Green Woodworking: Shortening the learning curve

Making a Firewood Carrier

with Peter Galbert

From Lie-Nielsen Toolworks

While I’m building shop apparatus like bowl mules, spoon mules, benches,  and learning how to sharpen the tools necessary for my adventures in green woodworking to move forward I am spending a bit of quality time with green woodworking books, youtube video, and DVD tutorials to help shorten my learning curve and to help me understand how and why I’m doing what I’m doing and that I’m using the right material for the job.

I’m interested mostly in making furniture (Welsh stick chairs, Windsor chairs, post and rung chairs and stools) as well as items like pitchforks and rakes with some spoons and carved bowls thrown in. So when I came across a Lie-Nielsen educational video by Peter Galbert show you how to make a green wood split, shaped and bent firewood carrier I jumped at the chance to learn from this Windsor chairmaker.

Making a Firewood Carrier

Link to the DVD

The DVD is 90 minutes long for about $33.00 dollars including shipping.

The instructor walks you through each step of the process starting with the types of trees that would be used for this type of project. Then he shows what to look for in the log and the splitting process to produce the necessary part for the firewood carrier. Then he brings the split material into the shop and starts refining it with a break and froe explaining what he’s looking for as he refines each piece of material. Once the splits are brought down to the rough size he brings them over to the shave horse and refines further with the drawknife and spokeshave.

With the parts brought into the final dimension, Peter starts talking about the steamer and steam bending the handle or bow of the firewood carrier. Then when the parts are bent and dried the mortises and assembly starts taking place and the carrier starts really taking shape.

Chapters in the DVD

  1. Introduction
  2. Working with green wood
  3. Concepts in Splitting
  4. Selecting the Right Species
  5. Splitting the log
  6. Splitting out the parts
  7. The Drawknife
  8. Tuning the Drawknife
  9. The Shave horse
  10. Shaving the Bow
  11. Dimensioning the Bow
  12. Steam Bending
  13. Sizing the Tenons
  14. The Mortises

I found the tutorial to be a great introduction to a lot of the processes that I will need to learn and put into practice while producing most of the products that I hope will come out of my green woodworking adventure. I’ve watched a number of green woodworking tutorial and the instructor usually touches on the subject of sharpening the tools used in the tutorial I always find the sharpening section lacking in depth. This might just be because I’m currently suffering through my poor attempts at learning the process of sharpening these tools. If your starting your own adventures in green woodworking this title would be a great place to start.

I hope 2019 brings you sharp tools and straight grain and I will see you on the next adventure in green woodworking.

The American Green Woodworking Association

This is a grassroots attempt to start a Green Woodworking Association in the U.S. at this point it lives on Facebook at The American Green Woodworking Association. If you are interested in learning more about this startup group go to Facebook and join. If you are interested in any facet of green woodworking: spoon carving, bowl carving, treenware, basket making, chairmaking, timber-framing etc. help us get this started and growing. 2018-07-28_17-54-54

Green woodworking: Lets get started

Axes, Adzes and Foe's
My collection of woodworking Axes, Adzes and Foe’s

I think it’s about time to get started with my green woodworking adventure. Let me clarify a thing or two; I have been interested in woodworking from a very early age as a pre-teen I was fascinated by marquetry furniture in museums, Shaker furniture has always interested me, and green furniture falls into this interest as well. I have been collecting books about green woodworking for years and have been purchasing tools for years as well. Some years ago, about 15 years ago, as a matter of fact, I took a week-long workshop with Drew Langsner at his Country Workshop in North Carolina and over that time built one of his rustic Windsor Chairs and then I got involved in other time-consuming life events and the green woodworking dreams fell into the background.

During the last two months or so I have been getting the itch to get started in green woodworking once again. I started by locating the tools I have purchased and stored away over the years as well as books on the subject by craftsmen like Drew Langsner, Mike Abbot, Ray Tabor, Roy Underhill, Wille Sundquist and others. (Check the Library section for a more complete list)

So I’m not starting from scratch here, I have a good starter set of green woodworking tools and resources, and with Youtube, there are a lot of new (to me) tutorials that should be a great help in getting started.

So where to start? What is my plan? I think the best place to start is with spoon carving and bowl carving. Why you ask is this the best place to start, let me try to explain my thinking. Spoons and Bowl carving uses a lot of the same techniques and tools that are involved in larger green woodworking projects like ladder-back chairs and Windsor chairs. You need to split and cleve wood, shape on a shaving horse and hollowing out bowl and chair seats.

So where to start? With any woodworking project you need sharp tools and using only hand tools with green wood, really sharp tools are a huge benefit. Learning to sharpen the straight and hook knives as well as the axes and adzes for spoon and bowl carving is a great place to get started.

Most of the Green woodworking information that I have come across start with producing project but to me, if you don’t have sharp tool everything else is harder to accomplish.

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