Monday, 27 July 2020

Wood Turning Combined with Carving by Hand for Kitchen Wares

Wood Turning First - by Power or Pole Lathe

Choose a wide enough piece of wood for the finished width of your desired spatula.   If it's not you'll end up simply turning another spurtle or thieval!  I've been using some of that wonderful fresh green Sycamore I found in one of the dry ditches around by the Abbey church.  So not only did I have to check size carefully I was also keeping an eye out for that green fleck staining that I don't like the look of on utensils.

Allow enough wood at either end to give enough to remove as you finish the work so you're not getting a small indentation where the centres of the lathe grip. We don't want unsightly or nasty unhygenic little indentations in our cooking implements do we.   Then let the imagination flow - I find doing these little things most therapeutic, gently changing the sweep of a handle the slight nuance of a curve - only thing is once the wood's cut you can't stick it back on.  I like to turn gently, not like a maniac racing away that removes all the pleasure and I think you should be able to enjoy your work and not feel that I'm on an assembly line.  Yes I do need to make a certain number of products to earn my living but that doesn't prevent me from enjoying my chosen profession.
Once the handle is fashioned to your taste then it's time to get those carving implements out.  Sometimes it's simply a 2.5 inch carpenters chisel for a good flat cut or perhaps a series of knives and then a few sweeps with the spokeshave.  Most important is to take your time and if the grain doesn't seem to be co-operative maybe it's because you're not working with it but against it. So turn the work around or if it's the spokeshave or drawknife try a push cut instead of a pull or use the tool at an angle to the work - it's very important to be flexible and try different things out.  And remember there's not definitive right way - it's what's right for you and what's comfortable and what works...

Thursday, 9 July 2020


Spokeshave - the Forgotten Tool of Green Woodwork

Many green woodworkers seem to have never used a spokeshave, don't seem to have seen one or if they have don't appreciate it's value as an essential in the toolbox.  I've always been a fan of this comfortable little tool, it's wonderful for finishing spoons and spatulas and all types of awkward edges.  Once you've mastered the adjustment of the blade it's beautiful the way it removes the perfect shaving for that lovely feel of smooth wood in the hand.

I was using my spokeshave just yesterday in the workshop finishing some spoons, spatulas etc and thinking what a marvellous and useful tool it was how everyone should have one!
James Krenov turned me onto this one perhaps back when he wrote articles for one of the woodworking magazines.  It’s a Stanley No 53 which I use with a one handed grip as he suggested. Also it’s got a little wheel for speedy, very accurate and fine blade adjustments.

Stanley No 53
This is my favourite Spokeshave, I probably use it everyday in my work and is always part of my travelling tool kit.

In my opinion, this is the way to hold it - using first finger and thumb and the little finger at the opposite end of the blade being careful not to clog the mouth with shavings.

Complete view of the under or business side of the Spokeshave where you can see the hinged sole.  It's essential to keep it sharp and as I've been using a fair bit of Sycamore in the last couple of weeks it needs sharpening more frequently than, say, Silver Birch or Hazel would need.

Spoonrise over Waltham Abbey

NB  Top tip is to hold the blade in mole grips for honing...