Thursday, 28 October 2010

Bowl Carving

I got hold of some Sycamore logs the other day with the intention of slicing them up to make blanks for walking stick handles to give to members of a local club. The logs are rippled and burry so I thought I'd have a go at making a large bowl out of one of them. The bowl is going to be a real tour de force as I only intend using hand tools and the blank is about 2ft by about 16" wide. In the above picture I have already started work with the Karlsson Bowl Adze and hollowed out quite a lot of material. This is the underside:
I love working with Sycamore, it is easy to work green, is quite resistant to splitting whilst drying and ends up as quite a durable hard timber once seasoned. On top of that of course is the fact that it is food safe which makes it ideal for kitchenware. It's going to take me a while to complete but I can tell with all that ripple figure and burr clusters it will look stunning once it is dry and oil finished. Here's a close up of some of the burring:

Here you can see the scooping marks left by the adze. I love this tool- it can waste material very quickly with full swings but can get towards a refined finish as you shorten the swings and use both hands interlocked to hold the handle.

The tool in the bowl is one of the Crook knives that Rob Wood advocates on his bowl carving courses and I believe is inspired by the ones used by Northwest Indian tribes in the USA. I can certainly recommend one if ever you do one of Rob's courses. Here I'm using it to clean up the adze marks. At this stage I'm not going for a final surface finish- rather removing the deepest adze marks whilst the timber is still wet and easy to waste.

Progress being made to thin the walls and smooth out the inner surface. Once I've done this I'll set the bowl aside for a good few days and allow it to dry before returning to it and take some finish cuts.

Here's something interesting I picked up on ebay recently. They're a couple of Snell Boring Machines, made in the USA. They were intended for making the mortice holes for barn roof beams. One of them is a fixed vertical borer, the other having an adjustable angle of attack. This will prove useful I hope for boring the mortice holes for chair/stool/bench legs.

Great thing about this purchase was the fact that it came with a complete set of augers in really good condition from 2" down to 1/2". They just need a good clean up.