I acquired a walnut tree trunk diameter 40 cm some time ago but I did not really have time to carve something from it yet. Past couple of days however I took myself some time to make some things. I really like Richard Law’s and Robin Woods carved bowls. So I made a horse more or less like this, but from wood that I had left from building the Atelier for Mariana so it is a bit chunky.

To try out how the walnut wood works I’ve made some spoons, at first they did not look too good but after a while I got the hang of it. Walnut is has a bit more fibre then the birch or alder that I usually use. When you start cutting into the bark you can smell the junglone. It smells a bit like hospital disinfectant.

The wood itself is white when it is wet and the core wood is dark grayish brown. You get purple oxidation marks on the wood when carving it wet. When the wood dries it gets darker brown. I haven’t oiled any of the spoons yet so I don’t know how that looks. They still need to dry a little.

Making the bowls themselves is pretty straightforward. I’ve hollowed them out with a little adze. Then using a 25mm gauge and finished it with the spoonknife.  For the outside I used the axe and then a pushknife, and finished with my carving knife.

I bought the pushknife online and it was called a drawknife but it never really worked for me. Somehow it didn’t bite into the wood like the second hand drawknifes I bought and repaired. But now I’ve discovered that it works very well as a pushknife and that is fine by me.

I still need to make the bowls and spoons smooth when the wood dried a bit. I probably use the spoonknife and an scrape iron to finish the inside.

The new horse works pretty well, should have made that I while ago. I was scared that after a couple of blows, I could pick everything up from the floor. But I’m surprised by the strength of the clamp from just two simple wedges.

I think the shape of the bowl is a bit boring, but one has to start somewhere. I’m going to make some more and bigger ones next week.


James May, yes the one from top gear writes some good stuff now and then;

James May’s lost man skills

We may be dab hands at whipping up a cheese soufflé, but our tools lie unloved, gathering dust at the end of the garden. It’s time for men to get practical and create a new DIY boom Read More

Also worth a visit is the “Compendium of Useful Information” sometimes a bit apocalyptic, but most information is useful.

Then I came across this video from TED, where Richard Preston is talking about the ecosystem in giant Redwood trees.

Nope, this is not for eating, this concoction is a mix of several plant dyes.  As far as I know it contains madder, woad and meekrap . Sorry about that, it contained only madder, and the copper of the kettle. Mariana wanted to dye some wool and experiment a bit.  Seba and I volunteered making a fire in the garden, fire and boys is always a winning combination. We smelled pretty smoked.

We also managed to paint the front of the atelier, welcome in Sweden. The red rotfarg paint works very well, it goes straight on the boards, without sanding, you only have to take the sand of a bit.  The walls inside are plastered they just needs to be painted (and cleaned). Some of the windows have been put. Things are moving forward. I hope that everything is done before the end of october. There is also a lot of garden work coming up, I need to do lots of pruning on the fruit and nut trees around our house.

The is also some harvesting to be done, these brussels sprouts are almost there.

Past two weeks I’ve been busy making the window frames and the doors for the Atelier. I’m almost finished, I have to make the last half of the door. Obviously this is when I find the crooked thing in the house. It could have been the something on the wall in the back, but it has to be something in front, in plain sight. The grove and the door frame is a full centimeter crooked.  Well I don’t know how yet but I’m going to have to deal with it, or it will be one drafty door. Here is how the smallest window looks. Note that the rope is not to hang myself, my woodworking place doubles as bike repair shop. It is kind of annoying to repair a ball bearing in 2 cm of sawdust.

My son got inspired to embark  his own woodworking project. He stole the iron saw from my dad while he was putting the electrics in the Atelier. He was super concentrated and sawing surprisingly controlled. This is kept him occupied for a while, until frustration kicked in about the lack of progress.

I got inspired too, by these guys. I don’t know if the bandana makes you a better woodworker but it keeps the sweat from running into your eyes and the sun from burning my neck even more.

I also managed to make new horses as support for putting the window frames together. I needed someting straight and strong. Later they’ll be used as table for working, and as a display table when Mariana goes to a market.

Last few weeks have been very busy, Seba’s birthday, several other projects, the garden, very warm weather. But I finally managed to put the plants on the roof. It took me a couple of days preparation, the planting itself took place in one day. Which wasn’t a very pleasant day, it was 34ºC, standing on a black foil, putting black soil. I don’t think I’ve ever sweated more.

But it looks really good, I’m very pleased with it. The pictures don’t do it right, it looks much prettier in real life. I’m going to try to make some better pictures from above tomorrow.

The roof is made with 500 sedum plants, 600 liters of soil, and 300 kg of stones.

And right after puting all of this on the roof it was put to the test with a 100km/h rainstorm. And to my suprise it survived it. Unlike the roof of our house which is missing 2 tiles and has at least 8 broken tiles, and also some of the fences around the hous flew away. I was a bit nervous about the storm because the sedum stil has to get roots to bind te earth, but all went well.

The first couple of walls have been cladded with larch (larix ) planks, somehow I imagined this job to go lots faster. It looks pretty straight forward. Grab a plak, saw of the ends and put it on. But it turned out to be a job where you can’t have enough hands.

Later these planks will be painted with Falu rödfärg , most probably red, but we are not entirely sure about that. We’ll see.
The advantage of using this type paint is that I don’t have to prime, sand or shave the planks. Which basically saves me lots of time.  I especially dislike sanding I hate the dust, but that I did not consider while choosing the paint type :-).  Another advantage is the limited amount of available colours it is red, light red, black and grey, this saves a lot of discussion about the choice of colour.

As you can see the main framework is done. Now I’m going to put larch planks, that still have to have their own little support frame. The larch planks should have arrived today but somehow the delivery got mixed up their are coming tomorrow with 250 meters off larch.

I got distracted with our other project, the edible garden, we already planted trees in the beginning of the year, now we have removed the grass and put a fence so the dog does not run all over the place. This is only half of the edible garden, the other half is on the other side, I need to make some pictures of that later.
Seba is playing hide and seek and Olaf is enjoying some leftovers from the atelier.

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