I wrote a couple of posts about the spoon carving tools I use; axes, knives and hook knives. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/10400/ and https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/some-spoon-carving-hatchets/
As I have been hewing the tulip poplar bowls, I’ve had some questions about those tools. I’ll show you the tools I use for this work, but I haven’t really concentrated on much bowl carving over the years, so only have a few tools for that work.
The hatchets/axes I use are the same for spoon carving; double-bevels, curved cutting edges. So I’ll skip over those and go right to the adze I use for initial hollowing. It’s made by Hans Karlsson, I got my first one from Country Workshops many years ago & it remains one of their most popular tools. http://countryworkshops.org/Store.html I just bought this 2nd one this year, knowing that when teaching it would be helpful to have some extra tools for students to try.
Here you see the new (left) and old (right) – I’m not sure the old one was ever as long as the new one is…did I really sharpen away that much metal in 25 years?
A nice new leather guard made by one of my students, Matt Schror, complete with embossed dragon. (if you’re inclined, write Matt about getting one – firstname.lastname@example.org)
Then, gouges. I use mostly bent gouges; those that have a long curve in the shank. My garden-variety ones are Swiss-Made, wide mostly, around 1 1/2″ wide. I use two “sweeps”, # 5 & 7. I have one narrow # 5, about 3/4″ wide, to finish off the shapes when the bowl is dry.
The best new gouge I have is one made by Nic Westermann, his “swan neck” gouge. I got mine through Lie-Nielsen. It’s unreal how good Nic’s tools are…
I sometimes use a few other tools; occasionally a straight-bladed carving gouge, like a wide #5, on the outside of the bowl. In some deep bowls, I have used these gouges, (poorly named “spoon” gouges – though you can’t effectively use them for spoons) – about 3/4″ – 1″ wide. Shallow sweeps, these are clean-up tools.
When I next indulge in bowl carving tools, it will be some Hans Karlsson gouges that Country Workshops sells. Gotta pay some bills first. http://countryworkshops.org/gouges.html
I use wooden mallets. My friend Drew Langsner, who has made so many hewn bowls it’s not funny, uses a steel hammer, with hooped gouges. Mine are two different weights. the larger hickory one is 30 oz., the smaller one is an equally hard unknown wood, and weighs 18 oz. When I need to remove more wood, I pick up the heavier mallet. (the small mallet was given to me by a student, and to my shame, I’ve lost track of who…if you’re reading, chime in, I’d love to give you credit. It’s a nice mallet – UPDATE, Sept 21, 2017: Greg Miller wrote: ”
Gidday Peter. The mystery mallet was made by me. I gave it to you at WIA 2013, when I was on my Green Woodworking odyssey that year. I spent 2 months in the USA specifically to increase my skills in Green Woodworking. I stayed with Roy for 2 weeks and made a shaving horse there from green wood; I did a week of spoon and bowl carving with Drew Langsner, I went to WIA and plugged in to Peter Galbert, Mary May, the Schwarz, you, Roy, and so many more. A life changing experience. I made your mallet from Sugar Gum (Eugalyptus cladocalyx) and took it to the US to present to you, as a thank you gift. I was there because I had been following your blog for 3 years and you inspired me to undertake my Green Wood Odyssey. Again, thanks, Mate. Glad you like it! Greg Miller.” Clears that up. thanks, Greg.)
Bench work I keep pretty simple. On a stout low bench, I use 3 pegs and a wedge to fasten the blank for adze work.
At the workbench, I added long wooden dogs to hold the shaped bowl for detail work inside & out. A notch on the inside face helps grip the handles.
Small bowls get blocks stacked inside to grab them in the face vise.
I have 5 videos out with Lie-Nielsen, two on decorative carving for furniture, one on making an oak framed (wainscot) chest, same for a chair, and the most recent one on spoon carving.
I shot a new one this spring on making carved oak boxes…with more to come later. Many of you have written & asked about downloading the videos, instead of buying a physical disc. Lie-Nielsen has been working on setting up streaming of their instructional videos, and the first few are now available on their website. They tell me they are re-arranging the website, but right now the video titles are here: https://www.lie-nielsen.com/search?q=Peter+Follansbee
I had been selling the spoon one, but now you can just order any or all from LN…the only one for which I have copies left is the wainscot chair video, https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/book-dvds/
8 thoughts on “Bowl carving tools and video update”
What an excellent post! All the information I was looking for…and then some. Thanks, Peter!
Good stuff! Do you have any idea what the moisture % is when you carve bowls?
very wet to begin with, then rough out the bowl, get it thin enough to dry without cracking, then do all the finish shaping & carving when it’s dry. Like spoons.
I serously like you. But maybe is just too much marketing lately in your posts? I want my Peter idol back.
Mihail I’m sorry you feel that way. I looked back at the posts for the past month or so; and while I have some stuff about the spoon carving DVD – there’s not anything else I’m selling on the blog these days. I just did a 3-part series about what tools I use for spoon & bowl carving, people often ask me what tools I use, so I wrote about them. And I’ve done some updates of work done in classes I’ve been teaching. That’s mostly what’s been going on in my woodworking lately, so that’s what I’ve been writing about. As I often tell people who complain about some direction or other the blog has taken, there’s posts going all the way back to 2008, that are there for you to read to your heart’s content. Lots of information there for free. And there’ll always be more to come too. But…I do have to make a living, and the blog readers are a big part of my audience – they attend my workshops, and buy my DVDs, etc. So I hope you’ll keep reading, but please don’t make me an idol! Look through the old stuff on the blog, over 800 posts. Must be something you’ve missed, or forgotten.
Peter – refreshing. You never diissapoint. I hear you. Than you
Thank you for your woodworking shows on woods right shop will be mating bowls
Soon how long is nicks waiting list
Gidday Peter. The mystery mallet was made by me. I gave it to you at WIA 2013, when I was on my Green Woodworking oddessy that year. I spent 2months in the USA specifically to increase my skills in Green Woodworking. I stayed with Roy for 2 weeks and made a shaving horse there from green wood; I did a week of spoon and bowl carving with Drew Langsner, I went to WIA and plugged in to Peter Galbert, Mary May, the Schwarz, you, Roy, and so many more. A life changing experience. I made your mallet from Sugar Gum (Eugalyptus cladocalyx) and took it to the US to present to you, as a thankyou gift. I was there because I had been following your blog for 3 years and you inspired me to undertake my Green Wood Oddessey. Again, thanks, Mate. Glad you like it! Greg Miller.