HAZEL HI-BACK - CHAIR MAKING COURSE, Pondhead Enclosure, Thursday, 05. September 2019

In the heart of the New Forest, come spend a slow day making a unique chair from coppiced Hazel.  Using traditional tools, make a natural chair whilst learning about the history and renovation of the largest Hazel coppice left within the Forest; a woodland now managed by Pondhead Conservation Trust in partnership with the Forestry Commission.

Pondhead inclosure is situated immediately to the south east of the village of Lyndhurst, in the heart of the New Forest
The day will start with a walk through the woodland where you will learn about the workings of a managed coppice.
Arriving at our workplace, you will not fail to notice the ‘retort’ where we make our charcoal; it may well be fired up and the charcoal maker (wood collier) will explain it’s inner workings.

After a brief health and safety course (and perhaps a cup of tea) you will be shown how to use a draw-knife, sitting astride of your shave-horse and we will proceed to cut and shape our timber.  The traditional tools such as bill hooks and draw-knives will all be supplied.  We will also supply gloves, but you are more than welcome to bring your own.

Lunch time, the BBQ will be fired up, using our own charcoal, there will be locally sourced sausages and burgers and perhaps even a bit of salad! (let us know if you have any dietry requirements)

After a good lunch, especially if it’s sunny in the woods, a siesta sounds inviting; but we haven’t got chairs to relax in yet, so it’s back to work: the construction phase. This is where we wire the chairs together (it’s a black art), but there’s plenty of help.

Lastly we sand off the bottom seat edges for added comfort,  For this we tend to use a battery-powered sander. You may think this is cheating, but our aim is not to live in the past, or even to re-create it; but to embrace the past and take it with us into the future.  One of our aims to prove that traditional coppiced woods have a useful and relevant role in the 21st century.

Now for the all important testing phase: try out your chair with a last mug of tea. After that (short) break, if time allows, we will head into some prime coppice and cut some hazel rods ready for the next intake of chair-makers.

Home-time; we will walk back out to your cars (and reality), exploring a little of the history of the woods along the way.  Your chairs will be transported out for you.  The chairs fold, so there should be no problem fitting them in your car.
Please note that every penny of the cost of the course goes straight to Pondhead Conservation Trust (a registered charity), and none of the people running the course take any pay, they are all volunteers.
At the end of the day, you will take home a chair, a little bit of peace and serenity, the satisfaction of journeying with the Hazel from tree to finished product and a greater appreciation of what part our past can play in our future.

*Please note there are no toilets on site
Registered Charity 1158297

Thursday, 05. September 2019, Pondhead Enclosure, HAZEL HI-BACK - CHAIR MAKING COURSE

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