spoons feb pt 2

I just added a few more spoons, and update the link above http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-feb-pt-2/

After this batch goes out the door, I’m going to look into some of the suggestions I got about making selling more straight-forward. In the meantime, if you want one of these spoons, leave a comment about which one you’d like. It will help if you let me know your preferred payment method, paypal or check. From this end, paypal is easiest, but I will take checks if you want to send them. 

All the spoons are finished with flax oil. Anybody ever has a problem, I’ll take the spoon back, refund your money (minus shipping) w no questions asked.

thanks for all your support.



I haven’t done any bench work in some time. My shop is almost all packed up, here at the house I now have a bench and tool chest. Just been too busy to get it organized. Soon, but not now. I’m off to Connecticut, the Wild West. To the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking to be specific. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/my-first-class-of-the-season-cvsww/  Room for one or two more, I bet. Sounds like we’ll have some fun. I’ll get to carve again finally!- feels like ages…but it’s really been just a few weeks. We’ll see if I remember how. 



At the house here one day, I was shooting photos outside, but it was so cold that I thought I should put the camera inside. As soon as I did, sweeping along the river came a bald eagle – never saw one here before. So, the one that got away…but then I found some good birds in Plymouth the other day.


Hooded mergansers

Golden crowned kinglet skulking around the grass & leaves…

easy to miss

golden crowned kinglet

they flit around so much, it’s easy to miss them

GC kinglet

And them off they go…

kinglet flight











I just finished posting the first batch of spoons for the new year. Some changes I am trying – last season I spent way too much time in front of the computer screen, instead of woodworking. I’ve added a paypal link right to each spoon description, so those inclined can just go right ahead & buy the spoon they see/want. When a particular spoon is sold, it should read as unavailable. It lessens the time I spend emailing back & forth about orders, I hope. 

I know some of you regular customers don’t like paypal. I’m trying to figure out a way to make it work for all of us. One thing you can always do is email me & order a spoon – “I’d like a serving spoon, eating spoon, etc” then I can show you what’s coming up…

The other problem with this new method is for customers who order more than one spoon – I need to figure out how to NOT charge you multiple shipping charges. I’m working on it, but meantime, here’s the first crack at them. There’s several more spoons in the pipeline – this is a small batch because it’s a trial for me of this new approach.

All the spoon descriptions will be numbered sequentially  - 14-01 = the first spoon for sale this year. This particular batch ends with spoon 14-09. The spoons are not numbered, but all are now initialed by me on the back. Shipping in the US is $7.00. We’ll figure out shipping beyond the States. It’s not too much more…usually.

I’ll be at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking this weekend, so I’ll start shipping these on Monday.

Thanks as always for the response to the spoons. I greatly appreciate it. Here’s the link http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/feb-2014-spoons-for-sale-pt-1/ it’s also on the header.


Last week we had a great snowstorm. so I pulled up a chair, got out the binoculars and spoon knives and had at it…

last week

out the window

In between watching out the window, I got to do the knife work on  some cherry and birch spoons.

carving by window

Photo by Daniel

carving by window 2

also by Daniel

Last summer I asked Drew Langsner, “what happened to the boiled potato?” – for those puzzled by this, we learned years ago to rub a green-carved spoon with boiled potato, then we could sit the spoon near a heat source, and it would dry without cracking or checking. Drew replied “microwave.” – seems he would give his spoons a blast in the micro to drive the moisture out. a few seconds every so often over & over til the spoon was dry. It works.  Then when the spoon is dry, you can make your final cuts that will leave a clean, burnished surface. I tried a few in our microwave – ours is very noisy; so it drives me crazy. And it left some weird discoloration on birch spoons…

So I boiled a potato and tried the “old” method, old because I learned it in 1988 from Jogge…

boiling spuds

many spoons’ worth of boiled potato

I rubbed it all over three birch spoons I carved this afternoon. We’ll see what kind of shape they’re in tomorrow. The snow is all but gone…here’s hoping for more. 

applying potato to green cut spoon

carved today, finish tomorrow?

Maureen has added a bunch of stuff to her Etsy site, and while it’s still cold enough for woolens, she says spring stuff will be coming up soon…  http://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts

On another note, yesterday marked the death of Pete Seeger – a true American hero to many, me included. Here’s my vote for why he was such a great figure – his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee – read about it here: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2014/01/28/pete_seeger_huac_transcript_full_text_of_anti_communist_hearing_courtesy.html?wpisrc=burger_bar

So Long, Pete, It’s been good to know ya…


I try to keep one or two of each batch. I aim to have an example of each type of wood I’ve used too. The one in the foreground here is sycamore/buttonwood/plane tree – take your pick. For some reason, it got passed by, so I kept it & like it.

keeper # 1

In the next view, the background spoon is one of the lilac spoons done this fall. You can tell it’s lilac, because I carved it in the handle…

keeper # 2 lilac

Same two spoons showing the profile – the lilac is from a crook, the sycamore from a straight section. Both will work, but you need to be able to find the strengths and weaknesses of each example as you carve it.

crook v straight

I made the inscribed spoon (in the background) for Maureen in December, from an apple tree given to me by a local tree-cutter. The other apple spoon in the photo was roughed-out quite a while ago, and forgotten. I finally got around to finishing the carving of it, then soaked it in flax oil like all the other spoons I make. This came out so dark, it almost looks like walnut instead of apple.

maureen's new one

I’ve been messing around with making spoons with a hook in the handle, based on examples I’ve seen carved by both  Wille & Jogge Sundqvist. I did a few in birch, here’s the first one:

rose's spoon

rose carving detail

Daniel & I got back from an errand today and our neighbor told us to look up as we got out of the car. Seems this cooper’s hawk was sitting on a wire for over 10 minutes. I went in & got the camera, and was able to walk around to where the light was right without spooking him. Ten minutes later, he was gone, as was the blue sky & sunlight. I always think about how we only see stuff around the yard and the river when our timing is accidentally right – but imagine all the stuff we miss.


Like a Bird on a Wire

three quarter coopersUPDATE:
A reader asked how I know this bird is a cooper’s hawk, not a sharp-shinned hawk. Cooper’s tails are usually more rounded at the tip, sharpies more square. Here’s a sharpie from years ago, hanging around our bird feeders waiting to catch someone unawares. Sharpies are generally smaller than Cooper’s; but females being larger than males, you can get a female sharpie almost as large as a male cooper’s…go by the tail shape instead.

sharp shinned Dec 7

sharp-shinned hawk

Tonight after posting my story about shop-moving, some link-following took me to this video that I had never seen before. It’s Jogge telling his 4-walls story, and the story of his alter-ego Surolle. He’s one of the best craftsmen I know, and a great teacher. Also has one of the most colorful websites around.





here’s the last time I worked with him:



And some have asked about how you order the video about his father Wille. When it’s available from Country Workshops, I’ll let you know here. Don’t worry, you’ll hear all about it.

As you might have noticed, not much woodworking going on around here. That’s because prior to today, my shop looked like this:

mostly packed

mostly packed

Today it’s well on its way to empty. Now, all that boxed-up stuff, plus my lathe & joiner’s bench are all stashed in a storage unit. My search for my own personal shop has not taken off – I had a great lead that didn’t pan out. I decided rather than jump into something that might not be suitable, I’d stash the bulk of my stuff, move some stuff to my basement, and then get back to the search. So I have spent a great deal of time sorting & packing, both in the shop & at home to empty the basement. The museum begins restoration of the building in a couple of weeks.

So this closes the chapter on me in that particular shop. I’m still at the museum, but I’ll be in temporary quarters. That’s part of what led to me deciding to try to find my own workspace. The other part is I find more & more I want to explore some non-17th-century work. I have lots of ideas; carved bowls, John Brown-style chairs (I never finished my one attempt), and baskets too. That’s part of why I fixed up my shaving horse. I hope to use it more again…

Here’s another type of chair I want to make:

Winterthur bretstuhl

I made one maybe 30 years ago almost. It was based on one Drew Langsner made in Switzerland.  Now I have two great pieces of walnut for the seat & back, and shaved some hickory heartwood legs. So that might be one of my first projects when I get the bench set up here at home.

I spent 20 years in that shop. It really was the absolute best part of my life. I met my wife there. And many many great friends, some of you know the blog Blue Oak – most of those guys worked with us at Plimoth for years.

For my last woodworking project in that version of the joiner’s shop, I carved a sign to go in my future personal shop – thinking along the lines of “if you build it they will come” – only in this case, it’s “make the sign, then get a shop to go with it.” Way back when, I saw this approach work for someone that my friend Heather hired when we were picture framers. His name was Sluggo, & he made godawful posters & album covers for a band that did not exist yet. But lo & behold, he eventually got the band and the rest is history…he’s a renowned punk musician in San Francisco. So this is my Slugg0-inspired shop sign. Thanks D.C.

PF sign

I went out with Paula & Marie again to see the snowy owls. One is very cooperative – the other stayed off by itself in the dunes.


links -

Slugg0 - http://www.thegrannies.com/news.htm (I can’t recommend clicking that link!) But Sluggo is/was great fun.



UPDATE: I wrote this, then kept going further & further on Roald’s blog, which he does with Tomas Karlsson. It’s amazing stuff. You like old benches – get to it! Great stuff, Roald & Tomas – I’ll keep watching http://hyvelbenk.wordpress.com/

here’s what I wrote first:

This ol’ world just keeps getting smaller & smaller…

Back in 2010 I wrote a bit about 17th-century workbench fittings. In that post http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/workbench-fittings-17th-c-style/ I mentioned the wooden bench hook used for sawing and other tasks.

Here’s my all-time-most beat-up version, since then replaced..I shave pegs on mine in addition to backsaw work, etc.

I had never seen a period example, nor even really a good image of one. There’s a sort of miter-box version in Moxon, with his characteristic lousy detail engraving. But today I got this comment from Roald Renmælmo from Norway:

January 16, 2014 at 9:31 am e

I was inspecting the Vasa bench deadman this week in Stockholm. I was also trying to fit it correctly. In my opinion the front surface of the stiles and the Vasa deadman are in the same plane. It might have been mounted wrong earlier?

I did also find at wooden bench hook from the Vasa wreck. It was 24″ long and had also been used as a simple “mitre box” for small stock. I will post some pictures of that on my blog soon.

Roald Renmælmo, Norway

And so he did, so head over to Roald’s blog to see the excellent photos of this bench hook/miter box. When I get my shop back up & running, (more on that hideous story later) I hope to make a new version myself.

Thanks, Roald. I’d mail you 25 cents, but it would cost more than that to get it to you!

Wille Sundqvist

Wille Sundqvist

and I can’t wait! But wait we will, so I will go carved some spoons to while away the hours…

Here’s the note from Jogge through the Kickstarter site:

After an intense period of cutting film, setting the audio, making translations, cover processing, and description of carving grasps, we have finally sent the film for pressing. Unbelievable that there is so much work with a movie!

Here is the content, 71 minutes:

1. INTRODUCTION. Wille talks about spoons
2. The LADLE
A. In the woods
B. Splitting
C. Carving with the ax
D. Hollowing the spoon bowl
E. Carving with the knife – rough mode
6. F. Carving with the knife – finishing mode
7. The BOWL
A: Outside turning
B: Inside turning
C: Polishing

The cover front text is set in English but we have two printed versions of the rest of the text. One in Swedish and one in English. It´s also possible too choose speaker comments and subtitles in two languages.
The special Kickstarter edition will be handpicked, for you only.

Rest of the world, Non-Kickstarter world will be able to buy the DVD for:
36 US Dollar, 295 SEK Svenska Kronor, 22 GBP Brittish Pound, 40 AUD Australian Dollar, 43 NZD New Zealand Dollar, 39 CAD Canadian Dollar, 27 EUR Euro.
Shipping costs will be added.

For those who want a downloaded version Taunton Press raised interest. More information about downloads and where to order is coming further ahead.

We will start shipping february 3.

Grand world premiere will be held at Bio Abbelli at Västerbotten museum 31 jan at the Inauguration of Culture year 2014 in Umeå.

We will have Wille there signing the DVD!


Back to me. I’d like to thank all those readers from this blog who helped make the film possible. Erik Buchakian, a friend associated with Country Workshops,  sent me a note some time ago:

Hi Peter,

 I thought you might like to know – Kickstarter does that creepy Internet thing, where it keeps track of where people “clicked” from in order to get to the site.  By far the most donors to the Wille film got to the Kickstarter site from your blog – something like 30%.  Good work!!!!

 Take care,

Erik (Buchakian)



Until I wrote about baseball, (here http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/on-baseball/  & here http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/on-baseball-pt-2/)  the most popular post on the blog was always the first one – about my shaving horse. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2008/07/01/shaving-horses/

My first woodworking incarnation was as a ladderback chairmaker, shaving the parts instead of turning. Always on the shaving horse then, I was. Since I became a full-time joiner, I hardly ever use it. Mine got pretty beat up over the years, I think I made it about 1989 or 90…might have been earlier. It got new legs once, but they were a lousy quick fix. It has a pine bench, and pretty spindly legs. I have often wanted to make it more significant, but use it so rarely, I always thought I’d get to it…later.

Well,  I decided to re-do the bench and legs once & for all. Let’s see, if I get another 25 years out of this one, I’ll be 81. Old enough to quit I think…

I started with a white oak slab leftover from some bandsaw milling we had done last year. I wanted to narrow the middle of the length, so made some saw kerfs down to the line, then hewed the chunks away…

In the photo of sawing, you can see I have one side all hewn and shaved.

sawing depth stops

One of my spoon carving hatchets – an all-time favorite of mine.

begin chopping

knocking out the blocks



splitting out the blocks

Then I shaved those sides up with drawkinves. Time then to bore the leg holes. I work from the top, with a large auger. One angle is taken from a line drawn on the bench, the other from the adjustable bevel.


boring compound angle

While I was in a boring & mortising mode, I cut the square mortise at the front end of the bench for the block that hinges the work surface. bored it first, then squared up with chisels. You can see the oak block that will fit in there, with its square-ish head. There will be one more mortise, through the shaft of this block, for a wedge that holds the block in place.

mortising for pinhead

brace & auger bit

Tapping it in for a test fit.

test fit it

Then comes reaming the leg mortises from underneath. One large reamer I kept from the Alexander collection. Thanks, JA.

tapered reamer


The white oak legs I made were from 2 1/2″ stock I had prepped for something, & never used. Made them last March. So I octagon-ed them, then turned the tapered tenons to fit as well as I could get ‘em.

old & new

the old in the background, new underway

Here is the bench part, with its hinge-block. Legs need wedging, then trimming.

bench w square block

much heavier than its pine predecessor

I cannibalized the working parts – saw no need to remake them. Bored the block for the wooden pin that hinges the work surface. Bored through the bench for the pivot pin in the middle. & then fit the parts on.

fittings done

You can maybe make out the wedge – it’s walnut. The nearest scrap that was close to the size I needed.

detail w wedge

Then I shaved some more hickory for basket stuff…


Here you see the basket rim up on edge, trapped under the notch in the crossbar.


People often ask about plans – ughh. I hate that stuff. Try Alexander’s website  - http://www.greenwoodworking.com/ShavingHorsePlans

There’s tons of shaving horses out in the world, and people are making them more & more effective every day. Think Peter Galbert http://www.chairnotes.blogspot.com/search/label/Shavehorse%20Plans

The one I use was developed by Alexander, and it’s just plain simple…that’s why I like it.

Best bird of the past week – yellow-bellied sapsucker. Almost can’t see him, he matches the bark so well.

yb sapsucker


There will be spoons this month, near the end I guess. I’m still mulling how to streamline the selling process. I spent too much of 2013 either driving, or looking at a screen. One positive change is that now each spoon will be marked by me finally. I just could never combine my initials to suit me, but got something I can live with now…



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 975 other followers