Get a new head & make a spoon

I’m trying to refine my spoon carving skills.  Making spoons is not my main day job, and I’ve had slow sales, then in the last week, I’ve sold three, taken an order for an engraved one and had the best one I ever made stolen (it was made from a crooked branch and was a cranked ladle with a pointed pouring lip – birch, if you see it, smack its bum and send it home, it had a hook on the back to hang it off the side of a pot – here it is:


I’m going to concentrate on making this spoon as seen in the above series.  Pretty small and thin and with endless opportunities for decorations at the top (the commissioned one will have  a hazel nut, echoing the wood type).

There is no Summer in the UK this year – the Jet Stream has gone on holiday apparently! However, the meadowy sides of the road into Bolton Abbey don’t seem to mind, these spotted orchids have grown very tall:

I’ve been making the shave horse modification as  Peter Galbert has neen kindly telling us about.

I got to the final stages today

Planing the base of the bed – from sweet chestnut.  Look how you can hold a piece of wood.  Holdfast at the far end. A dog underneath to slope it 10 degrees (or 1″ in 4″, I believe) and a dog aside, to stop the work wandering about the bench. It looks so rough as I was using the scrub plane.  Finished it off with the jointer.

I did some glueing yesterday. This is the leg with the ratchet.  Notice the filled tooth where I drilled for a dowel in the wrong place whilst talking to a passerby.  I don’t use steel cramps much but they were very useful this time, and here’s a wooden one …

Blimey!  Bit of an bondage moment, but these pieces are very technical.  The wooden cramp is great.  I tried to make one (an other unfinished project).  They work so well , I must make some more.  I acquired this one at The Bodgers’ Ball this year in Devon.

This is the old horse stripped down readying for the new Smarthead (© Peter Galbert).

The slot needed enlarging:

I noticed the original cut-out was done with the chainsaw, I was a bit quieter this time and chopped it out.

That’s about as far as I got as I managed to break the top-toothed member in testing.  I’d used ash and the gluing hadn’t taken (lousy planing I’m afraid t have to blummin’ admit (again)).  I’ll be remaking it in elm – no way that’ll split.

Watch this space but I’m off work for a week now, breaking in my new clogs

… so don’t hold your breath.


Hold fast aside

Planing long board edges is just what holdfasts are ideal for.  The great thing about holdfasts is that they can be installed anywhere you can drill the hole for them to jam in, in this case in the bench apron.  Much quicker than making a leg/shoulder vice and support pegs in a leg.  The other advantage is that the holdfasts support the board before you’ve tightened them up, as you can see in the photo one is fastened up and the other is just in the hole supporting awaiting my turning it and tightening it up with the mallet.

I also got two old wooden planes set up to work.  I’d been struggling with these for a while, one problem being that the jointer had a bent cap iron so the shavings were constantly getting stuck between it and the plane knife. I bought a second-hand cap iron, it’s 2 1/2 inches wide which seems to be a bit unusual now, and no new cap irons that wide seemed to be available.  That solved the shavings problem.

The other problem I had was setting the thickness of cut.  I watched a very instructive video by David Finck on Fine  Woodworking and realised that I was jamming the wedge in far too hard.  I’ve started using a little gavel I made a while ago and the planes are much more manageable now – and the bonus is no more blisters on the side of my right hand from the metal plane I used to use.