learn to Scythe courses focus on relaxed, comfortable scything at your own pace so you can enjoy cutting the grass while you listen to the birds and the swish of your blade or chat with another mower. You’ll still cover a lot of ground surprisingly quickly without having to race! More details at https://stevetomlincrafts.wordpress.com/learn-to-scythe/