Sylva Spoon

Birthday Apprentice

Thomas BartlettComment

Apprenticeship Day 26

Birthday cake!

A little late with this post, but yesterday was my birthday, so I hope you'll forgive me. 

I'm an 'early to bed, early to rise' person, so I'm usually up first in the Sunshine House. My morning routine consists of getting up, doing some stretches, making coffee, cooking oatmeal with some banana, peanut butter and flaxseed in it. I eat breakfast while catching up on what's going on in the world. Around 9am I usually descend into the basement to start the day's work. Sometime Jarrod and Jasmine emerge before I go downstairs, sometimes they don't. At the moment they're trying to get out and do some skiing each day, so Jarrod's doing a bit of a split shift day, working mornings and evenings. 

Yesterday I had the house to myself in the morning and was midway through turning a large base for a lidded box before I heard any signs of life from upstairs. Not long after that, Jasmine, Jarrod and his two youngest daughters all came downstairs with a be-candled cupcake, singing Happy Birthday. The cupcakes had been baked by his youngest daughter and were very nice. 


The rest of the day was a fairly normal day of apprentice work. It was great that so many of you reached out to me over social media to wish me a happy birthday. So I spent a fair amount of time on my phone. I still managed to turn three more box bases, bandsaw out two more sets of bases and lids, axe out four lamhog blanks and rough turn one of them.


Lamhogs, and other handled cups, can only be turned on a pole lathe because of it's reciprocal action. The wood spins forwards then backwards. With careful foot control you can precisely spin the cup so the handle doesn't thwack the tool every time. It takes some getting used to. This is only the second or third attempt I've had at turning away the material around the handle. I left a slightly rough surface. I only started to get into the rhythm of it by the time I'd removed most of the material. 

Rough turned wooden lamhog

Jarrod then had me try some hollowing on the end grain cup. You need really good tool control when hollowing cups. Especially on such a deep vessel as a lamhog. If the tool catches and digs into the wood, you risk kinking the connection with the mandrel. Once that happens, the cup will no longer turn true. These cups also have an especially long core to them, so the risk of kinking the mandrel connection increases the deeper you go.

As the outside wasn't finished, I only hollowed about a quarter of the way down. It's hard work. Cutting through end grain isn't easy. I was moving the tool super slowly to make sure it didn't catch. There was a lot of scraping, rather than true cutting, so I made a lot of wood dust rather than shavings. Still, it was good to do at least a little end grain hollowing. 

lamhog interior