Monthly Archives: September 2013

Anniversary cheeseboard

This is what I really enjoy- making a custom Celtic design cheeseboard to celebrate a friends wedding anniversary.

She wanted something square, about 15 cm or so…that was my brief!

This was the finished article carved into the super-hard red slate.




I’m easily pleased!

After buying my Dremel, I purchased a couple of set of new burrs.


Mmmm…silicon carbide 🙂 Designed to grind, etch and carve stone (amongst other things). These tips are fantastic.

The red ones are aluminium oxide. They’re actually designed for metals, but I like the shape of the tip- good for detailing.


The other purchase which (sadly) got me excited was the discovery of chalk pencils! One of the main problems of working with slate had been trying to get my designs from paper onto the slate for carving. Chalk was too crumbly, but these are fab!

See- easily pleased!

Cheeseboards…trivets…patio placemats- new Celtic design items

DSC05962                           DSC05963

These were two of the first projects I made with the new Dremel.

The red slate was super hard, but the new carving tool and burrs made carving it slightly easier than it would have been with metal burrs and my old engraver.

In many restaurants and cafes, I have been served main dishes, cheese, etc on slate albeit plain with no designs. I started looking at prices on Amazon, eBay, local shops and was amazed how much people are being charged for what is, essentially, a new and unused roof slate.

Wanting to make new, practical and aesthetically pleasing items from what would otherwise end up in landfill had inspired me to start making these. The Celtic triskele knot is drawn by me, transferred to slate and carved into it. The slates are then washed, bleached, washed again and dried.

I know for a fact that some of the slates I’m using are over 150 years old. You can’t buy that on Amazon 😉

I sold two pieces within a day of making them, but I now have more in stock (and the Framing Gallery in Innerleithen also have some of my work for sale), so leave a comment if you would like to buy- thanks!

Come To Daddy!

After the demise of my trusty Wizard, I replaced it with this- behold the Dremel 3000!!!


Although it took a while to get used to the weight, balance and thickness in the hand, it’s proving to be a great choice. It has a wide range of running speeds- the top speed zips through most slate (with the appropriate burr). The bushings are also accessible and serviceable.

It’s noisy though!! As well as a face mask, I now wear ear plugs. Eh?!

Serpent and Z Rod Wall Plaque

This was the last slate plaque which I carved with the Electric Wizard back in 2013 (still a hobby back then and my lines were still a bit wobbly!).

This design comes from a Class I PIctish Stone called ‘The Brandsbutt Stone‘. It can be found in the middle of a modern housing estate in Inverurie in Aberdeenshire.

Although I never carved it into this slate, the actual stone has Ogham script on one side of the front face. This is unusual for Pictish stones. Ogham is a written script consisting of 20 letters. The Picts imported the script from Ireland. The writing on this stone reads ‘IRATADDOARENS’- thought to be the name of a local saint. It’s a tenuous link and the name sounds more like a tribe.


The lower symbol is referred to as a ‘Serpent and Z Rod’ (must have been up all night thinking of that name ;)). Does this symbol have a meaning? Well, I had always thought the Z rod represented a broken arrow or spear, whilst the snake was a symbol of medicine/healing. Protection from death in battle?

The top symbol is known as a ‘Crescent and V Rod’. The crescent- a lunar symbol? The V Rod- a broken arrow?

I make these wall plaques/garden stones/whatever you would like, I can also draw designs for you if you have something in mind.

RIP Electric Wizard

It’s okay! It’s not the demise/death of the classic stoner/doom metal band!



Nope- this was the demise of my Black n Decker Wizard tool. The one my Dad gave me. I guess it had served me well over the years, but the bushings had gone and it’s a completely unserviceable unit. Anti-tamper raised star bolts- ah well. 


Question is- do I just bin it, or have some sort of black mass burial in honour of it’s name?!!