Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Whether the weather.

As I type the rain pours down, and has battered on the workshop roof all day long. If it doesn't stop soon we will dissolve! I'm seriously contemplating doing a Noah, and building a boat ready for the flood!

Even the dogs have been driven into hibernation mode by the weather, and have slept the clock round.

                           Hazel, in her lair beneath the office desk,(known as the 'Bat Cave'). Rubber bone always close to hand.

                          Rowan snoozing on the rug, wondering whether to yawn, or just simply go back to sleep.

Hoping to try out the new saddle tomorrow evening, as the forecast promises better weather to come.

Trying to dry out,


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

First frost.

The first frost of Autumn arrived with us yesterday morning, as I found the windows of the Jimny frozen white. Well, it had to come as it always does, but summer seemed to pass so quickly!

On the work front; the Aberdeen Angus bull carving is now finished, photographed, and hanging in the showroom for sale. It will be featured in an upcoming edition of The Northern Scot newspaper, something which I hope the readership will find interesting.

                                               Angus Bull carved in ripple Sycamore,(a few steaks on that one!)

The Oak rocking chair which I am at present working on is progressing well, the rails, legs, etc, being sanded and oiled, prior to gluing, cramping, and wax finishing.
The seat frame went away yesterday to be upholstered in a clan tartan, and the carving of a Red deer stag will commence tomorrow. That, along with carved deer hoof prints, should set the whole thing off rather nicely!

          Oak rocker in its basic cut out form. Shaping, carving and finishing, all to come.

Last Sunday saw myself and Emma heading down to Edinburgh, to visit Em's eldest, who is at Edinburgh Uni. The contrast between the capital and Speyside could not be more extreme, as we swapped golden, autumnal birches, for the buildings and bustle of the big city.
I am not a lover of cities, but it must be said that Edinburgh possesses some amazing architecture.

Picked up a super wide fitting saddle for Monty at the weekend. Synthetic, almost new, and indistinguishable from real leather, at six feet distance.
Monts will do a good deal of growing and changing shape over the next couple of years, so until then, there seems little point in buying him a good quality leather saddle. He would only out grow it!

A good many fields of barley have been cut over the last few days, and I am so looking forward to taking the boy for a canter over the stubbles! Then we'll see how the new saddle,(and matching brown numnah) really fit!



Sunday, 19 September 2010

When the north wind blows.

There has been quite a change in the weather and the seasons since last I posted, as by midweek the wind had swung around from the north, dropping the temperature here considerably.

Whilst unloading a trailer full of firewood on Wednesday morning, I could see my breath in clouds. This, added to the fact that the grey geese have returned from their summer sojourn in the arctic, makes me realise that whatever summer we may have had, is now past. I'm just relieved that the swallows all managed to fledge and get away to Africa in good time.

This week has been another one of carving, and I have also begun work on an Oak rocking chair, which will feature a carved red deer stag in its centre back panel.

The carved sycamore plaques below show a stag and an Aberdeen Angus bull. The later is to be featured in a monthly farming magazine, along with an article about my work. Should be fun!
I'm also to be featured in the October issue of the Knock News, so those in the locality, keep your eyes peeled for a copy.

If anyone would like to participate in one of our wood carving courses, please e-mail me at:, then we can tailor a course to your individual requirements.

Monty continues to go well, and in between showers yesterday, we headed out for a short hack followed by fifteen minutes in the sand school.

With each session his confidence grows. Yesterday's new experience was encountering an upturned wheelbarrow on a farm drive.
I don't know exactly how many of Monty's ancient ancestors were attacked by upturned wheelbarrows, but clearly it was not to be trusted!,( one can't be too careful).

On the way home we passed the same object again, but this time he didn't bat an eyelid. Clearly wheelbarrows have been ticked off the 'It's going to get me' list.

A wheelbarrow proofed Monty walking over poles.

Apples are still to be found in abundance, so there has been a lot of peeling and cooking going on. The best are going into apple pies, with the bruised windfalls being enjoyed by the horses. This way there are no losers!



Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Another busy day.

Another busy day here at Burnside.

Below are a series of photos logging the progress of a carved sycamore plaque. The disk was cut out this morning, then the head study plus paw print of a Labrador retriever, were sketched out, prior to carving.

Sycamore is just about my favourite wood to carve, as it works so beautifully. Hope you like the results?

Plaques cut out and sanded.

Work finished for the day, I headed over to the forecourt of a local petrol station to pick apples. Whilst filling up there the other day, I had noticed the tree weighed down with fruit, and asked the owner if I might have some. She said, "Help yourself. If you don't pick them they'll just be wasted". This little lot ought to keep us in apple pies right through the winter!



Monday, 6 September 2010

Antler restoration.

Here's a photo of my latest carving project.

Late Friday afternoon I was contacted by a gentleman who lives locally, asking if I might carve a pair of antlers in hardwood, to replace those that have been damaged and lost, from the head of a red deer stag.
The stag is mounted on top of a one hundred and fifty year old cuckoo clock, made in the Black Forest in S.W. Germany.

The stag's head minus antlers, you see to the right of the photo. The one remaining original broken antler you see in the foreground. Behind are the new hand carved replacement antlers. The block of hardwood to the rear of the photo is how the new antlers began life this morning.



Sunday morning ride.

Despite a rather chill east wind blowing, myself and my fiance' Emma decided to head out for a ride on sunday morning.

Em's a very experienced rider - and I'm not, but I do enjoy it.
Here's a photo taken by Emma, of me on my cob Monty. He's just a youngster at around 3 1/2 years old, so we are taking everything really slowly. His confidence grows with every ride or session in the sand school, which is lovely to see!



Friday, 3 September 2010

.......and again.

............ in Elm.
Good morning,

                    It's another perfect late autumn day here on Speyside, with mist hanging over the river, and a blue, blue, sky above!

I thought you might like to see a few photos of hand made drinks boxes which I am at the moment marketing. Both made in solid Scottish hardwood, and lined in fine velour. Bound to add a touch of class to any event, I'm sure you will agree.

Hand made, hand carved, in Scottish oak.


Thursday, 2 September 2010

Welcome to my world.

As I type, a cobalt blue sky hangs lazily over Burnside of Ballintomb, on what is a perfect early autumn day.

The dogs lie at my feet enjoying the warmth of the morning sunlight, as it streams through the open office door, and in the garden bees buzz lazily in the shrubbery.

Welcome to my world.

The house and buildings at Burnside of Ballintomb sit on top of low hill above the river Spey, and have changed hardly at all over the last century.

Originally a working farm, my family purchased the property in 1988, converting the dilapidated buildings into a furniture making workshop, timber store, and furniture showroom.

The work was hard, as we laboured to reverse thirty years of neglect and lack of maintenance, but slowly we got there.

As a fourth generation furniture maker and wood carver, it is with great pride that I continue my family's tradition, hand making and carving the finest pieces of furniture, from solid Scottish hardwoods.

Machine tools are used only for rip sawing, cross cutting and planing, there after the local oak, ash, elm, sycamore or cherry, is worked by hand, using traditional hand tools.

Most of the furniture crafted upon this forest enveloped hill top is by commission, and pieces produced in our quiet rural backwater, now grace homes and offices across the U.K., continental Europe, and the U.S.A.

Our aim has always been to produce work to the very highest standard, and to turn our backs on the inferior short cuts of the 21st Century.
Over the coming months, I hope to offer visitors to this blog a view into our world, and to encourage an interest and appreciation of furniture made to the very highest standards, in the traditional way.
Should visitors to this blog wish to make enquiry regarding a commission, then I can be contacted by telephoning: 01340 810 495, or 07760208351, or alternatively e-mail me
I look forward to your calls, comments, and contributions!
Best regards to all,
Julian Schmechel.