Arts & Mysteries: Simplicity Itself

1502-am-2-01opener1_0024Free up your hands with this useful Chinese wood carrier.

by Peter Follansbee
page 22

My wife, Maureen, came through the work area and asked, “What are you making?” When I told her, she said, “No, really, what are you making?”

“A Chinese wood carrier. Really.”

It’s for carrying any kind of wood, though; it doesn’t have to be Chinese. I had a demo to pack for; the project was spoon carving. The last time I had to trundle around with many spoon blanks, I had sore arms and dropped pieces repeatedly. Then I remembered these carriers Daniel O’Hagan had shown me back in 1986. His note says “…as to the wood rack, it is simplicity itself.”

Daniel was a woodworker in eastern Pennsylvania who was a great inspiration when I was new to woodworking. (If it weren’t for him, I might still have a table saw!) He saw this lightweight wooden frame in a book called “China at Work,” by Rudolf Hummel (MIT Press, reprint, 1969). The text says laborers used two of these hanging from a pole across their shoulders to bring fuel to porcelain kilns. Daniel used his to bring stove wood into the house.

It’s a green woodworking project in that the stock is riven from a log, and much of the work can be done with a drawknife. My favorite woods for this sort of project are hickory or white oak, sometimes in combination.

Blog: Read Peter Follansbee’s blog.
To Buy: “17th-Century New England Carving: Carving the S-Scroll (Lie-Nielsen).”
In Our Store: “The Arts & Mysteries of Hand Tools” on CD

From the February 2015 issue, #216

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