Wednesday, 2 September 2015


Hi all,
I've just finished a pyrography project that gained me some more brownie points from the other half. A few weeks ago she decided it was time for me to redecorate our bedroom. She wanted three plain walls and one with wall paper. So, we set about the finest wall paper shops Stafford has to offer in the hope of finding two rolls of paper that would do the wall proud.

Well I don't know what's happened to wall paper design, but from our view point it is pretty grim. Most of it looks like the pattern was stolen from a couple of ties that I had the audacity to wear in conjunction with a blue velvet  jacket in the seventies. No wonder so may high street shops are closing down and and being replaced with charity emporiums. They seem to have lost any sort of individualism. One would have though it impossible to homogonise wall paper but they have.

Anyway, a year before, my wife purchased some lovely vintage wall paper from Ebay and so it was no surprise when she turned to them again.

"I've found a couple of rolls of very nice paper with ducks on it," she said to me. My immediate thoughts were that our bedroom was going to look like Hilda Ogden,s parlour, but these fears soon dissolved away when the paper turned up. It didn't take long to hang and it looks very nice when it was finished. The only problem was that the first morning when I woke up I thought I was in Hitchcock's film about the birds.
Once the bedroom was finished there was only one problem. Our linen basket didn't have a lid. And it spoiled the ambiance to have to look at socks and other bits of underwear every time you entered or left the room. So, I had an idea. I cut a piece of 4mm plywood to fit the top of the basket screwed a knob in the middle and then set about it with my pyrography iron.

At first I was stuck for a pattern; flowers and butterflies came to mind, but then I realised the image was staring me straight in the face. I used the ducks on the wall paper for inspiration and they came out pretty well.
My wife was well chuffed when she saw it and I'm an hero again. Not sure what my next project will be, but if you would like to see more of my pyrography work please click here to go to my website.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Brush Holder

Hi all,
For my latest project I created a present for my wife's birthday. I got her a few other things but she enjoys it when I put a bit of effort in and make her something nice.

She has recently been doing a lot of painting and she keeps her brushes in a glass jar, which always worries me because because of the fire risk. Now before you start laughing, let me tell you a little story. A few years ago we had a glass ornament that sat on our wooden coffee table, anyway, we came home one day to the smell of burning and found that there was a huge scorch mark in the coffee table. Apparently, the sun had shone through the glass ornament and it had a magnifying effect, which could have started a fire.

Since then I have been very wary of leaving anything glass where the sun can shine through it, and seeing as my wife currently uses our conservatory for a studio, the risk of a fire caused by the glass jar she keeps her brushes in is a risk.

So I decided to make her a wooden one with fretwork leaves, which I did some pyrography on. Here is the finished article.
It took quite a while to make this box and do the pyrography work because I was having to do it in secret. My wife doesn't go out much on her own, so I had to rush and do a bit when she was in the shower or cooking etc. Cutting the bits out between the leaves with my scroll saw was nerve jangling stuff because one slip and the whole thing could have been ruined. The leaves cover three sides and it is all made from a sheet of 4mm plywood and finished with a clear varnish.

Her face was a picture when she ripped the paper off and that made the whole thing very worth while.

My next task is another surprise for her and I hope to be able to show you that soon. In the mean while, if you would like to see some more of my pyrography work or find out about my fishing books please visit my website.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Paint Box Done

Hi all,
Sorry about the late post, my pyrography time has been slashed due to my need to decorate our bedroom. My wife pointed out, in very clear language, that we had been sleeping in a grim shit hole ever since we moved into the shambles of a bungalow 18 months ago. I had done the rest of the place up but somehow the bedroom had been ignored until recently when it became the centre of attention

Anyway it is done now so I have managed to get the pyrography iron out again and finish the box I started a few weeks ago.

Here it is.
I like the design although I perhaps could have put a few more primroses across the bottom. The key to this sort of pyrography is to always keep a contrast between light and dark.  The primrose flowers are light, so I purposefully positioned the leaves of the middle bunches of snowdrops behind them Likewise, I tried to make sure that the snowdrop leaves formed a dark background for the snowdrop flowers.

Although I drew the primroses on paper first and transferred them to the box, I drew the snowdrops straight onto the box to save time. Once the pyrography work was done, I gave the box three coats of cellulose lacquer and it looks great.

My next project will involve the scroll saw and some pyrography because I have decided to make my wife a present for her birthday. She is an artist and currently keeps her bushes in a big jar that threatens to set her studio on fire when the sun shines through the window.

Anyway, I have sorted out the design so now it is all down to the cutting and burning. I will show it toyou in my next post. Don't forget if you want to see a gallery of my pyrography work please click here to go to my website.

Thursday, 30 July 2015


Hi all,
In my last post I mentioned that I was going to do some pyrography primroses on top of a box that I am using to store my watercolour paints in. I haven't managed to finish it yet but I though I'd show you the work in progress.
I have decide to put a drift of snowdrops behind the primroses to give the image a bit of height. I am also going to use a lot of leaves on the snow drops to give a dark background for the light snowdrop flowers. It is important in pyrography to increase contrast by positioning light areas against dark areas. All of the pyrography work has been done with the spoon tip, which most of you will know is my favourite pyrography tip because it is so versatile.

I hope to be able to show you the finished box in my next post. I will also be using an unusual finish on the box to see how it works with pyrography. Nearly all my pyrography work, up until now at least, has been given three coats of Ronseal quick drying varnish and I've always been pleased with the results. However, I have made a discovery which is very exciting and I will share it with you now.

About a year ago I made a a small wooden box from mahogany and inlaid the lid with some polymer clay flowers.
It looked okay but nothing to celebrate. Anyway, my wife put the box on our bedroom window sill and over the months it was attacked by the sun. It fished up all drab and faded and looked like it would be best keeping the carrot peelings company in the wheelie bin. However, that seemed a bit drastic so I decided to give it a coat of my amazing ebonizing solution to darken the wood and then gave it three coats of Bolger guitar lacquer. The result was quite stunning and the box is now so, impressive that my wife has promoted it. It now languishes on the sideboard in the living room and I can't help but give it a little rub every time I go past. I'm  afraid the photo doesn't do justice to the shine, but take it from me it's fantastic.
So, I'm going to keep my fingers crossed and see how it looks on the new box.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

A box for my paints

Hi all,
Just thought I'd share with you the idea I have had for my next pyrography project. I mentioned in a previous post that I'd taken up watercolour painting and have given myself a year to produce something decent. Well I have done 8 paintings so far and, to be honest, they are nothing to be proud of. Things can only get better, he said with his fingers crossed whilst juggling a rabbit's foot that wasn't very lucky for the bunny. Believe it or not, but when compared with watercolour painting, pyrography is very simple and at the moment, much more rewarding.

Anyway, my wife gave me a wooden box to keep my watercolour paints in, so I thought I'd do a nice bit of pyrography on the lid. I have come up with a primrose design which I think will look quite nice.
I will probably make it wider to fit the width of the box, what do you think? Hopefully I will have the pyrography done during the next week and if it looks half decent I will show it on here.

By the way if you would like to see my mediocre watercolours, here is the link .
If you would like to find out about my books or see some of my pyrography work, please click here.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Book Stand

Hi all,
Sorry it's been a while since my last post but I have been busy trying to get the hang of watercolour painting. My learning curve is steep and I'm struggling to get a grip with the medium. However, I am making progress and if you want to see how I am getting on here is the link to my latest post on the subject.

Anyway, whilst I have been chasing this new dream I have purchased several books on the subject and I am attempting to follow some of the projects. While I was doing this I found that it was difficult to see the book and my painting at the same time, so I decided to make a book stand so that it would be vertical and open at the correct page.

I didn't want to fork out for some special wood so I raided my scrap bin and found enough pieces to satisfy my need. Being an old miser and being tighter than a duck's bum is a good thing sometimes. I did the design as I went and cut up all the wood on the scroll saw and screwed it together to make a very practical object. However, it wasn't as pretty as it could have been so I drew some leaves on it free hand and then burnt them in with my pyrography iron.
Despite having a go at watercolours, pyrography still tugs at my heart strings. It is such a simple medium to get to grips with but it doesn't half bring something special to a piece of wood.

My next project will also be on a watercolour theme because I'm thinking of designing a holder for my collection of brushes that will be decorated with pyrography. All I need now is a good chunk of spare time.

By the way, If you are quick I have two free books up for grabs today.
Book 1

Here's the link.
Book 2

Here's the link.

If you do download either or both of the books I hope you enjoy them. If you do please leave a review because every little helps.

Saturday, 13 June 2015


Hi all,
 I'm sorry I haven't done any posts recently. The truth of the matter is that I'm letting the pyrography and the scroll sawing take a bit of a backseat at the moment while I have one last go at watercolour painting.

I've always been interested in art and over the years I've had dabble with the brush. The only trouble was that life got in the way. Getting married, having kids and going to work took up almost all of my time, drinking and fishing consumed the rest.

That's is one of the reasons that I turned to pyrography, it is one of those mediums that allows one to indulge in making art without the need for much room. However, the wanting to paint bug won't go away, so now that I've go a bit more free time and a little more space I'm going to give it a proper go.

I am knocking on a bit now and will be of pensionable age next year, so it is a case of now or never. I'm old enough now to know that some of my dream will just always be dreams. I'll never ride a Harley Davidson across the USA or swim along The Great Barrier Reef, but I can have a go at watercolour painting.

Anyway, I've set myself a challenge of creating a painting a week with an objective of selling a painting before the year is up. If you are interested in seeing how I get on here is the link to the blog where I am recording my efforts.

With regards to scroll sawing and pyrography, I am not giving it up, in fact, I'm about to order some wood so that I can do a couple of designs that are bubbling about at the back of my head. And by the way, do you remember that I recently did a post an creating a trinket box with seed heads because I thought they were a good seller.

well the one I made sold last week so that cheered me up a bit. Here is the link to my website if you would like to find out more about my books or my pyrography work.