Traditional Crafts and Skills

Pole Lathe Turning and Spoon Carving

Green wood is a term used to describe pieces of timber cut from a recently felled tree and therefore has a high moisture content, it is soft and much easier to cut and carve.

The techniques of green woodworking crossed many disciplines in times past including house building, boat building, making of furniture, household utensils and so on, the list is endless.


Back in time, legs and spindles for chairs were turned on a Lathe which was foot operated, using a springy pole or branch and a treadle that rotates the piece being worked on. A cord was attached to the treadle wound around the piece (called a billet) then tied to the end of the pole.

Pressing down on the treadle turns the workpiece towards the operator on release the springy pole pulls it back.Cutting is carried out on the down stroke.

Before turning takes place a log has to be split, then roughly formed into a cylinder shape using an axe and then refined further with a specialised drawknfe. The lathe is not used to create a cylinder but to create a form from it.

The principle of this form of lathe is recorded as far back as Egyption and Viking times.

Modern Pole lathes use an elastic bungee cord instead of a pole.


For centuries wood has been used for making a wide range of household and work items which were made by hand.

Spoons which were a very essential item came in a variety of all shapes and sizes for different uses.

A log (greenwood) is split to size and is then shaped by an axe on a block and then by a knife using a variety of controlled cuts. The end result ending up with an item that is practical and looks good.

These traditional methods are practised at HWCP by a group of enthusiast volunteers, who are able and willing to demonstrate and teach new members the basics of these traditional crafts who have attended CCVR funded courses.

The group meets one Sunday a month at the Visitor Center at HWCP where all equipment is provided.


Pyrography is the art of decorating wood or other materials with burn marks resulting from the application of a heated object such as a poker, it is also known as poker work or wood burning.
The term means 'writing with fire' and can be practised using specialised modern pyrography tools

The process has been practised by a number of cultures including Egyption and some African tribes since the dawn of recorded history.

During the Victorian era the basic pyrography machine was invented sparking a widespread interest in the craft, it was at this time that the term Pyography was coined. Previously the name 'Pokerwork' had been most widely used. Varying the type of tip used, the temperature and the way the tip is applied to the material all create different effects. Light coloured hard woods such as Sycamore, Basswood, Beech and Birch are most commonly used due to their fine grain, however other woods can be used and leather also.

Tuition is available to Volunteers at no cost by members who have attended courses funded by CCVR. Equipment and materials are supplied.