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Stuff for my BA submission in August. AKA Welcome to The Dark Side.

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toysandboats

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Like many others, I'm in awe of your skill and determination. Please do keep posting your work and methods, it is inspiring.
David
 

Fitzroy

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misericords - had to look that one up!

You've also made me want to go and split a tree apart and make some timber. Had never thought I may be able to process such a large log with relatively few tools.

Super interesting thread btw, thanks for your time on it.
 

Wood&StuffLtd

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The Wall in The Wilderness is lovely work, thanks for pointing that out. Not sure I could last 15 years on one carving, it's impressive.

They are large panels which display the history of Tasmania. Also the coat on hook carving are truly realistic. The location is in the middle of nowhere on a road through forest land.
 

Adam W.

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It reminds me of Tilman Riemenshneiders' carvings in Germany. He was good at hair and veins too.
 

Fergie 307

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Looked at this thread for the first time today. Wonderful craftsmanship. So good to see these skills are being kept alive.
 

glenfield2

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As someone who can’t cut straight without a power tool I am in awe of your skills and knowledge.
Even more importantly to see traditional skills passing down the generations. As an old codger I often see others of my age working on steam engines, joinery, machine tools, old vehicles and the like and wonder ‘who will do this when they have gone?’
Well now I know at least someone somewhere is.
 

Adam W.

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I cant cut straight either, that's why I do it this way.

When I get to the putting it together part, you'll see that no two pieces are the same width or thickness and some aren't even planed straight, even or flat.
 

Adam W.

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I haven't managed to find a piece to split into a panel just yet, but I'll keep looking.

In the meantime, here's what I've been up to this week..............

IMG_4661.JPG
IMG_4662.JPG


It's a term figure for a version of a 16th. century Venetian walnut Sansovino frame which I'm going to attempt in June and July. You can see part of the frame in the background.

There's still lots of work to go on the model, but once it's done I'll make a two part silicone mold and cast it in gypsum so that I can take it to London.

By making a model in clay I can work out the depths and levels of the carving before touching any expensive walnut and I need to do all the prep before hand as time will be tight to get the wood, do the joinery, carve it and then gild it.

I'm completely out of my depth at this point, as I've never carved anything like it before and there are two of them, one on each side of the frame, so I've got my work cut out to get it done in time and I'm glad I'm making a model before hand to get a bit of practice.

There's also a very interesting stepped lap joint instead of a lapped miter at the bottom corners which steps around the carving of the Ibex and ends in a short miter. I'm obviously going to have to do a dummy run then join the frame before carving it as I don't want to cock it up at the end of the day.

I hope she ends up turning out more like a young Princess Margaret in The Crown than a Margaret Beckett.
 
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Adam W.

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I want to talk about this picture a little more, as it'll lead us on to splitting for panels.

IMG_3143 - 2018-12-20 at 13-03-18.jpg



On this piece, I've chopped off the feather edge which had formed by chopping across the grain with the axe to cut the stringy fibers of the juvenile wood which surrounds the pith of the tree. This stuff is laid down quickly as the sapling races up to get to the light in the woods and as these trees are plantation grown all the other saplings are racing against it, so it has to be fast if it wants to survive.

The juvenile wood needs to be flexible and strong to resist all the forces the sapling is subject too, such as whipping around in the wind and carrying a snow load, so it develops sloping, stringy, bendy fibers, which don't plane well at all and is regarded as a waste product during conversion.

Once the juvenile wood is removed, I'm left with a much broader surface to view the progress of the split when I'm using the wedges. You'll want to go easy when you get to this stage and it's where you can start to control the split a little. Notice that I've switched to plastic wedges and an axe. I can drive the plastic wedges in with the poll of the axe without damaging it and it's a nice axe, so I treat it well.

Also, I need to keep cutting the fibers to make the split go easy and I can guarantee that my axe will meet with an iron wedge if I use one. I don't need to explain what will happen then, but there will be cussing.

This piece wiggles about a bit, but it has no twist (spiral grain) and twist is your enemy, as it makes for a lot more work and a lot of waste wood. That's why I'm careful about stem selection when viewing the lot at the road head.




IMG_2545.JPG


You can't really see small amounts of twist on the surface of the bark, but you can see a lot when you learn to read it. If you look at stem No.2 from the right, it's clear that this one has been wiggling about when it was growing . When you split a stem like that you'll end up with sections which need a lot of hewing and they'll also have sloping grain. That's just a pain, as you really want to be able to plane this stuff in both directions. It makes for a straighter piece of furniture if you can do that as it's assembled green. More about that later.

Once I've made my initial selection, I'll take off a length of bark and have a look at the patten of the fibers at the cambium layer underneath it. You can get a better idea of what's going on and see the slightest bit of twist, but it's subtle and needs a bit of an eye.

I didn't choose stem No.1 from the right, even though its long and very straight, because it's covered in loads of dark splodges. That's epicormic growth and although it makes for a nice bit of figure in a flat sawn board it's not your friend if you want a riven piece.

The forester was adamant that it was OK and wanted to sell me this stem, but I had a feeling about it so I resisted his wily charms and I'll show you why later.

They're cunning folk these forest folk, so you want your wits about you when you go in there to meet them.
 

Adam W.

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Hmmm.... It's suddenly gone quiet around here, have I said something wrong ?

Anyway, onwards and upwards. I"ll split this bit into two parts.

There are some specific tools that you need if you want to get involved in riving sections such as stiles, rails, muntins and panels for joinery. There's the wedges and maul or hammer which we saw in the stem conversion part, they're useful for busting apart shorter sections of stems which are gong to be split for panels, as the froe doesn't exert enough pressure to split a really large round section.

You'll need an axe. Any axe will do but there are also some special broad axes made for the job. The ones below are used for specific finishes or products that I wish to create or to replicate either a regional hewing technique or particular tool mark. This is a bit geeky, fringe conservation type stuff, so I won't go into it in detail unless you want me too.

So from top to bottom; A Gilpin single bevel side axe from Scotland, a modern Wetterlings double bevel broad axe and a modern Gransfors right handed single bevel side axe, both from Sweden. Their cutting edges vary from 5" to just under 6". They're hefty things and require a bit of getting used to, as they're used single handed for this work.


IMG_0169.JPG


Here's what they look like from a different angle to show how the blade is forged.

Firstly the Gilpin. Bevel on one side and flat on the back. The cutting edge is offset to give clearance for the hands when hewing beams and stuff. It's got a laminated blade with a hard steel cutting edge welded in a forge to a softer body. They've even taken the time to give it a bit of fancy decoration.

IMG_0174.JPG




IMG_0172.JPG



The Wetterlings has a double bevel and is hung like a regular axe, but with a longer cutting edge.

IMG_0171.JPG


The Gransfors Bruks, single bevel and flat on the back it also has a blade which is cranked over to give clearance for the hands and is really good for hewing wide panels, as you can work across the whole width of the panel without bashing your knuckles.

IMG_0170.JPG


The froe and beetle. Sounds like a bijou pub name.

The beetle drives the froe by giving it a wack on the back. Its made of a hazel stem with a branch coming out of it or any other gnarly wood with a handle.

I made this about 7 years ago for driving hedging stakes and has served me well. The froe comes from Gransfors Bruks in Sweden, but if you're handy with a welder they can be made from a leaf spring off a truck.


IMG_0176.JPG


Lastly there's the brake. That needs to be strong and heavy, as you'll be exerting a goodly amount of force on it. Its made of bits of oak bolted together and has a device which can hold a piece of timber wedged in it. You stand in front of it and drive the froe into the end of the timber and pull down on the handle. This splits the section open.

IMG_0178.JPG



Like this.


IMG_0190.JPG


More later.
 
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NickM

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I’ve just stumbled on this thread and it’s fascinating. Your work looks absolutely first rate to me and I absolutely love that you’re riving your own timber. I rived a large ash log recently and it’s a very satisfying process (although mine did not come out as nicely as yours!).

keep up the good work.
 

Adam W.

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Thanks all, let me know if I'm pratting on too much about it and I'll do more pictures and less text.
 
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