I spoke to Drew Langsner the other day, he gave me some great advice. He asked if I was still riding the bike and skate board,I said its been hard to squeeze it in, his advice was to keep doing those things.I know it might sound obvious but its good to hear it especially from someone you respect. I take it as make sure you keep doing things other than just work it’ll keep you young at heart and fresh in mind,woodworking you can do late into your years but some activities not so much.He has said other things that have stuck with me,when I was a summer intern in ’98 he said ” some people can make it (furniture) some can sell it but few can do both”, I have found this to be very true.I ‘m not sure why that stuck with me but it has and when I do something that is a big deal to me maybe a furniture show or looking at a job I really want to do, it reminds me that my strong spot is not in selling my stuff and I need to try harder, spend more time thinking of ways to execute these things that do not come easily, and there are more than I care to indulge.
So in the spirit of staying active and keep doing the fun things in life a friend and I are shaping Alai’s I hope to post about that soon.
As I mentioned in an earlier post a lot of my tool handles need replacing. I have wanted to change the handle I put on the carving axe I have. It requires a bent handle, be that a streight piece steam bent or a natural crook sawn out.I have a piece of Locust set aside with a natural arch in the grain but has dried a bit much, it would be a lot of work is what I ‘m getting at and to steam one I need to make a bending form, I just don’t have time so I asked Drew if he had any of the Red Oak handles he use to steam bend for the Viking axe head they were selling.
The bent handles he has are seconds but he found a handle that is the crook of a Birch tree from Sweden that the maker of the axe head sent over I guess with a shipment of heads.
A Ronkvist is the black smith and the town Tora is a hub of ancient metal workers. Ronkvist got permission from a museum that held the oldest known axe head believed to be from the vikings, found on the sea floor, to take measurements and reproduce it. It is hand forged the eye is raped around and pound welded into itself the way it would have been done centuries ago.It’s as much a treat to look at as it is to use.
To get this handle is really cool, and to have it set up the way it was meant to be by the maker is just….wow.
When I got home that summer I made this handle from Hickory,I didn’t by an axe handled from Drew I wanted to take the skills I learned that summer and apply them to something I would use.I remember how much spring back it had when I unclamped it from the bending form I made. I was disappointed but really wanted to start making some bowls and spoons so it went together. My biggest complaint is the handle’s too skinny, I get fatigued from holding it in a short time.You can see how much more a proper handle angles away. This will be like getting a new tool.
I also got one of the Svante Djarv sheath knife advertised in the CW news letter.
I have always used a Frost knife for carving spoons and other shop tasks.I cant say enough about these knifes, laminated steel and holds an edge so well, hard to sharpen but it gets super sharp and the handle is a fine shape, the price is amazing for what you get. I think I paid eight bucks for this one probably in 1998. I don’t think the price has gone up much. But the Svante Sloyd knife is what the Frost aspires to be. It came sooo sharp I hope I can sharpen it like that when the time comes. CW is a great resource for fine tools.