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Page last updated at 10:02 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 11:02 UK
The legend of Robin Hood



Man using a shave horse
Shave horses are a combination of vice and workbench

Since the Mastercrafts TV programmes were aired on BBC Two in February, interest has been growing for the ancient art of green woodworking.

Green woodworking was featured in the first episode of the series which was fronted by TV gardener Monty Don.

The traditional craft involves splitting, shaving and then turning coppiced wood into furniture.

A course at Bestwood Country Park scheduled for June 2010 has already been filled.

Forest ranger Steve Hulme, 37, runs the course. He said: "There's been a bit of a revival. I think people are just trying to get in touch with tradition."

Steve had to turn people away after quickly filling places on his course and has a waiting list for the next one in July.

Green woodworking includes the use of a pole lathe and a shave horse.

A pole lathe is a simple wood turning machine which is itself made of wood, and is powered by a foot pedal, while a shave horse is like a medieval workbench.

To make a chair using this equipment would take a novice five days, so why not just use power tools?

"People want to feel like they're doing something productive with their hands, I think," said Steve.

"You get better satisfaction by doing this type of work."

The wood which rangers at Bestwood Country Park use is coppiced sycamore, native to the park, and according to Steve the process is about a return to nature.

Medieval professions
Farrier attaches a flaming shoe to horse

"You've got to learn to work with nature and work with materials that it provides rather than just ripping through it and making it do what you want it to do."

Green woodworking is all done outdoors, rain or shine. Steve says it is not an easy craft to master.

"The guys that actually did this for a living would have been up at the crack of dawn, working in the woodlands, living in a tin hut.

"It would have been a rough tough lifestyle and we do romanticize it a bit. But at least people can have a go and see what it was like and get their hands dirty!"

Between July and December 2010 more courses are scheduled at Bestwood Country Park. They include basic pole lathe techniques and how to build a shave horse.




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