Skills Day at Manor Farm

Yesterday I went to Forest School Skills Day, at Manor Farm, organised by Nottingham and Leicester Forest Education Network. The workshops I took part in were Spoon Making, Working with Hazel and Wonder of Trees.

Spoon Making

In the spoon making workshop we started carving our own spoons and got to try out a variety of hook knives and other tools.

Erik Frost wood splitting knife - used to split the round branches.
Erik Frost wood splitting knife – used to split the round branches.
Flexcut Hook Knife. One of the hook knifes used to carve out the bowl of the spoon.
Flexcut Hook Knife. One of the hook knifes used to carve out the bowl of the spoon.
A selection of branches from different trees. I chose to make my spoon from Alder.
A selection of branches from different trees. I chose to make my spoon from Alder.
Once split the profile of the spoon was drawn onto the wood as a guide.
Once split the profile of the spoon was drawn onto the wood as a guide.
Partially carved spoon. Ill complete the rest back at home.
Partially carved spoon. Ill complete the rest back at home.

Working with Hazel

We learnt how to select suitable hazel rods and use a riving post to split them. We were show how to weave and twist the split rods to build a hurdle in a traditional pattern. Whilst the concept was easy to grasp it was obvious it would take many hundreds of hours of practice to become competent, let alone proficient, at building hurdles in this way.

Using a knife to start a split in a hazel rod.
Using a knife to start a split in a hazel rod.
Splitting a hazel rod on a riving post.
Splitting a hazel rod on a riving post.
Learning how to weave and twist hazel rods into a hurdle.
Learning how to weave and twist hazel rods into a hurdle.

The Wonder of Trees

During this workshop we learned about the different types of lichen that grow on trees and how they can be used as an indicator of air quality in the local area. We took part in an OPAL (Open Air Laboratories) survey recording the lichen on trees and tar spots on Sycamore leaves on the site.

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