Apr

9

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

General Update

Well this year we new there would be some changes, we didn’t know quite how many though. We’ve worked Forgewood for quite a few years now, but this year we will also be working another 2 (Abbotstone and Inwood) sites as well during the summer. Neil has been busy writing the programs for the sites, getting the sites ready with Luke and doing all of the admin associated with it.

Due to a number of factors (time being a major one), Leon has been restructuring the Website, under the products page the cutlery and clothing sections have been removed. Neil wasn’t getting the time to make the clothing and Leon wasn’t getting the time to make the knives. On the knives front it also didn’t help that Fallkniven announced that they would no longer be producing blade blanks.

Leon has also included an Astore on the website, it has subsections that cover many aspects of bushcraft and survival and the equipment that is used. We don’t provide the goods in the Astore, they are provided by Amazon.co.uk.

Leon’s also been looking into tomahawks and thinks he may have found an alternative here

This year we also hope to be able to provide Hultafors tools for purchase on site and on the website. We’ll get some reviews up as soon as we can.

Nov

30

By Leon Andrews

1 Comment

Categories: Reviews

Laplander or Opinel??

Over the years I have used a number of different folding saws, some of which were branded, others that were made by mystery companies and others still which were just plain cheap and nasty. The three main saws that I use are made by Opinel or by Bahco.

When bushcraft started to become popular the Bahco Laplander became very much the flavour of the month, with certain TV personalities giving it their backing and even talking about it in their books. The question being did it really deserve this level of recognition.

The Laplander Folding Saw has got a few nice touches about it, the blade is easily changed and is a reasonable cost here in the UK. The Saw itself isn’t going to break the bank when it comes to purchasing it. When it comes to safety the saw locks open or closed which is a reasonable safety consideration.As a friend once pointed out you wouldn’t want to reach into a side pouch just to meet the teeth of your saw.

The laplander (Bahco 396 LAP) is a good cutting tool, the XT blade is designed as a multipurpose blade for cutting green wood, seasoned wood, bone and even plastics. There are seven teeth per inch over a 7.5 inch (190mm) long blade. The handle is approx 9 inches (230mm) long, the combined overall length is 405mm and the saw weighs in at 200 grams so the saw is good and light.
Although the blade is hardpointed it’s quite flexible and will bend, this is not a bad thing as you can always bend it back. The cutting action is both ways, it cuts on both the push and the draw / pull stroke. In action it is a good efficient tool that cuts reasonably quickly, it doesn’t however provide the cleanest of cuts and this is due to nothing more than the tooth pattern of the saw.

The Opinel, well I say the Opinel, but there are two of them, the No’12 and the No’18.

The Opinel No’18 Folding Saw is closer in size to the Laplander saw, it locks, but it only locks open. This can be rectified by tightening the bolt and nut that hold the blade in position. The lock is effective enough even though it’s a very simple system which also makes the system easy to fix if it should be broken.
The handle is made of beech which is both aesthetically pleasing as well as being warm in the hand. The blades are replaceable, but the cost is prohibitive (it cost nearly as much to buy a new saw in the UK should you break a blade). The blade length is approx 180mm (just under 7.5 inches), the handle length is approx 9 inches (I have seen measurements of both 220 and 230mm) and the weight is around 200 grams.
So as far as specs are concerned the two saws are clearly very much the same (I can’t find a stated TPI for this tool). The tooth pattern on the Opinel is totally different to that of the Laplander, infact it resembles the tooth pattern to be found on the Silky Arborist saws, it cuts only on the draw cut, but it cuts very quickly and very cleanly (I have split blocks of Ebony to be used for knife scales with one of these saws).
The channel that the saw cuts is narrower than that of the Laplander, but it cuts as quickly if not slightly quicker than the laplander. The teeth are large, sharp and run side by side in offset pairs.

The Opinel No’12 has a 120mm blade, it has a locking collar that allows the blade to be locked both open and closed in the same way as the Opinel lock knives. The tooth pattern is exactly the same as that used on the No’18. It’s a nice little pocket saw, it won’t cut through the same diameter as the larger No’18, but it’s portable / pocket sized in a way that the other two saws aren’t. The downside to this saw is that there is no facility to change the blade and it’s still quite expensive.

From my point of view as an owner of this saw I like it a lot and it gets carried on a regular basis especially when weight and space are a concern.

As a personal thing and what I carry for use by me, I tend to use an Opinel, if I am mobile then I use the No’12 and if I am working from a static location where I don’t have to carry all my kit on a daily basis then I’ll use the No’18. The Laplander is ideal for use when teaching as it is less likely to get damaged when being used by people who are not used to using handtools, it is also considerably cheaper to buy than the No’18 and the blade replacement is also cheaper.

Nov

29

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: Reviews

The Armageddon Cookbook and Doomsday Kitchen

 

The Armageddon Cookbook and Doomsday Kitchen by Marcus Harrison.

It’s no secret that we at Green-Craft know Marcus. It was however a bit of a surprise when Marcus let me know there was a little something coming in the post.

A good few years ago at the Wilderness Gathering Marcus was chatting to us about a work in progress, it was quite a large undertaking to say the least, he wanted to cover aspects of wild food and cooking in a survival situation / environment, however it was not going to be just plant identification and a few recipes. It was to be a work covering many different aspects of food and cookery.

Well three months ago the book actually popped through the door. It didn’t take very long before I picked up the book for a “quick read”, however the book seemed to have a different idea and a quick read turned into a much longer and more in depth read. Marcus has gone far beyond any work that he has ever undertaken before.
Infact I believe that Marcus has covered more in this book than pretty much any other “in the field” cookery book. This book covers the psychological aspect of survival (which is both a good read and very honest), acquisition of food, plant identification, food prep, cooking methods and recipes.

Normally we find that wild food books cover straight forward weeds that we can eat, but Marcus has added in bits to do with trees and the use of some for food and some for making infusions for teas. We are all familiar with the normal sources of protien, but this book has covered insects, molluscs, fish, crustaceons, birds, mammals and he’s covered the seasonal availablity and environment that some of the food can be acquired. Some food will need to be stored and storage away from animals has also been covered. Preservation of food has also been a consideration.
Marcus has also addressed one other aspect that’s normally forgotten in books like this and that’s Water. He has covered water sources, harvesting, filtering and sterilisation. Improvised utensils have been included, cooking methods, jigs and ovens. You’ll find that Marcus has placed in a number of recipes, some of the names will make you chuckle and they’re meant to.

In Summary, The Armageddon Cookbook and Doomsday Kitchen is well written, it covers a lot of different aspects of wild food that aren’t normally covered. As a personal opinion I think that this book lends itself towards disaster relief, the psychological apsect and the decision making process are very relevant specifically to these situations. For people that have lost most everything, having to improvise the basics, this book contains the knowledge and ideas that you need.

Nov

18

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: Reviews

98.6 Degrees

A good few years ago I was teaching at an event arranged by Bushcraft UK. At the event I met Mors Kochanski, a very nice and knowledgeable man who is probably considered by most to be the father of Modern Bushcraft. At the end of the event whilst chatting with Mors he presented me with with a book. 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive

On the way home I started to read. Now this isn’t a large book, but it packs a lot of knowledge into the pages within the cover. The basic idea behind the book is that when your body core temperature alters by more than a certain level it has a drastic effect on how your body performs or doesn’t perform as the case may be. This was no new concept to me because of the environments that I had worked in, I had both seen and at times felt the effects myself.

This was the first time however that I am aware that a lay person had put together a book that actually listed / dealt with the potential hazards of core temperatutre change for people working in outdoor environments or having been caught in dangerous/survival situations. The book itself is actually all common sense and could potentially have been a very boring text of a clinical / medical nature. However what Cody Lundin has done is to interject some light humour both in the text and as diagrams (which I found very reminiscent of Elsworth Jaeger’s Wildwood Wisdom). It would appear that Cody has a sense of humour and of irony, actually a major requirement of a good survival instructor. The Book contains loads of well thought out hints and tips, suggested contents for a grab bag that doesn’t include the kitchen sink and as such is much more realistic.

98.6 degrees is a well balanced and thoughtout book. It has a small amount on small basic survival kits which don’t reqire a lowloader to shift them, it contains the odd story to back up the research and data that has been quoted by the author, all in all it’s a damned good read for anyone and not just people interested in the great outdoors

Oct

10

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

A long time coming

Well it’s been a long time since I posted last. I have been away for the better part of the last three months. I have been working at Forgewood, Bedgebury as well as working with Footsteps Of Discovery and the Military.

I have recently trialled the Spyderco Tenacious, my initial thoughts on this little folding knife are that it’s a very good tool. The steel is very good and it’s handy for all things including food prep. It makes quite good feather sticks although it can be a little hard on the hands when making them.

It can be used for carving, but it’s not ideal with the depth of blade being a little bit of a disadvantage, it’s just that bit too deep. The grind has been slightly convexed due to being sharpened on a mouse matt (this was due to the secondary bevel that has been placed on the knife by Spyderco). The knife holds quite a good edge as well. All in al I am pretty happy with the Tenacious. It has exceeded my expectations so far, long may it continue.

We had quite a good time at Bedgebury when they hosted Dulwych college prep school for a day doing a few skills, it was also good to catch up with Manse for a day or two. Below are a couple of pictures of firstly myself chatting whilst the young ones practice knotting and the other of Manse as he teaches about shelter.

Feb

28

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

A lot has been Happening!!!

Well things have been rushing along at a rate of knots here. Neil is still running around arranging the coming years activities (A big thanks goes out to John at Forgewood), Neil’s been speaking with Luke and I about the subjects to be covered on our activities.
Luke has been working on packages to do with tracking and sign.
I have been off with Footsteps of Discovery to train the military, since then I’ve also had three visits to the dentist (having root canal treatment and a crown fitted). Thanks to Pavlin and Roxy (my Dentist and the Dental Assisstant) for a nice, relatively painless course of treatment. The date for the operation on the right knee came through and I’ve actually had the operation already, it happened on the tenth of February. Miraculously I was up and about without crutches within 48 hours (the last knee op that I had I was on crutches for six weeks, I had been dreading this one), I would like to make an open statement of thanks to all those that worked on my case at the Mount Stuart Hospital and the DARTS team.
I have also moved my telephone and TV provider from Sky to Virgin Media.
I have three reasons for doing this, firstly was cost. With Sky a lot of extras seemed to kick in after a while and some of these were ridiculous.
Secondly was broadband, in my area the BT telephone lines that Sky work on are deplorable and my internet connection was pants (which is big thing when I am working on websites).
Thirdly (last but not least), MURDOCH. I am afraid that Rupert Murdoch has an insidious hand along with his Newscorp International in Sky. If there was no other reason for moving that one alone justifies moving.
I heard that He is going to bring out the Sun on Sunday, well if someone offered it to me an I was desperate I would take it, everyone needs something to wipe their behind on.

Jan

6

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

The New Year Is In.

Happy New Year.

Well the new year is in and things are slowly getting under way.

Leon is steadily working on the feedback forum so that clients can ask questions or make suggestions. It won’t be too long before the forum is ready to be integrated fully into the rest of the website.

The forum is closed so you can only view it if you have registered with us, otherwise you get a page that shows the rules and regulations for the site. Currently the admin of the site is being run wholly by Leon, but Neil and Luke will be joining the site as administrators when they get a chance and their login details.

Neil is currently working his rear end off in the south east of the country whilst Leon is waiting to hear about the operation he’s getting on one of his knees (currently he only knows it will be in a two or three months time).

Leon is also going to be redoing the gallery, adding new pictures and creating folders to peruse through, this will be made a lot easier now that he’s finally got JAlbum sorted.

Leon is also looking forward to going away with Footsteps of Discovery towards the end of the month to teach the army again. It’ll be good to see Spanner, KP and the boys again.

We wish one and all a Happy New Year and hope that it brings all the good things you deserve,

Green-Craft.

Dec

13

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter, Reviews

Guy Stainthorp Custom Knives

Earlier this year I contacted Guy Stainthorp about making a knife, I originally asked about blade blanks, well you’ll never know if you don’t ask, before being politely informed that he doesn’t make blade blanks.

The commission that I wanted Guy to take on was actually a copy of another knife with a few modifications made to it. This is going to end up sounding like a review of both knives, however this is just my opinion.

To explain I own a Benchmade BM210 “Activator”, the general idea behind the knife is actually not bad, however in my opinion it’s let down by a number of it’s features.

It has G10 scales which are wafer thin, This is not very comfortable for me. My hands are not huge they are about normal size and I can’t quite get a really good grip of the knife.

The full flat grind has a huge secondary bevel that means that unless you want to spend a hell of a long time on a diamond stone grinding away (the original BM210 was made in S30V even though it is now available in D2 as well) you’ll never get this thing truly flat, so you end up with a knife which has a cutting edge which is convexed.

The BM210 itself is quite a pretty little knife so Benchmade have given it a full grain leather sheath, unfortunately it’s a butt ugly pancake of leather. I also do leather work and if I turned out something that looked like that I would be embarrassed to sell it.

So what I wanted was a knife made from a steel that I would like (there’s nothing wrong with S30V, I just prefer other steels to it), so we went with RWL34. The knife had to have the same profile as the activator, however I wanted a Scandinavian Grind placed on the knife as I do a fair amount of wood working. The scales were to be replaced with Black Micarta and were to be a bit thicker than the original ones as I like something that I can grip and last but not least it was to have Kydex sheath that had the facility for me to wear it neck carry or on a belt if required.

Guy Stainthorp Knife

The picture Guy sent to me

I took receipt of the knife just before going off to teach the Army Pre Selection Survival Training with Footsteps Of Discovery so here are my initial impressions of the knife.

The knife when used for small game prep is very good, the slightly larger handle allows me to grip it tightly and maintain control even if it’s covered in slime. When carving for prolonged periods the slightly larger handle means it’s less tiring for my hand in use.

The Scandi Grind bevels allow me to carve very good precise feather sticks, it also allows a great deal of control and fine work when carving trap triggers.

When the knife arrived it was shaving sharp, it hasn’t been sharpened yet because the edge retention is very good, it’s only been used for making feather sticks, carving pot hangers, cutting string, carving trap triggers, a bit of splitting and skinning bunnies for three days. It is still however shaving sharp even though I battened it through a knot in some of the sticks I was splitting.

The Kydex sheath has a very secure lockup, it’s small, elegant, lightweight and easy to clean should I forget and place a blood and gut smeared knife back into it by accident. Before this there was probably only one person I would have gone to for a Kydex sheath and that would have been Chris Claycomb. Guy’s work is up there with Chris’s.

These are my initial observations on the knife, however I must say that I am pretty much delighted with the knife and with Guy’s “Can Do” sort of attitude.

After a few more months I’ll post an update to say how it’s faired over time along with some photos of it in use and what it’s capable of.

Dec

10

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

A quick update

Well I’ve been relatively busy, from working with private clients through to working with the Freshmen Course IT Department at the University of Wales it’s been pretty good. Recently I got back from working with the Army Pre Selection Course run out of Duchy College. Generally they’re a good bunch, but I think they’ll have a bit of a shock if they get into training. When I got back I had to go see the doc as I have problems with my right knee, I have to arrange some x-rays.

Beyond that it’s coming up on Christmas and I am running around like a looney trying to get everything sorted prior to the 24th.

Looking forward to my brother getting down here and also to the new year, hopefully this year was a pre-cursor of things to come and I’ll be a fair bit more busy than even this year.

Sep

26

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

Looking like I am going to be a little busy.

Well things have been changing over the last year or so. I currently have a certain amount of leatherwork, some teaching and the dreaded changes to the site are due.

The leatherwork is not really a problem, I keep my clients informed and let them know if the delays will be longer than stated in the terms and conditions (this is due to other work constraints and some family matters). The teaching is great and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

The website on the other hand is always one of those things that makes me cringe. Neil has asked for certain things to be done, new web pages added, old web pages removed and de-registered from the search engines and a change of fonts. It doesn’t initially sound like a lot, but effectively it will involve changes to every single web page on the website.

I am not complaining as I have agreed that some of the changes need to be done, I just dread having to do them.

There are also certain things that need to be done to the gallery (we’ve been talking about categories being introduced along with reviewing and adding pictures).

Beyond that I keep checking Al Marconi’s website, he was saying that he was looking at releasing a new album, so I am keeping my ear to the net and at the moment I am looking after my Mum’s German Spitz “Banshee” who is a little madame at times, but she is also exceptionally cute 😀

Banshee

Sep

21

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

A Quick Rant

A while ago I got a netbook through Amazon, it’s been a very impressive piece of kit, to the point that when my Brother’s laptop died I actually recommended a netbook to him.
Due to one reason or another Neil didn’t have a lot of disposable income, so I had a good dig around to see what I could find for him.
What I found was a company called Laptops Direct, now if they had proved to be any good I would have placed a link into the blog for them, but since they turned out to be pretty awful then I would rather have skewers placed through my thumbs than drive any business their way.
Some of you may know that I am a qualified computer engineer, so Neil’s opinion is swayed by mine when it comes to matters computing.

Neil had a look through a number of items that they had to offer from an internet cafe, then phoned me to find out my opinion. My opinion was that what they had to offer and what he had to spend the best bet would be an Asus EeePc 1005HA. Neil wrote it down and phoned them up. Asked that they deliver to one of his places of work (we Sub-contract), which is what they did.
They did send Neil e-mail’s to say that they would be delivering, not that it did him any good as he couldn’t pick them up, he had a dead laptop hence he had phoned the order through.
The day arrived and they delivered, Neil opened the package when he got home and proceeded to plug in the unit and get everything sorted.

I should point out that Neil’s main reason for buying a netbook is so that he can use his email, beyond that a little surfing and printing out invoices are the main things that computers are used for with Neil, although he has some music on his system as well as photo’s. Neil has recently started getting into photo editing.

Anyhow, Neil has never really been a great one for labels, so when Laptops Direct sent him an Acer apsire Neil didn’t even notice (They all look the same to Neil). I personally would have gone ballistic and told them where to place it, but that’s just me….

So here we have Neil with the new Netbook, what’s the first thing Neil is gonna do, that’s right check his e-mail. So Neil logs into his e-mail and starts reading through things, great he’s back online, then Neil tries to send an e-mail, this is where things got interesting.

The first thing that Neil discovers is that the “@” button doesn’t work, then he discovers that the “:” button isn’t working either, then he discovers that one of the other keys doesn’t work.

So Neil starts running through the customer support side of life in reporting a fault with his newly purchased item. So they want a description of what’s wrong with the machine, Neil tells them it doesn’t work.

Now any sane and reasoning company would then say “okay we’ll have a look at it”, but not Laptops Direct, they said “Sorry your description is not technical enough”. This goes on for a while Neil reporting through their online facility and them messing him around.

After a while I was up staying with Neil and he described to me the situation and showed me the e-mails.

“Could I fix the Netbook”, the answer is gonna sound rotten, you’ve got a brother who’s a computer engineer and you’ve a broken computer, I told him “No”.

Laptops Direct wanted a technical answer so I told Neil what should be sent (what do they expect, all of their customers to be computer engineers), I also got him to tell them that there were two main reason for me not fixing the netbook.

A). The netbook was not working properly on delivery, this is not Neil’s responsibility, nor is it mine. Neil did not pay for a “Broken Netbook”.
B). They sent the “WRONG FRIGGING NETBOOK IN THE FIRST PLACE”.

To me either one of the above is a reason that the Netbook be replaced immediately, but according to Laptops Direct what should then happen is that the netbook should be collected and assessed over a period of days before they make a decision.

They messed up by sending out the wrong netbook, they messed up by sending out not just the wrong netbook, but one that then doesn’t even work properly. So all in all I would give Laptops Direct a customer service level of 0 out of 10.

Then they mess the customer about as if it’s their fault, now Laptops Direct are really pushing their luck, I would deduct points here so let’s make that a -10 out of 10 for customer service.

So to conclude Neil did get a working netbook from Laptops Direct in the end, it was still the wrong model, but it worked. Neil did send a query about “Well since it’s not actually what I ordered, but I don’t have time to mess around, what extra are you gonna provide me with”, however I don’t think he ever got anything other than an automated response. Laptops Direct are the biggest pile that I have so far come across, their customer service was poor and the sheer fact that they make mistakes and then expect others to make do is purely ridiculous.

Personally I would rather have my nuts placed in a hydraulic press than buy from them and I would warn any about buying anything from them in the future.

Aug

6

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

Bushmoot

As per every year that I could so far, I attended the bushmoot (organised by BushcraftUK) again this year, as the name would suggest it’s an event revolving around bushcraft skills and skill sharing. This year was as it is every year well attended, but not overcrowded, relaxed and social. It has the feel of being quite organised without having the pressure of having to be at specific places at specific times and the people are friendly and laid back.

The general consensus was that this year was the best that we have had so far.

It is as much as anything else for me as a social event and I get to bump into people that I have never met and have a laugh on common ground whilst re-kindling old friendships and swapping stories with old mates.

Unfortunately I didn’t do the whole event this year, but I will be back again next year and if things keep going the way they are then for many years to come.

Jul

6

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

Footsteps of Discovery

Neil and I recently had the chance to work with Footsteps of discovery and I have to say that it was a pleasure. Mark and Spanner run a very good outfit, the location that they work from is superb (not just the location itself, but how they’ve set the place up). It is a truly professional setup and the guys themselves are very professional in the way they conduct themselves and their business.
The other instructors that we met (Jim, Ross, Jamie, Ben and Richie) were also very good and everyone at Footsteps sing from the same song sheet.
Apart from that it was also very nice working with the guys as they are all very nice genuine people and I look forward to working with them in the future.

Mar

5

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

A Change of Direction??

Neil and I have been chatting recently, we discussed what green-craft is and how it started, what the original direction was and we were actually quite surprised with the direction that it’s taken, which is nowhere near what we originally intended.

We never really set out to make kit for people, that has been a bi-product of people asking where we got things, if we could make them one, my being made redundant a few years back and that path is the one which we have seemed to have oozed like pine sap from a tree.

It’s surprising how it’s actually changed the aspect of the site from being a skills based to a craft / production based site.

What of the old direction?

Well, we still practice those skills.

Are there going to be changes??

I would say that it’s more than likely, the website will change, possibly with certain elements of kit being discontinued. Courses and course content may change and be added to. Possibly time to start with the green-path (something Neil wrote many years ago).

I dare say that the website may well get a total re-write as Neil hasn’t had me re-do the whole site for at least a year, but that’s yet to be seen.

The gallery could change in as much as there is a lot more content that could be added along with subsections to it, but all this as yet is to be discussed and arranged at our next face to face.

Apart from that I am starting work on another Jack / Leather tankard using the Jack method of construction, which with the materials in use has caused a number of rather colourfull outbursts.

Well I am going to sit back and wait to see how things develop, in the end that’s pretty much all any of us can do, have a good one,

Leon.

Feb

10

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

Hard Leather Goods and BlackJacks

Today as I was in town posting goods off for delivery I thought to call into the local saddlers. I had been wondering if they ever had need of hard leather goods (most everything in a lot of places are soft leather goods that a sewing machine can handle easily enough). I make pouches and the like which are classed as hard leather, they are stitched by hand and I was just wondering to be honest if they ever had a requirement for them.

It makes good business sense to speak with them (apart from the fact that they are nice helpful people) they told me pretty much what I expected to hear and that was that people are not willing to pay the price for hard leather goods because they don’t realise the amount of work that goes into them. They did mention that every now and again someone would come in and ask so they took my business card. That was rather cool of them.

Anyhow, whilst showing them what sort of thing that I made I pulled out a BlackJack that I have tried to make in a traditional manner from traditional materials (it had been taken down to the local haberdashery as I had purchased some needles to make it with and said that I would show them what it was for).

I was surprised to find someone that actually new what it was, now I have never seen a true jack in the flesh so I was quite impressed that someone new what it was. It turned out that the lady’s that own / run Leonard Coombe in Newton Abbot are the daughters of the last commercial maker of traditional Jacks in the country. I was asked if I would be interested in seeing pictures of their fathers work, this was exceptionally kind of them and I naturally said yes. They actually topped this a little while later when they retrieved an example of their fathers work (a traditional leather pitcher made in the blackjack style) that had been made for the Queens Coronation. This was a traditionally made item that was 57 years old and it was in very good condition, their father was a true artisan.

I have been researching BlackJacks for a good period of time now and this was just the ticket to let me know that I am on the right track, many thanks to the Ladies of Leonard Coombe for your kindness (they probably won’t read this, but if they do it would be more than churlish not to have given them a mention).

Well I am off to do some more leatherwork catch you later,

Leon.

Jan

10

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

How things change

From Websites to weather, well a lot has happened since the last time I posted, It would appear that we have been a little Tardy.

So the courses page is up an running, more detail will be added gradually as I get it. We hope to be adding leatherwork / leathercraft courses to the courses page at a later date, I just need to come up with a format, work out the timings and costings for the course.

I did manage to get the roof back on my workshop before Christmas, which was cool, but I have been a little out of it with a touch of flu or a cold for the last couple of weeks or so I haven’t been able to get on with any of the new projects I have been thinking about.

WE HAVE SNOW!!!!!

I can’t remember the last time we had really decent proper snow down here, but we have it again and I must say that I am quite chuffed, everyone else thinks that I am mad, but I couldn’t give a stuff. For far too long we have been without the white stuff and it’s about time it made a return. They say that it’s causing chaos, well I remember snow when I was a kid and going to school and getting on with life, but then kids had legs and not wheels. I noticed people panic buying the other day, why?

It is plain to see that people have become very reliant on the car, the other day when I was wandering around the only people that I saw were people out in 4X4’s and one or 2 other pedestrians.

All in all things are changing, the website has had a little work done on it, just to get the music player in the gallery running the way I wanted it to run, the courses page has come along, the about us page has been updated, but still has an addition or two to make to it.

Well I have some html to try and sort out so I am off for a while, atb,

Leon.

Nov

22

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

Workshop without a roof

This week has been a bit of a dead loss, I managed to get the pouch that I am doing for Piers finished, but failed to get it in the post.

To make matters worse, the house that I rent has no cavity wall insulation and suffers with damp (we only recently go loft insulation done as the rather pathetic 50mm at best was knackered). This has meant that we have got the people to come and do the cavities this coming week.

The major issue is of course that my workshop is attached to the end of the house and due to the fact that they need to drill holes every meter or so on that wall I have had to dismantle my workshop and remove the roof.

I know it has to be done, but it’s a real pain. The other problem will be fitting the roof again afterwards, as you just never know what we’re gonna get as far as the weather is concerned.

I had some good news about embossing plates so any leather work that is done in the future will probably now have a Green-Craft logo embossed into it post their arrival.

Beyond that, there’s not been a lot going on.

Nov

12

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

Galleries and music nightmares

Well as you may have seen the Gallery now has music courtesy of Al Marconi and many hours of me playing silly buggers with the code.

The gallery is html based so it’s been fun trying to figure out how to embed a music player in a page. The problem being that the gallery is actually about 130 pages. In effect this means that every time a picture changes a new page loads, this would have meant embedding a music player into each page and that in turn would mean that every time a page loaded the music would restart.

The solution actually is / was quite straight forward when you know how, unfortunately I didn’t know how as I am totally self taught so I ended up digging around to find a viable solution to the problem.

I must have mulled it over in my mind for quite a while and the answer escaped my lips on many an occassion, it has something to do with frames. In the end I found a music player that worked with the gallery so I installed it placing the gallery in the top frame and the music player in the bottom. It works, but I would like to have a better music player placed there (something that scrolls the name of the artist and the name of the track would be nice), I’ll get to that at some stage.

I have recently found that the gallery links on the main site were pointed to the old gallery page that has since been deleted so from today is pretty much the first day that anyone other than someone that has been sent a direct link will actually find the gallery from the main site.

Once again many thanks to Al for allowing me to use some of his music and I am now going to get on with leatherwork again (now that things have dried fully) probably whilst listening to Muse (I appear to be addicted to the last three tracks of The Resistance) or Al Marconi’s album Terra Nova.

Toodle Pip!

Nov

5

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

I spoke with Al today

Well about the highlight of my day was an e-mail that Al Marconi sent me, he suggested another piece of music for the gallery, a piece called Nomad, so I have swapped out vertigo with Nomad to see what people think.

Beyond that today has been spent looking into if there is anyway of integrating an already existing installation of a web shop using Actinic or not. There is actually looking like two possible avenues to pursue. One involves rebuilding a website and integrating a totally custom built front end into the code produced by actinic and allowing Actinic to publish it to the web claiming that all the hard work is it’s own.

The other is to place Actinic in a sub-directory of the website root and repoint all of Actinics links to a higher directory and replace the index page and publish all of the custom build to the higher directory.

Although the top one sounds more work it is without too much of a doubt more likely to succeed and would probably be quicker to do in the long run. It also ultimately would give the ease of use of actinic to manage the shop / actalog and at the same time gives a nicer front end that ultimately would be pretty easy to customise.

Beyond that today we had a new Lidl’s open in the Newton Abbot area (at last). I broke the golden rule and went in on the very first day it was open, the place was stuffed with people trying to get bargains, who just couldn’t give a stuff about the rest of humanity. In their hustle and bustle they reminded me of stampeding wildebeest fighting and barging one another to ford their way across a river.

It also made a very relevant point, they always say that the youth of today have no manners, well most of the people that were in there today were senior citizens. As they continuosly rammed others with trolleys rather than asking politely “Could I get through please?”, they should look in the mirror and think again before levelling that accusing finger at the “Youth of today”.

Age does not give people the priveledge to be damned right rude.

Just after fighting my way out of Lidl’s I arrived home to get on with work and the phone rang, I answered and eventually the auto dialling system passed me onto the call center and I got someone on the other end asking for someone else that wasn’t here. They were told that and then they decided that they would try and sell me insurance instead, they were asked if they spoke English and when they replied “YES”, They were curtly told that I wasn’t interested and when they persisted I hung up on them.

Yes that was possibly rude of me, but how much do I need to say and do to make them take a hint, “I am trying to work FUCK OFF” would possibly of been the only other option.

I am still waiting for the leatherwork to dry so I can get on with customising the bag that Piers sent me and tomorrow I will be in Teignmouth helping shift kit from one place to the next and fixing a computer Keyboard for my mum.

Well that’s about it without me going into a full blown rant about call centres based abroad that bug the hell out of me, or the severe lack of manners exhibited by those who demand it from everyone else and you would expext to be setting an example.

Nov

2

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

Embedded Music

Well now that I have got the gallery running I have been thinking about embedding some music so that people can listen to music if they so desire. I know the type of music that I want to embed I have even spoken to the artist / creator of the pieces of music for his permission to embed music into the website, but I have a problem, I just don’t know what piece to embed.

All the pieces of music are by Al Marconi who I met a couple of years ago in Newton Abbot and they are from either of a couple of albums (Terra Nova or Monument) by Al that I own. So here goes we have a number of candidates and I would like to know peoples opinion.

Nomad

Black Rain

Mauna Loa

Porcelain Rose

So the question is what do we thinks best suited to the gallery??

Nov

1

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: Out and About

A Quick Wander.

Well as I said today I would try and get out for a little bit of a wild food walk, which I did, but first I watched the Grand Prix.

What an amazing track, not a bad race either and well done to Vettel. I do have a bit of a problem with that though, is it just me or isn’t Vettel a bit Schumaker-esque. He appears to have the same smug look that Schumaker had and I stopped watching F1 because I couldn’t stand the site of the man, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Anyway, the walk. I didn’t really expect to find much as my list of plants are a little limited, but as I walked about I found some common sorrel, rosehips, greater and lesser plantain, some wood avens, rough hawkbit, dandelion’s, dock leaf, white dead nettle and the ubiquitous Stinging nettle.

My little wander took me into an old woodland that’s adjoining some national trust land, there’s a nice little river that run’s through it. With the amount of rain that we’ve had of late the river has noticeably flooded on a couple of occasions by the look of it.

It’s a lovely woodland being predominantly a mix of Beech and Hazel with a smattering of Chestnut, Oak and Sycamore, in spring the garlic comes out and the bluebells appear, it’s an idyllic place.

So I took a wander through the woods, as I walked the light started to dim a little, I got quite engrossed in looking for any and every edible plant that I could see, suddenly there was a thundering noise and out of nowhere can a big black shape, it took me totally by surprise and gave me a bit of a shock. It turned out to be a large 6 month old great dane pup that appeared to be totally insane.

I continued my wander through the woods keeping an eye out for wild food and a whether ear for mad dogs & Englishmen.

At the end of the track I though about how little there actually appeared to be in the way of wild foods in the wood at the moment and it dawned on me about the lack of Fungi that I had seen as well. This struck a note as Neil and I had been on Dartmoor not that long ago and the area we were in had very little in comparison to normal.

It was now however too late to investigate further so I turned around and headed back with the final calls of a hunting buzzard being replaced with the early shrieks of Tawnee Owls on the prowl and as I walked out of the woodland I made myself a promise to get back in the next few days with  enough daylight to have a really good look around.

Oct

31

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

All’s well that ends well.

Well after a number of days battling with the Green-Craft Gallery it’s working.

It only took three days, a near nervous break down, re-installation of the software, re-naming of the photos (in case there was something that was causing a problem within the software), some very dubious hacks of the html using Kate (a linux text editor) and the odd temper tantrum or two, but I am now sat here with a silly grin on my face and a job well done sort of satisfaction.

Probably won’t be able to spend time on archery tomorrow, but will try and get out for a wild food walk, or even just a walk in my local area. Unwind time.

At some stage I have a couple of links to place on the website and the creation of a new button for this blog of all things, but tomorrow will be as close to a day off that I really get. Then it will be back to craft work, finishing the pouch for Piers for one so I can get it in the post to him.

Well I am off for a chilli and a beer, toodle pip,

Leon.

Oct

29

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

The gallery, otherwise known as hell

Well today I have been looking at the gallery again, I had identified that there was something wrong a couple of days ago.

Well today I discovered the true horror of what was wrong, the gallery software has mis-labelled a few pages and images which are what’s causing the periodic drop out of pictures and the “error 404 page does not exist” side of life.

The problem is that to rectify it I will have to go through 133 pages of html and re-write the lot, to add insult to injury I have also found that the software has also made the .html files read only so they cannot just be edited as the only person that can save changes to them is the originator (the software that messed it up in the first place)

Yes that quite probably was a wimpering that you heard coming from the corner and yes that wretched thing curled up in that corner quite possibly would be me.

Okay so the software has won the battle for the minute, but the war is far from over. I will be back tomorrow refreshed and renewed with determination that the gallery will work one way or another even if I have to beat it with a big stick like a text editor.

And with that I have had a cunning plan, I would say “Back to Work”, but it’s half 6 and it’s time for me to get my food on the go. So time to go.

Bye.

Oct

28

By Leon Andrews

No Comments

Categories: General Website Chatter

Hello world!

Well this is a first, I have never tried blogging so this is a bit of an unusual one for me.

Green-Craft being a site to do with the great outdoors you would think that I would spend every living moment out of doors, unfortunately that’s just not the case, there are far too many technical foibles to deal with.

Over the last few weeks we have been going through some changes here at Green-Craft, I have started the rebuild of the Green-Craft website, started the new build of another website and spent a bit of time trying to figure out how to get the gallery working and looking into getting blog software placed onto the server. As you can see I finally got it done (thanks to .ComWebhosting for acting so quickly on that).

So I have been a little busy with the internet side of life here, beyond that I have just had to retire the second set of moccasins that I ever made (they are four years old and have lasted well past my expectations) and I am just about to start fitting straps to a respirator case for a friend.

I’ll be trying to get a new set of moccasins made soon, once they’ve been made I’ll get a few pictures up of them. Hopefully this coming weekend I’ll be able to get out for a little wildfood walk and possibly to practice a bit of archery.