are you a bodger?

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Bodgers, bögers, bötchers.

Postby Robin Fawcett » Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:05 am

I had it on good authority from a very sweet old gentleman last weekend that in Swedish or Scandinavian the word böger means a manufacturer or maker and bötcher means an un-doer or unmaker (as in butcher - an unmaker of animals). They're parts of the same verb.

Can any of our Swedish friends substantiate this theory ?
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Postby robin wood » Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:07 am

Twalsh341 wrote:Here in the US I've only heard the term in two locations one was on the tv show Junkyard Wars. The hayday was about 5 years ago. Several UK teams have been on the show, and some referred to the junkyard scrounging and creating as "bodging" and themselves "bodgers". From the usage and context I assume they see bodging as a craftsman who builds with locally found objects. My friends and I also used the term in a similar fashion in high school (we were on a F.I.R.S.T. robotics team). Thinking back we may have borrowed the term from Junkyard Wars, either way my friends and I have been using it unaware of its original meaning for quite some time.


The word has a widespread and long use as a slightly derogatory term for a person that does a rough patch or makes stuff up in new and innovative ways rather than doing a traditional fix, exactly what your junkyard folk were doing....botcher is the same word, it appears in Shakespeare so that term has 4 centuries of well recorded history at least. The woodturning "bodger" then is not "the original meaning" but a recent word with a very short history and originally very localised though now very widespread as many pole lathe turners today call themselves bodgers.
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Re: Bodgers, bögers, bötchers.

Postby robin wood » Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:15 am

Robin Fawcett wrote:I had it on good authority from a very sweet old gentleman last weekend that in Swedish or Scandinavian the word böger means a manufacturer or maker and bötcher means an un-doer or unmaker (as in butcher - an unmaker of animals). They're parts of the same verb.

Can any of our Swedish friends substantiate this theory ?


That sounds interesting Robin, surprising to have such a close word to the German Bottcher (cooper) meaning something so different, I would be interested to hear from any Swedes reading this.
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Postby Heinrich H » Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:13 pm

böger means books in southern scandinavia (Denmark and Skåne) and the other word are unfamiliar to me. Sounds like the german word for cooper.

This old gentleman, was he Swedish ? If so from which part ?
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Postby Robin Fawcett » Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:07 pm

No he was English but he spoke with such conviction and a knowledgeable air that I thought I must check it out.
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby forestdesigns » Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:49 pm

http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-bod1.htm


BODGER/ˈbɒdʒə/

An itinerant chair-leg turner.

This term was once common around the furniture-making town of High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, between London and Oxford. Bodgers were highly skilled itinerant wood-turners, who worked in the beech woods on the chalk hills of the Chilterns. They cut timber and converted it into chair legs by turning it on a pole lathe, an ancient and very simple tool that uses the spring of a bent sapling to help run it. Their equipment was so easy to move and set up that it was easier to go to the timber and work it there than to transport it to a workshop. The completed chair legs were sold to furniture factories to be married with other chair parts made in the workshop.

The word only appears at the end of the nineteenth century. There may be a link — through the idea of a itinerant person — with a much older sense of the word, for a travelling merchant or chapman. The Oxford English Dictionary finds examples of this meaning from the eighteenth century, but there’s a much earlier one from Holinshed’s Chronicles of 1577 (a major source for Shakespeare) in which William Harrison rails against bodgers who bought up supplies of wheat to sell abroad, leaving nothing for local people to make their bread with.

But that leaves us with another sense, the more common one (at least in Britain and Australia) of an incompetent mender of things, which Americans and some British people may prefer to see spelled botcher. In both spellings this comes from the Middle English bocchen, which had a sense of repairing or patching. It could be significant that in medieval times it was a neutral term that had no associations with doing a job badly. It’s possible that this old sense of the word survived in dialect or local usage, and evolved into the furniture bodger, while its meaning in the standard language changed.

Yet another sense of bodger is hinted at by a line in the Flanders and Swann song that mentioned the rhinoceros having a “bodger on his bonce”. Many people have written to say that they know a bodger as a pointed instrument for various purposes. For example Doug Dew wrote: “From my childhood in Surrey, I have a vague memory of the use of the word bodger to mean a blunt stick or tool used to make holes in the ground for seeds”. Alan Harrison added: “Bodge is certainly in use in Black Country dialect for poking or making a hole. I have heard my father use bodger of an instrument used to make holes, as for example when making an extra hole in a belt when the wearer has gained or lost weight”. Tony Chadwick, Professor of French at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, remembers the late Dr George Storey, co-editor of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English, applying bodger to one of those pointed sticks for picking up litter. Others have mentioned that it is the usual name for the tool used by scaffolders, which has a spanner/wrench at one end and a point at the other.

It seems extremely likely that this is a variant of podger, recorded from the nineteenth century in various engineering contexts. Indeed, several subscribers wrote to say that they knew of pointed instruments under this name. It is said to derived from podge or pudge for something short, fat or thick-set.
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby JonnyP » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:59 pm

Bodger is often used in the building industry, referring to a cowboy, or someone who does a bad job.. A bodge up..
I remember this term being used back in my childhood in the 70's..
When did bodgers become cowboys, or are there two definitions of the meaning..?
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby forestdesigns » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:38 pm

That indeed, is another word.

Main Entry:1botch
Pronunciation:\ˈbäch\
Function:noun
Etymology:Middle English boche, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *bottia boss
Date:14th century
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
: an inflammatory sore

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Main Entry:2botch
Function:transitive verb
Etymology:Middle English bocchen
Date:1530

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1: to foul up hopelessly often used with up
2: to put together in a makeshift way
— botch·er noun

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Main Entry:3botch
Function:noun
Date:1605

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1: something that is botched : mess
2: patchwork, hodgepodge
— botchy \ˈbä-chē\ adjective
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby forestdesigns » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:58 pm

Robin.
Perhaps this is the quote your friend was referring to.

If you start reading [Footnote 2: Market.] below, you´ll find it soon enough. ...because bodgers, loaders, and common carriers of corn...

here´s the link:
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1577 ... gland.html

Interesting. It´s ...very pre 20th century but has entirely another definition.


William Harrison (1534-1593):
Description Of Elizabethan England, 1577
(from Holinshed's Chronicles)


Chapter IV: Of Fairs And Markets
[1577, Book II., Chapter II; 1587, Book II., Chapter 18.]

There are (as I take it) few great towns in England that have not their weekly markets, one or more granted from the prince, in which all manner of provision for household is to be bought and sold, for ease and benefit of the country round about. Whereby, as it cometh to pass that no buyer shall make any great journey in the purveyance of his necessities, so no occupier shall have occasion to travel far off with his commodities, except it be to seek for the highest prices, which commonly are near unto great cities, where round 1 and speediest utterrance 2 is always to be had. And, as these have been in times past erected for the benefit of the realm, so are they in many places too, too much abused: for the relief and ease of the buyer is not so much intended in them as the benefit of the seller. Neither are the magistrates for the most part (as men loath to displease their neighbours for their one year's dignity) so careful in their offices as of right and duty they should be. For, in most of these markets, neither assizes of bread nor orders for goodness and sweetness of grain and other commodities that are brought thither to be sold are any whit looked unto, but each one suffered to sell or set up what and how himself listeth: and this is one evident cause of dearth and scarcity in time of great abundance.

[Footnote 1: Direct.]

[Footnote 2: Market.]

I could (if I would) exemplify in many, but I will touch no one particularly, sith it is rare to see in any country town (as I said) the assize of bread well kept according to the statute; and yet, if any country baker happen to come in among them on the market day with bread of better quantity, they find fault by-and-by with one thing or other in his stuff, whereby the honest poor man (whom the law of nations do commend, for that he endeavoureth to live by any lawful means) is driven away, and no more to come there, upon some round penalty, by virtue of their privileges. Howbeit, though they are so nice in the proportion of their bread, yet, in lieu of the same, there is such heady ale and beer in most of them as for the mightiness thereof among such as seek it out is commonly called "huffcap," "the mad dog," "Father Whoreson," "angels' food," "dragon's milk," "go-by-the-wall," "stride wide," and "lift leg," etc. And this is more to be noted, that when one of late fell by God's providence into a troubled conscience, after he had considered well of his reachless life and dangerous estate, another, thinking belike to change his colour and not his mind, carried him straight away to the strongest ale, as to the next physician. It is incredible to say how our maltbugs lug at this liquor, even as pigs should lie in a row lugging at their dame's teats, till they lie still again and be not able to wag. Neither did Romulus and Remus suck their she-wolf or shepherd's wife Lupa with such eager and sharp devotion as these men hale at "huffcap," till they be red as cocks and little wiser than their combs. But how am I fallen from the market into the ale-house? In returning therefore unto my purpose, I find that in corn great abuse is daily suffered, to the great prejudice of the town and country, especially the poor artificer and householder, which tilleth no land, but, labouring all the week to buy a bushel or two of grain on the market day, can there have none for his money: because bodgers, loaders, and common carriers of corn do not only buy up all, but give above the price, to be served of great quantities. Shall I go any further? Well, I will say yet a little more, and somewhat by mine own experience.

At Michaelmas time poor men must make money of their grain, that they may pay their rents. So long then as the poor man hath to sell, rich men bring out none, but rather buy up that which the poor bring, under pretence of seed corn or alteration of grain, although they bring none of their own, because one wheat often sown without change of seed will soon decay and be converted into darnel. For this cause therefore they must needs buy in the markets, though they be twenty miles off, and where they be not known, promising there, if they happen to be espied, (which, God wot, is very seldom), to send so much to their next market, to be performed I wot not when.

If this shift serve not (neither doth the fox use always one track for fear of a snare), they will compound with some one of the town where the market is holden, who for a pot of "huffcap" or "merry-go-down," will not let to buy it for them, and that in his own name. Or else they wage one poor man or other to become a bodger, and thereto get him a license upon some forged surmise, which being done, they will feed him with money to buy for them till he hath filled their lofts, and then, if he can do any good for himself, so it is; if not, they will give him somewhat for his pains at this time, and reserve him for another year. How many of the like providers stumble upon blind creeks at the sea coast, I wot not well; but that some have so done and yet do under other men's wings, the case is too, too plain. But who dare find fault with them, when they have once a license? yes, though it be but to serve a mean gentleman's house with corn, who hath cast up all his tillage, because he boasteth how he can buy his grain in the market better cheap than he can sow his land, as the rich grazier often doth also upon the like device, because grazing requireth a smaller household and less attendance and charge. If any man come to buy a bushel or two for his expenses unto the market cross, answer is made: "Forsooth, here was one even now that bade me money for it, and I hope he will have it." And to say the truth, these bodgers are fair chapmen; for there are no more words with them, but "Let me see it! What shall I give you? Knit it up! I will have it - go carry it to such a chamber, and if you bring in twenty seme 3 more in the week-day to such an inn or sollar 4 where I lay my corn, I will have it, and give you ( ) pence or more in every bushel for six weeks' day of payment than another will." Thus the bodgers bear away all, so that the poor artificer and labourer cannot make his provision in the markets, sith they will hardly nowadays sell by the bushel, nor break their measure; and so much the rather for that the buyer will look (as they say) for so much over measure in the bushel as the bodger will do in a quarter. Nay, the poor man cannot oft get any of the farmer at home, because he provideth altogether to serve the bodger, or hath an hope, grounded upon a greedy and insatiable desire of gain, that the sale will be better in the market, so that he must give twopence or a groat more in the bushel at his house than the last market craved, or else go without it, and sleep with a hungry belly. Of the common carriage of corn over unto the parts beyond the seas I speak not; or at the leastwise, if I should, I could not touch it alone, but needs must join other provision withal, whereby not only our friends abroad, but also many of our adversaries and countrymen, the papists, are abundantly relieved (as the report goeth); but sith I see it not, I will not so trust mine ears as to write it for a truth. But to return to our markets again.
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Re: Bodgers, bögers, bötchers.

Postby forestwalker » Wed Mar 24, 2010 5:10 pm

Robin Fawcett wrote:I had it on good authority from a very sweet old gentleman last weekend that in Swedish or Scandinavian the word böger means a manufacturer or maker and bötcher means an un-doer or unmaker (as in butcher - an unmaker of animals). They're parts of the same verb.

Can any of our Swedish friends substantiate this theory ?


On my screen it looks like "b<garble>ger", could you describe the letter that is garbled? Is it a with two dots, an o with two dots, or an a with a ring above it? If it was Danish instead it could also be an o with a slash though it.
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby Robin Fawcett » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:21 am

Yes I've seen the garbled spelling and can't understand what's happened there.
Also madly I can't remember what the garbled bits were! (Memory going mad in old age)

I had a look at Bodging on Wiki the other day and they suggest that the word may be a corruption of Beech -er or Birch -er both woods that would have been commonly worked.

We were out and about this morning walking the dog, shopping etc and intermittently listening to the radio. There was an interesting phone-in show on Radio London about Crafts and when we got home I thought "I'll have some of that" and gave them a ring. You can listen to my 3 minutes between 2.14.00 and 2.17.30.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p006xrpy/Robert_Elms_23_03_2010/
Unfortunately I went into motormouth mode and rambled on a bit. I was going to get a plug for my website and mention the work of The Heritage Craft Association but got sort of cut off in mid flow.
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Re:

Postby robin wood » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:11 pm

robin wood wrote:
robin wood wrote:So here are some challenges....

1 Can anyone find me a 19th century quote with the word bodger?
2 can anyone find me a use of the word recorded more than 30 miles from High Wycombe?


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 to either (the bodger has to refer to a woodworker not a botcher or badly done job) and for 2 it has to be say pre 1960 I know there are plenty of references to "bodgers" all over the country now.

The more time goes on the more strength I feel there is in the assertion that "bodger" applied to a woodworker is

1 very recent, ie early 20th C
2 very geographically isolated ie 30 miles or less around Wycombe and
3 only ever applied to a few dozen craftsmen who worked in that place at that time.

In view of this why are we posting on the "Bodgers" forum, reading the "Bodgers gazzette" and going to the "Bodgers' ball"?

I think its time to stop bodging and start green woodworking.
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby Ian S » Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:49 pm

robin wood wrote:I think its time to stop bodging and start green woodworking.


I have to agree....
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Re: Re:

Postby gavin » Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:57 pm

robin wood wrote:

... why are we posting on the "Bodgers" forum, reading the "Bodgers gazzette" and going to the "Bodgers' ball"?


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.
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Re: are you a bodger?

Postby forestdesigns » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:04 pm

I for one have never bodged, but have worked on greenwood. It took me so long to find this forum in the first place because I´ve no interest in specializing as a chair leg turner.

So my answer to the original question "are you a bodger?" is a big NO! (notice the capital letters & exclamation mark)


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:
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