Beginner to Advanced skill level.
We will learn:
Carving Techniques using a Froe, Axe, Slyod knife and Crooked knife.
Wood grain and how to carve with it on flats, basic and more complex curves.
More about trees, wood and ourselves.
Materials. I provide all of the tools, 10+ axes, 10+ Slyod knives, 10+ bent knives, including 2 sets for lefties. All sharp. If peeps have their own tools, bring ‘em!
I also have several resource materials (books/DVD/posters) to share & a few other traditional wooden projects to share and discuss.
You're interested in having more wilderness, nature & culture in your home & life
You have carving interest and would like to try a variety of good quality tools before buying your own
Simplifying life is attractive to you
You like to use axes and knives
This one will likely be focused on the knife work and skip all or most of the Axe work.
Beginner to Advanced.
Shrink Pots are amazing little cylindrical vessels. Starting with a small log or tree branch we will hollow, carve and strategically employ woods natural processes to make a sweet little functional vessel.
These are generally used to hold kitchen dry goods, stuff like coffee, tea, flour, nuts, beans, salt, pepper, dog treats and the like. They could just as easily hold your keys, coins, pencils, feathers or other small items. They are a beautiful and natural addition to any space.
First we hollow a small, fresh and moist tree trunk or branch and cut a notch towards one end. Next we fit a dry piece of wood loosely into our notch and as the wet wood dries, it will shrink to fit the dry bottom piece. Finally we can fit a lid or cover to the pot.
Materials and tools will be provided. If you have your own tools you are encouraged to bring them along as well.
We will use an auger, gouges and various knives.
In May 9-12 Details coming soon.
I’ll be doing some Demo’ing and doing some instruction for the Alaska Folks School in Fairbanks for Wood Fest 2019.
I'm stoked you're interested in learning more about carving spoons. To me carving spoons is a perfect way to offer and add handmade simplicity to your home, pocket, gift or travels. It's really great to eat or cook with a spoon you carved yourself. I also think that these wooden objects are an easy and meaningful way to bring more wild nature closer to our lives and can be a positive offering to the world.
These courses will be set-up with instruction on safe use of sharp tools and provide a series of methodical steps with demonstration and instruction to carve a spoon. Lately I've been most interested in backcountry, child and general eating spoons from both the Swedish and Japanese traditions, we will have the opportunity to choose from these or other types of spoons in the class. I'll guide design, technique, tools & materials you'll do the work.
This page was created to give some basic info and hopefully offer some guidance and some answers to questions you may have. It'll be a work in progress as I learn more about what sorts of questions are out there.
I'll have everything you need to carve, however there are a few things you may want to bring. Safety glasses are nice for parts of the class, so are a pair of leather gloves. Clean ones preferred, costco sometimes has a pack of 3 pair of nice gloves for less than $20. If you have your own tools, great, bring them along. Small ax or hatchet or carving knives. I'll have a small snack to share, maybe bananas or popcorn, feel free to do the same if you like.
If you are thinking you'd like to purchase your own tools for a course or for your own kit see below. If you plan to carve spoons you'll want an Axe, Straight knife (slyod), and Crooked or Bent knife. Once you have a start with this stuff you will want sharpening items. I suggest getting a good Crooked knife and straight knife. It's great to have a great axe but you can get by with a less than great axe if you tune up a cheap one correctly. A small hand saw is also needed.
Tools I use and provide. I have an assortment of axes including a few made by Gransfors & Robin Wood. For knives I will have several from Del Stubbs, Robin Wood, Ben Orford, and some Mora brand knives. There are enough tools for each student to have a set-up with out needing to share or wait on tools.
What tools to get to start carving wood? I’d recommend:
Sloyd or Straight knife. Mora 106.
Crooked or Bent knife. Important if your carving spoons, bowls or shrink pots. I’d go with the Del Stubbs or Robin Wood crooked knives.
Axe. Bison Hunters Hatchet or Robin Wood Carving Axe.
More details below.
Mora 106 (longer) & 120 (shorter) straight/sloyd carving knives: The standard go-to carving knife that happens to be really affordable. I like to have one of each but start with the 106, longer one, if you just want one. About $25.
Del Stubbs. My #1 choice for a crooked knife. He has a long waitlist (6-8 weeks) sometimes, so order asap. I prefer to make my own handle, saves a few $ and I don’t love the shape of his handles but they work just fine and are still the best if you don’t want to make your own. This link takes you to the crooked knife I use the most. https://pinewoodforge.com/product/open-sweep-2/ About $50-$65.
Wood Tools. These have been my #2, sometimes #1 crooked knife and my #3 favorite axe. This is the tool business of Robin and JoJo Wood. Great name, right? They sell the best affordable axes and knives. Hard to go wrong with these, even when my more expensive big name tool is handy I sometimes opt for these. Great weight, handle and edge on the axes and they come ready to carve. Robin and his daughter are also both amazing craftsman. These tools are coming from the UK so its good to order early, & there is often a wait list but they ship pretty fast. I prefer the compound curved spoon knife over his open sweep, it’s generally one of my favorite knives. Fantastic service. http://wood-tools.co.uk/shop/ About $50 USD.
Bison Hunters Hatchet. This is an affordable Axe, made in Germany but available online pretty easily at Woodcraft and other locations. Nice looking tool, too. This one does not come sharp but with a little tune-up it’s become one of my favorites. For about $50 you can get it shipped to you and for less than $10 a blade shop will put a great carving edge on it if you can’t.
Gränsfors Bruks Axes. These are pretty amazing tools. I really like using the Swedish Carving Axe. It’s a beast, not a great choice if you don’t have strong hands/arms or don’t plan to carve a lot. Get one of the above if you’ll only carve from time to time. If you do plan to carve a lot or just love how this one looks and are willing to get used to it, it is a very great tool. For the price of one of these you can buy 2-3 of the above mentioned. Their Wildlife Hatchet is pretty popular with carvers and is a pretty sweet light weight axe. $150-$250.
Old Axes. I have a couple from the trunk of my dads car, antique shops, yard sales...If you have an old ax like this (older suggests better steal) you can tune it up and it may work just fine. I've taken several to Northern Knives in Anchorage and they can put a sweet edge on an old Ax while you wait. It's cheap, fast and they do good work. If your axe blade is very straight it's nice to have at least a little curve or arc on the cutting edge, they can do that to. There is some sweet info on restoring axes on Tim Manny & Robin Wood websites. My ax & sharpening peeps: http://www.northernknives.com/
These folks are part of a classic lineage of American woodworking, classes and tools. The Main Coast Craft School. http://www.mainecoastcraft.com/tool-sales.html
I've found great tools here. Good prices and service as well. Woodsmith in UK. http://woodsmithexperience.co.uk/
Slöjd in Wood. My current favorite wood book. Jögge Sundqvist
Spon. Great book by Barn the Spoon. I'd get this if I were to only have one spoon book.
Swedish Carving Techniques. Old School and cool, classic really. Written by a carving legend. Wille Sundqvist
Country Woodcraft. This is a great book with spoons and all kinds of great wood projects. Drew Langsner.
A Handmade Life: In Search of Simplicity. A book about the ideal of living a simple, intentional and handmade life. Bill was a friend for a short time before his passing, My wife and I carved our first spoons and bowls with Bill. William Coperthwaite
Jarrod Dahl. Step by step video of Jarrod's process and ideas for carving spoons. He's currently writing a book about turning bowls on a foot powered spring pole lathe. I'll be purchasing that as soon as it's out.
Or look more at other carver resources with a search for:
Jarrod Dahl. Peter Follansbee. Barn the Spoon. Peter Forbes. Sylva Spoon. Michigan Sloyd. Owen Thomas. Alex Yerks. Dave Manning.
I carved my first spoon and bowl with Bill Coperthwaite in Maine. He captured my interest and inspired me as much as anyone has, his book is awesome. Later I spent time learning to carve with Jarrod Dahl in Wisconsin. He's constantly pushing and encouraging the contemporary wood culture with his work and ideas. Other related lessons came from Peter Forbes, Monroe Robinson and work done with Dick Proenneke's craft work and cabin in Alaska.
I sought each of these people out for the lessons I hoped to gain and feel honored to get the time with them I did. The lessons range from skill development to human connections to wilderness appreciation. Way beyond objects.
In a workshop and in my head are thoughts of bringing more nature into our lives. Wilderness. Honoring handmade things for their beauty, function and the connection a handmade object can create from human to human. Taking the focus from gather more objects to recognizing quality objects and fewer of the rest.
In addition to my path as a craftsman I also hold a degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Have taught 12 years in Anchorage K-12 public schools and teach as an adjunct professor for Alaska Pacific University in the Outdoor studies program teaching Wilderness Travel and Packrafting.