Something Old and Something New

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Project by stefang posted 11-17-2014 02:47 PM 3192 views 10 times favorited 42 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I haven’t been doing much turning for awhile so I thought it might be nice to make some candy dishes for my son’s families and ourselves. This is the first of three small bowls.

My inspiration for this turning is the hand carved beer cups that are a tradition here in Norway and also the shape of Viking ships. These cups are smaller and more often than not are in the form of a chicken with the head on one end and the tail on the other as handles, but also abstracted horse heads similar to mine are often used along with dragons heads. Regardless of what type of heads, they all bear the name ‘ølhøner’ which translates to ‘beer chickens’ since most were carved with the chicken variation.Originally the carved cups were used at parties and they floated on a short barrel of beer so folks could just take one and dip it to get his drink. I’m not sure how far back this type of cup goes in it’s present form, but probably dates back to the time of the vikings in some form or other.

I would have liked to have carved this, and I have the right kind of carving chisels for it, but my arthritic hands can’t take it, so I had to devise another way. The solution was to turn a round bowl with a 1-1/2” waste strip paper glued into the middle and then after turning replace it with a thinner strip much like the keel on a boat which would also have the heads attached at either end, or at least one layers of the three layer heads. I did this for two reasons; I wanted a boat shaped vessel that vaguely resembled the lines of a viking ship and the heads had to have great strength as they are actually handles used to pass the dish around with. The sides were then carved down and shaped with a knife. four additional duplicate horse heads were cut out on thin stock with my scroll saw and glued onto the outsides of the heads already glued into the dish to make them thicker. After that I carved down the edges of the heads some and put some tool marks on them to give a little texture. On the beer cups these are often chip carved and more elaborate, but I thought it best to keep it simple for this first one. The wood use for this was Linden, which is related to bass wood. The tools used were a bandsaw, hand plane, wood turning lathe, drum sander, chip carving knife and scroll saw.

The last step was to apply a finish that would make it look old and wear worn. This was done using sun flower seed oil mixed with crushed coals from our wood oven. As you can see it was very black to start with and I can tell you that it took a lot of sanding and steel wool rubbing to get to where I wanted it!

I have to say, this was the most enjoyable project that I’ve done in a long time and I hope you like it. Besides the other two that I’m making for my sons, I will probably make more of these with chickens, dragons, etc. and in different sizes. I am also thinking about doing a blog on the build process if anyone is interested.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

42 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25479 posts in 4019 days

#1 posted 11-17-2014 03:04 PM

Very good job on those bowls,Mike. They are really neat!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View kiefer's profile


5812 posts in 3581 days

#2 posted 11-17-2014 03:04 PM

That is a great project Mike and I love how you made them look old .
Using a bowl to make this is a interesting way to archive the shape and yes a blog on this would be great .


-- Kiefer

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4248 days

#3 posted 11-17-2014 03:07 PM

Thanks Jim and Klaus. It’s just different pics of one bowl Jim. I have turned the other two, but haven’t done anything else with them yet as I have been spraying those baskets I made awhile ago so I can’t do much in the shop while they are drying. I do hope to start on the next one tomorrow.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Ivan's profile


16394 posts in 3781 days

#4 posted 11-17-2014 03:09 PM

Beautiful rustic style bowl. I like those carved handels.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View shipwright's profile


8618 posts in 3712 days

#5 posted 11-17-2014 03:12 PM

I like it a lot Mike. I’m guessing that you will get interest in a blog and since you do them so well I’ll get the ball rolling.
“Yes, a blog would be nice.”
You’ve captured the stylized Viking ship shape beautifully and the appearance is just right for the aged heirloom look.
I guess the finishing schedule for the real antiques was repeated soakings in beer but as an acceleration of the process, I think you’ve hit it spot on.

Nice one!

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4248 days

#6 posted 11-17-2014 03:12 PM

Thanks Ivan and Paul. I’m pretty pleased with the finish. It looks like it was buried in a peat bog for a thousand years or so. It isn’t 100% to my liking, but I will try to do it better on the next one. My turning was a little rough and I tried to put carving marks inside the bowl too, but changed my mind quickly due to all the work involved, so I had to try to smooth it out again and more or less succeeded. I’m thinking that making fake antiques is a lot of fun!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jbschutz's profile


606 posts in 3605 days

#7 posted 11-17-2014 03:27 PM

Mike, Thanks for sharing this project….gotta try it soon. I am glad you tipped us off on the sacrificial strip down the middle. I really like the rustic and ethnic look and finish…..My wife is Norse, and she loves it. She is from Decorah, Iowa, where they have an annual summer Nordic Fest.
I would love to see a blog about the process of creating this modern antique.

-- jbschutz

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4248 days

#8 posted 11-17-2014 03:36 PM

Thanks JB. I will definitely do a blog on it. I missed taking photos of some of the steps on this first one, so I will take some pics while making the next one, starting tomorrow I hope. I have read a little about Decorah and I know that a few Norwegian craftsmen have been giving craft courses there over the years. I made a stave bucket with hand tools from a book by one of those teachers. You can see it here There are lots of these in the museum in Decorah.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View hairy's profile


3133 posts in 4446 days

#9 posted 11-17-2014 03:40 PM


-- I still love you baby, but I sure don't want you back. Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown

View a1Jim's profile


118144 posts in 4491 days

#10 posted 11-17-2014 03:50 PM

Hey Mike
I like em ,cool design,now all you need are spoons for oars.


View Dutchy's profile


3866 posts in 3082 days

#11 posted 11-17-2014 03:52 PM

Your work is always nice Mike. And also this time. I like the classic model. I hope you enjoyed turning again.


View SPalm's profile


5336 posts in 4796 days

#12 posted 11-17-2014 03:53 PM

Very nice Mike.
I have a Scandinavian background too, and have a few family members that would really like these.

I am a little lost about the paper replacement stage, so I would like a blog. Besides, blogs are fun.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4248 days

#13 posted 11-17-2014 04:15 PM

Thanks Jim, Dutchy and Steve. They are easy to make Steve and I will show you how. I did enjoy the turning, but I had almost forgotten what a mess it makes.

I was curious about the final shape created after removing so much of the center, so I looked it up and found out that the geometrical shape is called a ‘lense’. Makes sense as it is eye shaped and of course also boat shaped, which I found particularly interesting because the Norwegian word for bailing out a boat, or just evacuating water is the verb ‘lense’. I love to discover these word connections between languages and they always connect somehow, but not always in the way one might think. It also brings to mind a teardrop falling from an eye. I know, I need help.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30576 posts in 3252 days

#14 posted 11-17-2014 04:31 PM

Those are really cool sir. Great design.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4078 days

#15 posted 11-17-2014 05:19 PM

You have developed a style all your own, Mike, and it leads to interesting and unique creations such as this one. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand why you enjoyed making this.

But I must admit I can’t follow your description of the process, so I would like to see how it was done as well. A lathe would fit in my La Conner shop, I believe, and definitely will be a purchase before I retire….....something that draws near.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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