Thursday, June 25, 2015

Demonstrating Green Woodworking at the 2015 Wood Shows - Brisbane & Sydney.

There is a growing interest in Green Woodworking across Australia. This has been unfolding for some years in the USA and the UK, but down here in the Antipodes we always seem to catch on a few years behind our cousins in the Northern Hemisphere. (Except in the uptake of new technologies, where Australia funnily enough has one of the fastest uptakes). However, we are talking here about the uptake of ancient technologies...

I went on my Green Woodworking Odyssey to the USA in 2013, and since then have been sharing the joys of Green Woodworking with many people here in Perth, Western Australia. It is a different smorgasbord of timbers here to that traditionally used in Europe and North America. '
Riving a piece of Black Birch into section for spoon carving, at Drew Langsners,  NC, USA.
My focus has been on using timbers obtained from Perths "Urban Forest",'the trees growing in suburban backyards, parks and gardens. The cover of these trees continues to diminish in the guise of "Urban Infill". Theoretically the urban sprawl is to be slowed down by fitting more dwellings into the existing inner suburbs. Perfectly good houses between 30 and 130 years of age are being smashed up with excavators and carted off to landfill. Too often these houses, along with the big established trees in their backyards, are being replaced with characterless high energy "McMansions", which cover the blocks and too often replace trees and gardens with shade sails and brick paving. Bigger houses, containing often less people. So much for urban infill. Goodbye sustainability.  OK, I shall get off my Soap Box...
Çape Lilac (White Cedar) after the tree loppers have done their thing...
Breaking down the log sections, to make them more manageable.
A nice load of fresh very green timber, from a Cape Lilac tree which was being removed.
Meanwhile, there are so many established trees coming out across Perth. Then there are the prunings from parks and gardens. Lots of this goes through the chipper for mulch and too much of it even goes into landfill. Such a waste of a wonderful resource. Let's better utilise this fantastic timber resource!!
Each tree coming down offers so much material - lets use it rather than just chip it!

Enter the wonders and opportunities of Green Woodworking.

While extolling the delights of this ancient and often pre-industrial techniques, knowledge, tools and skills, I have been spruiking the benefits of people experiencing this range of traditional woodcrafts together. However the tools are often hard to find in Australia. We have to get them in from the Northern Hemisphere. The interest grows, but it is hard for beginners to take up these crafts with difficult access to the gear. So the woodworking supplier Timbecon offered  to take me to the Timber & Working with Wood Shows in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Perth this year, to demonstrate Green Woodworking and to check out the interest across the country.

BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND,  15-17 May 2015.
Hence last month I was at the Brisbane Wood Show, and shortly I will be at the Sydney Wood Show. Brisbane was a fantastic time, and it was great to meet many other spoon carvers, and to hear that spoon carving is growing rapidly in popularity over there, with a growing interest in green wood spoon carving and other aspects of green woodworking. It confirmed my understandings.

While in Brisbane, the following story was produced by QUT Media students. Check it out:

Thanks to the crew from QUT for making this little clip about the Brisbane Wood Show.

I had a great time, and it was exciting to find so much interest in green woodworking amid the crowd at the Brisbane Show, and to meet so many spoon carvers too.

SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES, 12-14 June 2015.

My display at the Sydney Timber & Working With Wood Show evolved a step further, as I started to create a better look with a "Tool Wall".
The start of the evolution of the traditional tool wall. 
The Double Spring Pole Lathe has pride of place. It draws a crowd!
View from the other side - MK III Shaving Horse, chopping block and small bench.
The pics above were taken on the first morning just before the place was opened to the crowd.
Once the doors were opened, it was all flat out, for three days. A great experience.
Shaping a Lund Stool top in the Shaving Horse, using a drawer knife.

Again, there was lots of interest shown in Green Woodworking - the stool bodging and spoon carving I was demonstrating. Good to meet more spoon carvers in the crowd.
Cutting off the protruding leg ends on a small Lund Stool. A block plane with clean them off.


Next up I will be demonstrating Green Woodworking at:
 the Perth Wood Show, 7-9 August,
the Melbourne Timber & Working with Wood Show, 11-13 September,
and the Canberra Timber & Working with Wood Show, 6-8 November.

Thanks to Ross Gobby of Timbecon for creating these fantastic opportunities for me.

Maybe I'll see you at one of the Shows?...  Come and introduce yourself to me.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The finishing touch to a Staircase Handrail.

A while ago, I finally completed the handrail to the staircase I had written about in several earlier posts I have been meaning to tell the story, so here it is. Lets tell it in pictures:

The handrail awaits its end, which will curve down and around the corner.

The original profile my customer found on the internet in the USA.
I worked out the process on a 5 stage machining process.

Planning the curve. From above it needs to match the radius of Tread #2's curved nosing.
Over its length it needs to drop the height of one Riser.

Laying out the blocks ready to make the laminations, following the details on the horizontal and vertical axes. 

Laminations glued in place, with epoxy resin.

View from above, Cramps doing their job as the glue dries..

Meanwhile, as the glue dried I made up the jig for shaping the curve.

Cramps off, glue dry. Time to shape the block.

Router jig moves back and forth and around the curve to shape the outside surface radius. 

Router jig doing its job beautifully.

Planning the downward curve, by wrapping a piece of hoopiron around from point to point.. 

After the sweeping curve was cut out, it was shaped to square in section with a spokeshave. 

Beginning the routing process. This is the underside.

Power tools can only do so much. Then it is down to good old hand tools.
Here selecting the right radius moulding plane.

The shaping process continues. Getting there...

Planning the joints, top and bottom.

After careful planning and accurate marking out, the bridle joint is cut.
The top joint is progressing well... 
A little more fine tuning and we'll be there.

Top joint now glued and cleaned up.

The finishing curve now polished and ready to finalise the bottom joint.

The lower joint involved a steel bolt, epoxied into the wall and into the end of the handrail. 
Looking good.

Another view of the completed curve, fitted and fixed.

Job done.
 What a satisfying task this was. It was very tricky, too. Of course, it is the really tricky stuff that I love to do, so after making such a beautiful staircase it was a delight to finally make this final finishing touch to the handrail.

I wonder when I'll get to craft another staircase?...
The view up the top flight.