Spoon carving workshop in Yorkshire Dales

I spent a couple of days with Nick & Kareen who booked to do a private spoon carving workshop with me in Yorkshire.

We started with cooking spoons, axing out the shape from fresh, green silver birch and then shaping and hollowing with Mora carving knives while they learned techniques.

On day two we worked on serving spoons, adding a crank to the handle for ergonomics. This also requires more consideration to carve with the grain. Nick & Kareen rose to the challenge and made terrific spoons again.

We were based at Broadrake Bunkhouse, near Chapel-le-Dale and right in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales with views of Inglebrough and the Ribblehead Viaduct.

My spoon carving courses for 2024 are open for bookings now, including a day at Broadrake. Find details and book your place via Eventbrite: Spoon Carving Courses with Steve Tomlin If you’re interested in a bespoke course feel free to email me stevetomlin8[at]gmail.com

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Scything courses 2024

Learn to scythe in 2024! Scything is a fantastic way to manage your garden, meadow, orchard or allotment. My courses are suitable for beginners and you’ll learn everything you need to use and maintain an Austrian scythe. Courses in Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumbria.

My course dates for 2024 are now set, book via Eventbrite: Learn to Scythe workshops

You can also book me to teach you or a group privately at your own venue, email stevetomlin8@gmail.com for details.



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Spoon carving workshops 2024

My spoon carving workshop dates for 2024 are now set and available to book with venues at Manchester, Derby, the Yorkshire Dales and N. Wales.

During the day, you’ll learn to use traditional axe and knives techniques to safely and efficiently carve your own unique cooking spoon from a fresh birch log.

Spoon carving is an absorbing and fun hobby and a brilliant introduction to wood working. My courses are suitable for complete beginners as well as those wanting to gain more experience and improve their skills.

Spoon Carving Courses 2024

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Ash splint basket workshop 2023

I’ve been teaching a lot at Greenwood Days recently, including an ash splint basket making workshop.

Starting from raw splints as they come off the tree, participants learn to grade and prepare the material before we start weaving.

We fit a triple rim for maximum strength as well as neatness, the same method I use for my ash splint packbaskets. The result is a strong yet flexible and elegant basket. More importantly, the students leave with the knowledge and skills to start working with ash splint and weaving baskets themselves.

Visit my courses page for details of this years workshops or sign up to the newsletter to hear first about future event. I can also deliver the course for a group at your own venue, email me for details.

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How to make ash splint baskets pdf

I love teaching ash splint basket making to groups but realise that not everyone can get to a workshop. To help you get started with this fantastic basket making material, I’ve produced a simple pdf download of instructions.

The guide takes you through the whole process including how to source timber, pound splints, prepare the materials and weave a table basket. Step by step with detailed photos, this is the same basket that you make with me on my beginner’s ash splint basket course.

The ash splint basket making instruction pdf is available from my Etsy store as an instant download.

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Spoon carving workshop for beginners

Spoon carving is a brilliant way to get into all kinds of wood carving. During my beginner’s courses, you’ll learn how to carve with an axe and knives to create a spoon right from a log to the finished product.

During the one day course, you’ll learn the basics of carving and go home with a unique stirring spoon along with loads of skills to get you started. On the two day course we also move on to making spreaders and serving spoons. This includes a lot more about working with the grain of the wood, design and finishing techniques and is perfect if you’re looking for the best way to start carving.

Find and book my courses via Steve Tomlin Crafts on Eventbrite


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Highfield scythe workshop Manchester

People are often surprised to learn that I live in Manchester and how much scything takes place in urban areas. At Highfield Country Park, I’m involved in training local volunteers to help with managing the site.

The first scythe training day took place this week and we started cutting the wet meadow on site as well as one of the smaller ‘meadow rooms’ that we’re creating.

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Scythe training for Severn Trent in Staffordshire

I’ve spent the last couple of days training this lovely group of volunteers to scythe at Tittesworth Reservoir in Staffordshire for Severn Trent Water.

We were dodging the rain while learning about aetting up an Austrian scythe, honing in the field and mowing including cutting flattened grass and on a slope.

We also did some peening of the blades so the team is fully equipped with all the skills to use their scythes on the site. Now, they just need to practise and they have plenty of grass for that!

Peening an Austrian scythe

If your conservation group would like to learn to scythe, check out my Learn to Scythe page and get in touch.

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Haymaking poem by Bernadette Gallagher

I stumbled on this lovely poem by Bernadette Gallagher this morning and had to share it.


Who is it beckons me to try

My hand and body with a scythe

Is it someone that I know or is it

Someone beyond, that now

Lifts whetstone to the steel?


My memory of seeing men cut grass

While women and children rake and turn

Until the hay is dry then build a stack

Fork up the hay to the one on top

Who walks around making even underfoot.


And then a cover thrown over

Held down by heavy stones

To keep the hay

For hungry cows

When morning and nights are cold


Farmers now admit

That was the way

Of yesterday, today machines cut

And lift and into silage pits

The grass that once turned into hay.


With my scythe I carry on

Cutting a small meadow

That once was lawn.

This year was my first and too late

For making hay.


The grass I cut will lie

In mini stacks, not fully dry

But dry enough to keep

Small wild things warm through winter

And into Spring.


Next year I will be prepared

Will clean down the blade

Tighten bolts, peen and sharpen

Remove the burr

And put aside my pen.


(c)Bernadette Gallagher

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Scything course in Cumbria

Very welcome cooler weather for the Learn to Scythe course at Brigflatts Meeting House in Sedbergh today.

It’s a beautiful venue for the course and lovely to see the meadow changing over the years that I’ve been teaching and scything here.

Among todays group were several staff and apprentices from Cumbria Wildlife Trust who will be using their skills on sites across the county.

There are still some spaces available on my scything workshops later this summer, email stevetomlin8[at]gmail.com for details.

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