Some photos from my trip down to the Woodwright’s School & Woodwright’s shop, aka Roy Underhill’s place. Always a highlight of the year. we had a 2-day spoon carving class during which I apparently took zero pictures. so just imagine that class…otherwise, just photos & captions.
After rehearsal, we stopped by the school & crashed Tom Calisto’s saw-making class.
At the mill, we had 2 days of spoons, then set up for hewing & carving bowls.
Sorta. Tim will be an integral part of our Greenwood Fest next month, and way back when I was posting bios about the presenters, I asked Tim for a blurb. One thing he stinks at is self-promotion. So I asked for more info, and somehow it got past me & I once in a while kept thinking “I gotta write up Tim…” – So sorry, Tim, it took so long. Look forward to seeing you in Plymouth next month.
Tim makes excellent chairs, tools, and spoons. He’s particularly passionate about spoon-carving.
I’ve written before about one approach he uses, which is to steam-bend blanks for spoon carving. Don’t dismiss this as some whacky notion – it’s another example of using spoon carving to learn some further-flung techniques applicable to many woodworking tasks. Tim knows wood technology very well, his chair-making is top-notch. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/what-if-a-chairmaker-made-spoons/
At the Festival Tim will lead some students through the process he uses for steam-bending spoon blanks, and demonstrating some ladderback chairmaking techniques. Make sure you get to see Tim in action.
Here’s what he wrote:
“I started carving spoons on a stump behind my college dorm, quickly got obsessed, and started tracking down everyone that I could learn anything about spooncarving from. After meeting Curtis Buchanan at Country Workshops, he invited me to live and work with him in Tennessee and learn to make Windsor chairs. Working with Curtis in his small chair shop gave me a model of how to run a small production workshop and I’ve been building my life around that model ever since.
After leaving Tennessee and moving to Maine I started making chairs, but with the help of another Windsor chairmaker, Pete Galbert, I found a niche for myself making hand tools. Pete and I collaborated on the design of a reamer and an adze and I have spent the last four years producing those tools to order. The tools are a product of the combination of our experience in building chairs, prolific prototyping, and endless experimentation. It’s a fun process. The results are tools that are easy to control and, we hope, intuitive to use.
I currently work out of a small workshop in Maine where I produce the tools that Pete and I designed, make Windsor and ladderback chairs, and continue to obsessively carve spoons. Spoon carving is the foundation of all of my woodworking and it continues to provide a playground for shape, form, function, and aesthetics that informs everything else.”
It’s quite a festive year for some of us – Going in reverse chronological order, the circus I’m in has expanded so that I’ll be travelling to Sweden & England this summer, in addition to my usual East Coast wanderings.
The last one is Täljfest at Sätergläntan in Sweden. Among the many participants are Del Stubbs, renowned knife-maker to the spoon world, working on his fan birds; Jögge Sundqvist, inspiring us all with his extraordinary work, Beth Moen, carver of giant bowls, (her favorite tools is the axe!); Anja Sundberg, whose work is almost as colorful (more colorful?) than Jögge’s; and Jojo Wood. (it’s the Year of JoJo). There’s more craftspeople to come, too. It’s my first trip to that part of the world, I’m beside myself with excitement. I cant’ believe I get to be a part of this. https://www.facebook.com/taljfest/?fref=nf and http://www.saterglantan.com/evenemang/taljfest/
It’s the reverse British invasion, four Americans coming for the pre-fest courses; me, Fred Livesay, Jarrod Stone Dahl, and Alexander Yerks. Among others are Magnus Sundelin- I’m thrilled to be in such company. that’s just the sessions beforehand, then the whole thing kicks off for 3 days…with Robin Wood, Barn Carder and I-don’t-know-who-else. Spoonfest is the legend, and this is my first time getting to it. I’m looking forward to meeting all those spoon-crazed people!
Spoonfest was our inspiration; some common threads are JoJo Wood, Jarrod Stone Dahl, Jögge Sundqvist, Beth Moen – but we have Owen Thomas, Dave Fisher, Tim Manney, April Stone Dahl and others coming too. Later this month, I’ll be getting some lists of wood needs, and other preparations. It will be here before you know it, and before I’m ready. Thankfully, CRAFT is in better hands than mine, so I just have to show up & introduce some people and cut wood…
the winter is gradually letting go around here; my workshop is almost all-cut & ready for raising. (Then the real work begins of finishing it off so I can use it!) – and soon I’ll be travelling out & about to teach classes. Here’s a reminder of the upcoming classes –
On May 7 & 8, I’ll be back at Lie-Nielsen, with two days of spoon carving. May is my favorite time to be in Maine. Spoon carving is, as you might know, sweeping the world. Come see what it’s all about, or if you’ve already carved a lot of spoons, come & we’ll explore some of the finer points of spoon design. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/126
June is mostly taken up with Greenwood Fest, but right after it, I’ll pack up again for Warren, Maine. This time at Lie-Nielsen we’re making a carved box. Last year we developed a short version of this course; jumping right to learning the carvings, then designing the box’s patterns. We’ll assemble the box with wooden pins securing rabbet joints, then nail the bottom on, following 17th-century practice. A wooden hinge engages cleats under the lid. Come join us and eventually your house will be as full of boxes as mine. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/129
In the “classes that ain’t mine” department, I want to bring your attention to two at Plymouth CRAFT –
Tim Manney’s coming down from Maine to Plymouth to show a different take on spoon carving – he will show you how to steam-bend a straight-grained piece of green wood to a shape that is perfect for a well-designed spoon. Don’t be mystified by the steam-bending – it’s a simple process that will take you in new directions with spoon carving, and other woodworking too. Tim is part of the Greenwood Fest this spring in Plymouth, but here’s a chance to spend some concentrated time in a small group exploring spoon design, tool use and more.
One offering from later in the season – After Greenwood Fest, Dave Fisher is coming back to Plymouth to lead 12 students through the process of bowl-carving. If you’ve seen his work – (you have, haven’t you?), you know Dave’s a master at this. He puts a lot of thought into his bowls, and will show you how to really advance your visions in this engrossing workshop. I’ll be peering in the windows for this one for sure, unless he sings some Barry Manilow songs…
Mostly this winter has looked like this in our neighborhood.
Then the other day, it looked like this:
Most winters I like it like that…but this winter I’ve been framing the workshop, so trying to get every outdoor day’s work I can. But it looks like for the next week, the shop will be covered up, thus:
After this storm the other day, I was able to uncover the work-site, and finished cutting the rafters we had laid out. But tonight I’ll cover it again, the prediction is for more snow for the next couple of days. I can’t complain, I’ve got pretty far, considering the season. And I love the look of the snow, and the quiet.
I got the download and have been watching it. April did a great job – I kept watching for the cuts – and there are several long shots, where she makes much of the basket in “real” time and talks us through the whole thing. It’s a great job – here’s the intro:
Last fall, Heather Neill was kind enough to hand-me-down her Nikon D300, so my D80 became a dedicated bird-shooting camera…(now I don’t switch lenses, which always led to dust on the sensor..) – but that means I hardly ever load the photos from that camera to the machine here. today, I got a backlog of pictures sifted & sorted. Here’s some from the past month:
Plymouth CRAFT is now a year old. http://www.plymouthcraft.org/ It’s an organization with which I’m thrilled to be involved. After a great first year, 2016 looks to be even better. As you have read here, Greenwood Fest in June will be a memorable event. I’ve been working with Paula Marcoux as we coax all the instructors for details about their sessions. We’re close to the point now where Paula & I have to sit and figure out who does what where & when.
In the meantime, Paula took the chicken way out and booked two workshops that happen after the festival. We had wanted to pursue having the instructors stay a few extra days and teach in-depth classes – but the hardest part was deciding how much of that we could do, then who to tap. It being our first venture, we decided to have just 2 classes – that’s enough for now. These classes will be held at the Pinewoods camp where the Greenwood Fest is happening. Dates are Tuesday and Wednesday, June 14 & 15. Tomorrow registration will open for these small classes – one with JoJo Wood and one with Jögge Sundqvist.
JoJo will explore the finer points of spoon design, concentrating on the most demanding spoon, the eating spoon. I spent about 20 minutes carving with JoJo once and it changed the way I approach things. This class will be small, 10 students. And it will push you in ways you can’t fathom.
Jögge has a treat in store, making a distaff…”A what?” you say. This class is a crash course in Swedish design, tradition, culture and more. Emphasis is on the use of the drawknife, slojd knife, and a couple of other common hand tools. This is a class in technique and thought, not a project-based workshop. Yes, a distaff is a useful thing, for spinners. Here, it’s a symbol.