A new sight at the Bluebell Walk this weekend is that of the bodger. A traditional craft of the 19th century, carried out within the wood itself, bodging is the process of turning legs, spindles and stretchers for chairs.
The bodger used a springpole lathe to turn the wood, so named because it utilised the branch or pole of a sapling as a spring attached to a rope worked by a foot treadle. In a makeshift shelter or hovel he would split and then shape the wood on a shavehorse before turning on the lathe.
‘Henry the Bodger’ at the Bluebell Walk has an example of a complete small windsor chair on show but explains that the bodger was just one of the many skilled craftspeople involved in it’s creation. The parts turned in the woods were taken to a chair-making centre where the sawyer, benchman and back-man would create the seat and other parts. Finally, the framer would put it all together to create the chair.
You can see Henry working the pole lathe on the approach to the bluebells in Beaton’s Wood
This message was added on Saturday 1st May 2010
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