Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Often in the process of learning handtools, it's easy to get mesmerized by the shavings. After all, they are the reflection of the actual work being done. Looking at the shavings can tell a lot about the quality and control of a cut. I sometimes have to remind myself that it is the wood left behind that I am "making"!

The holy grail of shaving making is most often the thin shaving. There are many folks out there with dial calipers and microscopes inspecting the shavings. I don't go this far but I do believe that a thin shaving is the result of a well tuned tool and a controlled cut. Both positive things, in the service of making something.

When I've done demonstrations at craft shows, the shavings are often the star. I invariably get more questions and suggestions about the shavings than any other part of the enterprise. The truth is, I find the chairs more profitable even after hundreds of suggestions for shaving based products!

To me, shavings are something to get off the floor and into my woodstove or garden. So here is how I deal with packing up shavings.

I found that burlap sacks work great for cleaning up the shavings and allowing them to dry before starting my stoves with them. Plus the bag full of shavings makes an endearing gift to any fellow woodburner during heating season! To pack the bags, I simply cut a trashcan into a collapsing funnel, put the bag on one end and fill.

Here is the filled bag. I am careful not to overstuff it, it can make the shavings tougher to get out.

In my conversations with Jeff Lefkowitz last week he pointed out my disheveled pile of drawings and patterns. He told me that his impression from the blog was that I am very organized (this is when all former students reading laugh!). Well in the name of full disclosure, here is my mess. As much as I may try, (yes Sue, I try) I have a serious paper problem. I'm afraid that the way that I deal with paper is an accurate reflection of the way my brain works. Hey, at least the floor is clean.


Anonymous said...

I demonstrate making Windsors at eighteen century reenactments. The events usually last two days. Invariably, the shavings left on the ground after the first day are gone the next morning. Usually there are a few reenactors hanging around my shaving horse with bags waiting to gather the shavings for kindling. Bob Glenn

Unknown said...

What do you suggest for seat template pattern material? It looks as though you use more that just heavy weight paper.

Peter Galbert said...

i use heavy poster board, but I'm thinking of using something slightly more durable for my heavily used patterns