Good Tools and Basket Handles

     Winter sure is a funny thing this year. Last week was -15f/-26c, today it's raining. This is not really typical winter weather. It's hard to do much about it though and yelling at the sky doesn't seem to help, at least with the weather anyway. Good thing I got out on the skis earlier today, the snow was fast and fun.
     Last week I met with few spoon carver friends. We got to get in some good carving time, ate some good food and drank some great craft beer/ale. Among all of us there was quite a collection of spoons. Many from other makers and many antique spoons. In  northern Wisconsin and and Minnesota there are a tremendous amount of old Norwegian and Swedish spoons. Many of the settlers in the late 1800's where Scandinavian. My own great grandfather arrived in Ashland, WI from Varmland Sweden in 1890.
just some of the spoons

antique Scandinavian spoons

    One the things that dawned on me is that here in the states, we don't have any really good green woodworking tools available.  Right now there is only one spoon carving knife maker here in the US, that's Del Stubbs at pinewood forge he makes some of the best spoon carving knives. But,many of the new tools we use are made in Sweden or Japan. Both of those countries have very strong tool smithing traditions. I also have to mention that the UK is seeing the rise of a few smiths offering quality tools. It seems funny to me that with ABANA, the major black smithing association and many great smiths around this large country that non offer well made and designed carving axes or adzes or even knifes for that matter. Tools that are designed and developed in collaboration with experienced green woodworkers. Hopefully this will change soon. I've been searching around my area (midwest) and have found a few blacksmiths who have woodworking experience and are will to make well made and affordable tools. One smith is Kjetil "KJ'" Groven, is the smith who makes the blades for my custom made and fit crooked knives after is decided to hand it over to someone who has better equipment for production than I'm willing to acquire. He is a really talented craftsman not only working with steel but wood as well. Unfortunately he's not on the web so no link to put up. The other smith Dan Rosinger is just across the way from me, about 20 miles. He just posted a video on steeling a steel bit into a iron axe body. You might be able to find it here. I'll be talking more with these guys and the need for green woodworking tools here in the states. Any of you know anyone who makes tools? Let me know.

     A few days ago I made some handles and rims for a few baskets April made. I use split or riven ash, that is fast grown. Fast grown means thick rings and thick rings mean I can bend a handle without steam as long as the wood is still green. This type of Ash is really nice to work with using the crooked knife. 
cozy winter yurt

riven/split white ash

2 baskets to rim and handle

using the crooked knife

bent rim

rim is fitted, now on the the handle.

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