Friday, 30 May 2014

Hooks in daylight

I'm not an expert when it comes to photography, but I've started to work out that light is important.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Carved Hooks

I'm starting to be able to make things again and so I've eased myself into things by making a few coat hooks using naturally occurring hooks in branches. You can read about making these in two fantastic books Celebrating Birch and Swedish Carving Techniques, but it's pretty straight forward anyway.

I like the fact that they can be pretty basic, just a bit of tree stuck on the wall, or you can add a bit of decoration. They're a great project for beginners (and people recovering from illness)

Monday, 26 May 2014

Sharpening Stones

Went to my first car boot in a while today and picked up a nice natural sharpening stone. I often see these at boot sales and can't resist picking them up as they're usually just a couple of quid. This one is particularly nice in a smart wooden box with lovely patina.

It's difficult to see in the photograph, but the stone is almost green. I'd love to know more about these stones. I have to confess that of the many I have, I've only really used one of them as most of them need cleaning and flattening and I haven't got round to it yet.

This is the one that I use. It has a yellow colour with red veins, I have another one that is similar, though it's a bit browner (and needs a good clean).

This next one has a nice box and I think that it is a slate stone, that is used with water rather than oil.

I have a few black stones, all very similar. I don't know anything about them, but I know that you get black Arkansas stones that have a good reputation.

Eventually I'll get around to cleaning and flattening them all. Then I should take some time to test them out, see how fast they cut and how fine they are. If anyone reading this knows can shed any light on them, then I'd be grateful.

This morning I also managed to pick up a wire wheel that I need to restore a wood burning stove that I rescued from the side of the road and a couple of jars of old style slotted screws (look so much better than modern galvanised ones). I love boot sales.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Old Swedish Spoons

Just thought I'd share another fine blog entry by Tim Manney. He's posted loads of pictures of antique Swedish wooden spoons. A great source of inspiration here

Friday, 9 May 2014

Mini Axe

Cutting edge 21/2", 9" overall. just over 400g in weight

Still not feeling up to doing some woodwork, but I was able to take some pictures. This is an axe that I handled a while back using a head that I picked up for 50p from a car boot sale. I liked the idea making up a mini hatchet that I could use for spoon carving. Something small enough that I could daily take it on trips, comparable I guess to the Gransfors mini hatchet. Unfortunately it just didn't work very well. I played around with the bevels and tried to give it a nice asymmetric grind, but it just wasn't happening. So I put it aside and left it. Then one day I came across a blog post by tool and chair maker Tim Manney on how to tune a carving axe. He uses a grinding jig very similar to the one that I have and so I thought I'd give it a go. 10 minutes on the grinder and 20 mins honing later and my mini axe is singing to the right tune.

The difference, I think, is the flatness of the bevel. What Tim taught me was that the best way to get a flat bevel is to start with a hollow grind. That way you have two surfaces with which to register your hone and you just continue until those two high points meet each other. Encouraged by this success, I'm looking forward to putting together some more hatchets. I even have one smaller than this.

Stefan Ronnqvist axe for comparison

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Carved Bowls Video

Sorry it's been so long since I lasted posted on here. I'm afraid illness got the best of me and I've had a pretty unpleasant few weeks. This has meant no woodworking and therefore I've failed in my goal to turn a bowl a week. Hopefully I'm on the mend now though and will be up and about in the next couple of weeks.

Whilst I haven't been able to do much recently, I've spent a lot of time in bed watching videos and surfing the net. I was thrilled to bits to learn that Country Workshops has made two full length videos available on Youtube including carving wooden bowls with Bengt Lidstrom. Last year I had my first go at carving a bowl and watching this video has got me itching to have another go. There is very little dialogue, mostly just a young Jogge Sundqvist explaining things, but it is captivating none the less.