If you dont have a lathe, or you dont want a bowl or vessel that's circular, the only way to make it is by carving. The first wooden bowls would have been carved with stone tools, or progressively burned out with hot coals. These days the way to go is with a short handled adze and large gouges. I have just bought a new adze made by a blacksmith in Sweden, where hand-craft, particularly wood craft, is still culturaly quite strong. The tradition of carving bowls and cups has continued to the present day and takes some interesting, often stylized and beautiful forms, influenced by the Saami reindeer culture and of course the wood loving vikings.
Monday, 16 May 2011
One of the nicest things to do with green wood is (in my opinion) the making of chairs. Strong, light, beautiful, functional; many of the characteristics a craftsperson aims for can all be seen in a well made chair.
One of the reasons for using green or un-seasoned wood, is that it is much softer and easier to cut when it is in its fresh, recently felled state. When it is wet and full of water (sap) it is a joy to work with. Sharp tools glide through fibres of even dense hardwoods like oak and beech, and require less sharpening than when used with seasoned timber. The other reason is down to how the material is converted from its original round log state, into smaller dimensions. In green woodworking, mechanical or labour intensive sawing along the grain to produce planks, is avoided. Instead the log is split along its length, first in half, then quartered, and so on, until the required dimension is reached, a process known as riving. This is a most efficient way of conversion, but only if the wood is still green, otherwise riving becomes increasingly difficult as the wood dries out.