Carve a Hinged Spoon w Jane Mickelborough

The Plymouth CRAFT crew is moving into full-tilt preparation for our third annual Greenwood Fest. Tickets are sold out for the fest, but there is space in one unique spoon carving class beforehand. Jane Mickelborough lives in Brittany and there she stumbled into a rich tradition of spoon carving unlike anything else we’ve seen – the folding (or hinged) spoons made in that region during the 18th and 19th centuries.

student’s spoons in Jane’s class last year at Spoonfest

She taught the folding spoon class last year at Greenwood Fest and at Spoonfest in England. Her blog post from the other day says the Plymouth class this season is the only one she’s teaching this year. https://janeswoodenspoons.blogspot.fr/2018/05/teaching-how-to-make-folding-spoons.html

Here’s Jane helping one of the students driving the hinge pin into a spoon blank.

And one of her folding spoons, complete with colored wax inlay.

Signing up for Jane’s class brings you into the pre-Fest activities – hers is one of 7 classes running at once, so you’ll be swept up in lots of interesting action between sessions, at mealtimes and evenings. I think of it as 3/4 of another Greenwood Fest. The price of $500 includes 2 full days of instruction; all materials; 2 nights lodging & 7 meals.

There’s also 2 spots I think in Tim Manney’s sharpening class. I’ve posted about this experience before; https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/sharpening-w-tim-manney-at-plymouth-craft/

I remember one student yelling “what else can we sharpen?” during one of Tim’s classes…

 

https://www.greenwoodfest.org/course-details

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Plymouth CRAFT – spoon carving in December and Sharpening in January

The closer you get to the end of the year, the faster time goes by. Maybe the older you get the faster it goes too. Paula, Pret and I have started sorting out stuff for Greenwood Fest, who’s doing what, etc. But in the meantime, we have a few courses closer to the horizon. There’s a spoon carving class coming up in early December at Overbrook in Buzzard’s Bay.

 

We have held classes there a lot, it’s a wonderful place. 2 days, lots of spoon wood and Paula’s lunches. December 9 & 10, 2017. https://www.plymouthcraft.org/spoon-carving – plus both afternoons there’s a German Holiday baking class going on with Kirsten Atchison – maybe if you’re good they’ll let you sample some goodies https://www.plymouthcraft.org/german-holiday-baking and https://www.plymouthcraft.org/more-german-holiday-baking

 

Then the following month, after all the hubbub dies down, is Tim Manney’s sharpening class. This class is a deceptive thing. Sharpening classes are not as glamourous as a project-based class, but the skills you develop in this class reach into every aspect of your woodworking.

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Tim gets things fiercely sharp, and is an excellent teacher.  https://www.plymouthcraft.org/an-axe-to-grind Last year, people were scooting around asking “what else can we sharpen?” – I’m going to be around for it, and I’ve been cleaning my loft out in the shop. I plan on bringing a box of tools that will be free for the taking – but you’ve got to sharpen them!

Hope to see some of you there…or beyond.

still some room in Pre-Fest courses at Greenwood Fest

The Greenwood Fest is long-sold out, with a waiting list. I heard from Paula Marcoux last night that someone had to cancel, and the next name on the waiting list flipped out –

But there’s still a way to get a big hit of greenwood fun in Plymouth next month. The pre-fest courses are running Tuesday afternoon June 6th to Thursday mid-day June 8th. Due to a cancellation, there’s a space in Jögge Sundqvist’s class “Swedish Slöjd Knife with Birchbark Sheath.”  If you’ve not been around Jögge, I can tell you, this class is about much more than making a knife handle & sheath. Working with him is a life-changing experience.


There’s room too in Tim Manney’s Sharpening class – a deceptive class. When we ran it the first time, people were clamoring for more tools to sharpen. It’s a tricky class to convince your family to let you go for a few days, you come home with a bunch of sharp tools – not some flashy woodsy object d’art. BUT…it’s an eye-opener, and forevermore your tools will be honed to a crazy keen edge. Tim is a great, great teacher.

Jane Mickelborough’s Folding Spoon class is the one I would take if I had the time. Jane’s work studying and learning about these historic spoons from Brittany is really inspiring. It’s so different from most of what we see about spoons, but rooted in tradition.

So if you missed out on the festival itself, this is a chance for a 3/4 festival experience There will be 7 classes running at the same time – just like the fest, you stay on site in cabins, all meals included from lunch Tuesday to lunch Thursday. So I think it’s close to 80 people in camp, counting attendees and instructors. That means all the “down” times; before class, during meals, after class in the evenings, you’re part of a huge contingent of like-minded greenwood-ers.

After class on Thursday, you go find some quiet place to digest what you’ve just been through, then that evening make your way to Fuller Craft Museum for the mind-blowing Rhythym & Slöjd performance by Jögge Sundqvist. http://fullercraft.org/event/rhythm-and-slojd/ – the Fuller evening is part of the pre-Fest tuition.

Come join us for the early festival experience.

course descriptions:    https://www.greenwoodfest.org/course-details

registration:   https://www.plymouthcraft.org/greenwood-fest-courses

 

 

Greenwood Fest 2017 instructors: Tim Manney

Tim Manney is one of our returning instructors from the first Greenwood Fest for 2017.

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If I had Tim’s talent with my ego, I’d take over the woodworking world. But Tim is very humble and quiet, which can sometimes fool you. There’s lots to learn from him. Last spring at the Greenwood Fest, he demonstrated his ladderback chairmaking techniques, along with teaching a class in making steam-bent spoons. Tim recently taught a sharpening class with Plymouth CRAFT that really took off; so much so that he’s slated to teach another 2-day class in sharpening before the festival.

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In the sharpening class, he was able to help people re-grind hatchets to a shape more conducive to perfect slicing action, everyone worked at sharpening and honing their sloyd knives; tackled tricky shapes like gouges – there was nothing they wouldn’t take on. Many were beginners, but several (including me) had been around edges for ages…there was much to learn. It made us scramble around to find more things to sharpen – it was that good. So sharpening your tools with Tim before the festival will put you in the best position there is…perfect edges, ready for wood!

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We had no sharpening topic in our first version of the fest, and there were times when people were left knowing their tools needed attention, but we had nothing to help them with. That’s fixed this time around, thanks to Tim.

Tim’s range of ability is broad –  chair-making, tool making (reamers are a specialty of his, and his adze is really a beautifully simple tool), spoon carving and more. One additional idea he had was a demo of hickory bark seating. If you met Tim last year, or at one of his other appearances around the woodworking circuit, then you know how engaging his presentations are…if you have yet to meet him, this is your chance.

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Tim’s ladderback chair from Greenwood Fest, w hickory bark seat

Sharpening w Tim Manney at Plymouth Craft

here’s how I know Tim Manney’s sharpening class at Plymouth Craft was a success – I can’t wait to go sharpen stuff!

hollow-ground-hatchet

I wasn’t taking the class, but I got to hang around enough to get caught up in the excitement of “knowing what sharp is…” as one of the students put it. We hadn’t run this class before, so it was hard to describe. But I knew it would be a winner. And it was, in spades. Tim started them off with one of the hardest tools to sharpen – the sloyd knife. Sandpaper adhered to tiles – I’m not usually a fan of this method, but Tim sold me pretty quickly. No mess whatsoever – no water, no oil. here’s his proper posture, and he’s working the knife perpendicular to the long axis of the “stone.” Sort of jabbing it in & out.

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a strop. 
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Then, cut the end grain of white pine. A non-forgiving material – but if you cut it cleanly, then you’re ready.

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His axe grinding method was great too –

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the students dove right in & took a wide range of tools. Axes, drawknives, knives, chisels, gouges – it was infectious.


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this class will happen again, sometime in 2017. Next time, I bet the spaces will fill up, so when you hear about it -get on it. You’ll be glad you did. If you get on the newsletter, you’ll be notified of all Plymouth Craft’s offerings – http://www.plymouthcraft.org/

Upcoming sharpening class w Tim Manney

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I am often telling readers of the blog to remember there’s a search button on the sidebar of the blog, to help you find stuff buried in the mists of time. But don’t search for “sharpening” because I almost never write about it. Today I was sharpening some chisels for this weekend’s session in joinery at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. Lately, I’ve been using a honing guide from Lie-Nielsen and experimenting again (after 20+ years) with water stones.

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honing a chisel
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lie-nielsen honing guide
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ready to use

I use a broad range of sharpening stuff – still use natural oilstones for many things (drawknives, hatchets, turning gouges). I never teach sharpening as a stand-alone course for several reasons. Principally, I feel like I’m a student of it, not an instructor. And there’s people better qualified than me to teach sharpening.

One of whom is Tim Manney, and he’s coming down to Plymouth Craft to teach a 2-day class in grinding, sharpening, honing –  the works.

Tim Manney sharpening an adze

I remember seeing Tim at Woodworking in America one time, and he was cutting end grain pine with a drawknife – it was as smooth a surface as I had ever seen. Tim isn’t magical, just methodical. And good. Good teacher, good craftsman. Come join us November 12 & 13 – bring your derelict and dull tools. You’ll be amazed at what can be done with them. I’ll be peeking over some shoulders to see what I can learn…

http://www.plymouthcraft.org/an-axe-to-grind

Stupid me – I forgot Tim Manney!

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he’s not holding a cricket, he’s carving a spoon!

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.

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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.”

a gallery of some of Tim’s work:

His Instagram page is here: https://www.instagram.com/tim.manney/