Sunday, 31 March 2013

Wooden Rakes

Got a few more rakes finished off today, i wanted to get a good number of these made ready for a couple of shows that are looming on the not too distant horizon.

The rakes per the others ive written about recently,  all have Ash heads and tines, with a mix of Hazel and Ash handles, with the heads being attached to the handles using a simple round mortice and tenon joint.

Sycamore Bowl

Worked some more on the Sycamore bowl ive been working on for some time today, i refined the interior of the bowl a bit with the gouges, although i still have work to do to get it to the finish i want,  i also sanded the exterior of the bowl down, then decided i really didnt like it, so i took it back to a tooled exterior finish with the small gouge and i personally think it looks better for it, although, i did leave a small smooth border around the top of the bowl.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Willow Bowl

Carved from Willow using traditional hand tools such as an adze and gouges, the bowl features a sanded exterior surface, but retains the tooling from it's manufacture on the inside surface, once complete the bowl was treated with a liberal coat of raw Linseed oil to bring out the natural colours and grain patterns in the wood. I still need to tart the interior surface up to get rid of some of the rough gouge marks that remain, but essentially, it's finished.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Willow Bowl

Finished today, one Willow Bowl and i just don't like it, i have no idea what was going through my mind when i chose to sand it inside and out, but having spent ages sanding the thing down and going down through all those grits, yep, i decided it was the wrong decision.

I'm not going to bother tooling it though, as ive had enough of this one and as im going to sell it anyway, i figure that someone at one of the shows im attending will take a liking to it, i have it's brother to finish off and that one will have a tooled interior surface at the very least, as ive already sanded the exterior of it down, regardless of the sanded/tooled debate, the bowl does have some great grain patterns in it, which really started to pop once i oiled the bowl up with some Danish Oil.

Small Garden / Border Rake

Started to turn all the rake heads, i made the other day into fully fledged garden rakes earlier today.

I'm making a couple of different styles, there is the one pictured,  where the head is secured to the handle via a round mortice & tenon joint, which is surprisingly strong and im also making some with the  "V" method of attaching the head too, by making a couple of different styles, ive found they appeal to a wider audience.

Everything you see on the rake has been hand made by myself, with the exception of one small nail,  the rake handles i use are made from Ash or Hazel poles, that ive reduced in diameter and shaped using a rake makers plane or stail engine to use it's proper name, the tines i make from a section of Ash with a froe and tine cutter and the heads are all cleft Ash, that i shape on the shave horse with a draw knife and for completeness, all of the holes are cut with a brace and centre bit/auger.

Now all i need to do is sell a few.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

I Wonder If........

..... Cody Lundin has made a visit to these woods in the past?.

Found this text carved into a Sycamore tree whilst in the woods yesterday, just by looking at it you can tell it was carved in quite a while ago, we have found some strange stuff in the woods in the past, but i think this statement ranks amongst the best of them, not that id want to go bare foot in these woods, too many broken flints around.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Sycamore Cup

Got the Sycamore Kuksa/cup i started the other day finished off today.

The cup features a tooled exterior finish and a smooth interior surface, to finish it off the cup was given a liberal coat of tung oil, to not only seal and protect the wood, but to also bring out some of the colours in the end grain, although, you cant really see those in the photo.

Rake Heads

Spent a few hours today making some small traditional style rake heads, all of these are destined to be made into small border style rakes, rather than full on traditional style Hay Rakes.

The heads & tines are all made from Ash, the tines being cut with a tine cutter and still need cutting down to their proper length, as they are a little long at present. 

The heads were cleft from Ash logs and then taken down in size and shaped with the draw knife, now the heads are made, i need to add the handles, which i'll do at some point next week.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Ash Serving Spoon

Finished off the Ash spoon i started last week, i elected to go with a sanded finish on this one, just by way of a change.

It turned out alright in the end, although i still much prefer a tooled finish, but as im hoping to sell this one on, i have to bite the bullet now and again and make a few spoons with sanded finishes, just to try and cater for all tastes, as not everyone likes a tooled finish on their wooden ware.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Little, If Ever Used

The knife pictured is one that Adam from JLT Knives (sadly no longer around) sent me a few years back, it's one of the prototype knives that he made during the development of the  JLT Woodsman and if i remember correctly, this one was about the midway point in the design process.

I think we decided that the blade was too deep on this one as the production Woodsman had a slightly narrower blade, nevertheless, it's a stunning knife, what with it's Wenge scales and red liners and im sorry to say, it's one, that ive hardly ever, if ever used.

So i think im going to have to rectify that soon and put some of the other knives i have been using of late away and start using this, it seems pointless to have such a superb piece of equipment, just sitting in a drawer, it's either that or sell it on, but if i sell it, i know eventually i will regret it, decisions, decisions.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Ash Spoon

Made today whilst out and about in the woods, all of the roughing out was done with the axe and then refined a little using the knife mentioned in my post about an old friend, the bowl of the spoon was hollowed out using a Mora spoon knife.

I know a few people who say that you cant make spoons from Ash, well, this one is testament that you can, you just have to listen to the wood and work with it, anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Sycamore Cup

Made a start on a new wooden cup this afternoon, so far i have about an hour and a half invested in it. 

It's carved from a piece of green Sycamore and was roughed out using an axe and knife for the exterior and a small gouge and Mora spoon knife for the bowl.

I've also experimented with a different handle shape, although it's not overly clear in the photo, but i think you can just about make it out, time will tell if it's a good design as there is a lot of end grain running through it, so it's not the strongest design, still, it's nice to experiment and if it doesn't work, well, I'll know for next time wont i?.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

An Old Friend

I was having a bit of a sort out of the knife drawer earlier today and 'rediscovered' my old JLT Mk1 Woodsman, i got this from Adam when he first started making knives and loved the knife and iu used it heavily for quite a while, but it always had one drawback, the handle although comfortable, was oversized and a bit square & chunky.

So today i attacked it with the sandpaper and reduced the bulk in the handle and rounded it it off to get rid of the squareness, it didn't need much taking away in the end to make it a bit slimmer and more comfortable, but the reduction in the width of the handle has certainly made it a tad more comfortable to use, i might still take a bit more off the rear of the handle by the lanyard tube as it still retains a bit of bulk in that area - time & use will tell.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Willow Bowl

Made a start on another bowl earlier today, this time from Willow, as you can see from the photo, it's still very much in the rough and very thick in places, although it's in it's infancy. 

I can already start to see the finished bowl in my minds eye, but i need to be patient and let it dry out for a few days, hopefully the weather will buck up a bit and the ambient temps will increase and help to dry it out.

Hultafors Axe

The latest addition to my stable of axes, a Hultafors Chopping Axe, 26 inch helve and a head weight of just under 2lb, with a 3 1/2" face, basically, it's the Hultafors equivalent to the GBA Scandinavian Forest Axe, but at a fraction of the cost.

I bought this axe, as ive found my Gransfors Small Forest Axe to be wanting in some of the work i do, sometimes it's too big other times, too small, but i didn't want a felling axe (i already have two), what i needed was something in between, but i couldn't justify the cost, no matter how much i wanted one, of a Gransfors Scandinavian Forest Axe.

I had seen a few write ups on these and read the glowing reports on places such as Amazon from people who had purchased one of these, and at under £30.00 delivered, i figured, what the heck, so i bit the bullet and today it arrived.

First impressions, well,  im impressed, the axe was razor sharp right out of the box and it only needed a little bit of fettling to remove a couple of small nicks where it had been knocked and i also gave the helve a good coat of linseed oil, speaking of the helve, the grain orientation in the hickory helve is spot on, in fact it's better than some of my Gransfors axes, the grain in this runs straight & true.

The total time spent bringing it up to par was less than ten minutes, the only real disappointment was the lack of a mask, but thankfully i had an old one that fits a treat.

Now i just have to get out there and use it anger so to speak, then after some considerable use, i will be able to better see how it performs and if the decision I made to purchase it to fill that gap between the Gransfors  SFA & a small felling axe,  was the right one.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Sycamore Bowl

Latest Sycamore Bowl, quite a deep one this time, the inner section of the bowl currently sits at just over three inches deep, but i think by the time the bowl has been finished, the actual bowl depth will be closer to four inches, as there is still a significant amount of material to remove, but that can wait until it's dried out a little.

I did think about squaring the rim off too, but decided against it as i quite like the look of the wavy edge.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Hazel & Aspen Spoons

Finished these two spoons off today, the top one is from Hazel, the lower from Aspen, both feature a sanded finish, not because i like sanding, but because i need to have a selection of tooled and sanded spoons available, to hopefully appeal to the differing tastes of people at shows and events where im trying to sell these.

The top spoon as mentioned on my Spoon Blog is one of those spoons, that no matter what i did, it just didn't go right, the side elevation is fine, the top view of the bowl though is awful, it's too long and narrow.

I could of course reduce the length of the bowl, but sometimes when you do this, you then need to adjust the width and then you can find yourself in one of those see-saw scenario's, where you remove one bit, then remove another piece to compensate and before you know it, there is nothing left. Just goes to show, that even the alleged good spoon carvers out there, also get it wrong and not every spoon they carve comes out perfect, truth be known the bowl on the Aspen spoon is also too long as well.

Hazel Buck Saw

I made this back in August last year and much to my surprise considering the abuse it's had this winter, it's survived and is still as strong as the day i made it. I've used the saw on a regular basis when sorting out fresh cut and indeed, seasoned timber on the log pile and as today, trimming the ends off of some logs in preparation for some bowl carving that im hopefully doing sometime soon, all pretty impressive stuff for something that cost less than a couple of quid and took ten minutes to make.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Long Bowl / Tray

Finished off another bowl / tray today, this one per the others i have made recently is from a nice piece of Sycamore, although, this came from a large branch rather than a section of the main trunk as the others did.

The bowl/tray is a little over 22cm in length and is 9cm wide with a bowl depth at the lowest rim point of around 2cm, the entire bowl has been hand sanded and then finished off with a liberal coat of tung oil.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Sycamore Bowl

Per the post about the Sycamore Kuksa i finished off today, i also got the small Sycamore drinking bowl i was making finished as well.

I still have some work to do to finish of the interior surface of the bowl, but the outside is more or less finished and having really enjoyed the tooling on the Sycamore Kuksa, i thought, yeah, why not, so i put the same type of finish on the bowl as well, it turned out pretty well i think?.

Sycamore Kuksa / Kasa - Finished At Last

As my day was totally screwed by the atrocious weather, i figured i would make the best of a bad job and spend some time reworking the Kuksa ive been making.

I had originally sanded the exterior surface down and well, i didn't like it, so this afternoon i took a gouge and crook knife to the Kuksa and gave it a good going over and a short time later, i had a finish on the Kuksa that i much prefer.

The interior of the cup remains sanded at the moment, but that also might change in the coming days, as the walls of the cup are a little thick in places and id like to reduce the thickness just a little bit.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Winter Bites Back

As i write this a good section of the UK is experiencing winter biting back and giving us a good covering of snow, although, where im based, we have less than an inch of the white stuff, but it's still snowing.

And just to think, last week i was working in the woods in a short sleeve shirt as it was really warm, don't think im going to be in a shirt sleeves this week.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Sycamore Kuksa / Kasa

Got a good way through finishing off the Sycamore Kuksa i started last Sunday, i decided, foolishly i think, to sand the kuksa down and i have to say, i really don't like it, i think tomorrow i will spend some time with the gouges putting a tooled finish on the cup as the smooth sanded finish just isn't sitting well with me at the moment, i don't know why, but there is just something about it that's not quite right, apart from that it's coming on well and it's not far off being finished.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Pot Hanger

Quick impromptu pot hanger that we made up in the woods entirely from what we found laying around, to adjust the height of the pot over the fire, just roll the log at the front either forwards to lower the pot, or backwards to raise the pot. We were lucky in this instance to also find a dead branch that was of the perfect shape for the pot hanger and even more lucky as the pot end also had a crook in it which we suspended the pot from.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Sycamore Drinking Bowl

Small drinking / finger bowl made from Sycamore, so far, i have about an hours work in this and per many projects at the moment, ive got to wait for it to dry before i can really do any more to it, im thinking that i may add a small handle made of antler or a differing wood, there again, i may just leave it as it is, so it's a cup that you have to, well, cup in your hands in the manner of a Chinese tea cup.

Hazel Spoon

Made a start on this yesterday afternoon and worked a bit more on it today, I'm not overly happy with the bowl shape on this one, too long and narrow, so i will try and change the shape of it slightly to reduce the overall length and if that doesn't do the trick and make it more appealing to my eye, then i guess it will become fire fodder.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Sycamore Bowl

Made a good start to a new bowl today, at the moment ive only roughed it out with the axe & adze and cleaned up the inside a bit with the gouges, so it's a bit of a rough diamond at present.

I'm going to leave it for at least a week i think, before i even contemplate doing any more to it as the wood is still very wet, being that the log it came from was only cut about ten days ago, but it has the beginnings of a half decent bowl - well at the moment.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Sycamore Kuksa / Kasa

I made a start on a new Kuksa / Kasa this afternoon, the cup is made from a glorious piece of fresh felled Sycamore that has been a dream to work with, to start off with i used my small adze to make the bowl and then went to the Swedish Carving Axe to shape the outside.

Once the majority of the waste wood had been removed, i used my spoon knife and A Wright Bushcraft knife to refine the shape a little and hollow out a bit more of the bowl until i got to a point where i was happy with the general shape and wall thickness, now i have to be patient and leave it for a few days in a semi closed ziplock bag to dry out a bit, before i can get the fine carving done on it.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Wetterlings Axe - Part 2

I made the time today to do up the Wetterlings axe i got on Wednesday and what a transformation it was.

To start off with i coated the entire axe with paint stripper and let that do it's job, then once all the paint and varnish ahd been removed i set to with various grades of wet and dry paper and got the last of the muck off of the axe head, then i turned my attention to the helve and got that cleaned up and sanded down.

Once that had been done i gave the woods a really good coat of linseed oil and I'll continue to feed it oil each day over the next week or so, to ensure it has a really good application, i think an old adage when it comes to oiling tool handles applies to this particular helve as it's not been looked after during it life, the adage i refer to is;

Once a day for a week, once a week for a month, then once a month for year - seems to work.

I used the axe this afternoon to knock up a very quick and rough spoon blank from a piece of Aspen and the axe worked really well, very comfortable to hold and with a nice balance to it, which means less fatigue when using it.

Over all im very happy with my new toy and im looking  forward to many years of use.