Sylva Spoon

Beginning of the End

Thomas BartlettComment

Apprenticeship Day 38

This is the last week I'll be apprenticing at Woodspirit Handcraft. I will be going along with Jarrod to North House as his assistant in March. But this is the last week making stuff here. As usual, there was the Monday morning meeting. This week the plan is to focus on ploughing through as many lamhogs as possible. Jarrod will also show me how he bends his turning hooks. I've ground them all, they just need bending into hooks. That'll be the last piece of the puzzle in terms of tool making for me. 

So I started the day by chainsawing out some six inch tall rounds of birch. I cut five, estimating that each will have about four lamhogs hiding inside. I took them indoors and spent the rest of the morning splitting them up. I axed out six of them, which is also how many smaller mandrels we have. 

After lunch I set about rough turning lamhogs. Jarrod made me a template for the lamhogs, so these won't be as rough as my previous roughing. The first I turned, I didn't talk to Jarrod about what the diameter of the lamhog should be. He did mention to grab him once I removed the axe marks, but I just dived straight in. And kinda missed up. I ended up turning the top rim a little too narrow. It was still wide enough for Jarrod to make a lamhog, but he didn't have much margin for error, or opportunity for shaping. So if you're one of the lucky folks you managed to preorder a lamhog and you receive a skinny looking one, you're welcome. 

It's been a little over a week since the lamhog preorders opened. Jarrod has about ten or so finished. We've lost maybe three or four to cracks in drying, which is always depressing. We have about fifteen left to make. Today I think we got the outside done on five. I should be able rough turn another five or six tomorrow. Jarrod will probably be able to finish the outside on them, plus he might start the hollowing on those we got done today. 

The hollowing will go a lot quicker now that his Japanese lathe is up and running. He spent most of last week getting it up and running, tinkering with it, making chucks and new hooks for it. Taking the time to develop and make tools and devices to help create our products is something I kind of struggle with. With spoon carving, once you've got your basic tools, the only shop furniture you need to build is a chopping block. You can start cranking out spoons. There are things that can help with speed and efficiency. Having a spoon mule, some modified tools or just sharper tools can all help. 

I've found that I have a bit of a mental block that holds me back from spending time on these things that can help. I've got a spoon mule that's a bit shoddy, but I can make it work. I've half built a better one, but find I've yet to make the time to finish it. I feel that my time is better spent actually making products. The rational part of me knows that better equipment will make creating products easier. I just know that I'm capable of making products without those aids, even if it does take longer, or require more effort. 

So while there's a slight cloud of feeling we're behind schedule in the Sunshine House, the time Jarrod has spent working on the Japanese lathe will ultimately payoff. It just takes some foresight to realise these things.