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View livewire516's profile

Grandfather's tools -- Could I use these for spoon carving?

by livewire516
posted 10-18-2018 02:30 PM


14 replies so far

View Thole's profile

Thole

5 posts in 823 days


#1 posted 10-18-2018 03:43 PM

You are going to get the most mileage out of that modified Mora in the middle. It looks like a Mora 120 that he customized with a new handle added a clip to the back and increased the belly. I may try something similar some day. Should work great on the curves of spoons. Looks ideal for tackling the shoulder where the handle meets the bowl of the spoon. If you really pick up the hobby you might want to also get a Mora 106 for more generalized work.

The other knife is more of a chip carving and whittling knife. It would be good for adding designs to your work.

As to your main question, I think that axe would work fine to get you started. I would consider modifying the bevel to an asymmetrical bevel if it doesn’t already have one. I don’t think the axe is a good candidate to reshape into something resembling a carving axe. There is not enough steel and the current shape will work enough to start.

The most important thing for all of these tools is to get them very sharp. As sharp as you can make them, and that includes the axe.

View livewire516's profile

livewire516

36 posts in 253 days


#2 posted 10-18-2018 10:18 PM

Thanks so much for the information – this realm of woodworking is all new to me.

If I can’t find a hook knife in his workshop, is that a necessary purchase? Purchasing one tool to try this out would in no way be a barrier.

Thanks again

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

1073 posts in 3211 days


#3 posted 10-18-2018 11:22 PM

You don’t need a hook knife if you have a carving gouge. But you will need one or the other to carve the bowl of the spoon.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View livewire516's profile

livewire516

36 posts in 253 days


#4 posted 10-19-2018 02:16 AM

Thanks Jeremy, that’s good to know. I plan to drive to his old woodshop this weekend – I wasn’t confident he had a hook knife but I’m all but certain he had several carving gouges.

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

6227 posts in 2659 days


#5 posted 10-19-2018 04:18 AM

Just want you to know how I envious I am of you. I have nothing from my grandfathers. I would cherish such wonderful tools and even more, memories of time spent with my grandfathers such as you have!
My Best.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19212 posts in 2961 days


#6 posted 10-22-2018 12:53 AM

That’s a great start. Spoon carving is so addictive. You will need something to carve the bowl. A gouge, hook knife or bent knife will work. Making one isn’t all that difficult.

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

545 posts in 296 days


#7 posted 10-22-2018 02:27 AM

The hatchet shown is a shingling hatchet, used primarily for splitting cedar shingles and hammering the nails. The notch in the lower edge was to set the amount of shingle was exposed to the weather. The knives are basically whittling knives – not too useful for spoons and bowls. As stated by others, gouges will be most useful for carving the bowls of spoons or larger concave curves, but it is difficult to get the gouge cuts from opposite sides to meet in the middle of the bowl. It may be necessary to cut cross-grain with a very sharp gouge or crooked knife.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View livewire516's profile

livewire516

36 posts in 253 days


#8 posted 11-15-2018 05:29 PM

So I was able to go to my grandfather’s old home and sort through what’s still there. Although other relatives have taken a few things, it’s largely a time capsule since he passed in 2012.

My father told me to take the darker of the two machinist’s chests as my own – I sorted out all the machinist tools and stored them there. I will probably partially restore the chest at some point in the near future (at least the drawer felts all need to be replaced).

I need to head back to rescue that old Craftsman table saw asap and address the rust. (My career leads me to move too often to deal with the headache of bringing that saw along with me every time; I’ll bring it down to my father’s home – I know he wants it, he just had trouble moving the thing).

I took all of the hand tools that are photographed up close, as well as a few that were hanging on the peg board. Namely, there were 3 brace and bit sets and an egg-beater drill on the wall, as well as an old Yankee screwdriver (As an aside, I own a new, German-made, Schroeder spiral-ratchet screwdriver. I assumed the sentiment, “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” was a large part nostalgia and America pride, but the old Yankee/Stanley is a much, much higher quality tool than my Schroder!).

I failed to appreciate how much of his work was chip carving – I mostly just remember his figurines. At first, I didn’t have much interest in the idea of chip carving but the man was, ethnically, Breton and I appreciate Bretagne’s rich tradition of decorating their spoons and Porte Cuillère with ornate chip carving. I don’t think his Breton heritage influenced his decision to chip carve – he would have asserted that he was 100% American and made enormous effort to assimilate. None of his books or plans that I skimmed through seemed to be in any Breton/French style. Regardless, I’m quite interested in Bretagne’s craft traditions, so I just might try my hand with the tools after a little more reading on the subject.

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

545 posts in 296 days


#9 posted 11-15-2018 06:10 PM

There are no absolute rules regarding tools and wood. As you try these tools for chip carving, or spoon/bowl carving, or whittling, you will discover what works for you. You may also decide to try something different, either in the choice of tools, the wood, or the type of project. Don’t over-think it! if there is an absolute rule, it is “the tools should be sharp.”

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View livewire516's profile

livewire516

36 posts in 253 days


#10 posted 11-16-2018 01:20 AM

Thanks for that input – I had also meant to thank you for educating me about the shingling hatchet.

I ended up picking up a cheap Beaver Craft brand hook knife, as well as a Husqvarna camping hatchet to putz around with. I sharpened his sloyd knife blade and started practicing with all three on the parts of an errant sapling I took down last week (I think it was black locust)

View Max™'s profile

Max™

89 posts in 302 days


#11 posted 11-17-2018 11:15 AM

Looks like he has one of those little pelican skew knives in that flexcut roll, one of those tools I always know I’d find uses for but never use enough to justify getting by itself yet.

Lots of those little chisels and gouges are useful outside of chip/spoon carving, I love having little sharp as hell chisels for crisping up the insides of a dovetail, especially half-blind dovetails which can be a nightmare to clean the very back corners on.

It’s a nice set to start in with, enjoy them!

-- One hand to hold the saw, one hand to guide it, one hand to brace the work and in the sawdust OW MY THUMB!

View Don W's profile

Don W

19212 posts in 2961 days


#12 posted 11-17-2018 11:24 AM

How do you like the beavercraft? I bought one. It came supper sharp. I thought, wow, for the money this is great. Then once it got dull I could never get it sharp again. I keep it for a pattern when I’m making new hook knife and to remind myself you get what you pay for.

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Max™'s profile

Max™

89 posts in 302 days


#13 posted 11-17-2018 12:37 PM

Hook sharpening is a pain, I keep the wide hook gouge on my old timer whittling knife sharp but it’s so rarely exactly the tool I want, I end up using the smaller spoon gouge far more often.

Also: get a thumb guard, cut resistant gloves are neat, but you will figure out the cuts to avoid hitting anything pretty quickly, but you’re always brushing your thumb ever so lightly and end up with the weirdest sort of fuzzy microcut pattern on the skin. I can avoid it now but it took a long time to get the feel for it.

-- One hand to hold the saw, one hand to guide it, one hand to brace the work and in the sawdust OW MY THUMB!

View livewire516's profile

livewire516

36 posts in 253 days


#14 posted 11-21-2018 06:26 PM

Don. I can’t claim to “know what sharp is” yet. I’m cringing a little bit because I immediately tried sharpening it out of the box! It seems to work fine, but as mentioned, I don’t have a point of reference – this is all too new to me.

Max – agreed. The importance of a thumb guard might be the one thing my GP taught me about carving that stuck.

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