Hand Tool Headlines
The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator
Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes
Today, birds and birds. This first one in American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) – is going to get painted on the outside, then carved through the paint.
This tiny one, split out with the guidance of Dave Fisher, is birch – I forget which one. No paint, just carved today. Some spoons getting finished up in preparation for this weekend’s Lie-Nielsen workshop – full this time. More spoon carving classes to be announced through Plymouth CRAFT soon.
Then, some photos plucked off the card. Down river:
Red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus ) I assume juvenile male turning to adult. The female doesn’t usually show the red, I believe.
yellow warbler. (Setophaga petechia) they are quieter now than in the spring, so I just happened to notice this one skulking around.
I pretend I exist in a bubble or cocoon. Each day I’m at home, I get up & have breakfast with the family, and then make my way out the back door to the workshop. Open up the windows to let in the sounds of the birds, check the river – tide in or out? Coming or going? And then sort the day’s projects – am I cutting these mortises, carving which pieces – most of my concerns are about really great quality oak, sharp tools, and learning from studies of period pieces…
And it goes like that day in & day out. Which hatchet? Are these bowls dry enough for the next step? Ah, I figured out what design to carve for that panel. Then, time to clean up the place and re-set the bench…
All the ordinary stuff is an intrusion – have to go to the dump, the bank, did I pay the bills? I just want to get back to work in the shop. All of that is just like the rest of us.
Every so often, I traipse out into the world to teach a workshop, deliver a lecture/demonstration – that sort of thing. And those audiences are pre-disposed to receive what I have to give. An interest in woodworking, furniture history, spoon carving – they’re already converts. But I know although we have woodworking interests in common, there can and will be things we don’t have in common. And that’s usually fine with me. I can get past a lot of stuff, and concentrate on our shared interests. And it has always been a great kick for me to come together with people I might otherwise not connect to…
This year, it’s been tricky, with the political climate in America and the world. I have specifically stated in many of my classes – “No politics, please.” Just to avoid the issue. Trying to be polite…and it has worked thus far.
Like I said, I can get past a lot of stuff. But…not racism. Not Nazis marching in the streets of 21st-century America. That shit doesn’t fly. Everyone should be against that…none of this “many sides” crap.
So…in the hopefully unlikely event that some of my readers are sympathetic with the KKK, Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, etc that were on display down in Charlottesville this past weekend, – if that’s you – please un-subscribe to my blog. Please stop following me on Instagram, FB…please don’t come to my classes. Please don’t buy my book, videos, spoons, etc.
I want nothing to do with racists.
Back to oak now.
For the past week or more, I have been watching various posts about the goings-on in Edale, Derbyshire – the 6th annual Spoonfest. https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/spoonfest/ I was lucky enough to attend last year, and it was a real highlight being there. Spoonfest, put on by Robin Wood and Barn the Spoon and their cadre of interns, volunteers and friends – is the inspiration and model for Greenwood Fest that I help with at Plymouth CRAFT.
so I’ve been thinking a lot about (& carving some) spoons lately. When I teach classes in it, I like to bring along spoons I’ve collected from friends and other carvers for inspiration. I didn’t get too many this year at Greenwood Fest – couldn’t keep up with the shoppers. But a week or so ago, I was at my desk when the email came in about JoJo Wood’s shop update. I didn’t bother scrolling through all the spoons – they could be sold by the time I did that. I found one I liked & ordered it. Got it! The little dipper carved in the handle…
Here’s JoJo’s –
And one I got this spring from Jögge Sundqvist.
Students always ask about where do you get this or that tool, and other references, resources etc for spoon carving. I have compiled a list, nowhere near comprehensive – of links and more that I can recommend. There are other sources out there, but I can’t keep up with them. I’ve given up trying. Formerly, I had posts about tool sources that included Country Workshops – Drew Langsner has now retired, and their tool-selling action is mostly going to be taken up through the Maine Coast Craft School…see below.
The Spoon, the Bowl & the Knife, Wille Sundqvist film. DVD.
Carving Wooden Spoons with Peter Follansbee, Lie-Nielsen DVD.
Jarrod Dahl, The Art of Spoon Carving, Popular Woodworking DVD
Jögge Sundqvist, Carving Swedish Woodenware, Taunton Press DVD, 1988
Wille Sundqvist, Swedish Carving Techniques, Taunton Press.
Barn Carder, aka Barn the Spoon, Spon – a Guide to Spoon Carving and the New Wood Culture.
Coming 2017, Jögge Sundqvist, Slojd in Wood – Lost Art Press
Del & Mary Stubbs, knives, etc. http://pinewoodforge.com/
Hans Karlsson & Svante Djarv tools: axes, knives, etc – through Maine Coast Craft School – http://www.mainecoastcraft.com/soon—tool-sales.html
UK seller for HK tools – http://woodsmithexperience.co.uk/shop/category/hans-karlsson-tools/
Same for Svante Djarv – http://woodsmithexperience.co.uk/shop/category/svante-djarv/
Robin Wood’s spoon carving tools – http://wood-tools.co.uk/
Hans Karlsson website – http://www.klensmide.se/
Nic Westermann, blacksmith; knives, hatchets etc. – http://nicwestermann.co.uk
Jason Lonon -toolmaker http://www.jasonlonon.com/toolmakg.html
Reid Schwartz toolmaker http://www.reidschwartz.net/shop/
I didn’t shoot the whole process of making the crest rail for the bedstead. But at the nearly-last minute I thought to get out the camera. The crest is a separate piece, sitting atop the integral top rail of the headboard.
I carved the design first. Then used a small bowsaw/turning saw to cut out the profile. I shot a couple photos during the clean-up of the sawn shape. The outline I cut with the V-tool as part of the carving. Then sawed pretty close to that.
I used whatever I could get in there with to smooth off the sawn bits and bring the profile to its final shape. A couple of spokeshaves, chisels and even a bent gouge.
Here it is test-fitted. The crest rail is 56″ long and 7″ high at the center.
And a detail:
I chopped two mortises in both the top rail and the crest rail, for floating tenons to help align and secure them. Part of the inspiration for it is the crest of a wainscot chair I have made a few times. I assembled the most recent version of this chair back in April, https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/wainscot-chair-assembly/
I doubt (well, am damn-near dead certain) that the original chair(s) had no floating tenon between the top rail and crest. I have made and lost some crests by using the typical period construction (nails and sometimes a wooden pin between the parts) – so for the bedstead I have used what you see pictured in the chair photo here.
I keep showing up on the second-hand market! I started making furniture between 1978-80. That’s closing in on 40 years…which is a lot of furniture. During the past few years, I have heard of/seen a number of chairs I made showing up in antique/collectibles shops, auctions, and even one at…well, you’ll see. Here’s a couple examples –
This continuous arm settee I made back in 1992. A friend bought it not too many years ago, along with a windsor rocking chair, in a house-moving/divorce sale (I think). I wish I had known, I’d love to have this settee – I doubt I could make it again…but I know it’s appreciated where it now resides.
This next one I did buy, and sold again. I had it in my shop for years, a fellow called me up one day asking if he could buy it & he did. Then a couple years later, another friend called me to say one of my carved chairs was in an auction in Maine. I eventually got it through the auction, and called a couple who has collected several of my carved pieces. I offered them this chair at a reduced price, and they said they’d love to, but were out of room. An hour later, they called back & said they made space.wainscot chair
Another wainscot had a slightly sad story to it. I made it at the museum as an award (I was the awards department for quite a while) – for our former co-worker Karin Goldstein. Sadly, Karin died quite young, from cancer. Just shy of 50 maybe. When she died, she had no local family, and some of her stuff ended up in a local shop. Another friend saw this, called to confirm it was my work, and ended up buying it for his wife, a good friend of ours, and of Karin’s. So a semi-happy ending.
This week I got a note from another friend who found a chair “made by the guy at Plimoth Plantation” – well, sort of. I was there for 20 years, but I made this chair well before that – I’d say late 1980s, maybe into 1990/91. She got it for $45. Even I could afford that!
The last one in this batch has the best story. Found at the swap shop in the Hingham, Massachusetts town dump! $5.00. A friend got it after some tussling with other dump-shoppers, and gave it to us.
I made a lot of chairs, but way more carved boxes – where are my carved boxes? Maybe they’ll be out on the 2nd-hand market in a few more years…
I’ve been working on oak furniture lately, but here’s a few spoons I have either finished, or just re-photographed. Back in May I finally took a plunge with my spoon-decoration. Being inspired by a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts’ Greek pottery galleries; I decided to use my furniture-carving ideas on a small scale – the spoon handles. Not too small a scale, some of these spoons are the largest I have made in ages.
The minute I struck the gouges on the first one – I knew I was headed in a new direction spoon-wise. Funny after all these years to branch out a bit…
Almost all are cherry crooks. There’s a few crooks left out there, waiting for me to get at ’em…
If you’d like to order a spoon, leave a comment and we can use paypal for payment and shipping arrangements. Prices include shipping in US – further afield, there will be additional charges.
thanks for your support. Back to oak now….
July spoon #1, large cherry crook
L: 15 3/8″ W: 3 3/4″
$165 includes shipping in US.
July spoon 02, large cherry crook
L: 13″ W: 4″
$165 includes shipping in US.
July spoon, large cherry crook #3
L: 13″ W: 3 1/2″
$150 includes shipping in US
July spoon #04
L: 9 3/4″ W: 3″
$135 includes shipping in US
July spoon 05 SOLD
L: 11 1/2″ W: 3″
$135 includes shipping in US
July spoon 06, birch; one of my typically weird-shaped spoons. I often find these sweeping, curving crooks and insist there’s a spoon in them. There is, but…it’s an unusual spoon.
L: 11 1/4″ W: 3″
$120 includes shipping in US
July spoon 07; SOLD
cherry crook from sapwood. Back to a smaller scale.
L: 7 1/2″ W: 1 3/4″
$70 includes shipping in US
July spoon 08; SOLD
cherry; radially-split cooking spoon.
L: 10 1/4″ W: 3″
$85 includes shipping in US
The bedstead’s headboard is moving along. Once I had the first free-hand panel carved, it was easy to carve the 2nd one. After marking out the margins and a vertical centerline, I used a compass to take a few markers – here noting where the S-scrolls at the bottom corner hit the vertical margins.
Then I chalked in a rough outline for that shape. This panel, like many from this grouping (and all 4 in this headboard) have a stylized urn at the bottom center of the panel. That shape I marked out with a square & awl to locate its top & bottom, and marked its width from the vertical centerline. The S-scrolls then fit between the urn and the bottom corner/margin.
My camera-boy (Daniel, 11 yrs old) came by & used the Ipad to shoot some Instragram stuff…here’s some leftovers. Carving this bottom corner S-scroll, in two snippets. (home-video caliber – no edits, shaky, etc – but worth a look.)
there are related S-scrolls across the top section of the panel. These reach from the corners to the vertical centerline. These top and bottom sections are the first things I block in with the V-tool.
then comes the stuff between. I sketch the vein in the larger leaf, it reaches from the centerline to the margin.
Then I carry on, doing first one side, then the other.
The whole thing is about filling in the spaces, and in this case, blending one shape to lay against another.
Here’s the V-tool outline almost all done.
Next I take a #5 gouge, in this case about 1″ wide or slightly less, and chop out between the V-tool lines, to begin removing the background.
Some beveling, some shaping. With a narrow #5.
People ask about the background punch. Mild steel, filed to leave these pyramidal points.
accents with a few #7 gouges.
And a narrow chisel. Bevel towards the waste when chopping like this.
Then pare down to the chopped mark.
Bevel the back, first with a hatchet.
Then 2 planes. Feather down to nothing.
Here’s the headboard thus far. There will be plain panels below this, and a carved crest rail above. And of course, two vertical posts.
I have several days, even weeks maybe, to work on oak furniture now. Some carving yesterday & this morning. here’s a quick photo tour of cutting one lozenge/diamond shape, with tulips in it.
After laying out a diamond shape on horizontal & vertical centerlines, I strike an inner diamond with a small gouge, approximately a #7 sweep. Maybe it’s a 1/4″ wide. Just connect the dots, hitting the vertical & horizontal centerlines with the corners of the gouge.
Then I use the same gouge to “echo” this making an outline around it, these do not connect.
A more deeply curved gouge now comes off these outlines, beginning to form the undersides of the flowers.
Then the same gouge reverses, making an “S”-curve going out to the border. Or just about out to the border…
When you repeat this step on all four quadrants, your negative shape becomes quite prominent – it reminds me of those Goldfish snacks small children eat –
Now a larger gouge, approximately a #8 – reverses again, forming the tops of the lower flower petals.
Then a #7 about 3/4″ wide does more connect-the-dots – reaching from where I left off to the borders. that’s the whole outline. This one is quite small, the piece of wood is 6″ wide, and there’s a 3/4″ margin on both edges. You can use the same pattern on a panel, then some of this outline is cut with a v-tool instead of struck with the gouges.
Then I cut out the background. In this case, it was tight quarters in there, so I used a couple different tools, depending on where I had to get..
The end result. about 15 minutes of carving for the lozenge/diamond. This is going to be one of three muntins for the footboard of a bedstead I’m making.
Here’s the top rail I started back at the Lie-Nielsen Open House…they always show up better once they’re oiled.
Yesterday I started painting a desk box I have underway; but found out I was out of red pigment (iron oxide) – ordered some, and did the black for starters.
For a number of reasons, I was looking through some photo files here tonight. During the past year I have had a couple of chances to revisit some old favorite piece of oak furniture, and saw a couple related fragments for the first time. There is a group of chests and boxes made in Dedham and Medfield, Massachusetts during the 17th century. Years ago they were the focus of a study by Robert St. George, culminating in his article “Style and Structure in the Joinery of Dedham and Medfield, Massachusetts, 1635-1685” Winterthur Portfolio; vol. 13, American Furniture and Its Makers (1979), pp. 1-46. You can join JSTOR and read it here – https://www.jstor.org/stable/1180600?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
But like all oak of the period, our friend Robert Trent was all over them too – thus several examples were featured in the exhibition New England Begins at the Museum of Fine Arts too. (Boy, did that set come down in price – https://www.amazon.com/New-England-Begins-Seventeenth-Century/dp/0878462104 -If you don’t have it, and you like the furniture and decorative arts of the period, get it. Used to be way more than $90…)
This chest is in a private collection, I had it years ago to make a new oak lid for it. Typical for this group, 3 carved panels, moldings on the framing parts. Not great work, but real nice. Black paint in the backgrounds, originally bright red on the oak, dyed with logwood or brazilwood dye.
This one was made for the Fairbanks house in Dedham, was illustrated in a late 19th/early 20th century article about that house. For many years it was MIA – then the Fairbanks Family was able to buy it at auction either late 1990s or early 2000s…I forget which. Has the only oddball center panel. (see the detail, top of the blog post) Refinished.
A reader sent me these photos once, shot at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY. These boxes are often pretty tall – maybe 9″ high. Pine lids and bottom, oak box. I made a copy of this one for a descendant of one of the joiners credited with this work, John Thurston of Dedham and elsewhere.
Now it gets really wiggy. I cropped this shot from an overall of a chest in a museum collection. Notice the panels on the left & right. They look good, right?
Here’s one – then compare it to its cousin below…
The other. Amazing what your eyes & brain can tolerate and still accept as a repeating pattern. I’ve carved this design a lot, and I can carve a panel about 10″ x 14″ or so in under an hour. I bet this guy was flying right along. Or old and infirm. Or somehow incapacitated, or compromised. Or something. Notice too the holes in the corners where I presume the panel was nailed down to hold it still for carving. I nail mine to a back board, and fasten that to the bench with holdfasts. That way I don’t have to move the holdfasts – they’re out of the way.
A related, but dead-simple version. Why all that blank margin? No applied molding, the framing is beveled around the panel. Ahh, everyone who knows why is dead.
These next two are the lynch pins for the attribution to John Houghton, joiner. These are fragments from a meetinghouse in Medfield from 1655/6. The town records cite a payment made to Houghton for work on the desk, a table and more. The “deske” in the records is the pulpit. These panels are believed to be part of that pulpit. This panel is about 6 5/8″ x 14″.
a detail of the rectangular panel.
This diamond-shaped panel is nailed to a piece of oak that looks like some framing stock – but it tapers in width. Tradition says that these pieces were saved when the 1655/6 meeting house was demolished in 1706.
One more – this one’s in Nutting’s books, now at Wadsworth Atheneum. “Refreshed” paint, or completely re-painted. I forget which. Really nicely carved.
I am working on another desk box; an oak box with a slanted lid. Mainly I need this for the photos, for an article in the works. The annoying part is that the photos I needed to shoot were the slots/dadoes/what-have-yous on the inside faces of the box’s end boards. But…I don’t like to do the carving after cutting voids into the board. So first, I had to carve them.
This time, I made up the design, drawing from my research (and others’) into the varied carvings coming out of Devon, England. The same style appeared in Ipswich, Massachusetts during the last 3rd of the 17th century. I carve this stuff more than any other grouping, mostly because of its variety. Once you learn the “vocabulary” it’s easy to make up designs willy-nilly.
The desk box ends are weird shapes though. Took a little sketching with some chalk, and some wiping away with a damp cloth – but I got something I like. So then the front board is simple enough – a plain ol’ rectangle. There are three boxes from Devon that seem to be the same carver, or the same general pattern anyway. One of these I photographed back when I worked at Plimoth Plantation, the other two are from a website I subscribe to, Marhamchurch Antiques – http://www.marhamchurchantiques.com/ Paul Fitzsimmons there is a magnet for this Devon/Exeter oak furniture.
I’m going to carve the box front at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on Sunday July 9. from noon to 3pm. I’ll be demonstrating the carving, and some joinery and other oak-y stuff. http://www.mfa.org/programs/gallery-activities-and-tours/early-american-furniture-carving
Here are a few details from the Devon boxes that were the inspiration for my sketch – (the first two from Marhamchurch Antiques, thanks Paul, the 3rd is my photo).
This one had a later escutcheon on it, covering up the pattern. I took it off, so we could see the shape. At that time, I had never seen the previous two.
But before I go to Boston to work on Sunday, I’m off to Maine for the Open House at Lie-Nielsen Friday & Saturday. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/hand-tool-events/USA/146
These events are legendary; the lineup this summer is killer. I try to do this show every July…it’s like old home week, seeing all my friends from the hand-tool circus. I guess I was there last summer – found my picture on their Facebook page –
This time I’ll mostly be carving oak for a bedstead I’m working on. But I have a talk on Saturday about green woodworking, so I’ll do some spoon carving too. See you there I hope.
I spent some time yesterday hewing and carving out a bowl from a too-large-for-a-spoon crook. Cherry. It was great fun, so now it will dry and perhaps I’ll even finish this one. I dug out another that is now dried, and worked that along a bit too. I have collected a range of bowl-carving gouges, and recently I re-purposed an unfinished box with a drawer to house them.
The box is from a few years ago, and involves much conjecture. Not my favorite way to build furniture. Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera). It’s about 8″ high, 10″ wide and 15″ long.
Here is the sliding lid slud back a bit…
Inside this section is a cross-piece with slots to fit individual gouges. this piece is just friction-fit into the box right now.
Here you see there are two end boards nearest the camera – the carved one slides upward to access the drawer below the box compartment. It has a tongue/rabbet at its back face – riding in a slot cut on the inside faces of the box sides. A little hollow gouged out gives a place to grab it to lift it up.
here is that piece removed, showing the bottom of the box compartment, and the drawer below.
Now a view showing the gouges in the box and those underneath in the drawer. No divider in the drawer. (yet, or maybe never)
requisite drawer detail.
Unfinished chip carving. it’s all over the box…some finished, some not.
someone will have fun when I’m long gone trying to figure out what happened here. Why was this box not finished, but it looks like it was used…
If I get to make another of these sort of boxes, I’d like to see an original first. One thing I’d change is I’d plane the stock just a bit thinner. This is 3/4″ standard issue boards – I’d aim for 5/8″ thick. this seems clunky. Part of why I gave up on it. But it makes a nice place to keep the bowl gouges…
Shaving horses are in the wind it seems. On the wind, maybe. That’s how Jennie Alexander used to refer to her book Make a Chair from a Tree. “The chair was in the wind…” meaning if she didn’t write the book, someone was going to.
The wind is carrying shaving horse ideas a bit lately. A year or so ago, I shot a video with Lie-Nielsen on making my (simple) shaving horse. To be released sometime in the semi-near future.An old one of me & Daniel shaving white cedar
Recently, Tim Manney had an excellent shaving horse article in Fine Woodworking, accompanied by Curtis Buchanan’s piece on how to use one. It makes me want to build a new shaving horse! Tim’s also selling detailed plans for building his, http://timmanneychairmaker.blogspot.com/2017/05/shaving-horse-plans.html
Sean Hellman, a green woodworker over in the UK, has a new book out about shaving horses, Shaving Horses, Lap Shaves and other Woodland Vices: A Book of Plans and Techniques for the Green Woodworker.
Plymouth CRAFT ordered a few copies of Sean’s book to sell at Greenwood Fest, but they arrived the day the Fest ended. They are up on the website now, so for US orders it’s an easy way to get Sean’s book. It’s 130 pages, showing a multitude of different shaving horse designs; the dumbhead style, English style, spoon mules, and methods of use, some riving brakes, and other “woodland vices.” Large format, 8 1/4” x 11 3/4”.
Here’s the link to Plymouth CRAFT’s shop, selling a few odds and ends leftover from the Fest. https://www.plymouthcraft.org/online-store
I had this foolish notion that at some point, my new workshop would be all organized and tidy. Presentable. Then I was going to photograph it and post a tour of the shop here on the blog. But…it keeps gathering junk in piles, only to be cleaned up so I could work – and make another mess. I guess that means my shop is “done” as much as it’s going to get. I did write a short piece in Popular Woodworking about it – but here is a short glimpse of what it looks like these days.
Might as well start at the beginning. here’s the view to the door:
Looking through the door, into the room. The carving over the door is a place-holder. there’s a new one coming.
The main workbench. 8′ long. shelves underneath for large planes, boxes of tools like chalkline, hammers, mallets, bench hook and other bench accessories. Racks in the window for marking gauges, awls, chisels, squares – etc.
Same view, but extended to the left – showing the neglected lathe. More later on that.
Looking back toward the door – showing my version of Chris Schwarz’ tool chest. I couldn’t bear to paint it a solid color…small shelves wedged between the braces and corner posts. Auger bits, sharpening stuff, other odds n ends.
Here is that corner straight on – spoon knives and scratch stocks in boxes… random junk sitting on ledges til I figure it out. Could be years…
The view into the corner beyond the workbench. Cabinet for hatchets, chopping block below.
Patterns and story sticks. they’re everywhere.
I’ve taken this picture many times – it’s just beyond my workbench, the cabinet that houses the hatchets. Recycled wall paneling for the doors.
Inside the cabinet – hatchets, adze, twca cam in 2 sizes –
Like I said, the lathe has had little attention. The current plan is to make a set of shorter beds for it. Right now I can turn a 48″ chair post, but most of my turnings are under 32″ – so I’ll store these beds, make shorter ones, and save a bit of space. Right now, it is a place to pile stuff out of the way. Well, it’s not really out of the way. It’s just a mess. Books and notes to the left.
The old Ulmia workbench is not much better off than the lathe. There’s a shaving horse stuck behind the bedstead-in-progress. The oak desk box will go out of here soon. The baskets too. this junk-gathering place at least changes a lot, unlike the lathe.
that’s it mostly. A stove just after the Ulmia bench. A 12′ x 16′ building doesn’t require a lengthy tour…there is the loft, but I’m not going up there right now. It’s a rabbit hole…
Over two months ago, I lost my everyday knife. I looked everywhere and came up empty. I decided it either broke off the strap, and fell, or got dropped into a bag of shavings & went the way of all things. I have lots of slojd knives – so I could keep carving spoons without any discomfort. But usually I like wearing one for everyday use. I finally gave up looking, and ordered some new blades. I tried to be positive about it, thinking maybe someone found what would become a really good knife for them.before it was lost
I had the blade since about 1992, it was on its 2nd handle. (I split the first one using the knife like a little froe). When I replaced the handle, I made the sheath. That was about 12 years ago. A friend at the museum made the leather work. Once the new blades arrived, I made a new knife and sheath. It was OK, but not the same. This one, I tried my hand at the leather, but for one thing my model was gone! Here I am boring out the blank for the handle, to fit the knife’s tang.
Paring the new handle.
here is the end result, works fine. But doesn’t feel right one way or another. The leather I used was too thick for one thing, so it didn’t conform quite as well as I wished. Handle is the only piece of boxwood I had. Why did I try that?
Here’s the knife out of the sheath. It works, I was carving spoons yesterday with it. Clicks into the sheath like it’s supposed to do. I was thinking I’d do it over at some point, but things are getting busy around here right about now.
Today I was sorting & cleaning inside & out. In the shop, it came time to climb up & hang this year’s Greenwood Fest poster. I’m not a huge poster fan, but Greenwood Fest is a pretty special affair for me, so up it went. Right above last year’s version. While I was there, I grabbed that basket for the tools & materials in it. I made some basket rims & handles from the hickory I wrote about last time, and this week I’ll install them. Needed the clips and other bits in there.
And don’t you know – in the basket was my old knife. Made a good day a great one.
It’s always the last place you look, my father used to say.
Post-Greenwood Fest – finally getting going. I have a few spoons, some copies of the Joint Stool book and a few DVDs left for sale. Here’s the link – https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/june-2017-spoons-book-videos-for-sale/
There’s Paypal buttons for the books & DVDs, if you want a spoon, leave me a comment.
Meanwhile – Hickory Bark. No waiting when there’s a hickory sapling cut in the spring. You gotta get right to them. So two of these were first priority once I unpacked.
This work takes me way back. Way, way, way, way back as Van Morrison would say. I grabbed the leftover hickory saplings after Tim Manney’s demo at Greenwood Fest (one got stripped before I got to saving it – Tim? Pete?) to harvest the bark. I’ve only have a few chances to strip hickory bark in the past many years. Not making chairs or baskets with any regularity meant I didn’t need to pursue it. But, these were right there, and I have some ladderbacks underway, as well as some baskets that need rims & handles.
First off, I shave the outer bark off with the drawknife. This is thick, hard crusty bark.
Here is a detail, showing as I shave off the outer bark, the inner bark we’re after is exposed. In this photo, the first strip is removed. That way, I can see the thickness of the inner bark (or “bast”) – this becomes important.
so next is the task of thinning the inner bark to the appropriate thickness. This is a finesse move. Below the drawknife here (bottom left of the photo) the bark is just about the right thickness – above the knife you can see the yellow/orange striations – I use those as a visual guideline – shave them away & you’re there. Just about.
Then I score through the inner bark down to the wood with the tip of my knife. I make the strip about 3/4″ – 1″ wide.
Then peel the strip up. Never ceases to amaze me.
Some strips are too thick when you take ’em off the tree. You can sometimes split them apart. I scored across the bark to form a tab, then pulled them apart. This is slow, careful work – you have to watch to see if it’s going evenly. Any thick side, pull towards it. Just like riving. I hold the strip between my knees, then use my thumbs & forefingers to peel them. My other fingers help keep things peeling evenly.
If a strip is too thick, but not thick enough to split, I put it on the shaving horse, and shave it with a spokeshave. I put a support stick under it. You can shave this later, once you’re using the material – but I find it best to do it right off the bat.
Coil ’em & store to dry in an airy place.
The first log was clear enough for some long riving & bending wood. I made some basket rims, then shaved two of these bows for firewood carriers. This one is shaved to shape, steamed & bent onto this form. I took no pictures of any of that. I shoot my own photos, and steam-bending requires complete attention. This firewood carrier is detailed in Drew Langsner’s Green Woodworking – as is peeling hickory bark.
The base will be an open framework, this board is just the drying form for the bend.
all right – let’s try a couple of short videos this time. From Greenwood Fest 2017.
an overview of the woodpile area, with Rick McKee ducking through…
Kiko Denzer turning bowls during Jarrod’s class:
and a long one from Roy, more from Roy Underhill’s Big Box of Woodworking Fun
I’m video-challenged – but because of Instagram I shoot many short ones with an ipad. Just spent a godawful amount of time figuring out how to get them here. Let’s see if this works:
Plymouth CRAFT’s Greenwood Fest 2017 is now a thing of the past. I vividly remember the feeling last year after the fest, I was so overwhelmed I just floundered around for a couple of days, not being able to concentrate on anything.
This time, it still is overwhelming, but in a good way. I want to thank everyone who helped make it happen – Plymouth CRAFT’s board & volunteers, the crew at Pinewoods, all the instructors and most of all, the folks who travelled from Australia, Turkey and places in between to come join us in the woods for carving and camaraderie. Astoundingly great time, thanks all.
Here’s pictures. there’s more. later.
the group shot:
Darrick Sanderson never stopped
Jogge & I with our special guests, Drew & Louise Langsner
The dust is starting to settle. I’ll get to the whole thing, but in the meantime, here’s the group of instructors from Greenwood Fest.
Back row, left to right – Jögge Sundqvist, Jarrod Dahl, Pete Galbert, Peter Follansbee, Jane Mickelborough, Barn the Spoon, Louise Langsner, Drew Langsner
Front row, left to right – Dave Fisher, Tim Manney, Darrick Sanderson, Paula Marcoux, JoJo Wood, Roy Underhill
As I’ve been getting ready for Greenwood Fest 2017, I have carved a few cherry spoons. Last blog post was about hewing the shapes from “crooks” – the curving wood where one branch meets another. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2017/05/26/hewing-a-spoon-crook/
At the end of that post, I coppped out, and went to dinner. Got several requests to “continue after dinner” – but I finished those spoons the next morning. So when I started another, I shot some of the knife work. It’s hard to get this in photos, and equally hard to shoot these without a photographer, but here goes.
I tend to start at the area behind the back of the spoon’s bowl, transitioning to the handle. It’s usually too thick there, so I go there first to remove excess wood. This cut starts at the knife’s “butt” – right near the handle. The fingers of my left hand help push & guide the knife’s blade through the cut. Both elbows are tucked against my torso.
I bring my right hand towards my gut, and bend my wrist a bit too. My left fingers extend as far as they can, the knife blade is slicing toward the knife’s tip. This cut moves from the bowl through to the side of the handle. It’s a scooping cut to some degree.
More scooping, working toward the knife’s tip.
The blade ends up in the space between my thumb and fingers. The knife handle is held by curling my fingers around it, not in the palm of my hand.
This one I use along the handle. It starts with my left thumb pushing on either my right hand, or the knife handle. The thumb is extended pretty far, and then I slide the knife from tip to butt.
My right hand moves forward, my left thumb acts like a hinge, swinging up toward the spoon handle’s top end.
There’s lots of references for these cuts and many others – the newest is Barn the Spoon’s new book, “Spōn: A Guide to Spoon Carving and the New Wood Culture” (next week we’ll ask Barn how to pronounce the title of his book)
It’s well worth getting; Barn has been pretty deep into spoons, I mean who else has changed their name to “…the Spoon”? Here’s a detail of a couple of his spoons at our Plymouth CRAFT exhibition at Fuller Craft Museum – (thanks, Rick…)