I’ve just finished making and fitting a new handle to this elderly trowel, for a friend. The original handle had rotted, and was, in any case, too thin to be held comfortably, as she suffers from arthritis. I had a long piece of yew which had been drying for the last three years or so, so I cut off a suitable length and shaped it for left-handed use. I’ve not done much work in yew before, but rather like it: I think I have sufficient straight length for a walking stick.
I didn’t go to the sort of school which taught useful things like woodwork, and consequently, I had to teach myself, as and when the need arose. My first major project remains the largest I have ever tackled: a full-sized cabin bed for my son. The removals men cursed me, as it was huge and heavy, even broken down into sub-assemblies. Coming from an engineering background, I designed the thing with a view to it lasting, and it did: my son used it from the age of eight to seventeen, then we moved it back up to Bristol (we trailered it behind the Land-Rover), and my nephew took it over for a further eight years.
Other woodwork projects since have included a boot rack that needed two people to shift it, various walking sticks, two catteries, custom-built kitchen units, work benches, several tool handles, a couple of large bookcases, and a double-sized ashes box. As my old Latin master used to say, as his excuse for setting another long homework, ‘It keeps you off the streets, boys!’
Tagged: , trowel , handle , yew , woodwork , hand tools , gardening