Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Don't all laugh at once.

Monty Don has a lot to answer for, for making me think I can do this (I can't.)  But I'm having a go.  So I made the shaving horse to make some tools - paddles and anvils.  I made two anvils as they're just a round of, in this case, cherry, with a slight bevel on the edge. 

But it's the paddles that are the bit I find difficult.  So I watched the master crafts episode again (I managed to find it on DVD.  In Australia!!!)  So using a froe, and a bit of wet ash kindly donated by Matt, I cleaved an 8 inch length in two after taking off a slight top edge.

The wood is partly white and partly a sort-of brown wood which seems very wet.  The brown is hard to cut but the white is like butter.  Anyway, I persevered.

Here's the first paddle.

It's a bit uneven and it's very very heavy.  Look how thick it is:

Anyway, it feels quite nice in the hand.  The draw-knife wasn't easy to use in making the handle, but again, I did what I could.

The second one (remember that's the first time I've used the tools, let alone made a paddle) I decided to split the other bit of wood differently.  Like last time I made two top cuts, and then made two middle cuts to make pieces more like little planks.  This time I wanted a longer paddle - short handle, long blade.  The log was a bit longer.

And here we have it:

It's a lot thinner:

It feels like you cold give someone a good spanking with it.  Or, if they are no good for making pots, then I could use them to pat butter.  They do feel rather nice in the hand, I have to say (I don't know what that says about me though.)

Here are the tools, which I bought from a green woodworking centre near Durham - they're nice tools but I have a nail coming off and a couple of blisters now.  I must say I like the froe best.

Anyway, Nic, when he makes these, burns them with a gas flame and then brushes them, which might help to make them flatter (although they are reasonably flat, but not perfect.)  I also need to cut some cross hatching in to them, but I'm not sure how to go about that yet (I used a grinder on the anvil.)

Well, that was this afternoons work.  I still have three bits of wood to try and make some better ones but they'll have to wait as I'm off again tomorrow for a few days.


  1. Wow, good work there Andy. Hope all this pays off. I want to see some big pots now! Are you going up to Nic's this weekend??

  2. Well I think I can do better, with practice but these will do. Of course need to get some clay now. So many things to do.

    No wont be at Nics. So I'm going to miss Adam unfortunately. Looking forward to seeing his pots from Dougs kiln tho.

  3. Well keep at it and good luck w. the pots. Can't wait to see what you do. I am looking forward to seeing some pics of Doug's last firing. I think they were completely worn out Friday night. Apparently Adam has some nice ones.

  4. At the moment, none of my plans seem to involve making any pots - although they're all geared towards that goal.

    Yes, I can't wait to see Dougs pots - and more of Adams for that matter. However, erm, I appear to have purchased one of Adams onggi-style jars. Couldn't resist.

  5. The first paddle, mmmm probably is a bit heavy, but..., spanking..., butter..., no! What you are on the verge of inventing is miniature cricket. This could really catch on in your part of the globe. It would be like miniature golf, only lots more fun and involving teams rather than individuals!

    Seriously, congratulations on the green woodworking thing. I have a friend who got all caught up the world of pole lathes and strange tools that don't plug into the mains, and he now makes really lovely chairs. His workshop with wood shavings on the floor and the lovely smell of it, is a delight to visit.

  6. Yes, miniature cricket :) I tell you, you could heave the ball a long way with that first paddle! Far too heavy, as you suggest - second one is bordering on too heavy. I have made some modifications to them but the next ones will be smaller I think.

    I have to say, I am no where near making chairs - this was purely about making paddles (not that i wouldn't love to have a go.) A usual first test for new green woodworkers is making spatulas, apparently - I think my paddles need to be nearer that size really, but I really need some bigger logs that I can cleave more thinly. Oh well - a poor craftsman blames his tools/materials I suppose.

    But it is good fun :) Although hard work too.

  7. Hi,
    Just came across your blog by chance. I do woodwork and am just getting to grips with pottery. Well done with the paddles, here's a couple of tips that may help
    - with the froe, you want to cut radially with about the same amount of wood each side. Then use the draw knife to cut off the center bit, and thin out the fat side.
    - make sure the draw knife is really sharp - put your thumb on it and it will cut, or shave your arm with it (!). Otherwise it is just hard work
    You'll find the ash will lose half its weight as it dries out - unlike many woods you can dry ash very quickly without it warping (you can even put it in a low oven in an AGA)

  8. Thanks Tim. Yes I am a bit of a knife junky so have good sharpening stones to hand, so I am keeping things sharp. I actually did some others after these and had much better experience of the froe - got paddles that were much thinner.

    Wish I'd known about drying the ash - I oiled them to keep them drying out too quickly and cracking, but one has gone a bit mouldy.

    My current problem is cutting some grooves in the face for patterning the clay and to stop the paddle sticking. I can't find the right tool for this.