Sunday, August 7, 2011

woodcarving class

K and his dad using a froe and mallet to split cedar

David, my father-in-law, gave K and I a woodcarving class this weekend. He started off by introducing us to the tools we'd be using--these were all old-fashioned handtools. Some of the tools have been in David's family for 130 years or more. These bear the initials NM for Nathaniel Morgan, David's great-great-grandfather, who used the tools to make furniture in the 1880s. Others belonged to David's grandfather, Homer Morgan, who was a tobacco farmer and ran a saw mill. 

Using the drawknife

We began with a cedar fencepost and the goal of making a little cedar cross. David recently taught a woodcarving class at his church, so the first step of sawing the cedar was already done for us. We skipped ahead to using a froe and mallet to split the wood, then used a brace with an auger bit to make a hole for the wood to intersect. Next was one of my favorite parts. We used a drawknife to square up the wood and shave it down to the right size. Then we used a miter saw, miter box, plane, rasp, eggbeater drill, and a mythbuster, which is a tool that David invented to create round pegs from square pieces of wood. (In case you're wondering, I aced the tool quiz at the end of the class.)

Using a rasp to smooth the edges

Two hours went by so quickly as David demonstrated each step and then K and I took our turns. My mother-in-law, Phyllis, snapped photos of the whole process.

Cedar crosses

Soon we had handmade, cedar crosses of our own (they smell so good!). And the best part? Coming up with ideas for the next project...

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Thanks for sharing your talents with us, David. And thanks Phyllis for keeping us company and taking great photos.


  1. You're on your way to becoming a Jill-of-all-trades!
    I think it's awesome!

  2. That is so awesome! I love that some of the tools have been in the family for over 130 yrs! I've always wanted to work with wood, but S is afraid of pairing me with sharp objects (and I can't really blame him). I can't wait to see what else you come up with!

  3. What a great day that must have been. The chance to work with tools like that is awesome.Great to start with a cross. And I can't wait to see which ideas are coming up next.

  4. I'm very impressed, Allison! How nice of your father in law to take the time to share his skills. Creating a shape out of a piece of wood, seems like magic to me. I've always wanted to learn woodcarving, for now, though, I've only stripped logs with a drawknife (thanks for teaching me the term - I wouldn't know the names of those tools in my own language either!).

  5. Good for you! You are going to be a real handy-woman when you get that house!

  6. How cool! I'd love to learn a new "manly" craft like that.

    You and K are so cute.


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