here’s why I went to Stockholm


Then, I went back to Stockholm. I had long known about Skokloster Slott because of the collection of 17th-century tools there…but my original itinerary didn’t have time or space to visit Stockholm.  I saw Johan Lyrfalk at the Lie-Nielsen Open House in July and he said if I came to Stockholm, he’d make arrangements so we could visit Skokloster together. So I did. Johan, Bengt Nillson, Paer Hansen, Alex Hoglund and Christopher Martens took me on a whirlwind tour, starting at Skokloster. Lotta Lindley was our guide there, and she took us everywhere.

The planes in particular, but I think many of the other tools too, were ordered from the toolmaker Jan Arnendtz in Amsterdam in 1664. Skokloster even has the paperwork concerning the purchase of the tools…

where to begin?
Dutch molding planes
a very long jointer; nicely carved
detail of the rear handle
a few jointers
a front tote
molding planes

the “lathe” room was ridiculous – and I was overwhelmed by the planes…so I barely got any details in here. There were so many tools I knew nothing about…the ones pictured here at least are recognizable; gouges, skews, normal turning tools.





Back in the first room. there was a great table. At first, I thought it was a draw table with an un-associated top sitting on it. But after looking it over, and seeing many more tables in the castle, I decided it was all original, and was just missing its drawer. The stone top had an inlaid frame around it, now most of the inlay is gone. Two stretchers are replaced, but two are original. What caught my eye is the “lipped” tenon, where the rail slips over the stile. This joint appears a lot in furniture made in Plymouth Colony, c. 1640-1680s.



Nice chisels and gouges. I think many of these are also Dutch, if I recall correctly.


These large paring tools are beautiful examples. Not sure they have an English counterpart; something like a “slick.”


Some nice wooden squares, including one with scribed circles on its blade.



Some of the staging that was used during the construction of the castle. Work mostly stopped around 1676, one piece I read said this staging was reconstructed when Skokloster opened as a museum.


If you have read the blog kept by Roald Renmælmo and Tomas Karlsson then you might have seen these tools and this collection before. Here’s a couple of their posts on the subject:



the rest of my teaching schedule for 2016

An update about classes remaining for 2016, and slightly beyond.

spoons & bowl

First up is spoon-carving at Lie-Nielsen, on Sept 24 & 25


I have lots of new tricks I learned at Spoonfest and Täljfest, so come to Maine & we’ll explore all kinds of ideas. I also have some new spoons by outstanding makers to study, as well as a couple old ones.


October begins with the opening of the full-tilt chest class at Bob Van Dyke’s Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking.    We did this last year, one-weekend-a-month, for five months. One by one, students from last year have finished their chests, here’s one from Dwight Beebe:

This class is the best way to learn all the steps in making a joined chest with drawer.

This year, we’ll include a trip down to the Yale University Furniture Study, to examine the chest we’ll base ours on. Riving, hewing, planing, joinery, carving – the whole thing. One weekend at a time. First class is coming up, Oct 1 & 2.


Later in October, we’ll do the riving class with Plymouth CRAFT – right now we don’t have it listed yet, but a weekend in October, I think the 15/16 . (I’ll post it here, and Plymouth CRAFT will send out its email as well, if you’re not on their list, you want to be, even if it’s just for Greenwood Fest next year!  )

UPDATE: Here is hurdlemaking:
We are excited to be returning to the wonderful venue we used for Dave Fisher’s bowl carving class in July. That massive marsh should be gorgeous in the autumn light.


In this class, we split apart an oak log, learning how to “read” the log for best results. Then using a froe, we further break the stock down, and make garden hurdles. So, riving, hewing, shaving at a shaving horse, mortising – a busy weekend full of old techniques still applicable today.

test fit

THEN – Paula Marcoux reminded me about the spoon carving at Plymouth CRAFT on Dec 10 & 11,  at Overbrook house in Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts.

stay tuned to Plymouth CRAFT for details…

UPDATE: And here is spoon carving:
For this one we’ll be back at our beloved winter home, Overbrook House. Always cozy; always fun.


Next stop on the Swedish trip was Öland, an island off the southeast coast. We were there because Jögge was teaching at Capellagården, the school begun by Carl Malmsten in the late 1950s.

here’s a view of some of the gardens


gardens at capellagarden

What a place, Öland. We only saw bits & pieces of the southern half of the island, but that was enough to be really captivating. I went with Masashi, Madoka and Fuku to see some of the island while Jögge was teaching. One stop was Gråborg, remnants of a ring-fort that might date from the 6th century. It was rebuilt in its present form in the middle ages.


Gråborg 2


There is also a fragment of an early church on site.

church ruins at Gråborg

Next stop was to Himmelsberga, a great museum about life on Öland. (a quick detour to see the sea first, while we waited for the museum to open).




Fabulous buildings and furnishings. The best open-air museum of the trip.

Our hosts for some of our time on Öland were Carl-Magnus Persson and his wife. Carl-Magnus taught furniture work at Capellagården for I think 40 years! He trucked me around the island and showed me more sights than I can keep track of! A quick stop to see one of the many standing stones on the island – I forget the story of this one, other than some knucklehead-Viking types brought this stone to the island to mark the grave of someone – probably Odin, it’s almost always Odin. The whole place is made of stone! 

me & stone

The island is home to the Stora Alvaret, a huge limestone plain – we walked some in there – May is the time to see it, I’m told. Then it’s hoppin’ with nesting birds, and blooming with flowers.

stora alvaret

Then we went all the way down to the southern tip, where no matter how hard Jögge protested, I got to do some birding. Back when we left Sätergläntan, we stopped at Vesa Jussila’s and he lent me a scope & tripod. Second bird I saw on this outing was a northern Lapwing – a bird I had never seen. I was so excited, but Jögge and his wife Nina were un-moved. Lapwings nest near them, they’re very common. The next day I saw a flock of about 50…

lapwing Juvenile
Falcon, looks like peregrine, but I remember it being kinda small

We made the climb up Långe Jan, the lighthouse near the southern tip of the island.  Astounding birding here. Here’s part of the view:

view Långe Jan

I wanted to stay on Öland for the rest of my life, but my family was back in Massachusetts. Next stop was Stockholm for a couple of days, then home. Stockholm pictures next time.

We stayed at It couldn’t have been better. Some views from an early morning walk:

be careful
glad I wasn’t driving

early morning walk

Birds as far as I could see in both directions, with a scope – so there were a lot of birds.

all birds as far as I could see


Sweden trip, part 2



Too much happened there for me to write the whole thing down. After Täljfest,  Jögge Sundqvist led a few of us on a mini-tour of parts of Sweden. We were me, Jogge, Del & Mary Stubbs and Masashi Kutsuwa and his wife Madoka and their daughter Fuku. Jogge kept things beyond interesting.

First stop – I have no pictures I can share with the blog – a storehouse for the Nodiska Museet (Nordic Museum for some of  us) – absolutely mind-boggling array of wooden objects. I don’t remember seeing anything that was un-decorated. (the website for the museum down in Stockholm, which can’t possibly compare to its storage collections  – better to work through this site, which can be sorted by object, collection & more  )

An evening with Anja Sundberg and her family, her work is amazingly personal, and lively. She almost couldn’t be harder to find on the internet, Robin Wood wrote about her work some time ago.

Next morning, a stop for breakfast with Nicke Helldorff, among other things, a carver of birds.

nikki & magpie
Nicke Helldorff
nikki's grebes

Then, Hans Karlsson’s shop,   where we all had fun (& Hans’ cherry pie) watching Del go out of his mind comparing notes and techniques with Hans, Mats, Johan, Andreas and Ludwig.

Del Stubbs & Hans Karlsson
Del Stubbs & Hans Karlsson
people are waiting for these…

When we arrived, there were three flags outside the shop – US, Sweden & Japan. They had to make the Japanese flag, couldn’t find one to buy!

H Karlsson klensmide

That night, we stayed with Ramon & Marie Persson.  He was patient enough to show us his birch cannister work, while several of us clicked away with cameras.

ramon birch cannisters

cutting tabs

folding in

A really nice old shaving horse at Ramon’s shop:

old shaving horse

shaving horse detail

The next morning, as we were trying to leave, out came the box of antique spoons!

old spoons
old spoons
ramon's spoons
Ramon’s spoons

Then on to a house museum with the most astounding collection of carved work. Sophia Isberg carved vessels to hold cigars, of all things. But the carvings she did rendered them into a sphere all their own. 

jogge mary & del w carvings
Jogge, Mary & Del looking at some of Sophia Isberg’s carvings
carving detail
detail of one base

carving detail 3

A stone overmantel dated 1662, for the 17th-century enthusiasts :

stone mantle carving

stone mantle pt 2 1662

After that, to Öland. Another post for that leg of the trip.


Täljfest at Sätergläntan

I left Spoonfest as soon as the dust settled – off to the airport to get over to Sweden so we could start all over again. Täljfest featured a similar format; 3-day “pre-fest” courses, then an influx of more carvers and instructors for the actual festival itself. My first trip to Sweden – it was pretty exciting.

Sätergläntan is a magical place Beautifully inspiring buildings, contents and people, nestled into the woodsy hillsides. When I left home, temperatures had been in the low 90s (around 32/33C) and in Sweden, I could have used a sweater at times. When I spoke to the kids back home, I told them it was nice October weather!

saterglantan main building

There were several courses running at once; I saw next to nothing of them, being busy with mine. JoJo Wood was doing her masterclass on eating spoons; Beth Moen worked a group through her bowl carving; I did the 17th-century carving designs, and the other class was figure carving with Joohyun Im & Hyungjun Yong of South Korea.

In the festival itself – it was, like Spoonfest, an embarrassment of riches – inspiring craftsmen & women everywhere you turned. Also like Spoonfest, I know I’ll miss some names. Magnus Sundelin again, Fritiof Runhall carving spoons, Del Stubbs all over the place!, Jonas Als Jarrod Stone Dahl;  Barn Carder ; Masashi Kutsuwa with his green woodworking in Japan, also his wife Madoka with her Urushi lacquer work; Jane Mickelborough presented some of her research into Breton spoon history, Niklas Karlsson on spoon carving; Vesa Jussila, carving birds, but more importantly, showing me local birds ;

It was crazy – I saw very little of it. I did wander around some, seeing people carving everywhere. On the last afternoon, there was a panel discussion, led by Jögge Sundqvist, about craft in our respective countries – we had Denmark, Japan, US, UK, Sweden all represented. JoJo’s biggest challenge was to speak without profanity, and she aced it.

Lots of pictures, I’ll just add captions.

del stubbs
Del Stubbs presenting his fan bird demo
del's birds
Del’s bird – mind bogglingly good
gouge drawer
each tool has a number, and each slot a corresponding number
jojo demo
JoJo with a spoon carving demo
on my windowsill in my room
on the windowsill in my bedroom
outside the woodshop area
from the woods, looking back to the woodshop
one of the tool cabinets
fritiof's class
Fritiof’s spoon class

This one gets a sentence of its own – this man is Claude Veuillet, one of the co-authors of a great study of Swiss chests &  boxes. One of my students from Spoonfest, Helen, came to Taljfest too, and spoke fluent French. So she helped Claude & I get acquainted. Thanks, Helen.

claude better

Here’s the book – and a post I wrote about it way back

The dining hall is particularly inspiring.

birch w paint
birch cannister. I don’t even drink tea, but had to look at it in detail
bengt lidsttrom bowl
Bengt Lidstrom bowl
partial spread of food
the place is headquarters for woodenware


blue chair
nice blue chair outside the room I taught in


bla salen
Bla Salen, door frame also by Bengt Lidstrom, painted door by another hand

My thanks to all those who worked & attended the event. And to Jogge Sundqvist & Beth Moen for including me.

Here’s a link to some photos from Saterglantan:

Spoonfest 2016

I’m back home from 3 1/2 weeks over in England and Sweden. Lots to catch up on, I’ll start with Spoonfest. But first, I said many times while I was there, that no blog post, video or anything else can convey the feeling being at this event. If you get a chance, just go. I was amazed in every way; by the folks running it – Robin Wood & Barn Carder; along with a host of support staff & amazingly good volunteers, both young & old. The attendees worked as hard as anybody much of the time…


This was year 5 for Spoonfest, and it moved to a new venue, about a 5-minute walk from the original site, so they tell me. This one was great, a huge field for camping, carving, eating around the fires – and above at the top of the field, two long stone barns for the classes. During the festival there are many 90-minute classes that serve as “taster” sessions. There were often 8 of these going on at one time! that’s around 80 people chopping away in unison. First, they post the offerings on a blackboard. People line up in the morning (queue, in British) and patiently wait to sign up for classes. It works amazingly well. Not sure how this would fly in the US – I tried to teach those in the back of the queue to create panic & tension, by shouting & shoving…it was no use.

making it up
checking the board to see what’s available

a partial view of the inside of the barn, just as some classes were beginning.

partial overview

down by the woodpile – there were always people here, either carving, talking – or helping you choose some great wood.


Under these tarps (not sure what they are in British English) were benches, chopping blocks, fires, and people carving almost all the time.

under the tarps

This table was unbelievable. The spoons-for-sale table. This is a FRACTION of what ended up there. Staggering. Hanging around this table cost me some money, but made me some too…

fraction of spoons

When you got overwhelmed with inspiration, you could just step back & enjoy the view. Edale is really something.

field & hills

Part-way up one of the hills.

long view

My view is that the event is about people – I said a number of times, it was as if the internet came to life. There were so many people to meet, there’s no way I can get them all. Plus I took lousy photographs. Here’s a few that I happened to have photos of.  Barn, aka Barn the Spoon. what fun to get to spend time with Barn. He & I sorted out the world while others stayed up through the nights quenching thirsts.


Magnus Sundelin Magnus is the man, plus, like me, he hates the Beach Boys’ music.

Fred Livesay There is no one like Fred. he might have made the first 2 spoons of Spoonfest this year. I look forward to seeing him in Minnesota next spring.

fred livesay

Steve Tomlin  For someone who would rather be cutting the grass, Steve is a great spoon carving teacher.

steve tomlin

Among others that came to life – JoJo Wood of course, and Jarrod Stone Dahl. The three of us were on the circuit this season; Greenwood Fest, Spoonfest and Taljfest.  Jarrod still is on the road…

Alexander Yerks – had so much fun he hasn’t come back to the US yet!   I got to meet Jan Harm ter Brugge   I knew of his Wille Sundqvist connection, plus we have mutual friends. It was great to meet him finally. Jane & Peter Mickleborough (a treat, saw them in Sweden too…) Martin & Jon Hazell – I had several nice chats with both of these guys. Saw Richard Law there – 2 summers in a row, Richard – 

The volunteers who fed us, chopped, cut & fetched wood and helped make sure us newcomers had what we needed – Harry, Tom, Nicki, Ria –  I know there’s more – but they really were great. Just fabulous workers, and nice people.

And Robin Wood of course. I have no pictures of him this time. He straddled the edge the whole time, and seemed to calmly keep things going. He & Barn are yin & yang of festival organization.

And many, many more. Sorry to make a partial list. It’s not a slight. I have to get to sleep.