pgtruspace's blog

about things that interest me.

Offering Bowls


Offering bowls

A number of finished and semi finished offering bowls.

Offering bowls are created for two handed display or offering and are wonderful for center place display of food or art.

    Over several years of trial I have developed a style and technique that suits my needs and the material at hand, massive pieces of solid wood!

This is a view of a cut of a cottonwood or popular log, and a semi finished bowl of the same cut. All green wood. I have the best luck, rough shaping  the bowl and then letting it dry out over the winter. By the next winter it is dry enough to finish shaping and then surface finish. Linseed oil is a good sealer to slow the drying so the warpage and cracking is reduced.  On the right is a dry semi finished bowel of Oak  and my shadow!

A bowl of this size takes me about 50 hours to complete.

This is the back or reversed view of the same pieces. I try to create the bowl as dictated by the log piece rather then try to find a suitable piece of wood to create a preconceived bowl. These bowls were created from a clean straight cut of wood. Generally I take cuts from the stump or a large branching crouch. The more gnarled the grain the better. If it is a piece that you don’t want to have to split and too large for the stove it is perfect for working into a display bowl using my technique.  More later as I get better at my posting and my photography.    😎   pg

54 responses to “Offering Bowls

  1. P.G. Sharrow December 6, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Man this post took me over 3hours to complete. I need to improve my grasp of this wordpress stuff. At least I think I have the picture and type system figured out. Grumble Grumble gr gr gr ;-I pg

  2. Ralph B December 20, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Nice pictures. I am no woodworker but wonder about the method to carve symmetrical pieces like your bowls. A round one is pretty easy with a lathe but oblong? Dumb question…but could you is a wooden dutch oven possible? For use in a lower temp oven not over open flame of course. Seems like you could get some fancy flavored roasts using apple or cherry wood that way.

  3. P.G. Sharrow December 20, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    @Ralph B December 20, 2011 at 9:42 pm
    interesting question about cooking in a wooden bowel. Many woods can impart flavors to their contents, specially when heated. Wood can tolerate heat up to 250F without much damage depending on species. Our ancestors cooked in wooden bowels by heating stones in the fire and then using the heated stones to heat the food in the bowel such as stew and soup. Cherry wood tastes of cherry!
    I am not sure I would want to cook in one of my bowels as they take 20 to 30 hours to rough carve and as many more to finish. They would generally be used for serving prepared food or display.
    I hope to do a page on my technique now that I have every thing ready to do a layout. pg

  4. Pascvaks January 8, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Very much looking forward to more on your woodworking (et al). You have a very keen and curious mind and very good hands, don’t get the impression that you’re into TV –not that there’s anything to watch even if you were. Best again!

  5. p.g.sharrow January 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    @ Pascvaks; Ah yes! The boob tube. We have Direct, over 900 channels, generally nothing worth watching. ;-(
    I generally have it on Fox business news when I am inside. Got to keep abreast of the world. The web is a great help, specially The Chief Information Officer’s blog. 😎 pg

  6. P.G. Sharrow January 23, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Well, I just bought two new electric sanders. A 5 inch orbital and a 2 inch detail sander. Lots of wood to sand tomorrow. New toys to play with! And I also need to return to work on the FRP disk as I got more resin to do the needed detail and finish work. pg

  7. Judy F. July 26, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    P.G. Sharrow,

    Are you interested in selling any of your bowls? They are gorgeous and I would love to have one. I can see it filled with warm bread or a harvest centerpiece.You can contact me at my email address. Thanks.

  8. p.g.sharrow July 27, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    @Judy F. that was a part of the reasons for starting this blog. But after I explained the cost in time and effort in the creation of one of my bowls people lose interest in buying one. It takes over a week of labor to create a 22″x10″x by 3″ deep bowl and finish it. We do use them for table needs or display and they are impressive house warming gifts. pg

    The brown bowl at the top of the heading picture is of pine-24″x11″x5″deep and took 24 hours to create. We use it for bread making and serving. It would sell for $500.00. The Oak display bowls take a lot longer to create.

  9. Simon Derricutt August 2, 2012 at 2:32 am

    pg – If you can take the noise, there are wood-cutting blades available for 125mm angle-grinders. Basically chainsaw-type blades on the circumference of a metal disc, and sharpen using a chainsaw file. I haven’t had the need to get one myself – my wood ends up as guitars so various normal planes and chisels do the job, but have done rough carving with the tip of a chainsaw so the technique should be much the same but much more controllable and quieter. I’d expect it will be very much quicker for the roughing-out stage before initial drying. Since it doesn’t need chainsaw oil, the chips produced would work well in the smoker.

  10. P.G. Sharrow August 2, 2012 at 7:22 am

    @Simon; Yes that cutter for an offset grinder works very well for hogging out a large bowl cavity and a heavy power plane is also useful for outside rough shaping. I also use sanding disks on the offset grinder for a lot of the finer shaping work.

    That cutter head is a real alligator, very dangerous.
    But it does make huge piles of fine wood chips that cover every thing within 5 or 6 feet. My first cutter head unit was totally home made based on reading about them, no pictures! no instructions! Just figure it out. The first few attempts to use it was exciting, until experience and modifications got the bugs out.

    Definitely not something for an power tool amateur to use. That thing can maim and kill!

    The creation of a 12×24 inch work of art, that is also useful, out of a piece of fire wood is quite satisfying way to spend a few days.

    I generally rough shape in green wood and then linseed oil it, place it in a cool dry area for a year or so and then finish the bowl. I now have 6 roughs to finished when I have time. pg

  11. Simon Derricutt August 3, 2012 at 5:14 am

    pg – one other shaping tool I’ve found useful is a sanding-belt pushed on to a foam core and driven by a power-drill. I have a couple, but haven’t seen them for sale for years. It allows sanding inside curves but doesn’t leave the hard edge that a solid-backed belt does. Should be easy to make.

    Tungsten-tipped tools used in metal shops might also be useful for you. Diamond plates for sharpening are now cheap and easy to get, and the cutting-angle is close to 90° so less problems with sudden bite on a knot or whatever. I’d see that as a problem with your “alligator” above. It would tend to produce more dust than shavings – not as good on the barbecue (but better at soaking up blood).

    If you’ve never tried them, the Japanese chisels and knives with bimetal construction (high-carbon steel hammer-welded to low-carbon steel) are good as finishing tools. They have a fine rake, and if sharpened on a 3000-grit Japanese waterstone you can see your face in the edge – even better than Arkansas white. The cut looks polished. You can’t lever with them (the edge breaks) but for a straight push-cut they allow very fine control, and you can normally even cut end-grain towards the edge without chipping the wood by taking fine enough cuts. It’s a bit like working with an open razor.

  12. P.G. Sharrow August 3, 2012 at 7:06 am

    @Simon; I have used expanding drum sanders but have not seen foam cored sanders. Sanding a smooth true inside curve without tool marks is difficult. I have to scrape and sand by hand to get the finish that I want.
    I am pleased with the style and shape that I have created.The next part that I want to develop is decorative carving of the outside bosses. This will require small, high quality, gouges and chisels. More tools to acquire or create. I often find that commercial available tools are unsatisfactory for my needs and so have to create the ones that I need.
    At least I’m not bored with having nothing to do. 😎 pg

  13. Judy F. August 16, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. Your bowls are lovely, unfortunately, the price is little more than I can manage. I do understand why you price them the way you do. I know how much handwork is involved. I make quilts and when I tell people how many hours it takes to put one together they are amazed. Some local ladies got together and made some simple quilts for the church bazaar. When they got there the person in charge had put $25 on each quilt. When the ladies complained, he commented that “it was just a bunch of old fabric sewn together.” The ladies don’t donate quilts anymore. 🙂
    At this point, I will have to admire and covet your bowls from afar, but thanks for making such things of beauty.

  14. P.G. Sharrow August 16, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    @JudyF: I have assisted Quilt and Braded Rug making and can appreciate the effort needed to create such a work of love. $25 is an insult! 😛
    I need a quilt but It would have to be tough as our cats insist on sleeping with us. 😎 pg

  15. Simon Derricutt August 23, 2012 at 1:01 am

    pg – assuming you can get them, springs from auto suspensions are pretty good chisel-making steel. You’ll probably want to do some hardening and tempering to get the best edge, but generally they have no inclusions (it would cause the spring to snap) and they will take and keep a good edge. Maybe most useful to get a 3″ heavy-work chisel you can hit with a lump-hammer rather than having to use a mallet – weld some extra soft iron at the top.

    Another source of high-quality edge is the inserts used in modern lathe cutting tools. There’s a problem mounting them if you want to avoid the screw-fixing they use, but some can be brazed to the end of a piece of steel. Sharpen and shape with diamond gritted sheets – normal stones won’t touch them. If you know a machine shop you may be able to get scrap ones you can shape to what you want. You may also be able to acquire broken/worn-out machine-hacksaw blades which will be either high-carbon or high-speed steel – I have one around 18″ long by 2″ by 1/8″ in HSS. It’s amazing what you can find in the scrap bin.

  16. p.g.sharrow August 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Hi Simon; I often make the tools I need from the scrap pile as well as things other people need. Old files are a good source of high carbon steel for cutting edge tools but leaf spring is one of the best for a tough edge that is hard to break.
    A year ago I needed a good brush knife and could not find a heavy tough blade to suit me. So I decided to create one. After much digging in the scrap pile and visualizing what I needed, I stopped, I realized I had several worn out Stil chainsaw bars in the shop, 25 inch size. Now I have a “Stil” brush knife. Good tough alloy steel blade, heavy enough to cleave a 2 inch limb and will not break or bend. Even encounters with rocks cause little damage. Just the thing to “widen the road” or “pick blackberries”. pg

  17. Simon Derricutt August 24, 2012 at 1:40 am

    pg – chainsaws last about 2-3 years before they cost a lot in maintenance or work to keep them running well, and it’s cheaper to get another one, so I have a few scrap ones by now that wait to get built into something else. Nice use for the blades – I hadn’t thought of that. I’d thought of hammer-welding files to mild steel backing to make samurai-type blades with high-carbon edge, but need to get a forge together to play with that. Later….

  18. Judy F. September 25, 2012 at 5:45 pm


    I emailed you some pictures at the end of August. Did you get that email, or do I need to re-send it?

  19. p.g.sharrow September 25, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    @Judy:Hello. I got your Email and the link to Elizabeth’s pictures. I get the “boxes” but no pictures of quilts inside. Elizabeth’s other photos work just fine. I just now checked the link and still the same problem. I want to have my wife see your work before we can continue. Sorry that I have been lax in a reply to you. pg

  20. H.R. November 3, 2018 at 7:33 am

    While we were in Gatlinburg, one of the draws to the area is the local woodworkers. It was hard to get goods back into that area, so if you needed something, you had to make it yourself. There was even a broom maker or two in the area. Don’t see those made the old way anymore.

    We stopped in one woodworker’s shop and he had some offering trays similar in size and shape to what you have made. I thought of your offering bowls immediately. He made his out of burls or from wood that included a major branch. They were a little less symmetrical – more free form – to show off the grain from the burl or the change where the wood branched off the trunk. Still, very, very similar in size and shape.

    Also, as you mentioned the time to make a bowl, his prices reflected the amount of work that goes into one of those pieces. Depending on the size and grain (the burls have a chance to break up during forming and so a few are lost) his were priced from about $300 for the smaller ones up to $700+ for the larger ones made from a burl.

  21. p.g.sharrow November 3, 2018 at 8:39 am

    @HR; those prices sound about right for the amount of work involve. A long week over 2-3 years are needed for a large bowl, They are as much a work of art to be displayed as they are a practical object of use. I wish I could do free-form but it just dosen’t work in my brain. It just has to be symmetrical or it just isn’t right…pg

  22. President Elect H.R. December 9, 2020 at 9:23 am

    Hey, you already have a bowl thread started, p.g.

    If I have more to say on bowl carving tools, I’ll comment here. I’m going to stop on the printer thread while we’re not too deep into this subject.

    We’ll be in Florida January and February. They have some great flea markets. Old people move down to Florida and die. A lot of the people sell down to basics before moving to Florida, but some of the pack rats can’t bear leaving their old stuff behind.

    And Florida was settled early by the Spanish. My sister married into a family that goes back in Florida long before it became a State. Anyhow, there were plenty of settlers at the time when it was all hand tools for any woodworking or carpentry.

    I may be able to run across a few good tools while we are there this Winter.

    Worst case is I’ll break down and buy a new set of the bowl adzes. I already have 2 sizes of carpenter’s hatchets from the 1800s that are useful for rough shaping the outside fairly quickly. I also have a draw knife (looking to add a few more) and some wood rasps that can rough shape the crude axe cuts in a hurry.

    My shoulder is still too messed up to build a shave horse, but I’ll do that when I get back in the Spring. I’ve saved several how-to videos and plans and will make something to suit me using the ideas I like best. Two or three of the links I saved show how to add a bowl clamp to a shave horse.

    The starting chunk of wood is hard to hold. If you get it held solidly, then you can go to town on shaping the bowl much more safely and, with a solid hold, are able to whack away at the wood and get good clean cuts.

    So work-holding is probably as or more important than any technique or choice of power or hand tools when making bowls.

    I’d like to have a lathe, but I’m not really jazzed by turned bowls unless they are quite large, and then I don’t want to plunk down the big bucks for a lathe big and solid enough to make the large bowls. Plus, I just like the flatter oblong or oval bowls better than round. It’s not like round bowls are any sort of a rarity 😜

  23. p.g.sharrow December 19, 2020 at 11:23 am

    @ HR what do you think of these bowls as a start? these are not mine

  24. President Elect H.R. December 22, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    All those bowls have handles on them, p.g. 😜

    (The picture I’m seeing is spoons. Did you post a picture of bowls and the computer is screwing with you?)

    If you’re going to switch to spoons, those are some mighty fine ones to get ideas from. The grain on some of them is incredible and some of the shapes are a new take on spoons. The second one in from the right is particularly interesting.

    Note; Made by a local wood worker to sell. $5 for a little one up to $25 for a big one.…pg

  25. p.g.sharrow December 22, 2020 at 10:28 pm

    @HR; Little bowls on a stick ! Lol. Just was out into the woods cutting up a couple of old Oak stumps and found one was a double and got a nice long crouch area about 32 inches long and 12 inches wide, maybe 8 inches thick. Maybe one of my Big Bowls are in there. I’m getting tired of making firewood, Maybe I should make a Christmas Bowl ! The cut also yielded a clear out side cut. So maybe a twofer, You never can tell with massive cuts what the inside will yield….pg

  26. M Simon January 9, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    If you ever visit my neck of the woods, I’d gladly offer you a bowl.

  27. p.g.sharrow January 9, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    @Simon: not sure where your neck of the woods are. I’m above Chico,California, Be glad to compare work, I might learn something. 😎
    But I travel little now days. Hard to believe I once drove from Anchorage Alaska to Cedarville, California in less then 60hours with only 8 hours sleep and did 2 drive-line repairs as well.
    Until that I will try to share more here, I have several under construction and am trying to document the work here.

  28. H.R. April 13, 2021 at 6:47 am

    Hey, p.g.! I’m coming down the home stretch on making my shaving horse.

    It’s been slow going because I’ve had to figure out a few things. I’m limited by materials and tools, so I’ve had to find solutions where the tools or materials are “not exactly” what I need or would like to have.

    I’ve also been puzzling on how to make it multi-use. I marked one video where the guy designed his shave horse with some interchangeable parts which then allowed regular use, bowl clamping for carving bowls, and a spoon carving option.

    I intend to do the same, but I will be taking a totally different approach.

    The best idea I’ve seen was on a shave horse a woman made for her spoon carving hobby (business?). She had an old metal tractor seat she mounted for the seat. Most people just slap a board on the shave horses for the seat, but hers looked so comfortable – and cool! – that I have to have one myself.

    Tractor Supply was carrying them up until about 5 or 6 weeks ago. They decided to drop them and I missed getting one on clearance by about two weeks. I’ve stopped at 2 other Tractor Supply stores and they had also sold the last of theirs metal seats.

    I can buy one online, but no doubt they are made in China, and I want to avoid buying anything from China. I have to set aside a day or two to hit up the flea market/antique malls and see if I can find one. I’d prefer a used, made in the USA metal tractor seat.

    I will also be looking for bowl adzes and spoon scorps. I doubt I’ll have any success though. The old ones are superior quality to what you can buy new, and most of those old tools have been snapped up by the current generation of hand-tool-only woodworkers. Very hard to find.

    Fortunately, there are still a couple of companies making all those tools brand new. Half are Chinese junk, but there are some Finnish and Swedish makers who sell top quality versions of the old hand tools. Pricey!

    I may buy the good ones for bowls and the cheaper ones should be OK for spoons. There’s not a lot of stress put on the tools when carving spoons, and I just might make a few spoon tools myself. Heck, you can even make spoons with a pocket knife, though it’s a big pain since the blades aren’t exactly right for the job.

    I hope to have some pictures to add to this thread sometime in the next couple of months.
    Oh… I showed the Mrs. the bowl pictures on this post and she was really impressed with your work. She also understood how much labor went into making a bowl. I told her you didn’t sell them because no one could afford them (Ha!) but you gave them away sometimes as special gifts. She totally got it.

    Dang! Now I’ll have to make her a nice bowl. My first one will probably be high-sided for rising bread dough.

  29. p.g.sharrow April 13, 2021 at 10:53 am

    @HR, at least the Mrs. is now on your side so buy a good scoop chisel/gouge. I just made one from an old section from a farm mowing machine and a piece of re-bar
    . It is about 24inches long and has a 2inch wide blade bent into a 3.5 dia arch ( with an inside taper. In my opinion it could stand a sharper arc and a bit less cutter width, the 24inch length is handy for a good 2 handed use. kind of works like a good digging shovel. I welded 2 re-bar sections, one on each side of the center shaft bar to improve handling. and the handle shaft is bent \_ at 3inches to about 35 degrees. With this size and bend I can form the curves needed. With your shaving horse this size and shape should work well. It can dig, pry and shape and I use a Champaign bottle with wet&dry sand paper to hone the inside taper edge.

  30. H.R. April 13, 2021 at 2:59 pm

    Hey, those are some good tips, p.g.

    I just realized that I can have the weld shop that’s about a mile away weld up the components for me if I have them ready to join.

    I can’t see to weld, I have no depth perception and 25% of the central vision was burned out of both of my eyes. Where I retired from, welding and tube bending were the main production processes.

    I could teach people to weld and I inspected welds, but I cannot weld. Every time I’d try to lay a bead it was usually 1/8″ or more off of where the bead should be. Nice bead; I know how to lay one, but it was pure luck if I hit the joint seam. 🤣🤣

    I was thinking of buying a stick welder. We didn’t use those, only TIG, MIG, and we joined fittings to tubes using a TIG torch with no filler wire. It’s called uranami welding.

    Anyhow, thanks for the tips.

  31. p.g.sharrow April 13, 2021 at 5:31 pm

    @HR; yeah ! I know that problem of no longer being able to weld well, My eye sight is going. I used to be a fairly good welder but now it is damn hard to do. and fine control is getting bad. I can still stick things together but I’m not proud of the results. Soon be welding with the braille method 8-( I need to get one of those electronic helmets, maybe that will help with finding the joint when arch welding. Never was a professional, just a skilled amateur, seems that a farmer has to be skilled at everything to survive. I really need to get a forge going to make better tools.
    I once saw a guy that had a gouge on a lever that really made digging out a bowl fast. I need to figure out the hingings he used because it worked so well.

  32. H.R. April 15, 2021 at 10:20 am

    p.g. “I once saw a guy that had a gouge on a lever that really made digging out a bowl fast. I need to figure out the hingings he used because it worked so well.”

    Whoa! There’s a hot idea. I can imagine such a tool. Oh, and also think pantograph. You could model a bowl in plaster of Paris and then use a rotary gouge to form the wood while the follower arm traces your model.
    I gave up on a tractor seat yesterday. I went to Goodwill and bought a beautiful rosewood colored hardwood swivel office chair. The seat has a nice butt-shape and is thick; better than an inch. And it already has a threaded post mounted, so I don’t have to go find or make something to mount it to the shave horse.

    It’s a bit of a tuxedo touch on a burlap bag shave horse.
    I’m installing the locking pins for the components today. It’s at the point where I could try out my shave horse and it works great! With minimal foot pressure on the treadle, it locks a rough bit of tree branch firmly in place. Pull all you want, the limb is locked so you can safely use a draw knife or spoke shave.

    I made my shave horse a bit long so I can put the bowl clamp mechanism at the back, after removing the seat. For spindles, handles, spokes, staves, etc. at the front, you sit still and move the wood. A good seat is nice to prevent butt fatigue.

    For a bowl, it’s more important to have a big chunk of wood locked in place and then the carver moves around to work at the various angle needed. Thus, the removable seat.
    Oh… I gave a whole whopping $12.50 for the chair. I’ll bet it was about $250 (or more!) when new. When I brought it home, it was so nice that my wife said it was a shame what I was going to do with it. She wanted to just keep it and have me go find another chair 🤣🤣

  33. H.R. April 15, 2021 at 10:23 am

    …and regarding the stick welder. You can weld in Braille 😜

    I figure you can place the stick on the joint, and then back off a smidge for the arc, so bad eyes are helped by the sense of feel.

  34. Simon Derricutt April 17, 2021 at 8:44 am

    Springs from cars and trucks (normally leaf springs are easier to modify) make good chisels. You may need to harden and temper them a bit to get the best edge. It’s a good way to make heavy-duty 3″ or so chisels. Having read about a guy who made his chisels that way to carve up whole tree-trunks, I made one myself by welding some 1″ bar to a bit of leaf-spring and putting an edge on it. Takes a while to grind the new edge…. I was happy with the hardness of the steel as-was, but then I didn’t spend the time to build a forge to re-harden and re-temper it. Unlike my normal chisels, I use a lump hammer to drive this one.

    Thinking about the bowl gouges, I figure you could find spring-harrow tines and put an edge on them, too. The farm equipment pretty-well has to be good-quality steel since otherwise it would bend and break in use. For the spring-harrow, the basis is a spiralled bit of spring (on mine, around 8″ diameter) that ends up with a vertical bit to bolt the point onto that then bites into the ground. Needs to take quite a bit of force through that spring. You may be able to buy them new in a farm shop, though maybe not quite as good as the old ones.

    The “automatic” welding glasses work OK, but you need to be out in daylight. If you try it inside in poor lighting the response time gets too slow. Outside, though, it works well and you don’t see the flash before it goes dark. Saves keeping on flipping the helmet to see precisely where you’re rod end is.

    For stick welding, the oxide coating on the welding rod can be used as an insulator to align the tip. Lay it down flat, get the tip where you want it, then raise the angle until it arcs. Like you, though, my eyes are no longer good enough for a weld I’d be proud of. It is strong enough, but doesn’t look pretty. Recently I got an electronic stick welder – tiny little box relative to the old transformer, and a whole lot lighter, and the welding current is far more regulated so the welds are better. They now cost around the $60 or so (yep, from China) so a lot cheaper than the transformer, too. I’d suggest it’s worth having even if your old welder still works, since it does a better job.

  35. H.R. April 18, 2021 at 4:00 am

    @Simon D. – Thanks for the input on stick welders. I think I’ll take the plunge.

    They are rather inexpensive and I have mulling getting one. Around here, they run from $100 to about $250 for one with every imaginable bell and whistle. So even the top end is pretty cheap.

  36. H.R. April 18, 2021 at 4:59 am

    Oh, great suggestion on the spring harrow tines, Simon. I should be able to find an old cast-off tine somewhere around here. For the big boy harrows, you can buy the tines new.
    I used to take care of our 100′ x 100′ garden, and cultivated between rows with the old hand push type. I think it had 5 tines, and the arc on a tine may be small enough for spoons. It would definitely work for small bowls.

    Those old push cultivators were all over the place. Back when, everyone planted a least a small garden and relative to income, a gas tiller was too expensive for most folks. So they had and used the push type.

    I liked using ours. I didn’t think of it as a gardening chore. I thought of it as a work-out and I was cheating a gym somewhere out of my money. 😁 Pushing that down 40 or 50 100′ rows was indeed a serious workout.

    I’m out in farm country, so I should be able to pick up a hand cultivator and maybe a tine from a large gang harrow. I’ll just hit the yard sales at farms. They should be starting to have yard sales next month.

  37. H.R. April 18, 2021 at 6:09 am

    $8 dollars for this spring tine. Yup. “Some modification may be required” 😜

    I need to find one of the small tines for spoons.

  38. p.g.sharrow April 18, 2021 at 6:39 am

    OMG ! Back when I was a real farmer, 30 years ago, I had pickup truck loads of those things of all sizes and shapes. Now, not a one. Same could be said of leaf springs. At times I sure miss the ranch scrap Iron pile. Couple of years ago I made a BIG Draw knife and debarking spud to do a pealed log Veranda for a neighbor out of some leaf spring scraps I had. He is right proud of it as a centerpiece for his yard. Had his wedding and dinner parties under it. Cut the poles and braces in our forest, Debarking a log first really extends the sharp life of the saw mill blades.,,pg

  39. Simon Derricutt April 18, 2021 at 9:32 am

    H.R. – maybe not necessary to say this, but use a lot of water when grinding these things. If you have one of those wheels that run through a water bath, and figure a way to spring-clamp the work so it stays grinding away while you go off and do something else for a while, that helps, too (it’s a long job to take that much metal off). If you blue the edge, it won’t hold an edge long. If it’s nevertheless not good at holding an edge, you may need to re-harden and temper to around a straw colour, so you’d need some barbecue charcoal and a blower for the hardening (take the tool to around white heat and quench), then clean it to nice shiny steel, then temper with less heat (maybe use a sheet of metal over the un-blown charcoal) until the metal changes colour (surface oxide thickness gives Newton’s Rings effect or soap-bubble effect, and thickness depends on temperature reached and to some extent time) to around straw. You should be able to find colour-charts on the net that help you get the colour right, and thus hardness. The edge tends to heat up faster if you just put it in the fire, which makes life difficult (edge would be OK, but too brittle and hard behind it). It’s been a long time since I needed to do that – last time was a small sheet cutter that I used a blow-torch on to get it just about hot enough. Still, if you haven’t done that before, I figured a few clues might be useful. Steel goes through several crystal structures as you heat it up, and quenching locks them in at the stage they’ve reached.

    Of course, if you go to the bother of getting that charcoal temporary forge sorted, you can also hammer the steel into any shape you want, so you aren’t limited by what’s in stock. Old files could be used, as well. They are normally hardened so much that the edge would be too brittle for a normal chisel, so there you’ll probably find it useful to temper them (heat the cleaned tool until it gets to that straw colour), unless you are using it as a metal-scraper. Standard thing to watch out for is that the files were actually made somewhere reliable (that is, not China) and are good quality ones. Yard sales likely will have what you want there, and old blunt files will likely be very cheap.

    Mrs. H.R. may get a bit worried about you bringing in a load of what looks like scrap, but you can tell her they’ll be lovely chisels and gouges later. I’m sure you’ll have fun making your own cutting tools.

  40. H.R. May 1, 2021 at 3:38 am

    On the way back to civilization, after being off the grid for three days, I stopped at an antique mall to look for:

    a) Brace & bits

    ii) Draw knives

    3) Spoke shave

    d) Metal tractor seat.

    I got a nice brace plus six bits, only two of which need sharpened – $16. I also got two draw knives of really good steel. One has an excellent edge already but one handle needs replaced – $26. The other had good handles and good steel, but needs sharpened – $19.50.

    I saw a boxed spoke shave that had various blades. It was high quality from back when American tools were first rate. But they wanted $185 for it. I want to use it, but since it was in the original box and nearly new condition, it was priced for collectors. I would have given half of that price for a little more use and no box. It was really nice.

    You can still buy new spoke shaves. There are some cheap Chinese made versions which I will not buy and some high end spoke shaves that I’m too cheap to let go of my money just yet.

    I’m trying to find an old spoke shave, good steel blades, with maybe a little rust that just needs cleaning up with some 1200-grit stone or sandpaper and the blades maybe need sharpening. $40 +/- sounds about right to me for an old, well-made spoke shave. Some out there are not so old, so they shouldn’t be getting collector prices for them. I just haven’t run across one yet.

    I’ll be using the shave horse and the draw knife with the good handles to make a replacement handle for the draw knife with one bad handle. OTOH, I might try to repair the bad handle so the handles won’t look so mismatched. There is a split in the wood and I may be able to close it up and epoxy it together. Hard to say. I just got it yesterday and have not had time to study the handle to see what can or needs to be done.
    One booth had a LOAD of old files, but the prices were ridiculous. I’ll be going with Simon’s advice and checking yard sales for spent files for $! or $2 at most.
    No luck on a bowl adz. I’ll probably never find one until I no longer need or can use one. Of course then I’ll run across one at some flea market or yard sale.

    I will probably buy that set of three new ones that I’ve seen on the interwebbies. Mostly what I’m seeing on new hand tools are problems with the handles. The old handles were curved and shaped for better balance and leverage. Newer tools have handles that are too straight and maybe a bit too round when they should be oval, and too oval when they should be a bit more round and meaty in the hand.

    I just dislike the thought of buying a new tool and having to make a replacement handle right from the start, and I think the old steel is a little better. Well, maybe just the hardening process was better for toughness and edge holding on the old tools. Japanese, Swedish, and American steel are still very good. I think it’s the tool companies that are taking production shortcuts that produce “good enough, sort of” finished tools.

  41. p.g.sharrow May 1, 2021 at 10:19 am

    @HR; I was watching a u-tube by a bowl maker that was also a blacksmith that makes his own Bowl making adz, His gripe about retail bowl adz is that they were almost unusable because their handle placement and weight was wrong for the job. Tool makers were not tool users. He also gets into his tool box and the reason for each of his tools,

    I really must get a forge going. old used files and rasps are just good quality scrap iron. Good junk springs are fine raw material for making tools.
    My first work chisel was made from and old worn 2inch rasp. it worked fine along with a 2 pound single jack. Later, some ass put it into a vise and broke it in half ! I did make a couple of round mallets out of Maple that work a lot better then hammers as a striking tool. A well made one just naturally hits true every time,

    Every time I look at new carving tools I cringe the at price for things that are just not made right. I had a would be Blacksmith next door. Fairly competent craftsman but he moved to Georgia to get out of California. He Did make me a great gong out of an old 144 oxygen bottle that I had. Wow, you must hear the reverb out of it if you strike it HARD !. just wack it with your hand can be well heard for a hundred yards….pg

  42. H.R. May 3, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Good videos. Good find!


  43. p.g.sharrow May 3, 2021 at 5:33 pm

    @ HR; this guy is a treasure find. A kindred soul for me. I have been binge watching his stuff as I can find it.
    others I watch are “Acorn to Arabella” A couple of guys with no experience at boat building or sailing, cutting the trees and building a 38 foot sail boat. and “Simpson Boat Company’s TallyHo” A real Boat-wright and blue water sailor restoring/rebuilding a 48 foot, 100 year old sailing yacht.

    The workmanship of both is quite a delight, sure beats television !

  44. H.R. May 4, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    I wish I had a forge to fire up, p.g.

    Today, I went to a store called Woodcraft and bought a long, straight blade carving knife and a curved blade knife. Made in the U.S.A.

    They are pretty good, but I think I would be better served by some hand forged and tempered knives.

    I’m not sure about curved blades, but I know I could make a superior straight blade carving knife.

    I would have bought a spoke shave there. They have some Swiss-made spoke shaves, but they only had the convex one, which I don’t have any use for at the moment.

    I’m still holding out for a decent, U.S. or Swedish spoke shave at a flea market. They are out there. I don’t really want to buy new. I should find a used one at below current retail for the new ones. They are not exactly cheap for the good ones.

    Oh, the nice thing about spoke shaves is the design is bog standard. You’re only concerned about the quality of the frame, holding screws, and the blade (no Chinese junk, thank you). I don’t think there have been any significant deviations from the standard shape for 100 or 200 years. I think wood just transitioned to metal, but it was all much the same. Oh, maybe the older wood frames had a little more individual style, but the metal frames can be dismissed as identical, for all practical purposes.
    I’ve got a decent set of basic tools to work with now. The current big, BIG problem is a supply of green wood to work with. I don’t really have a source at the moment. I’d like some apple and beech. I might be able to get some beech as fall down in the State Park I live next to. It’s OK to collect fall down. I’d never get a hunk big enough for a bowl, though.

  45. H.R. May 4, 2021 at 7:19 pm

    Oh, in the ‘Carving A Path’ videos, he uses a hatchet for most of his roughing.

    I have a small and a medium carpenter’s hatchet from the 1800s that were designed to do much the same thing. They have one straight side, so they are somewhat like a chisel in that respect. Good steel and nice handles (I made one handle myself).

    He mostly uses a hatchet that tapers in from both sides. I have a Craftsman hatchet like that. It’s about 40 years old so the steel is pretty good. The handle is nice, too. All U.S. made and probably virgin steel back then. Maybe not. I have been working on the cutting edge and it’s almost there. Not quite, though. I tried out the Craftsman hatchet on some cured oak, and it is quite decent. But… needs work. I can’t shave with it yet.😜

  46. p.g.sharrow May 5, 2021 at 7:52 am

    @HR; contacting Tree services is said to be a good source of green carving wood. Might cost you a case of beer for personal service of select cuts. 😎 .

    I must have a pickup load of old cuts I have saved over the years of work in the woods, most of which Now should be dumped into the firewood pile or returned to rot in the woods. For me there are always more for me to select from. Too bad you are so far away.

    I became so disillusioned with the handles of store bought tools that I started making my own from a local wood. That California Bay Laurel that Smith talks about, as it is evergreen it has almost no growth rings and finishes very smooth and does not raise splinters. Our Live Oak is also good for that.

    Gave away two large bowls so far this year to good homes ( I hope ) Some woman will be gifted a personal treasure. One local, I have heard of has her Pine, bread making bowl, displayed at the head of her Kitchen counter. As I have time and inclination I must complete another. I suppose that like most artists my work will be really valued after my death. LOL so I label all of them.

    I even have created several “wood spoons” kitchen tools to serve for purposes when I can’t find useful things in the store. Bought a nice Rubbermaid pot stirring spoon last Summer to aid in Jam making and it failed due to weak metal insert molded inside, also a stirring spatula that failed in the heat and oil of stew/soup making. Made Oak replacements, work great and are long enough to work in my 4 gallon cooking pots, and as they are wood, the handles stay cooler.

    If I keep doing this I must make a better work bench. Just chasing the work around on a stump or slab of wood is a pain. so point me to any designs for a bowl making bench you find interesting as I contemplate making one…pg

  47. H.R. May 5, 2021 at 10:21 am

    Here’s a link to a combination bowl holder and shave horse. It is very nice!

    I think I saved another link for one that would also do bowls. I’ll see if I can find that one.
    Checking tree trimmer companies is a good idea, but nowadays, the shredders they tow behind the trucks can handle amazingly large limbs.

    Still, there has to be some cuts they can’t shred and must bring back for disposal. They probably sell it to firewood guys. I’ll have to check with a couple of those companies and see what they do. They might be set up to sell that too-large excess.

  48. H.R. May 5, 2021 at 10:31 am

    Oh, here’s one, but not the bench I was looking for.

    It’s a video on bowl carving, but it shows his bowl bench enough so you could see how to make one like it.

    It’s pretty much strictly for bowls and looks fairly fast and simple to make… and you have the materials!

    I’ll keep looking for that other one, but I may not have saved it.

  49. H.R. May 5, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    p.g. – That really good bowl bench I was looking for is in that first link. It’s w-a-a-a-y down towards the bottom. I missed that it was there.

    You can work bowls in it vertically or flat and it looks very simple to make.

    Also. in that link, check out the sidebar of previous posts. He has made a really neat spring arm lathe.

    I could buy a wood turning lathe. They are not that expensive compared to machine lathes or compared to even a good table saw, for that matter.

    But I like the idea of a treadle lathe, particularly since I think it’s going to be a close race between the GEB’s goal of collapsing the U.S. economy and leaving us in the dark and remaining patriots wresting back our Republic.

    If the the GEBs win, it will be good to have a lathe that doesn’t run on electricity.

  50. p.g.sharrow May 7, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    @HR Thanks for the links. I really liked the guy that was demonstrating bowl making on his wedging plank, he was making good use of his crappy adz by using a big crude wood, striking mallet. I have made a couple of nicer versions of that striking tool. They work much better then any hammer as you can ignore the positioning of the head, there is none, and they always strike true. I also liked his two handed “goose necked”gouge. It is similar to the one I made in form and function.
    I really like the concept of the wedging vice, on a heavy work bench/table.. I’m tempted to chainsaw the start of one out in the woods and drag it home with the little 4×4 to be set up semi-permanent in the wood yard for rough work. Make LOTs of wood

  51. p.g.sharrow May 8, 2021 at 6:43 am

    @HR, got a wild hare Idea and built a bench for bowl making. Had an old Red Oak timber lying in the yard dug it out of the dirt, cleaned it up and attacked it with chainsaw and tools, cut it into a 5foot long “L” mortised in tri-cycle landing gear, ah-la milking stool, and 2 rows of 1″ holes. Made 1″ Red Oak wedging pins and tried her out and broke off the pins ! Damn ! guess I need to make the pins out of something a bit stronger. Best use Live Oak for pins and wedges. 😉 May need to knock out legs and create taller ones. They and the pins were just firewood any way.

    Today make better pins, wedge in a green piece of pine and try her out ! …pg

  52. H.R. May 8, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    @p.g. – I can visualize exactly what you made. I kind of liked that type, too. It’s pretty much just for bowl carving, but you have plenty of space to spare to have one of those.

    I can do the legs and pins. I don’t have the space for the log!

    So that’s why I made my shave horse a bit long and used a spaced pair of 2 x 6s for the frame. In that first link, he mentioned one version of his shave/bowl horse had a coarse vise clamp on the back and then he had the 1″ holes drilled into the planks. That’s how I intend to finish off my shave horse.

    There’s just one shot of that version in the middle of that first link.

  53. p.g.sharrow May 8, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    @HR, Yeah! I just went out into the wood yard and cobbled together a bench as a test, if I don’t like it, it can be turned back into fire wood. Nothing like a crafted tool bench that you would need. Sure wished I had a spokeshave when I made those pins, I had to use my woods KNIFE that I made from an old 24″ Sthile Chainsaw blade. Good for brush slashing but not really a fine tool.
    Spent all day cleaning a side garden of yard waste and debris, 4 loads yuck! but it looks nice now, Maybe tomorrow the bench creation test will continue.
    Got 7 out of 6 pots of Rhubarb planted and growing now, Hurrah ! maybe next year Strawberry- Rhubarb Pie. 20 years ago I planted Rhubarb and the gophers got all of them… Bummer, This time they are in gopher proof 50 gallon pots….pg

  54. p.g.sharrow May 9, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    Made breakfast. My lady made supper
    Got the weed wacker running this morning and cleared out the Black Berry patch and started on the grapes. Had enough fun with that after 2 hours. Blackberries blooming well.
    Carved 2 new pins of Mountain Lilac. for the carving bench,Tested, they seem strong enough.
    Picked enough Strawberries to make a batch of Jam. Looks like the plants are recovering from that 2 inches of hail/snow of ten days ago. Jam is of excellent flavor and color. YES ! 😎 sometimes I get lucky. Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam over bread, not too much bread, My favorite Desert snack!
    A nice restful Sunday . LoL…pg

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