Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mules and Adzes

According to Roger B. Ulrich's book Roman Woodworking, adzes have been around since the Copper Age and are one of the earliest woodworking tools.

Those with flat and curved blades were used in Roman times for hollowing logs, flattening boards, and shaping both furniture elements and ribs for boat hulls, and more.

I bought mine, a curved bowl adze, from Drew Langsner of Country Workshops.

Drew teaches classes at his facility on carving bowls and spoons based on Scandinavian techniques. He also describes the process in his book Country Woodcraft.

You can shape bowls on a chopping block or low bench and use the adze for roughing out the inside. A hewing hatchet is effective in shaping the outside, while spokeshaves, drawknives, and gouges clean up the choppy surfaces.

Other resources for learning about spoon and bowl carving: Wille Sundqvist's book Swedish Carving Techniques (yes, I did pay that much) and youtube videos (there are scads).

So what about mules? My other purchase from Country Workshops was plans to build a Shaving Mule—a smaller version of a shaving horse that uses elements from two different designs.

Although the compact size appealed to me, the main selling feature was the wide, adjustable, upholstered seat.

I'm not saying that I'm a prima donna who demands comfort in all her activities, but if Barcalounger ever develops a line of bicycles, I might be more inclined to exercise.