Reggie Shaw, a left-handed blog reader, (he doesn’t read left-handed blogs…but is left-handed…oh, forget it)
sent a note that this right-handed J R Fuchs hatchet is for auction on ebay. I already have 2, and don’t have the money to get in a bidding war…but someone will get the best hatchet going. Lose that godawful red paint, and it looks ready to go.
Bob Van Dyke’s Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking is a mecca for period furniture makers. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/ Great classes, great instructors – it really is a first-rate place to learn the ins & outs of period style furniture in depth.
But Bob himself doesn’t know which end is up – to some of my carvings, I mean. He sent me this picture, asking “where’s the top again?” He’s notoriously freaked out by the images he thinks he sees. I see a vase of flowers and leaves – he sees faces, faces & more faces. But in his twisted mind, he thinks the above photo is right-side up. What torment!
Oh, well. He doesn’t have to know how it goes – but I’ll show the students when we get together there for a 3-day class in early October to make an oak frame & panel. This course was designed to be a crash course in the basic elements of 17th-century joinery. We’ll use a combination of riven and sawn oak, plane the stock, cut the mortise and tenon joints, and carve designs on the panel (and frame perhaps, if you are inclined). Plowing grooves, beveling the panel, fitting the whole thing together with drawboring and tapered wooden pins. it’s the whole show, compressed into 5 pieces of wood.
Today I posted a page with a couple of hewn bowls, and what spoons I have ready to go. I have several spoons nearly ready; but those I’ll take with me to Roy’s place, & finish them down there. So what I have now is on the blog, then there’ll be more in mid-August. As usual, leave a comment if you’d like to order something. Any questions, send an email to Peter.Follansbee@verizon.net
But I persevered and roughed out one of the last bowls from the stash of birch I have around here. Most of the ones I’ve been doing are upside-down. I start like this:
hew the broad inner face of the split bolt flat. This becomes the bottom of the bowl.
Then mark out the saddle-shaped interior of the bowl. Now the bowl is held down to a low bench with three pegs and a wedge. (well, take my word for it that there’s 3. You can only see 2 in this shot) Simple, but it works pretty well. If I end up doing these bowls regularly, then it might be time to look closely at Dave Fisher’s bowl horse…
I then make a few saw kerfs to help break stuff up when the next hewing begins.
I just begin chopping into the midst of these kerfs to remove the excess material. Now it’s a double-bevel hatchet, not the joiner’s hatchet I used to flatten the bottom.
Then comes adze work. Just like the hatchet, you want to keep the tool’s edge out of your leg.
I do some standing, then some seated. All in all, about 15-20 minutes of hewing ought to get me there.
Then it’s on to gouge & mallet work, then more hewing.
I keep plugging away. Yesterday I got to use some planes!
What a blast – the spoons and bowls are great fun, challenging, etc…but no planes. I need to make a molding to run around my most recent frame & panel – it’s one like this, all I have left is to make the molding & cut & glue it in.
I keep a stash of riven Atlantic White Cedar, just for this purpose. First, I planed the stock to the proper thickness, in this case 1/2″
The gauge I got from the Alexander collection – thanks once again JA.
and bevels, then hollows and rounds.
Then it was time to pack it away & off to the Cape Cod League Baseball – we went to Wareham to see the Gatemen take on the Falmouth Commodores. We were there early, so Daniel watched batting practice – I carved spoons. Then we watched the game. Gatemen blew the lead in the ninth – took it on the chin.
One of many great things about working at home is that I get to see stuff I only used to hear about. Here’s a marble game from yesterday:
That then turned into a painting by Daniel, who was learning about shadows and light sources this week.
This one’s just thrown in there – it’s part of an ongoing series of raking light shots.
I got home from Maine trip #2 on Sunday night. Monday kinda floundered, then on Tues it was off to a small island off the coast of America to see Heather & Pat. Heather’s show was outstanding as usual. Here’s one of my favorites, but the web doesn’t do it justice by half. The light in it is amazing.
we had a great, whirlwind one-day trip. Then back home to attempt to develop some routine or the semblance of one. Wednesday I mostly worked on hewn bowls; then Thursday spoons. today some of each.
The great part about spoon day is I can take it outside, and have the kids with me. The river, the birds – what could be better?
I have used ring-porous woods like oak, ash and hickory all my working days. I rarely have made spoons or bowls from ring porous woods because they split so easily. But sometimes I throw the rules out the window & see what happens. Catalpa is a very light-weight hardwood. I have made a couple of bowls from it before, and I had one small one kicking around ready to be finished.
I remember southern visitors to the museum telling me about the fishermen who loved catalpa trees for the worms that ate the foliage – great bait. some said the best. They called it “catawba” – but it’s the same tree. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalpa I am lately reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and it’s in there, “…the class was wriggling like a bucketful of catawba worms…” Turns out that Catawba is a name of both the tree and a group of Native people in the Carolinas, and someone made a mistake with the tree’s name, and we ended up with catalpa. I always knew it as the cigar tree, because of the long seed pods. we used to whip them around when we were kids.
The other ring-porous wood I have to sample lately is really rare – American Chestnut. Or so I’m told. It was a tree planted about 15 years ago; and got some trimming done recently. It’s healthy now…but time will tell. Chances are it will succumb to the blight that all but wiped out the American Chestnut. http://www.acf.org/
It’s not a great wood for spoons, quite the opposite I would expect, but I have some small limbs and will see what happens. It’s high in tannic acid, turned my tools black as quick as you please.
The first birch bowl I was making sold before I could really get it here on the blog…but now I have finished the next 2 birch bowls, just applied flax oil to them today. I’ll post them for sale in the next day or 2. The first one is the most common orientation of the bowl in the split blank – the rim of the bowl is the inner wide surface of the halved log. Then I carved some gouge-cut decoration along the upper edge of each side.
The next one is what I call “upside-down” – you hew the split face of the log and make that the bottom of the bowl. I learned this from Drew Langsner, who learned it from his Swedish friends. Smaller bowl, but lots of fun with the shapes.
Just back from Maine – the class was great. Lie-Nielsen is right up there as one of my favorite places to be. here’s a bunch 0′ carvers hunched down at work.
I’m home now til Roy’s in 2 weeks. Lots to report, but first I must un-pack, then get to work on spoons & bowls & more. In the meantime, I posted most of what spoons I have left on the etsy site – and Maureen posted more felted stuff on hers as well. the whole house is a little crafty rabbit warren…I think I have the Is crossed, and the Ts dotted, or something like that. If you have a problem with the etsy stuff, let me know. it’s all new to me.
For 20 years, I talked for a living. All day, every day. Spent two weeks working by myself; then went up to the Lie-Nielsen Open House. Someone stuck a camera in my face & I wouldn’t shut up. (the youtube video done by Harry Kavouksorian, posted on Lie-Nielsen’s website) :
I was looking for one thing & found another. Last week when I wrote about the wood carrier that I learned from Daniel O’Hagan, I knew I had a shot that I took very quickly one of the last times I was down there. Couldn’t find it so I gave up. Today I found it while looking for some other photograph that is now more pressing.
Glad I didn’t see Daniel’s when I made mine – that way we get 2 interpretations of one form. 3 if we count the published one. Daniel’s versions worked for many many years.
Here’s mine from last week. I have more of this sort of thing to make in late August/early September.
Just to give you an inkling of what you might find here, my first & foremost specialty is 17th-century carved oak furniture. Like this:
But for quite a few years, I have carved spoons that I learned through Drew Langsner, Jogge & Wille Sundqvist. In recent years, the spoons have taken off – for which I am quite grateful. Expect many spoon posts here; and a DVD soon.
As I said the other day, I’m just back from Lie-Nielsen, and just about to go back up there for 17th-century style carving. If you want to see where else I’m teaching this year: Lie-Nielsen this weekend, then Roy’s place (that one’s full, I think.) Heartwood in Massachusetts, and Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. here’s the link – https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014-workshop-schedule/
But today it rained, so stupid me thought I’d get the “making a living” bit rolling. So I spent an inordinate amount of time fiddling around with creating an Etsy site. I’m not completely sold on the idea, but will try it a while. When I have sold spoons here on the blog, the clunky way I set it up resulted in me spending more time at the desk & computer than hewing & carving. So this is my first attempt to change that. Right now, it’s just what boxes and stools I have left around the house. I’ll add spoons and hewn bowls next week. So if you’ve been waiting for the spoons, here’s your notice – say Monday afternoon. Here’s what I got with making the site – how come 10-yr olds can do this & I struggled with it?
I’m just back from Maine, where I shot no photographs that we need here! (swiped this one) Too busy carving spoons & bowls. Had an all-out great time at Lie-Nielsen’s Open House. Because I shot nothing, you can read about it elsewhere –