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Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes

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seventeenth-century joined furniture; green wood, hand tools
Updated: 23 min 40 sec ago

Bob Van Dyke doesn’t know which end is up

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 4:20am

 

Bob Van Dyke’s Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking is a mecca for period furniture makers. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/ Great classes, great instructors – it really is a first-rate place to learn the ins & outs of period style furniture in depth.

Follansbee frame and panel UPSIDE DOWN

But Bob himself doesn’t know which end is up – to some of my carvings, I mean. He sent me this picture, asking “where’s the top again?” He’s notoriously freaked out by the images he thinks he sees. I see a vase of flowers and leaves – he sees faces, faces & more faces. But in his twisted mind, he thinks the above photo is right-side up. What torment!

Oh, well. He doesn’t have to know how it goes – but I’ll show the students when we get together there for a 3-day class in early October to make an oak frame & panel. This course was designed to be a crash course in the basic elements of 17th-century joinery. We’ll use a combination of riven and sawn oak, plane the stock, cut the mortise and tenon joints, and carve designs on the panel (and frame perhaps, if you are inclined). Plowing grooves, beveling the panel, fitting the whole thing together with drawboring and tapered wooden pins. it’s the whole show, compressed into 5 pieces of wood.

Sign up with Bob. Tell him you’ll help him to understand.  http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/woodworking-classes.html#Speciality_Weekend_Classes

 

fitting door panel

carving oak panel

carving oak panel


drving pegs in drawbored joint
leslie diggin the posture


bowls & spoons for sale; hewing a bowl

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 6:14am

Today I posted a page with a couple of hewn bowls, and what spoons I have ready to go. I have several spoons nearly ready; but those I’ll take with me to Roy’s place, & finish them down there. So what I have now is on the blog, then there’ll be more in mid-August. As usual, leave a comment if you’d like to order something. Any questions, send an email to Peter.Follansbee@verizon.net

http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/a-few-spoons-and-bowls-late-july-2014/

Meanwhile, here’s some of what I did yesterday. 

 

A day like this:

summer's day

distractions galore

mallards

redtail juvy

But I persevered and roughed out one of the last bowls from the stash of birch I have around here. Most of the ones I’ve been doing are upside-down. I start like this:

hewing the bottom

hew the broad inner face of the split bolt flat. This becomes the bottom of the bowl.

Then mark out the saddle-shaped interior of the bowl. Now the bowl is held down to a low bench with three pegs and a wedge. (well, take my word for it that there’s 3. You can only see 2 in this shot) Simple, but it works pretty well. If I end up doing these bowls regularly, then it might be time to look closely at Dave Fisher’s bowl horse…

3 pegs & wedge

 

 

I then make a few saw kerfs to help break stuff up when the next hewing begins.

 

saw kerfs

 

I just begin chopping into the midst of these kerfs to remove the excess material. Now it’s a double-bevel hatchet, not the joiner’s hatchet I used to flatten the bottom.

axe work inside

axe work inside 2

 

Then comes adze work. Just like the hatchet, you want to keep the tool’s edge out of your leg.

adze stance 1

adze stance

I do some standing, then some seated. All in all, about 15-20 minutes of hewing ought to get me there.

braced adze work 1

braced adze work 2

adze detail

Then it’s on to gouge & mallet work, then more hewing.

gouge & mallet

more hewing

 

then it rained.

 

 


I have more fun than I can stand

Sun, 07/27/2014 - 9:51am

I keep plugging away. Yesterday I got to use some planes!

planes gauges

 

What a blast - the spoons and bowls are great fun, challenging, etc…but no planes. I need to make a molding to run around my most recent frame & panel – it’s one like this, all I have left is to make the molding & cut & glue it in. 

frame & panel

frame & panel

I keep a stash of riven Atlantic White Cedar, just for this purpose. First, I planed the stock to the proper thickness, in this case 1/2″

planing w jointer

Then I dig out one of those special wheelie gauges to mark out the rabbets, a la Matt Bickford. You already know I’m a fan; his book & video show you how to tackle this work easily. http://lostartpress.com/collections/books/products/mouldings-in-practice  & http://www.lie-nielsen.com/dvds/moldings-in-practice/

The gauge I got from the Alexander collection – thanks once again JA. 

wheelie gaiugethen rabbets. 

rabbet plane

and bevels, then hollows and rounds. 

round

 

Then it was time to pack it away & off to the Cape Cod League Baseball – we went to Wareham to see the Gatemen take on the Falmouth Commodores. We were there early, so Daniel watched batting practice – I carved spoons. Then we watched the game. Gatemen blew the lead in the ninth – took it on the chin. 

gatemen 1

gatemen 2

 

One of many great things about working at home is that I get to see stuff I only used to hear about. Here’s a marble game from yesterday:

marble game

That then turned into a painting by Daniel, who was learning about shadows and light sources this week.

daniesl watercolor marbles

Daniel’s watercolor of marbles in dirt

This one’s just thrown in there – it’s part of an ongoing series of raking light shots.

ongoing raking lght series

 

 


Home for a little while; bowls & spoons

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 2:42pm

I got home from Maine trip #2 on Sunday night. Monday kinda floundered, then on Tues it was off to a small island off the coast of America to see Heather & Pat. Heather’s show was outstanding as usual. Here’s one of my favorites, but the web doesn’t do it justice by half. The light in it is amazing. 

Coat Guard Crow

(go to Heather’s blog and click on the paintings to see ‘em larger, then click the quill/feather in the teacup to read the notes) http://heatherneill.com/studio-blog/ 

here’s the gallery’s page of Heather’s work http://www.granarygallery.com/searchresults.php?page=1&artistId=11674&artist=Heather+Neill&start=1

kids & HN

we had a great, whirlwind one-day trip. Then back home to attempt to develop some routine or the semblance of one. Wednesday I mostly worked on hewn bowls; then Thursday spoons. today some of each.

bowl day

bowl day

The great part about spoon day is I can take it outside, and have the kids with me. The river, the birds – what could be better? 

spoon day

spoon day

I have used ring-porous woods like oak, ash and hickory all my working days. I rarely have made spoons or bowls from ring porous woods because they split so easily. But sometimes I throw the rules out the window & see what happens. Catalpa is a very light-weight hardwood. I have made a couple of bowls from it before, and I had one small one kicking around ready to be finished.

catalpa end grain

catalpa end grain

 

Here’s the one from way back when; and the post it came from. One of the horrible things about keeping this blog is all my unfinished stuff is still there, taunting me:  http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/?s=catalpa

catalpa bowl back at the museum

I remember southern visitors to the museum telling me about the fishermen who loved catalpa trees for the worms that ate the foliage – great bait. some said the best. They called it “catawba” – but it’s the same tree. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalpa    I am lately reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and it’s in there, “…the class was wriggling like a bucketful of catawba worms…”  Turns out that Catawba is a name of both the tree and a group of Native people in the Carolinas, and someone made a mistake with the tree’s name, and we ended up with catalpa. I always knew it as the cigar tree, because of the long seed pods. we used to whip them around when we were kids.

catalpa bowl

catalpa bowl 2

The other ring-porous wood I have to sample lately is really rare – American Chestnut. Or so I’m told. It was a tree planted about 15 years ago; and got some trimming done recently. It’s healthy now…but time will tell. Chances are it will succumb to the blight that all but wiped out the American Chestnut. http://www.acf.org/

It’s not a great wood for spoons, quite the opposite I would expect, but I have some small limbs and will see what happens. It’s high in tannic acid, turned my tools black as quick as you please.

chestnut end grain

 

The first birch bowl I was making sold before I could really get it here on the blog…but now I have finished the next 2 birch bowls, just applied flax oil to them today. I’ll post them for sale in the next day or 2. The first one is the most common orientation of the bowl in the split blank – the rim of the bowl is the inner wide surface of the halved log. Then I carved some gouge-cut decoration along the upper edge of each side. 

birch bowl right side up overall

birch bowl right side up

The next one is what I call “upside-down” – you hew the split face of the log and make that the bottom of the bowl. I learned this from Drew Langsner, who learned it from his Swedish friends. Smaller bowl, but lots of fun with the shapes. 

birch bowl upside down overall

birch bowl upside down detail

 

There’s still a few spoons left on the etsy site – don’t be daunted by Etsy. it’s easy to sign up, free too.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/PeterFollansbee

 

 


spoons on mine, felted stuff on hers

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 12:20pm

Just back from Maine – the class was great. Lie-Nielsen is right up there as one of my favorite places to be. here’s a bunch 0′ carvers hunched down at work.

bunch o carvers

I’m home now til Roy’s in 2 weeks. Lots to report, but first I must un-pack, then get to work on spoons & bowls & more. In the meantime, I posted most of what spoons I have left on the etsy site – and Maureen posted more felted stuff on hers as well. the whole house is a little crafty rabbit warren…I think I have the Is crossed, and the Ts dotted, or something like that. If you have a problem with the etsy stuff, let me know. it’s all new to me.

14-78 overall

 

mine - https://www.etsy.com/shop/PeterFollansbee

Two hand knit and felted bowls, woodsy green and natural brown colors, natural Waldorf inspired toys, summer home decor

hers - https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts


It was like this, sort of…

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 7:38pm

For 20 years, I talked for a living. All day, every day. Spent two weeks working by myself; then went up to the Lie-Nielsen Open House. Someone stuck a camera in my face & I wouldn’t shut up. (the youtube video done by Harry Kavouksorian, posted on Lie-Nielsen’s website) :

Here’s some photo views of the open house. it was a great one. See their facebook photos here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152214121253016.1073741897.100708343015&type=1


nobody’s right if everbody’s wrong

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 9:13am

I was looking for one thing & found another. Last week when I wrote about the wood carrier that I learned from Daniel O’Hagan, I knew I had a shot that I took very quickly one of the last times I was down there. Couldn’t find it so I gave up. Today I found it while looking for some other photograph that is now more pressing.

Glad I didn’t see Daniel’s when I made mine – that way we get 2 interpretations of one form. 3 if we count the published one. Daniel’s versions worked for many many years.

daniel's carrier

 

Here’s mine from last week. I have more of this sort of thing to make in late August/early September.

wood carrier

For review, here’s the one from China at Work

china at work wood carrier

 


Updates before I travel again

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 5:11pm

I have a few things to write about tonight. First, welcome to the scads of folks who showed up here after Chris wrote his piece about my new career. http://blog.lostartpress.com/2014/07/14/peter-follansbee-has-left-the-building/

 

Just to give you an inkling of what you might find here, my first & foremost specialty is 17th-century carved oak furniture. Like this:

chest w drawers

chest w drawers

 

But for quite a few years, I have carved spoons that I learned through Drew Langsner, Jogge & Wille Sundqvist. In recent years, the spoons have taken off – for which I am quite grateful. Expect many spoon posts here; and a DVD soon.

spoons in basket

And then there’s the new/old directions; the wood carrier posted recently is a good example of the sort of thing I hope to be making from time to time that has been on a back burner for 20 years! http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/i-knew-i-shoulda-made-2/

And baskets like this too:

madalina's basket

Soon, I will build a dedicated bowl lathe – similar to what we used at the North House Folk School where I was recently a student of Robin Wood’s. I have some cherry bolts just waiting to be turned into bowls. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/bowl-class-tip-of-the-iceberg/

As I said the other day, I’m just back from Lie-Nielsen, and just about to go back up there for 17th-century style carving. If you want to see where else I’m teaching this year: Lie-Nielsen this weekend, then Roy’s place (that one’s full, I think.) Heartwood in Massachusetts, and Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. here’s the link  - http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014-workshop-schedule/

But today it rained, so stupid me thought I’d get the “making a living” bit rolling. So I spent an inordinate amount of time fiddling around with creating an Etsy site. I’m not completely sold on the idea, but will try it a while. When I have sold spoons here on the blog, the clunky way I set it up resulted in me spending more time at the desk & computer than hewing & carving. So this is my first attempt to change that. Right now, it’s just what boxes and stools I have left around the house. I’ll add spoons and hewn bowls next week. So if you’ve been waiting for the spoons, here’s your notice – say Monday afternoon. Here’s what I got with making the site – how come 10-yr olds can do this & I struggled with it? 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/PeterFollansbee

 

thanks,

PF

 

 


time to stop carving & start carving

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 11:32am

I’m just back from Maine, where I shot no photographs that we need here! (swiped this one) Too busy carving spoons & bowls. Had an all-out great time at Lie-Nielsen’s Open House. Because I shot nothing, you can read about it elsewhere - 

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/chris-schwarz-blog/lie-nielsen-open-house-crazy-dutch-chest

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152203516898016.1073741896.100708343015&type=1

http://www.marymaycarving.com/blog/   ( I got to tell Mary my “Mary May” story! – what fun)

So now it’s time to unpack my carving tools and wood, and then pack my other carving tools and other wood & head right back this Friday for a weekend class in 17th-century style carvings. Like these:

overall

lunette detail

painted

box front

 

Last I knew, there was still some space left, so if you need to have a great experience, come take a class at Lie-Nielsen Toolworks – how can you go wrong with a weekend in Maine?

http://www.lie-nielsen.com/weekend-workshop/ww-pf14


I knew I shoulda made 2

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 2:01pm

I haven’t made one of these in over 20 years – a phrase you’ll get sick of hearing here. I’m preparing to head north for the Lie-Nielsen Open House – and have lots to do. On my list was a brief woodworking project. The other day I had shown a shot of me at a shaving horse, making long thin hickory bits.

everything old is new again

Then I bundled up their ends with packing tape, and jammed a piece of scrap wood between them. Let them sit a while.

bound & bending

bound & bending

Then made the tiniest frame; 8 1/2” x 10 1/2” or so. Red oak. Drawbored mortise & tenon.

first joinery I have done in a while

first joinery I have done in a while

Then I kept on going & forgot to shoot the steps. Nothing terribly enlightening anyway. When Maureen came through the work area & asked “what are you making” – when I told her, she said, “No, really, what are you making?”

wood carrier

A Chinese wood carrier. Really. For carrying any kind of wood, though. Doesn’t have to be Chinese. I first learned these in 1986, I know because here is a letter from Daniel O’Hagan showing me how it’s built.

daniels note

 

And he got the idea from the book China at Work, by Rudolf Hommel, (orig 1937, MIT Press 1969.) The text says they used 2 of these, hanging from a pole across their shoulders, to bring fuel to porcelain kilns.

china at work wood carrier

 

I wanted it so I can drag a bunch of spoon blanks up to Maine…right now there’s 18 pieces in it. If I were to fill it higher, it’d be too heavy to be comfortable. This way you can hook your elbow under the top piece & away you go…

18 billets one hand

I knew I should have made 2.

 


I use scrap wood a lot, Rose uses it better

Sun, 07/06/2014 - 6:10pm

rose's comic block overall

My first week of self-employment is under my belt. It went nothing like what I expected. I carved few new spoons; ( I finished a bunch, but they’re coming with me to the Lie-Nielsen Open House later this week – some hewn bowls too. http://www.lie-nielsen.com/open-house/ I’ll sell what I have when I get back.)

Mostly I turned balusters for Burrey’s project. That’s all right, the other stuff will keep til I get back. Oops, once I get back, I turn around & go back to Maine for a carving class there – so it has to keep even longer.   http://www.lie-nielsen.com/weekend-workshop/ww-pf14

As I stumble around this make-shift shop, I can’t tell you how many times I have instinctively reached for a hunk of scrap wood that isn’t there. I never realized how important that stuff is to my day-to-day working. Shims, wedges, propping stuff this way & that. The piece above however is one large scrap that became too good to toss, or to use.  Ages ago, Rose picked it up in the old shop one day, an oak off-cut of a 3×5. Asked could she have it – I said yes. I’ve saved it for a year or more…

rose's comic block pt 1

rose's comic block pt 2

rose's comic block pt 3

rose's comic block pt 4

 

in the “everything old is new again department” – here’s a preview of an upcoming project. Not furniture is all I’ll say…

everything old is new again

 

Just to keep folks from worrying, proof that I haven’t forgotten oak carvings – two upcoming frame & panel numbers. These were part of two demonstrations I did in June; one for SAPFM and one at Historic New England. Warm-ups for the LN carving class mentioned above.

oak 1

oak 2

While cleaning and sorting, I found this old newspaper photo of my last private shop – a 2nd floor of a chicken coop – me using an old Delta lathe. Threw away the motor, but the lathe was right above the stairs, so the treadle had to be pumped backwards! 1992 this was…

1992 lathe

 

Someone asked, did we see whales? Yup, low numbers, but good views. Perfect weather.

fluke

 

 


things take a turn

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 6:04pm

When I announced that I was leaving Plimoth a reader commented “You could always do a brief stint working for Michael Burrey as so many of my (NBSS) classmates did for a while after working at the Plantation. ;-)”   - well, where do you think Michael came from? All the wood-eating organisms that leave Plimoth go to Burrey’s at some point. I have already worked for him a number of times, starting probably 20 years ago. I used to joke to each one who went there, “that was MY spot…”

 

Mostly I’ll be working for me, but Michael & crew get some interesting projects. So when he calls, I’ll sign on if my schedule allows. My first post-PP gig is some turned work for the Shakespearean stage they are in the process of building. Rick wrote about it last year, http://blueoakblog.wordpress.com/category/shakespearean-stage/ and now they are underway on phase 2. This part includes some turned balusters, similar to these installed at the reconstructed Globe Theater in London. These were turned by Gudrun Leitz http://www.greenwoodwork.co.uk/website/exhibitions.html . She did 500, I only have to do 45. Thankfully.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This job is last-minute, so I just set up my lathe out on the back patio/terrace. A stupid place for it; but there’s no time to get involved in anything more coherent. When these are done, the lathe comes down & goes back to storage, til I figure out my next shop. the pole is fixed to a dilapidated deck, that is slated to be replaced. Where’s PW? Following his wife on some whirlwind book tour, no doubt.

better than nothing

They say the sky starts at your feet. Another way to look at it is that this setup has an incredibly high ceiling.

high ceiling

It’s been over 6 months since I turned any spindle stuff, so to start off I just roughed out some cylinders. tomorrow I’ll get down to the details. There’s 45 of these altogether. Time to dust off the cobwebs on my legs…

overall by DRF

roughing out

Here’s what I’ll be following, Michael provided a turned bit leftover from Gudrun, so the story goes. It’s weird, the squared blocks are smaller than the cylinder. It’s not just weird, it’s stupid I think. I have seen this done on huge turned legs for large tables. But here the difference is quite slight…until it’s time to make them.

the model


now it begins

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 4:24am

Friday was my last day, http://blueoakblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/break-of-dawn/

All that really means is that Saturday was my first day. Went back to these hewn bowls -

hewn bowls

bowl & gouge

hewn bowl carved

 

time to finish them up, so I can start the next batch of 3.  What fun. I was carving at 5:45 am today; why wait til 9?

But first things first, it’s time to go see the whales.

humpback

back to work later on…

 


thinking about spoon shapes

Wed, 06/25/2014 - 6:15pm

During the bowl-turning class I attended earlier this month, we spent some of our “off time” discussing spoon design. I recall Robin Wood saying something to the effect of  “the game has changed” – meaning there have been great strides in spoon carving in recent years.

I don’t have a large collection of other people’s spoons, but here’s a couple to view. For me, it starts with Wille & Jogge Sundqvist – I met them through Drew Langsner many years ago. So long ago that Jogge & I looked like this:

PF & Jogge 1988

PF & Jogge 1988

Wille’s spoon that I got recently is very slick. From what I know, he always thickens the end of the handle at the finial; and I have tried to keep that in my spoons too. He often hollows the upper face of the spoon’s handle too. Gives the spoon’s shape a lot of “movement.” this spoon is a small serving spoon, the bowl is too big to fit in the mouth. Its front edge is straight across, and the rim of the spoon’s bowl is flat.

wille overall 2

wille finial

Wille end on

 

I mentioned Jojo Wood’s spoons in a recent post. Here’s one of hers; thin as a whisper in places; note the finial just the opposite of Wille’s, gets thinner at the end, but has an up-turn to move your eye, and fingers. Bowl is crowned across its width; this is something  Jojo strives for in her spoons. This spoon is made from a radial straight-grained blank, not a crook. A real challenge to get a good spoon out of straight stock.

jojo overall 2

jojo end on

jojo profile

 

 

One of Jarrod StoneDahl’s spoons. Jarrod does lots of radially split spoons, but this one’s from a crook. Thin at the end, crowned bowl; the bowl follows the crook’d shape very nicely.

jarrod overall

 

jarrod full profile

jarrod end on

jarrod profile

Thinking about these spoons (and carving my own versions inspired by them) got me to thinking about this old spoon given to me by a friend. Beech, makes me think eastern Europe, not Scandinavia. Thin finial, pointy bowl, crowned across its width. thin as Jojo’s. Radially split. All the knife marks are there on the bottom of the bowl, you can see what direction  the carver worked at different parts of the spoon’s bowl.

old beech spoon

beech profile

beech end on

tool marks beech

tool marks beech 2

 

By now, most of us have seen this video, filmed in Sweden in 1923.

 

I just copied it from youtube, thanks to whomever cropped it to be just the spoon-carver. The spoon he makes is a very similar shape to what Jojo, Jarrod and the beech spoon are after  - seems to me anyway. I remember when I made spoons on Roy Underhill’s show, we couldn’t brace the spoon against our sternum, too much microphone noise for the TV guys. I remembered this fellow using his knee as a fulcrum point for knife work. So I swiped that idea and Roy & I used it on the show.

links:

Robin’s excellent post looking at modern makers’ spoons: http://www.robin-wood.co.uk/wood-craft-blog/2013/12/26/20-best-wooden-spoons-world/#lightbox/17/

Jarrod StoneDahl  http://woodspiritgallery.com/

Jojo Wood  http://jojospoons.blogspot.com/

Me & Roy making spoons http://video.pbs.org/video/2172740518/

 


Roubo, take that

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 7:08am

Here’s another reminder to watch the blog posts by Roald Renmælmo and Tomas Karlsson  - I’ve put links to their work before, but just want to remind folks that there’s very interesting work going on in Scandinavia that’s not spoons! Imagine -  PhD work on carpentry crafts. Today Roald added an English post about their reproduction of a bench from the shipwreck the Vasa – doesn’t it look great?

 Roald Renmælmo

If you like workbenches, etc – there’s lots more pictures here: http://hyvelbenk.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/the-vasa-workbench-rebuilt/

 

 


Now where’s my croze?

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 6:30pm

One day quite a few years ago, I got a call to come to Hingham to see an old building there that had some tools in it. I walked in, and my jaw dropped. All the tools, patterns, many products, benches, lathes, etc of a small cooper’s and toy-maker’s shop. an absolute time-machine. Spooky.

Now after maybe 7 years or more, the story is told in an exhibit and accompanying book “Bucket Town” = I saw a preview of the exhibit when I lectured at Old Sturbridge Village last week for the Society of American Period Furniture Makers. and got the book. I remember thinking when I first saw the collection that I would like to get the job to photograph the objects. Thankfully that didn’t happen, and eventually they got Gavin Ashworth to shoot it. Derin Bray has done the catalog; and it is excellent. I’m so glad I was not involved, seriously. When these guys got rolling, they did a great job of it. What a story…the building was locked up for maybe generations, and the kids were told to keep out of there. When they finally opened it up, it was like a time capsule. Only filled with good stuff, not the tacky crap people intentionally put in time capsules.

 

 

The book has just been publishied!

The cooperage is pails, not barrels.Also bent-wood boxes, miniatures and toys. Great history, well worth it. Here’s a link to the story, http://www.buckettown.com/ and to the exhibit https://www.osv.org/buckettown

 

 


Not my spoons, Jojo’s

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 5:12pm

As you can tell from the last post, I am in a state of flux; many things about to begin. First, I finish up at Plimoth, then on to a slew of ideas. Make a bowl-lathe. finish the hewn bowls. clean up parts of this house so I can work here some. Take the kids on a whale watch. some work for MLB Restoration, aka the Blue Oak guys. Those are some priorities, not necessarily in order. And I have a bunch of blog posts unwritten. Let’s try this one.

Every time I attend some woodworking event in the US , it’s principally a bunch of old men. In flannel shirts. Mostly. We have been seeing some young guys coming along. So it was a gas & a half to meet Jojo Wood when I was at North House Folk School a few weeks ago. She’s a double-whammy – a young woman woodworker. And what spoons! Robin Wood had written on his blog “her spoons are better than mine” – and I assumed a father’s pride in his child’s work, but then I saw her spoons in real life. very nice stuff.

jojo spoons

inspiration 5

She’s grown up around green woodworking of one sort or another; mostly her bowl-turning father, but somewhere there’s a photo of Jojo & her brother learning knife work from Wille Sundqvist when they were quite young. (HA! swiped it from Robin’s blog)

Jojo pre-dreads

Jojo told me that when the first spoonfest happened in Edale, she noted the lack of women instructors; and began to concentrate seriously on her spoon carving. I jumped at the chance to learn her technique for carving a “crank” as she calls it, into a straight blank. Very organized, logical approach. Blows my doors off. Jojo told me she’s been lucky to have met all the great spoon carvers of today, without really having to leave home – through the spoonfest events and otherwise through connections w Robin.

jojo hews

Well, I think luck had something to do with it, but practice, skill and a good eye made it happen for her too. She’s been up in Wisconsin & Minnesota feeding mosquitoes for a few weeks, but I hope when she’s back home she’ll add stuff to her blog …

http://jojospoons.blogspot.co.uk/

Jojo's spoon

Nice going Jojo, I look forward to when we meet again…

 

 

 


Look out your window & I’ll be gone…

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 6:47pm

One day a visitor to the museum asked me “How long have you had the greatest job in the world?”

overall view

overall view

Certainly that’s a pretty accurate assessment. For a woodworker, my day job has been a blast. For the past 20 years, I’ve gone to work, got set up in my shop, and made stuff. All that was required of me was to talk to people about what I am doing. Did you ever meet a woodworker who  doesn’t like to tell people about their projects?

 

But now it’s time for me to hang it up. I decided a while ago to leave Plimoth Plantation so I can concentrate on a range of wood-working that falls outside the guidelines of 17th-century English furniture. That work continues to fascinate me, but I’ve been drawn in several different directions in recent years, some re-visits of work I have done before (baskets, spoons, bowls) some new areas I hope to explore. A book to finish, for example. And other stuff. 

 

I still don’t know where i’ll set up my tools next. For now I have a bench here at the house, and one tool chest. My spoons & stuff I can do out in the yard, down by the river. Or in the kitchen, except for the hewing. I’m not rushing into a work-space; I hope to find the right spot before long though. The blog ought to get more active again. Right now my teaching schedule is pretty well booked for 2014, but I might add some stuff to it. I’m going to be continuing to post things for sale, (maybe move it to an etsy site) because I still need to create income… so if you need some woodsy handicrafts, or lectures/demos, etc. – here I am. 

 

My years at Plimoth have been astounding. I met people from all over; made great friends, even got a wife. Made connections that hopefully will stay with me for many years. I can’t begin to list all the highlights, among them were three great trips to England as part of my research, poked around in museums there & here in the US, and talked, talked, & talked some more. I learned more than you can imagine, from working day in & day out, from co-workers, and from visitors. The stooped-over Romanian carver who used 7 mallets of different weights, Mark & Jane Rees showed up un-announced one day when I was making tools, the Brazilian man who cried because my shop looked just like his father’s of 50 years ago, the time Pret used his axe to cut Paula’s hair on the chopping block, the Amish man who knew Daniel O’Hagan. I have a million stories. So my thanks to all my friends & visitors past & present at Plimoth. It was great. 

 

Whenever I travel to teach, (or as I did just recently, as a student) folks from all over who read this blog often mention seeing me at the museum, or wanting to come visit. Just in case you’re making travel plans along those lines, here’s notice – my last day is June 27th. After that, I’ll be like most other woodworkers, laboring away – head down, alone, & silent. If I get lonely, I’ll work in the front yard, and talk to passing cars… “It’s oak, I’ve split if from a log…”

sixteenths red oak

sixteenths red oak

 


Look out your window & I’ll be gone…

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 6:47pm

One day a visitor to the museum asked me “How long have you had the greatest job in the world?”

overall view

overall view

Certainly that’s a pretty accurate assessment. For a woodworker, my day job has been a blast. For the past 20 years, I’ve gone to work, got set up in my shop, and made stuff. All that was required of me was to talk to people about what I am doing. Did you ever meet a woodworker who  doesn’t like to tell people about their projects?

 

But now it’s time for me to hang it up. I decided a while ago to leave Plimoth Plantation so I can concentrate on a range of wood-working that falls outside the guidelines of 17th-century English furniture. That work continues to fascinate me, but I’ve been drawn in several different directions in recent years, some re-visits of work I have done before (baskets, spoons, bowls) some new areas I hope to explore. A book to finish, for example. And other stuff. 

 

I still don’t know where i’ll set up my tools next. For now I have a bench here at the house, and one tool chest. My spoons & stuff I can do out in the yard, down by the river. Or in the kitchen, except for the hewing. I’m not rushing into a work-space; I hope to find the right spot before long though. The blog ought to get more active again. Right now my teaching schedule is pretty well booked for 2014, but I might add some stuff to it. I’m going to be continuing to post things for sale, (maybe move it to an etsy site) because I still need to create income… so if you need some woodsy handicrafts, or lectures/demos, etc. – here I am. 

 

My years at Plimoth have been astounding. I met people from all over; made great friends, even got a wife. Made connections that hopefully will stay with me for many years. I can’t begin to list all the highlights, among them were three great trips to England as part of my research, poked around in museums there & here in the US, and talked, talked, & talked some more. I learned more than you can imagine, from working day in & day out, from co-workers, and from visitors. The stooped-over Romanian carver who used 7 mallets of different weights, Mark & Jane Rees showed up un-announced one day when I was making tools, the Brazilian man who cried because my shop looked just like his father’s of 50 years ago, the time Pret used his axe to cut Paula’s hair on the chopping block, the Amish man who knew Daniel O’Hagan. I have a million stories. So my thanks to all my friends & visitors past & present at Plimoth. It was great. 

 

Whenever I travel to teach, (or as I did just recently, as a student) folks from all over who read this blog often mention seeing me at the museum, or wanting to come visit. Just in case you’re making travel plans along those lines, here’s notice – my last day is June 27th. After that, I’ll be like most other woodworkers, laboring away – head down, alone, & silent. If I get lonely, I’ll work in the front yard, and talk to passing cars… “It’s oak, I’ve split if from a log…”

sixteenths red oak

sixteenths red oak

 


short film of Bill Coperthwaite, thanks to Anna Grimshaw

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 8:13pm

Some time ago, I heard of some films recording Bill Coperthwaite at his home in Dickinsons Reach, Machiasport, ME. I got a hold of the filmaker, Anna Grimshaw and we corresponded a little bit. I wrote to her the other day, and found out that her films got picked up by Berkeley Media; a distributor of educational films. Here’s some of Anna’s note from today:

“I have just signed a distribution agreement with Berkeley Media that means that they now have all the rights to the material.   I had hoped to find a distributor that would make DVDs available to individuals at a reasonable cost.  I was unsuccessful, despite sending the work out quite widely to a range of non-profit/educational distributors.

Berkeley Media was very keen to have the work.  They largely supply educational institutions — hence their prices are high but individuals and organizations can apply for a discount on purchases.  It seemed important to me that the films about Bill be properly archived and distributed, so despite the restrictions and pricing, I decided Berkeley Media was my best bet.”

I just searched Berkeley Media’s website, but didn’t find the films. Maybe they’re not added yet…I’ve seen them, they follow Bill through the seasons at Dickinson’s Reach. Good stuff.

Anna kindly sent me the link to a “leftover” film, of Bill working on a chair he’s made. It’s not an action feature; no car chase, little suspense, etc. Nor is it a how-to, or a documentary. It is really a snapshot of Bill at work, tinkering around in his shop. When I know more about the other films, I’ll let you know. I really appreciate Anna making this available to us, and am grateful that she spent all that time recording Bill. If it asks you for a password – it’s Coperthwaite

 

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/90636532″>A Chair- in six parts</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/annagrimshaw”>Anna Grimshaw</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


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by Dr. Radut