Traditional Norwegian Porridge Container

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Project by stefang posted 01-07-2011 12:15 AM 6112 views 13 times favorited 65 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It is a Norwegian tradition in some parts of the country to carry porridge in a container like this to a mother as her first meal after giving birth. That is the reason for it being decorative. I composed the decorative elements myself, but they are true to tradition. I’ve never seen two of these alike. Decoration in the past varied between carving, rose-painting and wood burning and often a combination of the foregoing.

The originals were made from coopered stave’s and banded with a thin band riven from a solid piece of wood to hold the stave’s together. The bands would have been pre-soaked in water and then installed tight as possible. While drying, the bands would shrink thereby keeping the stave’s nice and tight.

My version looks pretty authentic, but instead of stave’s it is turned from solid green Birch (wet wood). The bands also look very authentic, but they too are just turned.

The bottom was a dry disk placed in a groove near the bottom of the container. The container walls were then left to shrink in around the disk making the container water tight. The top is held in place by a nub on the handle piece which inserts into a shallow hole in one end, while the other end is held place by a pin with a handle through the ear and into the other end of the handle piece.

After cutting out at the base and the top ‘ears’ I carved the decorative details. The center is chip carved with a simple repeating pattern, mainly to give some texture to the piece without being flamboyant.

The piece won’t be handled a lot, so I just used a light finishing oil and topped it off with some beeswax to give it a modest luster.

Thanks for looking in. I hope you like it.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

65 comments so far

View Tim29's profile


307 posts in 4438 days

#1 posted 01-07-2011 12:17 AM

Really great. very detailed

-- Tim, Nevada MO

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 4985 days

#2 posted 01-07-2011 12:26 AM

Wonderful and great details

View mtnwild's profile


4596 posts in 4815 days

#3 posted 01-07-2011 12:30 AM

Fantastic! Really beautiful workmanship and design. Treasure…..........................

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View DustyNewt's profile


690 posts in 5150 days

#4 posted 01-07-2011 12:31 AM

Fabulous work. What a great memento of such a special occasion.

-- Peace in Wood ~

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 4126 days

#5 posted 01-07-2011 12:36 AM

This is as interesting as it is beautiful. I love traditional craftsmanship! Excellent work here. The carved side panel is lovely.

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1628 posts in 4853 days

#6 posted 01-07-2011 12:43 AM

Mike, this is superb! and thanks for the history of it too, interesting. There is a lot of different types of woodworking going on there, the bands look real at first glance.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


22848 posts in 4964 days

#7 posted 01-07-2011 12:46 AM

Very nice Mike. I like traditional Norwegian designs. I’m sure mom would love to rosemall one of those, with out the chip carving, of course ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Daiku's profile


239 posts in 4195 days

#8 posted 01-07-2011 12:54 AM

Great piece! Your craftsmanship is top notch. I don’t know if I would have the patience to do something this detailed.

-- Cal Noguchi

View littlecope's profile


3133 posts in 4790 days

#9 posted 01-07-2011 12:55 AM

Beautiful Piece Mike!!
You have quite a full bag of tricks and skills, my Friend… Full of Surprises… :)
Very Well Done!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Triumph1's profile


938 posts in 4367 days

#10 posted 01-07-2011 12:55 AM

Mike…that is beautiful man. The carving is simply outstanding…I love it. Amazing craftsmanship in this piece…so are you really going to fill it with porridge? :-)

-- Jeff , Wisconsin Please...can I stay in the basement a little longer, please!

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 4338 days

#11 posted 01-07-2011 01:20 AM

Mike, you gave always turned out very nice work, ut it seems that you’ve really stepped it up lately! This is amazingly detailed.

Thanks for the history of this type of piece as well.

Really nice work that I hope you will continue to produce and share with us.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5380 days

#12 posted 01-07-2011 01:22 AM

Stunning piece of craftsmanship there Mike. So many skills are shown on this piece and they all come together gracefully and beautifully. I’ve seen a number of these over the years and this one is most certainly among the finest.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View degoose's profile


7285 posts in 4642 days

#13 posted 01-07-2011 01:22 AM

Terrific, Mike.

-- Be safe.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4591 days

#14 posted 01-07-2011 01:23 AM

boy howdy mike…i saw this and it just made me smile…i love things like this..from the culture of another country, its did a wonderful job and i love your carving…so when things look like they might be quite over on your end of the world…mike is busy making something of beauty..grand job….grizz. p.s i love porridge

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View mafe's profile


13405 posts in 4377 days

#15 posted 01-07-2011 01:25 AM

Mike! You amaze me! Yes this is so well made, and with such fine details, what a piece of work.
Yes you sure are a surprising man, I’m really impressed.
Did you also carve it while the wood was relativly fresh so it was not too tough?
I never before heard the story of these, thank you.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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