Like any kid I would play with metal nails and hammers. When I read of wooden nails in RL Stevenson’s Treasure Island, I was fascinated. If I could I make a nail from wood, then I really would be independent.
Doing the least processing to naturally-occurring materials for the greatest return has fascinated me ever since. So when I saw Mike Abbott at a pole-lathe in 1987, I was hooked by green woodwork. I attended his courses and began to understand the coppice cycle. Hired by Hillingdon Council, I made their coppice-management program viable by engaging contractors who paid to fell and remove timber rather than got paid to just fell and stack it.
Although I qualified as an accountant, my passion is to share people-powered skills and processes that build confidence, resilience and fun.
I organise the courses occurring just before the annual Bodgers Ball. If you feel you have skills to contribute, please fill out our Tutor Registration form.
From 2007 to 2016 I ran a monthly woodworking club and delivered services to NHS which taught me much about which projects work and which don’t.
Our ethos is you are in charge: “If you’re not having fun, tell someone. Speak up”
Gavin Phillips teaches and popularizes green woodworking and bread baking. He loves to share how to whittle, carve and turn fresh-felled wood using amazingly effective but simple and satisfying techniques with pole-lathe, axe, knife and froe. Gavin believes such simple human-powered handcraft is good both for an individual and for society, so he runs a monthly taster session where you pay only a donation, with all tools and materials provided.
From whittling a wooden butter-spreader to turning bowls on the foot-powered lathe or hand-forging simple tools, Gavin can get you started. He offers courses, tuition, demonstrations of green woodworking and some specialist tools.
Since folk generally come out of his sheds happier than when they went in, he calls these activities shed-therapy. It is cheaper than other forms of therapy, plus you have some tangible thing to show for your time.