Sunday, June 17, 2012

Crooked knife

Charlotte: [Bob is recollecting when he first saw Charlotte, in the elevator] Did I scowl at you?
Bob: No, you smiled.
Charlotte: I did?
Bob: Yes, it was a complete accident. A freak. I haven't seen it since. Just that one time.
[Charlotte smiles]
Bob: Like that, but bigger... bigger... mm-hmm... well, not that big!

fr. the movie (2003)-- Lost in Translation, written and directed by Sophia Coppala

I'm not much on garage sales, at all.  Some people are and that's fine but I am trying to reduce my pile, not add to it.  But my oldest daughter has wanted a pogo-stick for awhile and the other day I saw one at a sale so I stopped.  I bought the Pogo-stick and as I was leaving I noticed a beautiful crooked knife on a table for $1.00, so of course I bought it, thus adding to my pile.

For those of you who may not know about these traditional Indian tools, they are essentially a one-handed draw knife, which frees the other hand to hold the work, seen here.

I believe this knife, and perhaps all knifes, were intended for baskets.  I say this because the blade is double bevel, thus making it a wedge.  Indians around here and in the Bangor-Old Town area use Brown Ash to make their baskets.  When pounded the trees separate at the annual growth rings, and then these strips are pulled apart, making strips that are then used to weave.  A crooked knife is used to further split the splint, making thinner pieces.  It is also used to shape the handles and the rim pieces.

I have seen a few crooked knifes but this one is a little different.  It has a brass ferrule, usually they are wrapped with fine copper wire, and the handle has ribs, beautifully done, and a little swelling where the neck joins the handle.  Obviously this was a special tool.

The advantage of a crooked knife is that they can be used one handed.  I wonder if they had shave horses if they would have adopted two-handled draw knifes instead.  I don't think this tool will see much use in my shop, but it is a beautiful tool.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Good set of oars

" At sea, I learned how little a person needs, not how much. "  

Robin Lee Graham

I decided early on that for my boat I wanted to build my oars.  The book I am using to build the boat, "Heidi- a 12' skiff for Sail and Oar" by Rich Kolin, has a great chapter on building them so I had at it.
Above you can see the octagon layed out to form what will eventually be a round, 8, 16, 32 and then round,  just like the spindles on my chairs.

Above you can see the neat little gauge, a spar gauge, used to lay out the lines.  It traces two lines regardless if the pieces taper or not.

Not sure if you can see it but this piece of spruce had some birds-eye in it.

Octagon layed out and planed.  I had planned to use a draw knife more but the grain was funky so I used a spokeshave instead.  Change of tact, you might say.

Rounded off with a spokeshave followed by paper.

I recently made a new shave horse (next post) so students wouldn't have to share.  I also made it a different style so they could try both to give them a better idea of the styles.  This style does much better at holding long pieces, like oars or the back of a settee I'm building for a client.

Here are all the tool used for the oars, save the bandsaw and paper.

I really like this Stanley block plane.  The mouth really opens up and it has a Hock blade, the best blades on the market in my opinion.

Here is the blade and tip.  I am really looking forward to using them soon.  All that's left on the boat is the outside paint.  But I have been really busy with chairs and classes and life, but in the water by the 4th..."second star to the left and straight on 'til dawn"