Spoon carving class in January 2019

Yesterday’s announcement of the ladderback chair class was a hit. Filled up quickly. We’re toying with the idea of adding a 2nd session some time in 2019. We’ll need to look at schedules to see if Paula, Pret & I have spaces in ours that align with some in the venue.  I think Paula will make a waiting list in the mean time.

Right now, I don’t have a lot of classes scheduled for 2019; there’s a couple to be announced in January. And I’ll add some here and there as holes get filled in various schedules. But yesterday I completely forgot to mention we’ve got a spoon carving class coming right up in January. Saturday & Sunday January 19 & 20, with an optional third day  on Monday January 21.

Plymouth CRAFT Spoon carving class, Overbrook

That third day is available as a stand-alone; we’re calling it “advanced” but in this case all that means is you’ve gone through the bits about learning knife grips, hatchet work, etc and for this one-day session we’ll be able to concentrate further on spoon shape and design. Most of the work that day will feature natural crooks.

Here’s the link to Plymouth CRAFT for details – https://www.plymouthcraft.org/spoon-carving

I’ll have hook tools from Wood Tools, https://wood-tools.co.uk/? a few hatchets for people to try, including several different makers. Newest one is Julia Kalthoff’s – https://www.kalthoffaxes.se/shop-online

And lots of spoons for inspiration.



Make a Chair from a Tree – Plymouth CRAFT workshop May 2019

Well. Here goes. 2019 marks my maiden solo voyage in teaching students how to make Jennie Alexander’s ladderback chair. My version of it anyway. We’ll be following the general format I learned from JA and Drew Langsner, who together and separately taught this class for decades. I learned a lot from both of them about this chair; and assisted in classes at both Country Workshops and Alexander’s shop in Baltimore. In the early 1990s I worked with JA on the 2nd edition of the book Make a Chair from a Tree.

Riving, drawknife work, boring with a brace & bit, mortise & tenon joinery, steam-bending. Lots to cover in this class, it’s where I began as a woodworker in 1978.

boring mortises
chopping slat mortises


drawknife & shaving horse

We’re going to do it as a 6-day class with Plymouth CRAFT, just 6 students in the class. Dates are Friday May 3- Wed May 8th. 6 spots, so if you think you’d like to tackle this (and 6 days of Paula’s lunches) best sign up early.


(Two things – I wrote “solo” but Pret Woodburn will be there to assist much of the time. He just never wants credit for all his helpfulness. And May? – what was I thinking? It’s the pinnacle of the birding year – right after this class, I’m going to Mt Auburn Cemetery to see warblers during their spring migration.)

Spoons, videos, chairs – for sale

In between my furniture work, I got a chance to finish some spoons (a few begun in Australia, so weird woods to US eyes). I also cleaned my desk and found some videos I did with Lie-Nielsen. If you like any of either, leave a comment below, then I’ll send a paypal invoice later. Price includes US shipping. Additional charge for shipping beyond.

December spoon 01 – SOLD

One of the Australian spoons. Casuarina, sometimes called “she-oak”. This one was all sapwood, or nearly so. I had some students struggle with heartwood of the same tree, but I found this one quite agreeable. Great figure in it, for those that like that stuff.

L: 9 5/8″  W: 2 3/8″



December spoon 02 – Rhododendron. Maybe the last of that batch I cut here last spring/summer. A nice little crook with a big bowl.

L: 6 3/8″  W: 2 1/2″


December spoon 03; SOLD
Black Walnut. I was cutting & splitting firewood last week (next year’s firewood, this year’s is all stacked) and found this radially-split section of walnut. Too straight & clear to burn, too small to be part of furniture. So a serving spoon.

L: 11 3/4″   W: 3″


December spoon 04; SOLD
a very long serving spoon/stirring spoon. Decidedly crook’d shape. Apple.

L: 15 7/8″ W: 2 3/4″



December spoon 05; SOLD

another big one. Another Australian timber. Called “native cherry” – Exocarpos cupressiformis related to sandalwood. It was a real nice wood to carve; like our fruit woods, a little softer than some. Smooth.

L: 15 1/8″  W:  2 3/4″

The handle was large enough for me to carve an S-scroll like I use on boxes and chests.


December spoon 06; I think this one’s birch. A steeply-curved and swept shape.

L: 9 1/4″   W: 2″


I’m still taking orders for the ladderback chairs I wrote about a while back. To be delivered early in 2019. I have 3 mostly done; and more underway.

The chair is about 34” high, 18” wide (across the front) and 14” deep. Seat height is 18”.
$1,200. A deposit of $200 will reserved one for you. To be delivered/picked up starting late January 2019. Email me at peterfollansbee7@gmail.com if you’d like to get on the list for one of these. The deposit through paypal will be $206.

Details here; https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/pf-ladderback-chairs/



Carved Oak Boxes –SOLD 

in this disc, I show how to make 2 versions of the carved box; the usual flat-lidded box; and a slant-lidded desk box. Includes a section on carving too. 270 minutes on 2 discs.



Joined Chest – SOLD 

making an oak frame-and-panel chest, from the log.

213 minutes


Hewing Wooden Bowls –SOLD

a few different versions of hewn bowls, with adze, hatchet, gouges & more

175 minutes


17th Century Wainscot Chair – TWO COPIES AVAILABLE

Making a frame-and-panel chair, with turned front stiles. From riven timber.

218 minutes


17th Century New England Carving – SOLD 


My first video, showing the beginning stages of this carving style. About 5 different exercises, the last one being a box front.

88 minutes


17th Century New England Carving: Carving the S-Scroll SOLD 

5 or 6 different versions of the S-scroll, a design used on so many period pieces. I continue to carve these designs endlessly after all these years.

100 minutes

pictures from the box making class in Kyneton Australia

The 2nd half of my Australia trip was with Glen Rundell, chairmaker in Kyneton, Victoria. Glen kindly hosted a class on making carved oak boxes. Here’s Glen & his son Tom working at carving during one  of our lunch breaks. 

He just happened to have some English oak he milled years ago, so we dove into carving; filling spaces as much as we could.

practice carving


heads down, everybody at work

Nine students worked all week; learning the carving patterns, then sizing the oak for each box. Working out the wooden hinge; fitting a till – it’s a deceptive project. Lots has to happen just right.

raking light


notches for the till

The corners were glued and pegged, Glen made short work of shaving enough pegs for everyone…

square peg round hole


box ready for lid

We used Peter Ross’ hand-made nails (a bag of nails in your luggage gives the folks in the X-ray area at the airport something to look at…) to attach the bottoms, and the cleats under the lids.

nailing the bottom


who’s the rubber-necker on the left?

The students did great work. Here’s a shot of 7 boxes – one got away before the photo, one student took his box home to assemble. 


It would take more than one blog post to cover Glen’s work. His website is here: https://www.rundellandrundell.com.au/  and Instragram https://www.instagram.com/rundellandrundell/?hl=en

Glen & his wife Lisa also run the Lost Trades Fair – an astounding event that I hope to see some day ttps://www.rundellandrundell.com.au/lost-trades-australia

There’s also a retail shop in Kyneton, used to be called “The Chairmaker’s Wife” but now I think it’s Lost Trades: The Artisans Store – https://www.rundellandrundell.com.au/shop

and a few more Australian birds:

First, New Holland honeyeater

Eastern spinebill


Red wattlebird

Yellow faced honeyeater

yellow faced honeyeater

Rainbow lorikeet

rainbow lorikeet

the week in pictures

Just photos, and some captions.

mortising a joined stool frame


I bore the peg holes to mark it “done”


shaving rungs for JA ladderback


Mortised these posts, then shaved with a spokeshave to finish them


joinery tested for the 2nd joined stool frame


some spoon carving at the end of a day


new old shop stool by JA; pre-1978


unrelated – two scrolled & molded table rails and two bed posts


stile for joined table; 2 3/4″ square


turning one of the stiles

Thinking about self-taught turning – “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.”

turning detail


Jones River this morning


Nice to see the sun today

Dickinsons Reach calendar


It’s calendar time again. Plan ahead and get yours for 2019, 2030 and 2041. Support the folks who are stewards of Bill Coperthwaite’s legacy – details here for the Dickinsons Reach Community – http://www.insearchofsimplicity.net/

for the calendar – 2019 DR Calendar letter (1)

Here’s a recent magazine article about how things are evolving out at Bill’s place – https://newengland.com/yankee-magazine/living/profiles/the-tinkerer-of-dickinsons-reach/

Upcoming Plymouth CRAFT classes

I’ve been back from Australia for two weeks now. Just getting some pattern to my work days in the shop. Jumped from spring-time to late fall here. The beginning of each shop day starts with shavings and kindling to light the stove. I’m concentrating on furniture work mostly, some spoon carving mixed in there too. In addition to some custom work I have underway, I took Sunday to put slats in my latest version of the JA ladderback chair, and began prepping the next one, chopping slat mortises in a set of ash posts. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/pf-ladderback-chairs/

I’ve slowly been forming my teaching schedule for 2019; trying to balance more time at home and income. It’s not working so far! In the meantime, there’s two classes coming up at Plymouth CRAFT to tell you about. First is Tim Manney’s now-regular December sharpening class. This might be the best class Plymouth CRAFT runs for woodworking instruction. 



We started this one as an experiment, and it has proven to be very popular. Two days of tackling edge tools (no saws!) with a real master of a keen edge. Tim makes this subject absolutely attainable for beginners and has ideas and techniques for seasoned woodworkers as well. Too often I see people try to learn sharpening in an hour or two, including me. Those who’ve attended this class throw the phrase “changed my life…” around. December 15 & 16, Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. Paula’s making lunch. (ask someone who’s been there what that means) https://www.plymouthcraft.org/an-axe-to-grind

Then in January, we’ll be back there for my spoon-carving class.

Plymouth CRAFT spoon carving, Overbrook, Buzzards Bay

We say it’s mine, but Pret Woodburn is there too, and he’s a great help. The usual approach; two days of knife grips, spoon design, hatchet work. A big pile of fresh native woods and chopping blocks scattered about. A big fire in the stove. Bring a slojd knife and hatchet; I’ll have hook knives for students to use. Having just taught spoon carving down under, I was itching for my spoon collection of examples to study from…back home now, I’ll be sure to bring my growing collection of other makers’ spoons. Pret & Paula bring theirs too. So lots to study.

photo by Marie Pelletier  

We’ve added a third optional day (thanks, Jarrod & Fred for the idea) – we’re calling it “Advanced” spoon carving. What that implies is that you’ve learned the basics of the knife grips and hatchet work, and in this one-day session we’ll concentrate more on spoon shape and design. If all goes according to plan, we’ll have a pile of crooks for this class, so we’ll play “find the spoon in the wood.”  Paula’s making lunch. (ask someone who’s been there what that means) https://www.plymouthcraft.org/spoon-carving



You might have seen that we’ve initiated the Plymouth CRAFT Scholarship for those wishing to attend one of our classes, but are lacking the means. This is new, having grown out of discussions at our Greenwood Fest last spring. It has been soundly supported by many, (both instructors and students/attendees/whatever our people are called) for which we are grateful. Details here for Tim’s class – I assume we’ll do one for the spoon class(es) too. https://www.plymouthcraft.org/craft-green-woodworking-sch


Time for some Australian birds:

The superb fairy wren:

The Australian King parrot:

The eastern whipbird. 

Listen to the whipbird, thanks to Wardie44 [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eastern_Whipbird.ogg?embedplayer=yes