Adventures in Slöyd Woodworking 2020.

2020 has been filled with a multitude of challenges for all of us! In an effort to push forward and adapt with these difficult times, I decided to blow off steam and expand my skillsets by learning traditional Scandinavian slöyd woodworking and carving techniques. These time honored carving techniques allow woodworkers to step outside of a shop, and literally carve outdoors. This skill set let me pack up a small collection of hand tools (Sloyd knife, Hatchet, and hook knives) and start collecting fallen branches and eventually fallen trees as a source of free wood to hand carve!

Fallen Alder tree with my first hatchet. This local monster came down in a storm this year and I made some serving spoons, eating spoons, and even a rolling pin out of a small section of it. Normally people cross cut fallen trees into smaller sections and just throw the wood away. FYI: Alder is quite soft when green and easy to carve. I recommend it highly for attempting to carve new projects.

As the months progressed and cabin fever began to set in, I spent more time outdoors scouring local forests and trails when and weather time permitted. That being said, Large local storm fronts became fortuitous events because the larger the storm, the better the tree fall. This meant free wood! Learning this art form forced me outside on adventures to go collect tree branches and learn how to make spoons and spatulas out of them. As I did so, I began to learn a ton about the makeup of local flora, and what tree species were thriving locally. Very quickly a few large realizations hit me like a ton of bricks. I had no idea how to process a tree trunk. Really?

Alder eating spoon and serving spoon; hand carved from the tree in the previous picture.

Up until this point, I could carve a solid mahogany ball and claw Philadelphia style corner chair, build a Nakashima reproduction coffee table, and recreate a Hans Wegner influenced bent lamination chair. Routinely, clients would find me for the most advanced joinery solutions and mission impossible restorations, yet I couldn’t tell you how to split a log. Wow. This and many other servings of fresh humble pie were served up and sent my way as the year progressed.

Spalted Sycamore spoon rack. Laden with some early work, before I got some well needed carving

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