are you a bodger?

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

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Re: Re:

Postby robin wood » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:19 pm

gavin wrote:Because 'bodger' is now strongly associated in the public mind with pole-lathing. Bodger is not historically correct, it has a nuance some find derogatory, and I am sure there could have been far better words to use.
But I don't think we can now avoid 'bodging' being linked with greenwoodworking.


Words meanings change with time, sometimes it is due to unconscious acts and coincidence sometimes it is due to conscious efforts. This one has only been around for 20 years and could easily be changed. Even if the public continue with their misunderstanding we need not perpetuate or continue to use it.

Vic Chinnery single highhandedly changed the furniture professions terminology on various misused terms most importantly tester beds which for some unknown reason folk had started calling four poster beds (they don't have 4 posts) now I am sure you can still buy a 4 poster bed down your local discount bed shop and probably sleep in one in a pretentious hotel but you would never see the term in any serious furniture publication.
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby robin wood » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:23 pm

forestdesigns wrote:As for my above replies, It thought I´d trick my way into a Mary Rose replica bowl to eat from (I would be eating from it) although it seems your not so easily fooled. Perhaps I would make better use of my time learning how to turn, instead of behaving like a virtual wiseguy. :mrgreen:


it was a fair efoort and I missed it. Harrison is a great read, most woody folk know him for the passage on treen.

There are old men yet dwelling in the village where I remain which have noted three things to be marvellously altered in England within their sound remembrance, and other three things too too much increased. 5
One is the multitude of chimneys lately erected, whereas in their young days there were not above two or three, if so many, in most uplandish towns of the realm (the religious houses and manor places of their lords always excepted, and peradventure some great personages), but each one made his fire against a reredos in the hall, where he dined and dressed his meat. 6
The second is the great (although not general) amendment of lodging; for, said they, our fathers, yea and we ourselves also, have lain full oft upon straw pallets, on rough mats covered only with a sheet, under coverlets made of dagswain or hopharlots (I use their own terms), and a good round log under their heads instead of a bolster or pillow. If it were so that our fathers—or the good man of the house had within seven years after his marriage purchased a mattress or flock bed, and thereto a stack of chaff to rest his head upon, he thought himself to be as well lodged as the lord of the town, that peradventure lay seldom in a bed of down or whole feathers, so well were they content, and with such base kind of furniture: which also is not very much amended as yet in some parts of Bedfordshire, and elsewhere, further off from our southern parts. Pillows (said they) were thought meet only for women in childbed. As for servants, if they had any sheet above them, it was well, for seldom had they any under their bodies to keep them from the pricking straws that ran oft through the canvas of the pallet and rased their hardened hides. 7
The third thing they tell of is the exchange of vessel, as of treen platters into pewter, and wooden spoons into silver or tin. For so common were all sorts of treen stuff in old time that a man should hardly find four pieces of pewter (of which one was peradventure a salt) in a good farmer’s house, and yet for all this frugality (if it may so be justly called) they were scarce able to live and pay their rents at their days without selling of a cow, or a horse or more, 1 although they paid but four pounds at the uttermost by the year. Such also was their poverty that, if some one odd farmer or husband-man had been at the ale-house, a thing greatly used in those days, amongst six or seven of his neighbours, and there in a bravery, to shew what store he had, did cast down his purse, and therein a noble or six shillings in silver, unto them (for few such men then cared for gold, because it was not so ready payment, and they were oft enforced to give a penny for the exchange of an angel), it was very likely that all the rest could not lay down so much against it; whereas in my time, although peradventure four pounds of old rent be improved to forty, fifty, or a hundred pounds, yet will the farmer, as another palm or date tree, think his gains very small toward the end of his term if he have not six or seven years’ rent lying by him, therewith to purchase a new lease, beside a fair garnish of pewter on his cupboard, with so much more in odd vessel going about the house, three or four feather beds, so many coverlids and carpets of tapestry, a silver salt, a bowl for wine (if not a whole neast), and a dozen of spoons to furnish up the suit. This also he takes to be his own clear, for what stock of money soever he gathereth and layeth up in all his years it is often seen that the landlord will take such order with him for the same when he reneweth his lease, which is commonly eight or six years before the old be expired (sith it is now grown almost to a custom that if he come not to his lord so long before another shall step in for a reversion, and so defeat him outright), that it shall never trouble him more than the hair of his beard when the barber hath washed and shaved it from his chin.
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Re:Are you a Bodger ?

Postby Robin Fawcett » Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:51 am

robin wood wrote:Any takers on my challenges yet? How about I offer a Mary Rose replica bowl for anyone who can come up with either of the above...a good authenticated reference.

This challenge and freeby bowl offer has been here since May 2008 still no offers of an authenticated reference...


Obviously that's not enough of an incentive for anyone to bother undertaking the research is it?!
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby Brian Williamson » Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:45 am

Like 'forestdesigns' at the end of page 2, I've only just stumbled on this. Why? Because I don't do much turning and haven't previously opened the polelathe turning forum.

I spend a lot of time denying that I'm a bodger. These days, even if I'm making hurdles or tent pegs, some people seem to think I must be a bodger. I do treat them to my views on the subject, but would then go on to describe myself as a woodsman.

As to how entrenched the term bodger is in the public mind, we need to remember that we are a small minority of the population and we live in a small pond that contains some other woodworkers, of varoius persuasions, that are familiar with the term, and that that rather colours our view. I suspect that a vast swathe of the countrys population still hasn't come across it.

Interestly, if you look in 'beginners corner' one new member in mid-wales thought he was virtually alone in the country in being interested in greenwood work! So we're not that significant yet.

It's definitely not to late to change names. In fact, I suspect that now would be a very good time to do it as we are surely something of a newgrowth industry at the moment..

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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby vikki » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:41 pm

Does this forum have facilities for putting together a poll? Sounds like a name change has definate merits.
I'm a complete newby to wood carving, green wood, all of it and only got into this from looking for wooden bowls for a Christmas gift. I'd never heard of Bodgers ( apart from children's TV character) until I was given the name for this forum and the gazzette.
The 'green wood' terminology makes much more sense to me, though I did like bodgers initially as I thought it related to some historical aspect of green wood working ( which is apparently does but just a small aspect of relatively recent history).
With the publicity of mastercrafts and the heritage crafts association I feel if a name change is on the cards it needs to happen soon. Also, with more serious sounding craft things going on, bodgers doesn't sound quite so 'professional' - though it does sound good fun, as does the Bodgers Ball!.
novice bowl carver and mum of 2. www.abusymum.blogspot.com (bits of carving and sewing currently- both brand new to me, so sometimes might be of interest!)
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby RichardLaw » Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:39 pm

I don't think the BBC Mastercrafts program gave currency to the misuse of 'bodger' and Guy Mallinson is described (on the BBC Mastercrafts page) as a wood craftsman ... just a point of interest.
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby vikki » Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:12 pm

I didn't mean to imply they did :wink:
Purely that with mastercrafts on TV/Iplayer, green woodwork has had its profile raised, and if folk are to find this forum they need to know what name to look for :)
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby RichardLaw » Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:56 am

vikki wrote:I didn't mean to imply they did :wink:
Purely that with mastercrafts on TV/Iplayer, green woodwork has had its profile raised, and if folk are to find this forum they need to know what name to look for :)


Yeah, yeah I wasn't brow beating Vikki. It just occurred to me that the word isn't being given currency everywhere so it is by no means sacrosanct.

I like your poll idea. I'll PM Hugh to see if it's possible.
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby Robin Fawcett » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:12 am

http://www.facebook.com/GreenWoodwork?ref=tn_tnmn[url=http://www.treewright.co.uk/]
Green woodwork courses, treen, demonstrations & talks http://www.treewright.co.uk[/url]
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby Tony Newby » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:01 am

Re the poll idea.

The membership (paper based) has been informed of this discussion in the last Gazette and I have asked for views. We will talk about this at the (B-----'s Ball in May. Poll's can be seen as decision making and this is a matter for the membership of the APT&GW. Don't forget this forum is the meeting place for many people from many organisations and none.

I would be interested in the results of a poll, but more interested in why people voted one way or the other, which we get out of the forum discussion and listening at the Ball.

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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby Robin Fawcett » Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:06 pm

robin wood wrote:Just interested to know who calls themselves a bodger and who does not and why.


Well Rob started the thread with this question and so far nobody (including me) has owned up to being a Bodger.
I've been thinking about this a lot especially since Tony Newby's 'Chairman's Chippings' in the last Gazette. Here's my ten penn'orth...


Bodgers of the World Unite

I first became aware of the term ‘Bodger’ back in 1993 when I was studying for my arboriculture exams. I wrote off to loads of organisations and one of the things I got back was a copy of the Bodger’s Gazette - quite an endearing little rag produced with typewriter and photocopier. It seemed wacky and highly esoteric that a newspaper was being produced specially for guys who beavered away on their foot operated lathes deep in the woods and forests.

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I qualified and became a tree surgeon and had no more contact with Bodgers for several years until I got sick of seeing all the wonderful timber we had cut going for firewood and landfill. I looked for ways of using it and as I had studied Fine Art tried doing some carvings and sculptures but that didn’t feel right. I cut my arm quite badly with the chainsaw and whilst I was recuperating a friend suggested going to the APF demo up in Staffordshire. We were walking around looking at chainsaws, chippers, ropes and harnesses etc and then we turned a corner and in a little glade was a chap with some weird but intriguing contraptions and tools, a pile of logs, some chairs, stools and other things he’d made and a book for sale called Green Woodwork.

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What I was looking at was exactly like the cover of the book. I got excited and realised that I’d come across a real live Bodger and a way of using up some of those logs I had. I chatted to Mike for a while, bought a copy of the book and when I found out he ran courses signed up to make a shavehorse. Then I made a lathe and would bring home a different type of wood every day to try out and practise on all the while poring over the book until I practically knew it by heart.
In 2000 I was made redundant and as I had made a load of items by then decided to try and turn my hobby into my job. I went back to Mike and made a Windsor chair thinking that I would become a chairmaker.

Image

In fact that experience with him put me off that idea completely so we started to attend Farmer’s Markets as producers offering firewood, kindling, garden stakes, knife and tool sharpening, rehandling and second hand woodworking tools as well as my stools, spoons, treen etc.

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Then people started asking if I would do paid demonstrations of the craft and I began running my own courses. At first I called my business Wood Works but when I realised that others were operating under the same name changed it to Treewright which is meaningless really (although Will Wall told me that Saxon house builders were called treewrights) and my webmaster, Oliver, informed me that it was a good domain name when he set up my website. He also advised me to set up a blog to increase my profile on the web and to try and divert some traffic to my website. I called it “A Bodger’s Blog” because I thought it was an interesting title and folk would be curious to find out more. I am a moderator and frequent contributor to the Bodger’s Forum and still receive the Bodger’s Gazette once every quarter.

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I attend the Bodger’s Ball every year where as many as want to meet up somewhere in the country for fun, competitions, chat, beer, workshops, tools, music etc.

NOW - there are moves afoot to have a rebranding exercise and get rid of this apparently awful, embarrasing and silly word “BODGER” as it may be putting people off from getting involved with us and giving the wrong impression (I’d like to see the evidence for this). Apparently if we want to be taken seriously as craftsman we must start to call ourselves a “GREEN WOODWORKER” - a term coined 30 or so years ago by John Alexander or Jennie as he now likes to be known.

If you type Bodger into Wikipedia you get quite a lot of information and pictures but there are some quite contentious statements and whoever wrote the article was a bit confused as they say that bodger and botcher are synonymous then go on to state that “A "bodged" DIY job is serviceable: a "botched" DIY one most certainly is not - but a total failure.” !
If you type Green Woodworker into Wiki you get little information, no mention of John (Jennie) Alexander and a link to a page about green woodworking tools which is being considered for deletion.

I think more people understand Bodger in it’s woodworking sense than are given credit for. Most Radio 4 listeners will be familiar with the word as there was a Bodger in the Archers not that long ago - apparently you could hear the ‘razzle’ of the gouge on the fresh wood in the background. There have been numerous mentions of Bodgers on telly. I’ve seen Gudrun Leitz, Stewart King & Ted Tuddenham and Malcolm Lee on various shows in the last year. Prince Charles has tried his hand at bodging which you can see here...
http://www.prime-cymru.co.uk/html/templateA.asp?P=13&NEWS=2

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Prince Harry had a go on Lois Orford’s lathe at the Royal Norfolk Show.

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As I said I find it an endearing term and I don’t mind chatting with folk and educating them about it’s real meaning (ie the guys who worked in the Chiltern beechwoods making chair parts for the factories at High Wycombe) and discussing the etymology of the term. As you all know there are many ideas about this...

Most people think a Bodger is someone who carries out a task badly or carelessly which I think is a corruption of the word Botcher. The Bodgers were highly skilled craftsmen.

The men working in the woods may have been called Botchers by those who worked in the factories who looked down on them.

It may be a corruption of the word Beech -er or Birch -er, both woods that would commonly have been worked.

Another theory is that bodger was a corruption of badger, as similarly to the behaviour of a badger, the bodger dwelt in the woods and seldom emerged until evenings.

Some say it is a relatively new word possibly invented by a journalist in 1910 (any proof of this?).

There are probably loads more but whatever the answer it is shrouded in mystery and controversy. Words change meanings over time, take “gay” for instance. When I was a kid it meant happy and colourful, now it describes someone’s sexuality. You may have noticed at the beginning of this I mentioned Arboriculture - not many people know that this refers to work on amenity trees in streets, gardens and parks but they understand what I do if I say “Tree Surgeon” - what a misnomer! People think you’re going to inject their tree with a giant hypodermic or perform an operation to make it better. Real surgeons have to study for 7 years - anyone can pick up a chainsaw and call themselves a “Tree Surgeon”.

The term Green Woodworker is too general, it says nothing, it’s dry, technical and there’s no mystery or romance about it. OK it describes what many people do but you’re still going to have to explain exactly what it is you do to those not in the know.
I consider the Bodging process to be splitting, chopping, shaving and turning on a pole lathe to make spindles of some kind whether they be chair legs, spurtles, honey drizzlers, rolling pins or spinning tops which is what I do... So I must be a Bodger... I find it quite endearing and laugh at the negative connotations. I certainly won’t be changing the title of my blog and I’ll continue to attend the Bodger’s Ball.

This might not be a brilliantly well reasoned arguement but it is an impassioned plea to save a word from misuse and disuse - it’s not just crafts that need saving from slipping into obscurity and so far I seem to be the only one bigging it up. I feel that the two terms could continue to peacefully co-exist. So come on... Bodgers of the World Unite!
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby karlsefn01 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:01 am

I have spent a half hour reading this thread, fascinating stuff. I am completely new to turning, even though I have been involved with green woodworking professionally for a number of years. Anyway, the term "bodger" isn't used here in any sense. But the verb "botch" is used regularly to describe bad work or a terrible error in judgement. Examples include:

"Well, I sure botched that up" and
"What a botch job! You should fire him!"

I find it interesting that we also use the word "cobble" to mean poor quality work. I don't know for sure, but would guess that it is related to the shoemaker's trade. If in fact that is the case I wonder why we use terms such as "bodger" and "cobble-jockey" when describing others and their work. Bodger seems to have a romantic quality associated with it these days but someone being called a "cobbler" is merely an object of contempt. Do you suppose that using terms like this had to do with snobbery in an earlier era for those who worked with their hands?
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby forestdesigns » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:08 pm

Although I have nothing new to contribute to earn a Mary Rose Replica, I will make note that I did have the pleasure of eating from a few of your (Robin Wood´s) bowls in Galicia this past autumn. Sitting on the back porch with Lluis & Ana, with a coffee & a wooden plate with black bread with oil & cheese, is a simple yet fond memory. The stuff dreams are made of, indeed.

I´ve returned to the countryside & it´s forests, & hope that I will be here on the forum more often. Although I´ve asked nothing I would like to thank you all again for the encouragement & advice you offer us (the less experienced) so often, with little more reward than feeling satisfied in offering help where one can. In exchange I can only offer these effusive words. (How I enjoy the look, sound & feel of that word, & if I was sure of the correct usage of "effusivness" I would have used it instead.)

Ok I´ll stop. I do know that my prattle can be rather annoying to some. I know that because I come from a long line of effusive prattlers, & I rarely bother to give them my full attention, a little is more than enough! (Gosh... will I ever stop?!)
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby jrccaim » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:04 am

Robin Fawcett said:

Well Rob started the thread with this question and so far nobody (including me) has owned up to being a Bodger.


Well, I'll own up to it, then! Sure. It's all semantics, and words change their meaning with time. In the USA, the current, that is popular UK, meaning of "bodger" or "bodge job" is unknown. That's why Drew Langsner and Jenny Alexander use "greenwood woodworking," because it is more meaningful to people on this side of the pond. If enough people come in to this hobby/way of life/avocation the word "bodger" will swing back towards its greenwood meaning. But I still have to make a chair, but in the new meaning of the word perhaps that isn't necessary. In rural USA they used to say "call me anything you like, so long as you don't call me late for dinner" :D
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby RichardLaw » Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:04 pm

Interesting discussion with a lady of less tender years, whose father used to make pimps and paling fencing. SHe also mentioned Kentish bodges - that's their dialect word for a trug see also:

Old Books - Kent
Essentials for Local Historians, Genealogists & Family Historians

A Dictionary of the Kentish Dialect
and Provincialisms in use in the County of Kent

AUTHORS: W D Parish & W F Shaw
FIRST PUBLISHED: 1888
THIS EDITION: 2008

PAPERBACK £13.50

CD-ROM £5.99

Facsimile of the edition first published in 1888

219 page paperback book.

Not just a work of reference, it's truly a good read!.

EXTRACT:

BODGE [boj] (1) sb. A wooden basket, such as is used by gardeners; a scuttle-shaped box for holding coals, carrying ashes, &c. (See also Trug.) The bodge now holds an indefinite quantity, but formerly it was used as a peck measure.
1519 “Paled for settyng of iij busshellis and iij boggis of benys and a galon . . . xvjd.”
MS. Accounts St. John's Hospital, Canterbury.

BODGE [boj] (2) sb. An uncertain quantity, about a bushel or a bushel and a half.
“Just carry this bodge of corn to the stable.”

The lady I was talking to said, unprompted, that they were made by bodgers.
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