Sunday 21 March 2021

52 Weeks Of Carving - Week 11 - More Strap work & Draw Knife Work With My eldest

 So I've not done huge amounts on the carving front this week, even with full intentions. I just needed to get some other jobs out the way first! 

I have managed to start on another strapwork front for a project I'm working on. I'm quite excited by this and looking forward to seeing where it goes. I've laid out the basic design and started to strike the lines with the chisel. 

The other bit of carving/craft work was today, on the first day of spring, with my daughter on the shave horse after a friend dropped off a few sycamore logs to play with. 

We decided to make a stirrer like we use to cook our porridge with (a kind of spurtle). A nice simple project with some nice simple lines and curves. I got her to draw out the design she wanted and then I roughed it out with the axe on the chopping block. 

She then set to work on the shave horse with the draw knife. It's still early days so I'm really enjoying teaching her about grain direction. she will stick at it for ages and seems to have great patients, although she gets frustrated when she slips and it digs in where she didn't want it to - something we all suffer with! And that is also the best way to learn not to do it! 

I did help her smooth out a few lines and thin the item down. I would draw on the direction she needed to go and explain about going against the grain and how this makes it impossible to get the smoothness she wanted. She seems to already be understanding this and I could see her approaching it differently. I'd then leave her for 5 minutes at a time so I wasn't standing over her the whole time. 

She was really pleased with it in the end and I think we have a usable item we can use in the kitchen to cook our porridge with! 

One of our next projects is to make a spoon mule - a bit different from a shave horse as it holds smaller items. I think this will also be useful for carving as well. I ordered plans online as I think it's a great project for her to follow them. Also having two types of benches will mean that we can both be using one or her brother or sister can be having a go at the same time - as it is I'm even tempted to make up another shave horse so that there will be less arguments over who is using it! 

Anyone have any other interesting work holding devices worth making as a project I can do with my children (and leave the device outside ideally!)? the shave horse has been a great one. I'm thinking spoon mule next then a pole lathe (although more likely powered with a bungee).


  1. Reminds me of my great grandmother's mush paddle!

  2. we went to the Viking ship museum and boat building school in Roskilde many years ago where the standout fact I learned was why the Viking boats were so light and so strong - because all the planks were adzed (not sawn). As you will understand it means they had to follow the grain and it made the planks many times stronger and able to bend a lot further without breaking than if they had been sawn. The adze-men working there these days are spectacular to watch.

    1. I'd love to try making beams or boards like that. Have you come across "carpenters without borders"? they go to a different job as a collective each year and do framing all the old fashioned way, using hewing axes & adzes. I have friend who is part of a carpentry group over here and he says they do it at times - I'm keen to have a go.


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