Another trip I’d like to make some day


Just a pointer to go read about Terence McSweeney’s visit to Tamás Gyenes’ house in Hungary. Terence & I met last year when he came to a box-making class I taught in Somerset, England. I was thrilled to hear he made it over to Hungary. What an experience that must have been! I swiped his photo above…but for the real thing, just go see his write up. It says part 1, which implies there’ll be a part 2…thanks, Terence & Tamas.



No woodwork to show, see Heather’s paintings instead

Time is flying by. I have lots to do around here. I’m back to work on the shop, shingling the roof with Western red cedar shingles. They don’t call them perfect for nothing – I have to stop myself from pausing to admire the wood in these bundles. But I’ve not shot any photos. You’ve seen people put up shingles before. First batch of windows are slated to go in soon. 

bench view

Prepping to go to Spoonfest, then right from there to Täljfest at Sätergläntan in Sweden.

In the meantime – it’s July. That means Heather Neill’s show is coming up at the Granary Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard. Here’s a sneak peek – one perhaps called “dark and stormy” 

Each painting has a blog post, with the notes about the painting. Worth the time in spades.

I might not make it to the island this year to see the show – all the more reason to read the blog. I don’t know anybody who puts more of themself into their work than Heather. Unreal. Always a highlight when we get to visit, see you soon HN.  and

Whoops – posted this & remembered to add the video link:

Visions of Home — The Work of Heather Neill from Barbarella TV on Vimeo.



Pete Seeger's banjo

I told you I feel inspired. I remember when Pete Seeger died, I searched the web for a photo of his banjo – this week it served as an idea for some wood carving. I’ve had these items rattling around the house since Greenwood Fest; further inspiration. A bowl by Dave Fisher, large spoon Beth Moen, small spoon Derek Sanderson.


So I weighed this piece of wood one more time, and  got the same weight as recorded here in April & early June – 14 oz.

weight loss record

here’s where it will go, a replacement handle for my old Viking-style hatchet.

old & new handles

Here is recto:

axe recto

and verso:

axe verso

a favorite quote from Bill Coperthwaite, found in his book A Handmade Life.

I plan on carving spoons this weekend at the Lie-Nielsen Open House, with this hatchet.

Meanwhile, some birds around the workshop project, which is roof shingling.

female downy woodpecker (right) feeding male young.

feed me

white breasted nuthatch.

wb nuthatch

red tailed hawk, every day being chased off by grackles, blackbirds, blue jays – you name it, they chase ’em.

rt hawk

Red bellied woodpecker.

rb woodpecker

what to do with all this inspiration?

After Plymouth CRAFT’s Greenwood Fest 2016, the biggest problem I have is what to do with all that inspiration. I remember the first evening all the instructors were on-site- it struck me that we had a great lineup assembled, and that I wouldn’t be able to see much of it/them. It’s the nature of working an event like this, rather than attending it. But it was so exciting seeing everyone, and comparing ideas, thoughts, plans – and then the snippets I did see really got the juices flowing.

Dave Jogge & JoJo

We had Beth Moen and Dave Fisher carving bowls with axe and adze, contrasted with Derek (non-stop) Sanderson and Jarrod Stone Dahl turning them on Jarrod’s pole lathe. The spoon contrast was between the Woodland Pixie and the Viking – JoJo Wood and Jögge Sundqvist. Two very different approaches, but both so engrossing that I wished I had eight arms, so I could carve more spoons every day. I showed JoJo a large crook I was going to make a spoon from. “What would you do?” I asked. “Throw that out and carve some straight-grained spoons” came the reply. And yet I hear Jögge talking about “form follows fibers” – there ain’t no one way, I guess.

dave w students

turned bowls

After the event, a bunch of us were talking about what worked, and what could stand some tweaking. April Stone Dahl said earlier she wondered why she was included, not being a spoon carver. Nonsense, says me. I wanted basketry to be a big part of the Greenwood theme, and April’s are some of the nicest baskets I know, without being precious and dainty.


Tim Manney’s approach to both spoon carving and chair making are so different from my own, but he has a tremendous grasp of both crafts. I really like Tim’s work, and his teaching style is very engrossing. He always had a crowd around his bench.

Pret Woodburn and Rick McKee are not as well-known to the web-based woodworking community as our other instructors. But if you’ve been around a Plymouth CRAFT event, then you got to know them. Together they have hewn more wood & talked to more people than anyone except maybe me (well, Roy Underhill too…but you get the point) and they taught these skills for years beyond count. It was a great thrill for me to combine them with these far-flung friends. I knew the fit would be perfect, and it was.

pret hewing

When we decided to call our festival “greenwood” something seemed familiar…and that’s how I thought of having Scott Landis come give us a glimpse into the organization known as Greenwood, and the wonderful work they do, making the world a better place through woodworking and green wood.

The classes afterwards were an added bonus, Tim, Dave and I hung around, while JoJo and Jögge had to work. So we got to rubberneck in their classes, and keep on exploring what to do with sharp edges and lignin fibers.

Back home, I’m working on oak furniture, spoon and bowl carving, a bench in catalpa and white oak, and Pret & I are about to resume some carpentry on the workshop. And I’m eyeing some half-finished baskets, too. If I could only skip sleeping….then I could utilize all this inspiration.

Here’s two views – first, the video our friend Harry Kavouksorian put together for us. Thanks, Harry.

Greenwood Fest 2016 from Harry Kavouksorian on Vimeo.

And the second, a very nice article with slides & video, from Frank Mand. Nice work, Frank. I appreciate it. 

I heard we might just be dumb enough to do it again. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, go carve something!

Woodworking in Estonia now available from Lost Art Press


Lost Art Press just announced they are now taking orders for their new translation of Woodworking in Estonia – go order yours, don’t even think about it. I saw it as they were working on it, it will open your mind about woodworking.

If you ever thought you’ve seen this book based on the 1969 US version, forget it. You ain’t seen nothin’. If you wasted your eyesight on the online version that was floating around some years ago, even worse. Now you’ll be able to see what this book is meant to be.

Congrats, Chris, John & the rest of LAP cohorts. Nice going.

read some of the story here:

order your copies here

Up to Lie-Nielsen and back home

Unloaded some photos off my camera today. Now I see where I’ve been.

After Greenwood Fest, I scooted up for a quick trip to Lie-Nielsen to teach a 2-day class in 17th-century carving. The project is/was a carved box. Most of the emphasis is on the carving.

They’ve moved the classroom there, now using benches back-to-back. Seems like a nice arrangement. 
double bench LN

Dwight got the “coolest shirt” recognition. 

dwight cool shirt

Bill brought an old  brace for show & tell. I have no way to know its age. 17th/18th century? who knows…it’s really well done, no matter when. 
hand forged brace



I dragged JoJo Wood along. Decorative carving is not her bag, but she took to it like gangbusters. 

jojo carves decoration

jojo carving decoration

She told me Edale is as far from the sea as you can get in England, so after all that time in the car, we had to see some Maine coast. Here’s Owl’s Head

owls head


Back home I have several things underway. I know this is stupid, but I assembled my workbench inside the unfinished shop. It’s stored here, was going to sit under a tarp, so why not have it assembled? we’ve never really looked at how it’s built – so here is the white pine top, approx. 4″x 17″ x 8′. On an oak frame. Wedged through tenons on the long rails. The frame runs 24″ deep. I have an oak shelf/plank that fills in the space to make up the rest of the bench top.

bench assembly

The front leg at my right hand-end. Holes for holdfast in the leg. A blind tenon at the top of the leg into a mortise in the underside of the bench. It just goes “thunk” and is done. Just 2 mortises in the bench top. It rests on the top edge of the side aprons behind the front legs.

bench end

Before I positioned the back shelf/plank. I have no recollection of why I framed the rear legs the way I did. But the loose block that rests between the back leg and the rear edge of the workbench top is a spacer to support the shelf. Weird, but it works. Once the shelf is in place, I never think about it again.

back leg

shelf is pegged down to the two spacers, and has one registration peg between it & the bench top.


The bench in situ. A sliding deadman occasionally gets some use. Chopping block moves to the left hand end of this view. Now to finish the shop around the bench & lathe.

in situ





Greenwood Fest article & various photos

run away

For two full weeks, I was surrounded by some of my favorite woodworkers…now it’s pretty quiet, trying to get back into the day-to-day. If you want to re-live Greenwood Fest, here’s some links:

That article and more photos are compiled on Plymouth CRAFT’s facebook page.

a collection or two on Instagram  and

I’m sure there’s more.