are you a bodger?

discussion of the niceties of turning on a bow, bungee or pole lathe.

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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby robin wood » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:04 am

That's a great one Richard, by far the best ref I have seen yet, so much better to hear a proper referenced story than folk saying well I think it was probably....
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby RichardLaw » Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:49 am

The bodger is dead, long live the bodger: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01214y4/Gardeners_World_2011_2012_Episode_13/ At 41.32 minutes.
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby robin wood » Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:07 am

Brilliant, nice little piece and congrats on the gold.
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby simon » Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:11 pm

OOOH! fame at last.
Make it, mend it, wear it out,
Make it do or do without.
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby mstibs » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:36 pm

Hmmm you seem to look for the etymology of bodger... an addition: the german word "Böttcher", which is spoken (except the slight o <-> ö difference) similar to bodger, translates to cooper, hooper or tubber in English.
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby Ian S » Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:15 pm

Now that's an interesting bit of information - thanks for posting it.

Cheers
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby jrccaim » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:11 am

Very interesting indeed. If anyone has access to the Oxford Encyclopedic Dictionary, please look up the word! This service is not free and I don't use it enough to justify a subscription.
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby Brigstock Bodger57 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:19 pm

When we was demonstrating on the craft fair and country show circuit from about 1992 onwards most people had never seen a pole lathe in use so using the term Bodger was a way to get them talking about what we were doing. As I nearly aways turned chair parts at the shows I did call myself a Bodger, hence the buisness name of Brigstock Bodgers. We had a good system with Nic splitting and preparing the wood with me turning it (Nic also did the turning when we doubled up shows and has come 3rd in the log to leg race). A woman swinging an axe and splitting wood got people interested in what we were doing and part of the show was a discription of what was happening and an explaination of what a Bodger is. We did always say that it was a term used around High Wycombe and did say that we were Pole Lathe Turners, but were happy to say we were Bodgers. I will say that I have never called myself a greenwood worker, as I only did turning.
I suppose being an old timer the Bodger name has never bothered me and I seem to be at that age where I don't like change. I wouldn't like to see the end of The Bodgers Ball or The Bodgers Gazette The names can't be putting people off as our membership is going up every year and we are had 200 plus come to last years Bodgers Ball.
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby roosstoi » Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:06 pm

I’ve read this thread months ago and many greenwood skills reminded me of the area in eastern Bavaria were I come from, although I have to do my job elsewhere. When I flicked through a book of early photographs of my hometown, I found a chapter with the title “Holzbitzlerei”.
Not because the word “Bitzler” sounds similar or close to the word “bodger”, but the idea which stands behind it in Germany reminded me of that thread.

In Germany we still have a regulated structure of crafts. If you want to run a business lets say of a cabinet maker, a black smith or a carpenter, baker….. you have to run through a 3 years period of apprenticeship at an examined master and obligatory school , followed by a theoretical and practical test. After the test you’re called a “Geselle” and after 3 years working as such you can go to a special school to become a “Meister” =”master”. ONLY if you’re an examined master you are allowed to run a business on your own and train apprentices on your own.
This system nowadays called “duales system” works in Germany since centuries and surely has been established by the guilds in the middle ages.

Now in the poor and rural and heavyly tree covered area close to the Czechien border the people in the small villages always were highly skilled in a certain way but not trained as examined craftsmen, other than in the small towns and marketplaces, where the guilds had a close eye on the working citizens. There surely was a difference if you´re lived in a village or in a town in that time. There are still some old men living, who earned their money years ago with their skills as "Holzbitzler"
But there was a need of rakes, wooden shoes, brooms, wooden wire (for matches or transporting material for eggs), baskets, boxes, rings for sieves, spoon, bowl and all the wooden things necessary in the kitchen of the bigger towns.
So these “bitzlers” were highly specialized and skilled but not accepted or looked at as REAL craftsmen and often performed their work only in the winter months when they could not work on their tiny fields or were on the road because many of the “Waldler” (=men from the forrest) how we call ourselves often in the summer month were enganged in distant areas of Bavaria or other parts of Germany to make their or their families living.

Maybe the difference of a trained and examined craftsman to a skilled bodger with his limited tasks – this means he made in our area either spoons or shoes, either boxes or bowls, was responsible that a bodger, a “bitzler” had a light negative touch or lets say being a craftsman was more reputable as being a bodger.
In German the verb "bitzeln" has also always a slight meaning of “playing” in contrast to the “working” of a craftsman.

Just an idea after reading a book on a “lazy Sunday afternoon” from Bavaria, planning a shed in my garden for not to wait for the weekend to work with greenwood in my distant hometown.
And If I find out how it works to upload pictures I can show some pictures of German bodgers=bitzler
Last edited by roosstoi on Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:00 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby roosstoi » Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:33 pm

lets give it a try:
both pictures from the book:
"Bayerischer Wald in alten Fotos"
Image

it says all generations are on the picture, the grandparents, the parents and their first child. Grandfather is doing the rough work and his son is carving the shoes
on the shaving horse (Hoanzlbank) (in this case they are making bohemiantype of shoes, the bavarian type has got a leather top)
This picture is obviously a constructed one, but can show the tools.


Image
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby RichardLaw » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:43 am

Very good posts Roosstol, very interesting.

I'm especially intrigued by the shave horse in the second picture making beautiful curved rake heads.

Any chance of a translation of the text?

Many thanks,

Richard
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby mstibs » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:09 am

Raw translation: First the text writes about hay making today. Then it goes on about hay making in history that many helpers with hay rakes were needed. Last sentence says that the "Bitzler"-bodger was producing these rakes. Nothing technical unfortunately.

Best!
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby roosstoi » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:21 pm

I hope my pictures are still on topic, but I think they can show some older aspects of green woodworking

In the book Bayerischer Wald in alten Fotos, there are some more pictures of bitzlers/bodgers

Image
In this picture the two brothers are producing "wooden wire". The man on the right is already supported by waterpower produced by a mill wheel. The plane is pushed by the man and the machine helps by pulling. The text says that in the shed it was always dark and the two brothers were afraid that the fotographers magnesium flashlight could lit up the whole shed.
The machine is called a "Stess", a dialect noun of the verb stossen= to push that would mean a pushing machine.

Image
these guys were specialized in making barrels for butter and mush

the other guy wove "Schwingen", this is a special form of a flat basket with two handles, I do still use one in my stable.

Image
this man is making a type of shoes with leather on top, mind that he is obviously working in his living room

Image
nearly every household needed sieves to sieve sand or flower.

Best
Mente
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby ToneWood » Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:28 pm

The German posts are very interesting.
jrccaim wrote:Very interesting indeed. If anyone has access to the Oxford Encyclopedic Dictionary, please look up the word! This service is not free and I don't use it enough to justify a subscription.

Disappointing: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/bodger
I have a fairly large paper copy OED at home, will check it but expect it will be quite similar :(. If you read the story of the mad Doctor locked up in Broadmoor who was a major contributor to the OED, a best selling book maybe 10 years ago, it's apparent that early definitions are usually found by somebody with access to a good collection of very old books/documents (I expect the Bodleian Library in Oxford or the British Library in London would pass muster - perhaps some of the private libraries in big old houses like Longleat too). So, for example if you were to have "the oldest book written in English" - then every word in that book will likely be the first reference in written English. I believe the doctor had such a collection and the grateful lexicographers in Oxford provided him with additional, promising old texts.

It sounds to me like an informal/slang/regional term more likely to be spoken than written. But perhaps we'll get to the bottom of this yet (but perhaps you have already). Somebody that grew up in my village wrote his recollections a few years ago (a more rigorous/academic history had already been written) and he included examples of the dialect from his youth - not the sort of thing found in dictionaries - happily I recognised orcould understood all of it from the way the old folk spoke when I was young but it is less commonly heard these days and considerably toned down.
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Bodger = Böttcher = cooper?

Postby ToneWood » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:36 pm

Just check the OED, it has "bodge" but it just says to refer to "botch", which is defined as something made badly. Origin unknown ME (Middle English).

I think mstibs might be onto something. I have a large English-German dictionary (picked up for pennies at a car boot sale). As mstibs says, Böttcher means cooper. Perhaps the Anglo-Saxons used a similar word? Digging around further, it looks like its root is butte ("grape container")- similar to our use of butt, as in water butt/barrel/container. A cooper uses similar tools to a greenwood worker (draw knife, side-axe, adze,...).

Interesting piece from wiki on coopering:
In much the same way that the profession of smithing produced the common English surname Smith and the German name Schmidt, the trade of cooperage also gave the English name Cooper, French name Tonnelier and Tonnellier, Greek name Βαρελάς/Varelas, Danish name Bødker, German names like Faßbinder (literally cask binder), Böttcher (tub maker), Fässler and Keiper, Dutch names like Kuiper or Cuypers, the Latvian name Mucenieks, the Hungarian name Kádár, Bodnár, Polish names such as Bednarz, Bednarski or Bednarczyk, the Czech name Bednář, the Romanian names Dogaru and Butnaru, Ukrainian family name Bondarenko, Ukrainian/Russian name Bondar, the Jewish name Bodner and the Portuguese names Tanoeiro and Toneleiro, Spanish Cubero and Macedonian Bacvarovski (Македонски: Бачваровски) and Italian "Bottai" (from "botte").

Similarly, the Danish (& perhaps Viking?) word for cooper is Bødker.

"England's only master cooper predicts demise of barrel making " (He's at Wadworth's in Devizes and looking for an apprentice. They deliver locally with heavy horses and cart - a wonderful sight.)
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