I blame Peter Follansbee for my ruined coif and cough. In the June 2009 issue of Popular Woodworking (on newsstands April 28), we have story from Peter on carving a 17th-century panel; I study 16th- and 17th-century drama, so I was immediately intrigued. “Hey! I can carve a panel chest like the ones in which itinerant Renaissance actors stored their costumes! How cool would that be?!”
But, to get started, I need a flitch of green oak. I don’t know about your Lowe’s and Home Depot, but our home centers don’t carry that kind of thing. Luckily, we’re not too far from Paint Lick, Ky., the home of our favorite bodger, Don Weber.
“Bodger” is the traditional term for an itinerant pole lathe turner, who traveled around with a spring-pole lathe and turned parts for stick-built chairs. After training on a lathe, Don spent some time moving from village to village in Wales, setting up shop outside of pubs to fix locals’ broken chairs and other items with turned parts. He still repairs chairs, but he also teaches classes in green wood woodworking (among other things), builds tables and chairs, is a blacksmith, timber-frame builder and much more (we’ll share more of his fascinating story in the future).
And, Don splits from whole logs the vast majority of the wood he uses. As he puts it, “I don’t visit the lumberyard; I visit the log yard.” While this may seem an esoteric pursuit in this day and age, there are good reasons for splitting your own lumber, even if you’re going to resaw it by machine. We captured the visit on video, so you can listen to Don explain why.
My panel carving adventure is, however, on hold. Don has the perfect log from which to split panels, but it’s sitting on the land he’s clearing for his new home, and on the day of our visit, that meant it was sitting in the rain in a mud hole. So, Don split a smaller log he had out behind his shop. I still got drenched, but at least there’s no video of me flat on my back in the mud, axe in hand.
Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.