Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Exciting program of Workshops coming up in June!

The coming round of Joy of Wood workshops I am offering in June 20-23 has been finalised.
The venue will be Earthwise in Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia.

As well as the usual favourites like "Carve a Wooden Spoon", "Make Kitchen Spatulas and Salad Servers" there are a few new ones: "Make a Traditional Saw Horse" , "Make a Pencil Box with a  Sliding Lid" and "Unlock the Mystique of the Dovetail Joint". Then there are the workshops for kids on the weekend.

Brief details of the workshops are listed below:

The workshops can be divided into 3 types:

1.   Workshops for people aged 12—112.

Make a Traditional Saw Horse

The best companion to every hand saw is a saw horse. Learn to cut the joints and enjoy making this wonderfully functional item. Use it as a small bench, as extra seating at a BBQ, let the kids ride it like a horse, even keep it in the lounge room if you wish — and use it as an indispensable aid to woodworking.

Carve a Wooden Spoon

So much fun, and one of the best ways to get to understand how to work with wood rather than against the grain, as you go from the initial design to the finished product. Learn to use a gouge and mallet, various saws, spokeshave, scraper and rasp. Not only is it a functional item, each spoon is a unique reflection of it’s maker!

Make Kitchen Spatulas and Salad Servers

Stunning and beautifully functional salad servers and cooking spatulas are easy to make and lots of fun too. Get your creative juices flowing as you design and then shape your utensils. Learn to use a range of hand tools as you create these wonderful objects. Make several of them as you get quicker at it...

Make a Pencil Box with a Sliding Lid

Use a range of traditional hand tools to create a lovely lidded box. So simple really, once you know how!. That’s the trick, really.... So be ready to be taken on a journey of discovery as we create these useful little boxes with sliding lids.

Unlock the Mystique of the Dovetail Joint

For thousands of years the dovetail joint has been used to effectively join pieces of wood. In this workshop we will look behind the mystique and discover how simple it really is to make.  So let’s learn to cut some dovetails! They are a joy to make...

Make a Small Picture/Photo Frame

Here’s a great chance to learn to use a number of traditional hand tools, including wooden moulding planes,  to create a beaut little picture/photo frame. A very satisfying project.

2.   Workshops for people aged 6—12.

Woodworking for Kids (Make a wooden stool)

Using recycled wood, after a bit of free creative play making stuff we will do a great little project—we will each make beaut little wooden stools, using a range of hand tools.

Woodworking for Kids (Make a useful carry box)

Not just an open box with a carry handle, but also a great way to learn and apply  skills with a range of saws, planes and other hand tools and fixings. Great for storing tools, gardening gear, magazines, and so much more. You’ll reckon it’s too good to use!

3.   Workshop for parents and kids together.  (minimum age 6)

Make a Cajon Drum

Brilliant! We’ll each make one of these drums and then play them together! Cajon drums are an Afro-Peruvian instrument, which you sit on to play. Versatile, awesome, and great fun to play. Learn and use a few basic woodworking skills to create your drum, including hammer and nails, glue, saws, brace & bit. Making your drums is a great experience to share in together.  Take your drums home and get jamming!


Friday, April 12, 2013

The Joy of Carving Wooden Spoons.

I love carving wooden spoons. And I'm not even Welsh.

Over the last few years, Spoon Carving would be one of the most popular of the public workshops that I run. It is a wonderfully tactile process and a lot of fun.

In the Northern Hemisphere, wooden spoons are predominantly made from green wood. We don't have such a menu of suitable timbers here in Australia. So we do some things differently. 

I use mostly hardwoods for wooden spoons. This requires different tools to the green wood spoon makers. Hardwood spoons are incredibly durable as kitchen utensils. As decorative items they are great to carve, take a finish well, and are pretty tough.

A sample of spoons ... such fun to design and make!
The sample of spoons pictured above are as follows, from the top down:
  • The first spoon I made, 1990. WA Blackbutt. Rather mechanical in nature.
  • Sugar spoon, WA Blackbutt. 
  • Kauri Pine spoon, recycled from old fireplace surround. (See below...!)
  • Cooking spoon, Native Cypress.
  • Cooking spoon, Jarrah.
  • Decorative spoon, Sheoak.
Story of a spoon. Life after a fireplace surround...
An old fireplace surround, over 100 years old, came my way. It had 3 of the original 4 split turnings nailed to the face for decoration. The whole thing was made from Kauri Pine, so I pulled it a apart for the timber. What to do with the half spindles?... I cut one in half and carved one into a spoon. Both of those pieces are pictured above - a kind of "before and after" thing.
The 4 old layers of paint are visible on the back of the spoon. This is a decorative, not a functional spoon. It would be a shame to lose the paint from it, as this tells a story. Love this spoon.

Another look at my first spoon - side profile.
It has two design faults: a LH thread and short grain on the cranked shaft.
Well... ya gotta start somewhere!
 Spoons are such fun to design and make. There'll be a Spoon making workshop in the next round of public workshops I'm running in June 20-23, to be held at Earthwise in Subiaco.

We will use traditional hand tools only - no noisy power tools. Just traditional tools like a mallet and gouge, coping saw and compass saw, curved scraper, spokeshave, etc. When you make a spoon in this way, it's a bit like you need to establish a relationship with your piece of wood. It is one of the best ways to understand the importance of working with the grain direction and characteristics.

Don't miss it... no previous woodworking experience required.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hand Tool Sale 20 April... don't miss it!

After many years of meaning to get around to it, I have finally become a member of the Hand Tool Preservation Society of WA. This wonderful bunch of enthusiastic collectors of old hand tools are an amazing pool of knowledge and expertise.

A number of times a year, members of the Society hold a Tool Sale. The next one is to be held on Saturday 20 April. These sales are not to be missed!   It's Hand Tool heaven.

No cheap and nasty modern mass produced tools here, just the good old stuff.
Tools of quality, oozing with history, and made to last.
The April Tool Sale will be held at the East Victoria Park Anglican Church, Washer Street, East Victoria Park in Perth Western Australia. As I recall it is an 8:00am start, until noon.

If you're interested in hand tools and/or are in the market for some quality hand tools, you'd better get there quick on the day. Watch out, or I might just beat you to the bargains!