Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Bowl number 8 Snibbskal

This is a style of bowl I have been meaning to try for quite a while. I've turned a porringer before with two handles, but had never seen this style until I came across the ones turned by Jarrod Stonedahl. apparently snibbskal is a Swedish word that means something like 'eared bowl' and refers to the handles that protrude from the sides. There is a great post on Robin Wood's blog with a better explanation and some fantastic pictures of old examples here.

Not really knowing how to go about it, this was a bit of an experiment, but I'm pleased with how it turned out. I will definitely prepare the blank differently next time as this one was too close to the edges  of the log, but it was a lot of fun to do and I learned a lot in the process.

Finding the best way of cutting out the excess wood in-between the ears was a good test. I tried to use the axe first. I made two stop cuts and then chopped away. Even with the stop cuts I felt very nervous. It would have been very easy to split one of the ears off, so in the end I used a coping saw. The coping saw was fast and meant that there was only minimal finishing with a knife.

The wood is more of the knotty maple, as you can see. I decided to paint it in red over green.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Spoons for Sale

Our first batch of spoons are now available for sale. There's a link to a spoons for sale page on the right.  We will be updating this regularly so please keep checking in.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Bowls number 7

This weeks bowl is actually two bowls. Sorry I didn't manage to get them on for Sunday, but I wanted to give them a bit of time to dry out before I painted them.

Most of the bowls I've turned recently have been pretty big (around 10 inches), so this time I decided to halve that and do some 5 inch bowls. From the smell I reckon the wood is maple, but I'm not 100%. Unfortunately it was pretty knotty and so both bowls have a knot. It was good practice though and being that much smaller meant that I could turn them both pretty quickly in succession. The inspiration for them comes from Jarrod Stonedahl one of my favourite craftsmen. He calls them ale bowls so I guess they have their tradition in historic drinking bowls. I particularly like the way that Jarrod paints his bowls and so I have likewise gone for a two tone effect (red on green and blue on red). I need to do a bit more experimenting with my painting as it seems to be a bit hit and miss. The recipe i used for the paint comes from Robin Wood's blog and can be found here.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

It's a red-letter day.....

I'm not sure if this is an idiom that is familiar around the world, but it basically means a good day, a day to celebrate something good. And that thing is? Look what the postman brought.

Now if you know anything about me you'll know two things: I'm a skinflint and don't like spending money if I can help it; and I am a non-conformist and if everyone is talking about something they are going to do, even if I'm desperate to do it myself, I wont just to be awkward. Hence why I have never been on a carving course and don't own a Gransfors axe or a Svante Djarv adze and don't have a copy of Swedish Carving Techniques, etc, etc. However, when I read on Peter Follonsbee's blog about the project to make a video documentary about Wille Sundqvist I fought against my nature and told myself that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and that I would be kicking myself if I passed up the chance of getting one.

The UK stockist for the DVD is Woodsmith http://woodsmithexperience.co.uk/ so I put myself down to receive an alert once they were available and hey presto, the rest is history.

I have watched it a couple of times now and have thoroughly enjoyed it each time. It is beautifully made and would make anyone want to up-sticks and move to Sweden. It covers the basic activities of carving a spoon, turning a bowl, drying, oiling, sharpening a knife, chip carving and painting.

It also tells Wille's history and back ground,  and explains his theories on form, structure and aesthetics. What I loved the most, however, was a sense of there not being a set way of doing the activities - yes he has his methods and techniques, but they are not necessarily the same as those that another carver might teach. Ultimately, it's not so much the process that matters, as the result, and if the result is good, who cares how it was achieved?

OMG! Is that really Wille Sundqvist, father of traditional Swedish woodcarving turning a  bowl on a power lathe? Whatever next....finishing with sandpaper, I shouldn't wonder.

Dessert spoons...

Here is my latest quartet of eating/dessert spoons. They are carved from ash, which is not the easiest wood to carve, but I like the fact that it is a traditional kitchen wood and has been used in this country for hundreds of years. The wood came from a fairly young tree that had blown down in the crazy weather we have been experiencing here.


This is my first real attempt at a basket-weave pattern - something I've been intending to do
for a while and I'm quite pleased with my first efforts. You can't see from the photo but I chose to actually
profile the bands so they are actually rounded on the surface.

I've begun a hanging rack for them and will perhaps post again when it's finished.
I quite enjoyed the carving and kolrossing, but having seen our lunch today, my wife says I'm getting carried away and going too far!
Kolrossed butter baked potatoes -Mmmmmm

Coffee spoons....

I have seen this design of spoon a few times now, most recently on Jarrod Stonedahl's blog (check it out if you're interested) and really quite like it, so thought I'd have a go. I think it holds about a teaspoon and for that reason would be perfect for making hot drinks, hence why I have called it a coffee spoon - not that I drink coffee, or tea for that matter. But I do eat puddings and desserts, and I think it would be perfect for that too.

These two are made from apple, but I think I'll have a go at doing some in ash as well. It's a fairly plain design, slightly cranked, with a thin, shallow bowl and a very thin handle. The ones I have seen before have fluting going lengthways along the bowl, something that I have seen Fritiof Runhall do in his spoons and I am guessing that the spoon on Jarrod's blog is one of his. It's a lovely effect and, since it would mean carving with the grain, it's a technique which would be very difficult and take a lot of care and control in order for the tool not to bite too deeply into the wood as it lifts the grain. I don't have a tool with a radius small enough to do it, but would like to give it a go another time, perhaps.
Roughed out.

side view

Front view - perfect with tiffin.

rear view

Side view.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Oakey Dokey (bowl no.6)

I'm not a big fan of turning oak. The smell is fantastic and the grain is always striking, but it can be  difficult to get a nice clean cut. And then there is the real problem, the tannin in green oak reacts to the steel of your tools and makes a mess. Not only does it make a mess of your tools, but i always find that you end up with little blue/black marks on your bowl, that may not have been there when you finished turning, but appear gradually as it dries.

Fortunately this one wasn't too bad. There are a few marks, but nothing to worry about.

The wood is definitely the hero here as shape wise I think that it's pretty boring. My wife says it's her favourite bowl that I've turned though and I'm not allowed to disagree with her.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Bowl 5

This is going to be a quick one I'm afraid as I'm writing this from my sick-bed (a regular occurrence with two snotty boys). This is another Apple bowl and to tell you the truth, I'm a little bit disappointed with it. It's my usual problem, not enough planning. I had a vague idea of what i wanted to achieve, the skirt around the bottom was supposed to be carved, but the bottom edge is not pronounce enough. Oh well, I guess that is what this whole idea is about and maybe I'll get it right next time.