Like Riding a Bike

Easier, even. Last week some friends came by for a long-delayed visit with a distinct focus. Lately, Rick McKee & Justin Keegan have been carving spoons a lot and they came over to see a pile of them for ideas & inspiration. Pret came too, but he’s got a slew of spoons at his house that parallels my pile. I haven’t carved any spoons for over a year so I wasn’t sure what I had to add other than access.

PF, Justin & Pret
some of that heap

We spent quite a bit of time looking at examples from makers known & unknown. Tip of the iceberg. In the course of things, Justin found one he really loved and asked who made it. “Oh, an English carver named Adam Hawker.” He about flipped out – has apparently been stalking Adam’s spoons on the web.

Justin freaks out over Adam’s spoon

What I didn’t expect is that I’d be inspired as well. Their excitement got me to dig through my basket & carve an old dry cherry spoon, then I got out some fresh apple & hewed & carved another the next day. It remains to be seen if I finish either of them – but at this point I still like them. Why risk that by finishing them?

cherry on top as they say

I’ve been working away on the joined chest video series. I made the floor boards last week – white pine, tongue & grooved.

Test fitting the floor boards

Then yesterday I carved the first 2 of four panels.

two of four

Hopefully next week I’ll cut the till parts and do the assembly. Meanwhile, I added a video yesterday to the site – cutting the joinery for the rear section and fitting panels in the ends. I hope to have these next 2 videos (the floor and the carvings) next week as well. There’s a link in the sidebar – for some reason I can’t make it link in here today. Instead it throws in this trailer for the overview of the project…

One more thing – one of the carved boxes from the other day, but there’s still the chair and an oak box. I moved them to a page “furniture for sale, June 2022” – link is in the header and here

and a couple of birds – a female common yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) down by the river

and a great crested flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) that almost flew into the shop last month

great crested flycatcher

And while I hate, loathe & despise smart phones, I like the ipad. I loaded the Merlin app on mine, stick it in the window & let it listen for what birds are out in the yard. What fun…


12 thoughts on “Like Riding a Bike

  1. Always wondered if there was such a thing as a feathered panel so loose that it rattled. After watching you fiot the panels, I guess there are so many ways a panel can jam that the liklihood of a rattling one is minute. Or moot. BTW the Devon chest I told you about sold for $200!!!!

  2. Not a big fan of smart phones either. Still using my iPhone 5 (mostly to take woodworking photos). If/when it dies, I might go back to a non-SMART phone such as the Jitterbug 2 (it has an 8 megapixel camera – better than my iPhone 5).

    I like iPads as well – how else can I watch you YouTube videos. An app that can tell you what birds are singing in the garden. Wow! Never occurred to me such a thing existed (though it makes complete sense). What other cool apps are you not telling us about for either woodworking or birdwatching?

    • Joe,
      You can get the Merlin app at It’s free from Cornell University.

      • Thanks Tom. I downloaded the App. Ran it for a few minutes. It listed a hummingbird and photo matched the one we know lives in our back yard. Way cool.

        Peter, for the most part, there isn’t a whole lot on Smart Phones that interests me outside of what i need for one for the day job. There are some apps that help you identify the stars in the sky as well. I may break down and do instagram as folks on FWW seem to think I would enjoy that (without the crap that made me leave Facebook and never want to go back).

  3. I enjoyed your article. I use the Merlin app daily. If I record an interesting bird I will then use the sampled calls from the app to attract that bird. It’s like you’re talking to the animals. Peace!

  4. Down here on the Chesapeake Bay we have mockingbirds. A lot.
    I turned Merlin loose on one who was singing away yesterday. Merlin chalked up 18 species to that mocker. One happened to be “mockingbird”. I wonder which song gives that away?

  5. wonderful how we stumble into moments of inspiration that rekindle and old passion. i cherish those!

    on a practical note, how do you and others find the carved spoons hold up in the dishwasher? my store bought ones do ok so long as i oil them regularly. would be nice to replace those with some hand made ones but my wife and i hate hand washing. even the knives I’ve rescaled with cocobolo go into the dishwasher.

  6. Love your work/post’s!
    Gotta love the Merlin app. with its new Sound ID. feature, I do the same thing, ( so I can get some shop work done !) and leave it on when I just can’t seem to remember whose song that is!
    The Common Yellowthroat song is one I know well – without the “witchity-witchity-witichy” territorial song when they first arrive, things wouldn’t be the same…
    Andy in Edgecomb, Maine

  7. Sweet!! I wasn’t aware Merlin was now able to directly ID bird songs. Thanks for the heads up Peter.

  8. Thank you Peter!

    Along with great carving and joinery information, you’ve turned me onto Merlin!

    I’m in Cornell’s bird information frequently trying to ID birds. We have wonderful birdsong here in Virginia, but most of the singers are hidden or at the top of the trees.
    I’ve listened to Cornell’s online bird calls without much edification. I did not think Merlin would be any better.

    I downloaded Merlin and tried it several days running. 90% are bird’s I’ve seen from my kitchen window at some time, but now I can listen to their songs and know which birds are singing. Merlin is far better than Cornell’s online bird calls.

    We do have a mockingbird in the yard, but I know their general perch points and nesting site. The mockingbirds are usually in our Virginia Holly well away from our woods.

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