2019 Sundqvist/Coperthwaite Sloyd Fellowship

Masashi K

2019 Wille Sundqvist and Bill Coperthwaite Slöjd Fellowship recipient Masashi Kutsuwa

Anyone who has met Masashi Kutsuwa would understand the big smile that appeared on my face when, at Täljfest, Peter Lamb announced that he had been awarded the 2019 Wille Sundqvist and Bill Coperthwaite Slöjd Fellowship.

Jogge's Crew

Lie-Nielsen 2015.  Photo by Colin Hayward

I had the pleasure of meeting Masashi in 2015 in Maine at a Lie-Nielsen class taught by Jögge Sundqvist.  It was an incredible group gathered there, and Masashi was fascinating to talk with.  He also brought some wonderful spoons and other pieces from Japan.

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Masashi Kutsuwa, Kenneth Kortemeier , and Eric Goodson at Lie-Nielsen in 2015.  Photo by Peter Follansbee

Masashi is a widely accomplished craftsman and ambassador for handcrafts.  He is richly deserving of this award.

Click on the link below for more information about the award and Masashi:

2019 Slöjd Fellowship Press Release

Masashi certificate

Which brings me back around to Peter Lamb, the maker of the birch bark certificate, close friend of Bill Coperthwaite, and tireless explorer and supporter of handcrafts.  There’s much more to know about Peter and his insights into the importance of working with our hands.  I highly recommend getting a copy of the latest issue (Issue 7) of Mortise and Tenon Magazine.  It features an interview with Peter Lamb in which he shares his rich experiences and thoughts.

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This is another great issue from Joshua Klein and his crew at Mortise and Tenon.

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Posted in events, green woodworking, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , | 5 Comments

In the Beginning

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Wanting to make another big cherry shrink pot like the one in this post, I put my big folding saw in my pack and walked to a nearby woodlot where a cherry tree had fallen a few months ago.  The saw revealed heartwood just wide enough for the size of pot I wanted (about 6″ diameter at the base).  I toted a chunk back to the workshop and dug in.  Here a few photos showing the beginning of a shrink pot.

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I secured the log on my low bench with some giant holdfasts and, standing on the bench myself, started in with the 2″ T-handle auger.  Something so simple can be such a sensory delight; the body twisting and exerting itself, the crunching sound of the edge slicing through end grain, the sight of fresh chips flowing from the top, the perfume filling the shop.  Even Tom Sawyer wouldn’t trade away this bit of work.

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For a shrink pot this big, there’s still a lot of material to be removed.  I expand the original hole by working around and around with a mallet and gouge.  I flip the log back and forth a few times to work from both ends.

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I want this pot to be all darker heartwood, so I split off the bulk of the sapwood with a froe.

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The froe leaves some wood still to be shaved away with the drawknife.  I do that at the bowl horse, but forgot to take a photo.  Pretty easy to imagine though.

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Then I clean up the inside a bit by paring with a gouge.  Although the perspective in the photo distorts it a bit, the pot is tapered, an inch narrower at the top than at the bottom, so working the gouge from top to bottom on the inside works with the grain to achieve the cleanest cuts.

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A view from above.

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Now the bottom is in place and the walls can quietly close in on this first stage.

Posted in cherry, holding, shrink box, tools, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Early American Artisans Fair

Go West

Woodcut by Gustave Baumann, 1901, courtesy Art Institute of Chicago

Ten minutes west of my house is a line separating Pennsylvania from Ohio and the official Midwest.  I’m looking forward to crossing for a very short jaunt westward at the beginning of November when I’ll be at the Early American Artisans Fair in Millersburg, Ohio.  There, I’ll be demonstrating and talking greenwood carving with whoever feels like joining in, so if you’re in the area, stop by.  I can talk and make chips at the same time.

As you can see at the link above, there will be plenty to see and do.  I’m looking forward to seeing some incredible artisans with diverse skills and backgrounds.  Many who are coming have been featured on the Colonial Homestead Artisans Guild blog recently.  While you’re in Millersburg, you can stop in at Colonial Homestead and drool over the tools.  Dan Raber has created a special place there and now he’s put together what promises to be a fantastic event.

 

 

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Bowl Horse at Fifteen

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It’s been fifteen years since I built my log bowl horse, and it’s still serving well and regularly in my workshop.  I mentioned it in this article, but the focus there is more on building the more portable version from lumber.  The log version is so organic that I’ve not said much about specific dimensions, but after hearing from a couple folks that plan on making log versions of their own, I made the sketch above with some general reference dimensions of mine.  Of course, not much is specifically important and there would be many ways of achieving results that work as well or better, so use what you have available.

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The first thing I did when I built mine was bore the 2 1/2″ holes for the legs with a T-handle auger.  Once the legs were driven in, I flipped it over and had nothing more than a log on legs.  Then I moved on to shaping the log.

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Many things could work as a pivot pin.  Mine is a shaft from an old broken tubing cutter.

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Certainly don’t let not having one keep you from carving bowls.  This is not a necessity, but I’m not giving mine up.  It’s the closest thing I’ll ever have to a Harley.

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Mulberry Rooster Bowl

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In summer, the birds and I eat the mulberries from my neighbor’s tree.  We have a deal; the birds get the high ones and I get the low ones.  The other way around proved to be far too dangerous.

A couple years ago, one of their two mulberry trees, about thirty feet tall, came down.  Much of it became firewood, but a few pieces went under the knife.

When working this wood fresh, the bold yellow color really grabs your attention.  It’s related to Osage orange, but not as heavy and hard.  Still, it’s moderately hard and a bit tricky to carve.  I roughed this bowl out not long after the tree came down and returned to it just in recent weeks.

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In the months since I had roughed it out, the surface had mellowed to a golden brown.  Fresh cuts revealed the brighter color beneath, and now the new surface of the finished bowl has already begun to develop a nice patina.

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The vise comes in handy for carving the flutes, but much of the work is done away from the bench.

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I’m often unsure how all of the elements and surfaces are going to come together, so I just take the next step that I determine has to be done for sure.  Then the next decision becomes more clear, and so on.  Eventually, I stumble upon a resolution and discover I’ve created what may be an Elvis-inspired rooster.

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The dimensions are 17″ long, 5″ wide, and 6″ high.  There’s room enough for some preliminary adze work, but, especially considering the depth and undercutting,  most of the hollowing was done with gouges and a hook knife.

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The fibers flow through this big mulberry crook down from the head and on up through the tips of the tail feathers.

This one is for sale.  $800 includes fully-insured shipping.  A little more for overseas, depending on your location.  Email at dandkfish@gmail.com if you are interested.  Thanks.  Update: SOLD

Posted in bird bowls, finding wood, tools, trees, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Short Lettercarving Video

At Spoonfest, Tom Hepworth filmed Barn and I talking briefly about carving letters with a knife.  I also demonstrated how I go about cutting a letter.  Tom posted the video to Youtube not long ago, and here it is.  Just ignore my awkwardness and you may find something useful!  There are also some nice views of Spoonfest to open the video.

Posted in carving, Lettering, tools, Uncategorized, video | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Two Upcoming Exhibitions

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If you’re in the neighborhoods of Asheville, NC or Rockport, ME, there are two exhibitions coming up that may interest you.

Opening first is Spoonin’: A Showcase of Handcrafted Spoons that will run from 14 September through 13 October at Grovewood Gallery in Asheville, NC.   Greenwood carving will be well represented, including spoons from Curtis Buchanan, Tim Manney, and Dawson Moore.  The show should offer plenty of inspiration, with a diverse range of styles, methods, and materials — including hand-hammered metal.  Check out the full list of participants at the link above.

I’ve sent a few recently completed spoons, including the one in the top photo that came from a neighborhood Norway maple branch that was bent and twisted just so.  14 3/8″ long, 2″ wide.  Here’s the backside:

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Here are the other spoons I’ve sent:

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This long slender ladle (17 1/2″ long, 3 1/8″ wide) is from the same Norway maple tree.  All of these spoons are from crooks with the fibers flowing through the handle and bowl, and Norway maple, though not as tough as sugar maple, proved to be plenty strong, harder than cherry.  The combination of the flow of the fibers and the hardness of the wood allowed for a thin strong bowl.

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The one below (13 5/8″ long, 3 5/8″ wide) came from a big cherry crook.  I walked out onto a fallen cherry tree over an icy creek last winter to collect it, so I’m glad it worked out!  The Latin Fabas indulcet famas means “Hunger sweetens the beans.”

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Here it is the lettering turned right-side-up:

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I was able to finish a couple spoons from that neighborhood rhododendron I mentioned a few posts ago.  Here is an eating spoon, 7 1/8″ long and 1 5/8″ wide.

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And the final spoon for the Spoonin’ Exhibition is this lettered server, also from a rhododendron crook.  7 5/8″ x 3 1/4″.

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The second exhibition is Contemporary Greenwood and will run from 20 September 2019 through the end of the year in Rockport, ME at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship’s Messler Gallery.  At the link above, you’ll see it listed as an upcoming exhibition for now.  Additional information and a full list will be posted eventually there, but I know there will be work from some familiar Greenwood Fest folks such as Pete Galbert, Amy Umbel, Jarrod Dahl, and Curtis Buchanan.

I’ll be sending a couple pieces that I’ve posted about earlier this year here on the blog:

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The walnut bowl above started as a quarter-log split.  I wrote about it in this post.

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The cherry bowl above came from a crook with lots of character.  I wrote about it in this post.

So, those two will be on their way to Maine this week.  If you’re able to make it to either of these exhibitions, there will be work there from many folks.  Pieces you can see directly with your own eyes — and I’m hoping — feel with your hands.  Of course, the gallery rules trump my thoughts, but, for what it’s worth, you have my permission to touch the bits of tree I’ve sent.

Posted in bowls, events, spoons, trees, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments