Branding a Z
Under close supervision, a child brands a z onto a small piece of wood.
Making words out of their initials!
A signpost displaying words children have used to describe to woodland.
A brand heating up in the forge. Children operate the bellows to heat the fire.
Red hot K!
A "K" is placed, just about to produce some smoke I think!
The area where the branding takes place is cordoned off, and the children are given safety aprons and gloves.
A completed signpost in the ground. The signs were placed next to the area the children were describing with their words.
This is one of my favorites!
another good coupling of words...
Sign in progress
Sometimes the letters have to be rolled around to go on.
Branding is a brilliant way of producing signs and lettering for use in playgrounds and outdoor spaces. It creates attractive and durable signs made by the children.
I use a forge which if fueled with lumpwood charcoal. The forge needs air, so the children operate a bellows to keep it hot. The brands are an alphabet of metal letters on long rods which are heated in the forge. I then assist the children to place them on the timber, and each letter is burned into the wood.
I have been working as a carpenter for the last 15 years on a wide range of projects from staircases to traditional green oak framing. During this time I have also provided environmental educational workshops, specialising innovative equipment for young children equipment to allow young children to produce finished and functional objects.
I Studied Rural Resource Management (2:1 hons) at the Scottish Agricultural College and went on to run an organic farm for 3 years. This brings in a unique set of knowledge and experience to what I offer.
As a maker I set up Angus and Mack Ltd. with Malcolm Mack and specialised in bespoke staircase manufacture for five years. I have now sold this business and moved with my family to Oxford.
I have worked extensively in Scotland as and environmental educator for the National Trust for Scotland, Woods For All (Reforesting Scotland), Fife Council, Midlothian Council, Perth and Kinross Council, The Four Winds Inspiration Centre, The woodland Trust, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, The Royal Society for the
Protection of Birds.
This was a week long project to put a newly planted Woodland Trust for Scotland woodland on the map.
The culmination of every workshop! A delighted class of children show off their wares.
Setting the saw
A child setts the saw to cut 55cm bits of wood.
"Let the saw do the work" even the tiniest of participants can work the saw!
Getting ready to bolt on the side of the bench.
Some thrones for a primary school garden in Edinburgh.
Making the back.
Children nailing the back rest of the bench together.
Watch my fingers!
The children put in the bolts using a ratchet wrench.
Cutting the parts for the bench.
Checking that the wood is long enough to make a part of the bench.
This is a great activity for children 7yrs and above (key stage 2). I lead the participants through reading plans, measuring to identify which bit of wood is appropriate, setting the saw based on a cutting list. Then they learn the key skills of sawing, hammering and nailing and bolting timber together. At the end of two 1 hour sessions, a bench in produced which is left in on site for the children to enjoy.
I try to adapt classes to include themes being explored in school, but it is best suited to look at forestry, sustainable harvest, and industrial uses of timber.
This activity can be set up outside in a playground, in the woods, or wherever your site is.
This is an outdoor teaching space for the Sylva Foundation. It is a softwood gridshell on a sweet chestnut pole base.
This is one of a series of benches made from cherry trees planted by girl guides in 1935.
This is a detail of a hand carved sign for the Woodland Trust for Scotland.
This bench is made using pegged tennons in green oak.
one of ten carvings produced directly from children's drawings of nature.
This pavillion was built with James Chitty for Scone pallace.
I have also be known to make the odd staircase! This is the last one I made and designed at Angus and Mack Ltd.
I carry out commissions for a wide range of clients, commercial, voluntary and domestic, making a wide range of things. I am happy to consider outdoor work for public spaces, collaboration with schools etc., along with domestic work such as furniture and staircases.
These activities are carried out outdoors. I provide a shelter (24ft x 12ft) which makes the activities all weather.
I think it works best with two or three people. This can be myself plus one or two from the yourselves. This helps with supervision, I also have a policy of no lone working with children.
The carpentry activity works best with two groups of 15 children, each with around an hour of time with me. This allows two benches to be made within the school day. I work with children from 7 upwards, so Key Stage 2.
I can provide details of insurance cover up to £5M public liability along with risk assessments. I can also provide references on request.