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Thoughts on ‘Making is connecting’

Posted: January 22nd, 2014, by Bongo

Cover to cover reading – it’s rarely happening for me on anything but exciting story books. But over the Christmas hols, Sam and I read every page of ‘Making is Connecting’ by David Gauntlett. We had a really lively and stimulating discussion of the freely available extracts as part of a reading group. After that we knew we needed to read more!

Making is connecting book review

I have huge enthusiasm for this book. Why? Much of what Gauntlett had  to say really resonated with what we get up to, and our beliefs about the importance of everyday creativity. For Gauntlett, making even quite simple things, is a political …Continue reading »

Flowering Elbow – budding community

Posted: December 14th, 2013, by Bongo

Last month we held our first open workshop event and signed up our first members – very exciting!


The name Flowering Elbow, when it came to us, partly appealed because

…Continue reading »

Turn a fail into a feature

Posted: October 21st, 2013, by Bongo

We published this step-by-step Instructable a couple of weeks ago, outlining an unusual woodworking technique to splice interesting shaped pieces of contrasting coloured wood. The Instructable editors featured it on their home page and in their newsletter :)  and it’s been getting quite a bit of attention (over 55k views in a week). A bit surprising, given it was an unexpected little diversion in the making of a commission that didn’t originally call for anything like that.

Teak-ash splice

It’s one way to make “cut too short” incidents into an interesting feature and …Continue reading »

First Open Workshop Day coming up soon!

Posted: October 13th, 2013, by Sam

We can’t contain ourselves any longer, it’s time to share our lair!

FE Lair open day

The workshop may …Continue reading »

Elevenses at 12.30 with Alex

Posted: September 22nd, 2013, by Bongo

I asked one of a kind maker and Flowering Elbow member, the esteemed Dr Alex Mangold, for an interview.

alex in van

Alex has been helping us put together the workshop from the early days and has been working on his own project with us for some time. …Continue reading »

Conduit-Shelving Instructable

Posted: July 15th, 2013, by Bongo

We’ve written up an instructable about how we made our conduit-shelf project, which we have been using in the FE workshop for some time. It is basically a weld up of some reclaimed heavy duty metal tubing into a conduit for part of our electrical distribution. The twist is that it doubles as a set of super strong and extendible shelves…

instructables screen shot


Anyway, it was recently featured on the front page by one of the editors over at Instructables, so check it out!

Going with the grain – reflections on ‘natural’ beauty & making

Posted: March 10th, 2013, by Bongo

“Take a piece of wood – plane, sand, and oil it, and you will find it a beautiful thing. The more you do to it from then on, the more chance that you will make it worse.” Tage Frid 1979 [1]

So I came across this quote from the late woodworking monster Tage Frid while we were part way through a commission to make an oak washstand and it got me thinking. Partly because we spent a good deal of time selecting different bits of wood we considered would look good for different parts of the piece, and partly because we spent even longer detailing and designing joints.

double oak washstand

What is beauty anyway? A question that’s been debated for thousands of years and still gets us going. Over that time, the ‘answer’ to the beauty question has been trending toward three differing attitudes. First, the kinda formulaic ‘objectivist‘ view: beauty is the property of an object that induces pleasure in a perceiver. The objectivist viewpoint says the object is where the beauty’s at – its proportions, complexity, symmetry, contrast, that kind of thing. Plato usually gets …Continue reading »

  1. [1] Frid, T. 1979 Joinery: Tools and Techniques, Taunton Press,Newtown Connecticut.

Making a Wood Burning Stove – 7 Air Supply, Testing & Tweaking

Posted: February 3rd, 2013, by Bongo

The stove is burning away as we write this, making for a nice cosy workshop :D There have been a few problems though and a number of modifications since we first got it going. Most irksome amongst these was smoke escaping into the shop space – not good. Anyway, we’ll come to that, first lets have a quick look at the finishing bits of the installation. We have some primary and secondary air supply piped in from outside. And we have fiddled about with the injection location of this air a fair bit. In the video below it is as it was when we lit it for the first time.

In the vid you can see the two primary combustion air supply pipes, the one on the left comes from outside, down the secondary combustion chamber (for pre-heating). The smaller pipe on the right comes from the bottom back of the stove and runs through the sideways burn chamber for a little preheating. The problem with the pipes were that …Continue reading »

Making a Wood Burning Stove – 6 Heat Exchanger

Posted: January 20th, 2013, by Bongo

We have been testing the experimental wood stove and heating the workshop for a while now, but for the sake of completeness and order lets have a look at the heat exchanger build.

Stove with Heat exchanger

Just as a recap on the design: The heat exchanger is a completely separate unit to the burn chamber. That way the burn chamber can be massively insulated – giving a very hot efficient burn. Once that burn is effectively complete we need to get the heat out of the waste gasses and into the room. This is where most …Continue reading »