Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Ok, so it's a colander.

So, a couple of weeks after the big bowl boil, what are the results. One colander!

And look at the distortion; that rim was flat!

Now the cracks have opened up, it is easy to see the cause; the bowl sides were not even 1/8" thick. I might have to adjust my calipers. The other bowl has sides about 7/8 to 1" thick and is hardly cracking or distorting.

Some Hillyfield larch went into making this woodstore/bin store/potting bench for Andie recently. It will have a green roof, probably sedum and other alpines.

I have been making some stools this week. Local oak from Denbury, for the seats and variously willow sticks (even more local; from just outside the workshop) and ash (with axe-cut tenons) for the legs.

I split these this morning, and they still had a bit of moisture in them (though the log had been sitting around for 4 years), so I gave them a steam bath for an hour to drive it out.

These stools, bowls furniture etc. available to buy in the Craft marquee at Totnes and District Show on 31st July. Or come along to the Devon Open Studios event in September, 10-25th everyday 10am to 6pm. There will be demonstrations, lots of them!

Saturday, 2 July 2016

"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in"

So even after 3 weeks in and out of water with the oak bowls, there is still some cracking going on. Time for more extreme measures.

You can see the water pouring in through the cracks, as this bowl is plunged into my giant's boiling pan (bulk tomato can).

I don't mind if these bowls have a few cracks, as long as they don't tear themselves apart. Maybe this boiling will stop that happening. For now the cracks have closed up. If not their beauty will be short-lived, and maybe more beautiful for it. Ajahn Chah "When I understand that the glass is already broken, every moment with it is precious."


Like the one I axed too hard.

Think I'll try some timbers that want to be bowls. Like cherry.

Now I have this Dave Budd adze, I can rough out bowls much quicker and safer than with the chainsaw.

And this black walnut.

On the new horse for shaving.

And sidetracking back onto relief carving. Taking an element of one of my previous designs.

And re-working it. Trials for the chest with drawer.


Tuesday, 7 June 2016

All in a day's work

With the warmer weather, these roughed out bowls are drying too fast on the outside.

So I have dammed up the stream and thrown a couple of blanks in there. I have placed the bowls in bins of water, to slow down the drying. I am taking them out each day, working them further, then placing them back in at night. Seems to be working.

I have been making a bowl horse from an ash log.

I needed some dry pegs to fix the foot pedal together, and remembered these white oak sticks from Peter Follansbee's course last summer, were still in the van door.

I finally managed to get sidetracked back onto the chest with drawer. I wasn't sure of the rear board arrangement behind the drawer, so asked Peter. He was happy to oblige with details and examples. Thanks Peter.

So the floorboards for the upper chest fit into a groove in the front middle rail and are nailed up to the rear middle rail. Then a board as shown is chamfered on the two ends and after the chest is assembled is slid up a groove made in the rear stiles. There is no rail below this. Instead a rail is fitted with bare-faced tenons forward of these board grooves. The chamfered board is then nailed to the back of this rail.

If I had thought about it before contacting Peter I could have returned to Totnes Museum (where I was a few weeks ago) to examine this example.

I am not sure it will prove useful, I need to give it a closer look to assess it's age.

The cupboard next to it is more interesting.

Tucked away on it's own this genuine 17th century chest.

Note peg showing through stile.

 And hinge ends splayed and recessed into lid.

 Other great stuff there. This inexplicably damaged panel.

And a corbel.

I spent some time in the archives, trying to find some details of 17th century joinery shops in Totnes, but to no avail.

I feel another visit coming on soon, though.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Bowl day

Today was bowl day - only bowls, no getting sidetracked by any joined furniture on the bench next door!

Now, what day is it tomorrow? Joined furniture day!

Sunday, 22 May 2016

New gouges and bowls

So, this oak tree came down in Dartington this spring, when a sudden wind blew from the north. I bought the butt and arranged to take away a smaller oak that it had damaged nearby. I was hoping for some riveable material but the tree was just too twisted. So out with the mill and some 16' boards for laying up.

It's neighbour looked more promising...

....but when halved...

...was also a bit twisty.

Made a new sash for a georgian house at the bottom of Totnes high street.

Finished the woodshed for customers in Ashburton.

I decided that the oak I had got from Dartington was too twisted, so I have decided to carve bowls with it. With so many 'bowl blanks',I am roughing them out with a chainsaw to get them processed before they split.

And then swapping over to my axes and new Karlsson gouges to take them down further.

I have had this Henry Taylor flat carving adze for about seven years now, but found no use for it. It has come into a lot of use this week, for the long curves of the boat bowl and surprisingly effective at hollowing out (after a few kerfs with the chainsaw).

I need to make a bowl horse, but for now, because I am making several similar bowls at the same time, I can use one to hold another.