Bent, Warped, and Twisted



Spiral splits follow the grain in the cherry log.

I had a plan in my mind for a square tapering shrink pot. As I smacked the froe and watched the waste from the first side fall away, I realized this log had other plans.  This cherry tree had grown with a spiraling grain, now revealed in each of the four newly-split winding surfaces.

The opening lines of a poem I had read and copied into my sketchbook came to mind:

What has bent you,
Warped and twisted you,
Torn and crippled you?
What has embittered you,
O lonely tree?

— from The Pine at Timberline by Harriet Monroe

Here was an ideal lettering opportunity.


I followed the grain and carved a tapering, twisting, square shrink pot, leaving bold gouge marks on the interior, and a more subtle texture on the outside.  The first two lines of the poem were carved, in part, near the edge of each side.

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The square opening shrinks around the bottom just as it does with a circular form:


6 1/2 inches high and 4 1/4 inches square at the base, cherry.


Here are a couple more recently completed shrink pots; both in aspen, but in very different styles:

This entry was posted in carving, cherry, green woodworking, Lettering, shrink box, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Bent, Warped, and Twisted

  1. Emil says:

    Hi D

    Did you carve those letters with your pocket knife?

    Hey I also asked you a question about your t handle auger. Did you do something to sharpen the tip screw? Yours has nice a nice sharp screw. Mine is full and rounded.

    Thank you



    • Emil Dahl says:


      I just realized I have to check the box in order to get notification when you answer. Sorry I have asked several questions twice.

      Did you just start into the square pot with your auger first?

      Do you just make one 2″ hole and then do all of the rest with a knife or do you sometimes make multiple holes?

      What knife do you find you use the most.

      Thank you


      • Dave Fisher says:

        No problem with the technology confusion. Happens to me all the time. Yes, I bored with the 2″ auger first, then hollowed the rest with a knife and gouges. You could make multiple holes depending upon the size of the auger.

        There are many well-designed sloyd knives available today. I mainly use a Frost’s 106 blade that I handled myself and also a sloyd knife made by Del Stubs.

        The letters on this box are around 3/4-7/8 inch high, so I did carve them with my pen knife blade as I usually do for letters that size or smaller.


  2. Andy Sistrand says:

    Love that twisted pot–a brilliant dialogue between artist and material

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave Fisher says:

      Thanks, Andy. I’m glad this piece worked out. I’m learning more and more to appreciate a piece of wood for what it has to offer, rather than wishing it conformed to my expectations of it.


  3. Ida VonRuden says:

    Checked out your web site. All of your work is indescribably beautiful! What an inspiration. Ida

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was a little gutted to see this sold so quickly!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. hiddenspoons says:

    I love the poem. I thinking the twisting and warping grain is a sign of strength not willing to fold but to bend and twist to whatever Impedes it and grow on.
    It’s beautiful!


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