three things

A few things floating around. The first photo is not mine, nor my work. It’s Dave Fisher’s carved sign, made for Jennie Alexander. Finished just before JA’s death, so now what to do with it? I told Dave to keep it – but he had other ideas. Read on.

Here’s Dave’s story about this sign:

“I carved this sign for Jennie Alexander, author of the seminal book, Make a Chair from a Tree.  Since then, the leaves have fallen and the oiled oak has begun to take on a patina.  Although Jennie was able to see photos of the finished sign, she passed away before she was able to receive it.  After a lot of thought and talking with Jennie’s daughter and others close to her, I’ve decided to auction the sign and donate the money to the recently established Plymouth CRAFT Green Woodworking Scholarship.  Learn more about the scholarship here:  https://www.plymouthcraft.org/craft-green-woodworking-sch

This scholarship has already received some generous contributions, and they will allow many people over the coming years to participate in Plymouth CRAFT classes and events who would have otherwise been unable to.  I think that Jennie would have supported such an idea, especially considering the special relationship between her and Peter Follansbee, one of Plymouth CRAFT’s founders and most active instructors.

I’ll ship the sign to the winner of the auction, then I’ll donate all of the proceeds to The Plymouth CRAFT Scholarship Fund.  I will ship outside of the U.S., but will have to add accordingly to the shipping price listed.
There’s more information about the sign and the carving process in this post from my blog: https://davidffisherblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/11/greenwoodworking-in-white-oak/
The sign is 29 1/2″ x 7 3/4″.  The thickness tapers from roughly 1/2″ to 3/4″ from bottom to top as it was radially split from the tree.  The back side reveals marks from the riving.  White oak — Jennie’s favorite.”

Link to Dave’s auction  https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carved-Sign-in-White-Oak-Wood-greenwoodworking/302962380463

 

And that brings up Plymouth CRAFT’s new Scholarship Fund. We’ve been kicking around the idea for a while of creating scholarships so those for whom our tuition is a stretch might still have a chance to come to our workshops and events. We’re still working out how to implement it, but it’s now underway. First shot is for Tim Manney’s sharpening class coming up December 15 & 16. Here’s the blurb about applying for the scholarships – https://www.plymouthcraft.org/craft-green-woodworking-sch

And here’s the one about Tim’s class. I think this will be our third time with this class, other than when he’s led Greenwood Fest sessions on sharpening, and it gets better and better. https://www.plymouthcraft.org/an-axe-to-grind

Last for today, I have a new hatchet to try out. It came already sharp, so that’s a plus.

Julia Kalthoff sent me one of her small carving hatchets to see how I like it. (Yes, there was no invoice. I’ll use this hatchet with my students, as I do with hatchets that I have either bought or received over the years from Hans Karlsson, Robin Wood, and Svante Djarv). If I was shopping for a hatchet, I would gladly pay for Julia’s – from what I can tell after only using it briefly, it’s excellent and well worth her asking price. https://www.kalthoffaxes.se/

It feels like a cross between the Hans Karlsson hatchet and Svante Djarv’s “small Viking” hatchet. Thicker than Karlsson’s at the edge, giving it slightly wider bevels. This is similar to Djarv’s in that respect. Curved cutting edge. The specs are on Julia’s site – if I remember right, Beth Moen helped Julia work out the shape and size. All you carvers out there can now add another great axe to your axe-lust-list.

 

 

 

 

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Greenwood Fest 2018 is nearly here

Next Monday, June 4th, the Plymouth CRAFT crew and most instructors descend on Pinewoods Dance Camp in Plymouth Massachusetts to begin setting up Greenwood Fest 2018. We’ve been working pretty steadily prepping stuff for a couple weeks now – Paula wrangling schedules and logistics and Pret & I have been making the next batch of lathes for bowl turning. The first season, we used Jarrod Dahl’s lathes, then last year we built 4 lathes and Jarrod brought 4. This year, we’ll have 8 of our own, and we’re gathering all the necessary gear – hook tools, treadles, mandrels – Plymouth CRAFT will now have the necessary equipment to host bowl turning classes outside of Greenwood Fest. All we’ll need is a venue and an instructor. You can tell I made the poppets for the lathes – the wedges that secure some of them are carved.

I kept thinking I had loads of time, and at one point I did. But no more. So now I have a scramble to finish up whatever I can so I have something to show in the retail “Greenwood Shop.”  Will it be the joined stool? The ladderback chair? The carved box? At least one of those things, I hope.

Once the Fest sold out, we started a waiting list. As we’ve got closer to the date, here & there some people have had to drop out for one reason or another, and people from the waiting list get contacted and some of them drop in. The Fest is still full, but the 7 pre-Fest courses have some spaces and no waiting lists. So for any last-minute people with flexible schedules – we have some openings you might like to jump on. If you missed out on the Fest and can come at the nearly-last minute, the pre-Fest is almost as wild an event as the Fest itself. Or if you’re in the Fest, quit your job and extend your stay forward with us. Mid-day Tues June 5- mid-day Thurs June 7th. https://www.greenwoodfest.org/course-details

Spoon carvers – Jane Mickelborough’s folding spoon class (hinged spoon, we call it both names) has spaces. It’s an amazing exploration of a traditional form from Brittany. Something different from a lot of the spoon carving going on, but rooted in a local tradition. No one alive knows more about those spoons than Jane.

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JoJo Wood’s eating spoon class. Someone can get into this fiercely popular class. JoJo has been part of both our previous Greenwood Fests. I’ve written lots about her work since we met in 2014, and I continue to be so impressed with her amazingly detailed and nuanced spoons. If you’ve paid any attention to spoon carving, she’s one of the top spoon carvers out there.

 

Tim Manney’s class in sharpening is a real eye-opener. In woodworking, sharp tools make everything better. Tim makes tools sharp, easily. He’ll demystify the processes to sharpen all kinds of tools; hatchets, knives, gouges, chisels, most any edge tool. I have often told the story of the first time we offered this class at Plymouth CRAFT – we had beginning woodworkers running around asking “What else can we sharpen?”

 

If you’re signed up for the Fest, there’s one thing I’ve been meaning to mention for some time. Paint – as far as I can tell, we’ve not addressed painted finishes in our Fest before. Although we have two masters of milk-paint; Curtis Buchanan and Pete Galbert in attendance, in addition to Jögge Sundqvist (who is not afraid of color) – we have a “new-to-you” artisan –  Pen Austin doing some workshops and open demonstrations concerning paint; milk paint and distemper paint.

Pen is British, living in Massachusetts, where she is involved in restoration work in plaster and painted finishes. She trained in architectural conservation and she’s a member of the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers of London. Pen was there for the first-ever Plymouth CRAFT event, back in 2014 https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/plymouth-craft/

And featured in Rick McKee’s blog post about building a Shakespearean stage – https://blueoakblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/playing-marbles/

I’m looking forward to seeing more of her work and also seeing people work with her. Should be something. I hope I can poke my nose into some of her sessions, I’d like to learn a bit more about manipulating paint. Back to my list of to-be-dones. 

 

 

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

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.

strop

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!

hollow-ground-hatchet

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/