Crate making

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Re: Crate making

Postby gavin » Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:02 pm

Alan wrote:Hi Mike,
Sorry, but when I eventually found how to get into PM's I only found the date and time from you but no message. I am a bit of a novice at this so you will need to help me with instructions.
Alan

Stick with it Alan. It is worth the pain of being a novice once you finally get it all to work. If you persevere, we'll all profit. :D
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Re: Crate making

Postby Alan » Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:11 pm

On 19th Oct 2010 Monkeeboy posted some photographs that I have shown to Harold Locker. He is not sure where the first was taken of the hay rick type pile of withies. Of the two men looking at a crate, the man in the apron was Sam Birks the union representative. He worked at Shenton's crate yard in Brocksford Street, Fenton. He thinks the other man is Mr Shenton who also had another crate yard in High Street (present Uttoxeter Road) Longton. The four men in the next photograph he did not know but pointed to the crate to their right and stated that it was a 'pegged' crate. He is not sure of the last photograph but mentions that the man is shaping a slote, but where are the heads to be jointed? Ans., he is posing.
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Re: Crate making

Postby Alan » Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:21 pm

Regarding the photographs of the crate in Don Carpentier's collection in New York, Harold Locker does not remembe anyone talking about a crate with 16 staves - also bottom withes werre not put on crates when he started in 1946. He did make crates with bottom withes. He notes that this crate has 3 thick staves together and suggests that the maker has used 'splicers'. He was very pleased to see this picture. Also, Alder would not be favoured for crate heading.

Alan.
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Re: Crate making

Postby Alan » Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:33 pm

Graham Mead mentioned a video that he had seen some 16 years earlier and was going to try to find it again. This is the same video that I mentioned earlier and it has been put on DVD but I am waiting for a better copy off the original film.

Monkeeboy, who posted the photographs from the US reckons the guy who sent them knows of commissioned crates in their museum. Harold Locker say that he was the person who made the crates. To keep the shipping costs down, one crate was made to fit inside the other. Also, when the crates were being tied, his boss gave him a hand and he tied off on the outside, whereas Harold tied off on the inside. He remembers mentioning the fact and wondering if anyone would notice. Harold is the same person who made the crate for the Gladsone Pottery Museum in Longton and there are some miniture versions there also that he created..

Alan.
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Re: Crate making

Postby monkeeboy » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:31 am

Brilliant Alan.

I am really looking forward to meeting Harold.

Please keep us posted.
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Re: Crate making

Postby Alan » Sat Dec 21, 2013 8:28 pm

Ay up everyone,
Just to let you all know that I have managed to locate a set of crate maker's tools at the Potteries Museum at Hanley but there are one or two items that seem to be missing. Never mind though because Harold Locker still has most of his old tools knocking about and can fill in the blanks.
I have tracked down Peter Bloor and seen a copy of the book he wrote on the subject in 1961. It was never published. With a bit of encouragement, he has added new information that has come to light via this forum, discussions with Harold and myself. He hopes to have copies out for the middle of January.
And now a request. Has anyone heard of a guy named Garry Draker? He is suspected of being a hurdle maker back in the year 2000. I have no more details than that. Harold was commissioned to make a crate at the Gladston Museum that year and a metal chimney was made to heat the rods. It is rumoured that Garry bought the chimney and now, if it is still about, the museum are talking of the possiblility of having it back for demonstation purposes. Just ideas at the moment but let's find Garry first.
So, good luck to everyone for the festive season.
May the Green Man be with you.
Ta ra,

Alan
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Re: Crate making

Postby Alan » Sat Dec 21, 2013 8:47 pm

Ay up everyone,
Just to let you all know that I have managed to locate a set of crate maker's tools at the Potteries Museum at Hanley but there are one or two items that seem to be missing. Never mind though because Harold Locker still has most of his old tools knocking about and can fill in the blanks.
I have tracked down Peter Bloor and seen a copy of the book he wrote on the subject in 1961. It was never published. With a bit of encouragement, he has added new information that has come to light via this forum, discussions with Harold and myself. He hopes to have copies out for the middle of January.
And now a request. Has anyone heard of a guy named Garry Draker? He is suspected of being a hurdle maker back in the year 2000. I have no more details than that. Harold was commissioned to make a crate at the Gladston Museum that year and a metal chimney was made to heat the rods. It is rumoured that Garry bought the chimney and now, if it is still about, the museum are talking of the possiblility of having it back for demonstation purposes. Just ideas at the moment but let's find Garry first.
So, good luck to everyone for the festive season.
May the Green Man be with you.
Ta ra,

Alan
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Re: Crate making

Postby R Peter » Sun Jun 08, 2014 11:35 pm

I have been coaxed out of the woodwork and the aforementioned book was launched in January 2014. The title is "The Cratemaker" (ISBN 978-1-63068-249-1 is A4 format and has 100 pages of text and photographs. The cover price is £16.95 and is available from me direct, or from bookshops and museums in Stoke on Trent or from Amazon.co.uk. The book is the only detailed account ever written of a now extinct craft.

For 200 years the pottery crate was the container of choice to safely transport ware across the globe. The rural craft of crate making developed after the pack horse era and continued until the mid 1970's. My original research was carried out way back in 1961 when about 22 crate men were still in existence, but the craft was in rapid decline. David Barker, the man I studied at his workshop in Longport in 1961, retired in 1967 and the yard and workshops were razed to the ground. In the 1920's there were about 500 crate makers working in yards across North Staffordshire with a combined total capacity to make in excess of 15,000 crates per week. In spite of these vast numbers of crates being made in earlier times, a recent search by me and others, had failed to find a remaining example in this country. We believe a small display crate is held in a museum in Liverpool and I have a one eighth scale model which I constructed in 1961. The last commercial pottery crate was made in about 1975 by Harold Locker at Sam Warren's crate-yard in Longton. Harold, at 82 years of age, still works there making rustic garden furniture. In December 1913, Harold kindly read my original script and was suitably impressed. He added further snippets of information, all of which I have included in my book.

Two weeks ago Monkeeboy came down from Manchester to Harold's workshop loaded up with materials and hoping to make a crate with Harold's assistance, but unfortunately the materials were not green enough and could not be worked. The project is abandoned for now, but another attempt is planned for early next year, when Monkeeboy should have a good supply of freshly coppiced green hazel and Harold lights his crateshop fire for the first time in 40 years. (The prepared green/soaked rods are placed up the chimney for 20 minutes to make them even more pliable and assist the process of writhing and withing the withies and wounties).

I also met Monkeeboy last weekend when we shared a stand at Etruria Canal Festival. He was demonstrating wooden spoon making and had brought along his first attempt at making a crate and other items for sale and I was alongside selling copies of my book.

R Peter

rpbloor@hotmail.co.uk
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Re: Crate making

Postby Billman » Fri Jul 11, 2014 5:22 pm

Found on line...

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Re: Crate making

Postby Billman » Fri Jul 11, 2014 5:26 pm

Apple crates from New Mexico...

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Re: Crate making

Postby ToneWood » Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:35 pm

R Peter wrote:I have been coaxed out of the woodwork and the aforementioned book was launched in January 2014. The title is "The Cratemaker" (ISBN 978-1-63068-249-1 is A4 format and has 100 pages of text and photographs. The cover price is £16.95 and is available from me direct, or from bookshops and museums in Stoke on Trent or from Amazon.co.uk. The book is the only detailed account ever written of a now extinct craft....

Here it is:
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The Cratemaker [Paperback] by R.P. Bloor
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