Many of you have been asking about some of our newer titles, with specific questions about content and wondering if these books are right for you. So we have assembled pdf excerpts for each of these books, which you are welcome to download.
The pdf for “Ingenious Mechanicks” by Christopher Schwarz includes the table of contents, introduction and Chapter 1: Why Early Workbenches?.
The pdf for “Slöjd in Wood” by Jögge Sundqvist includes the table of contents, a six-page description of what slöjd means, “the kitchen as a workshop,” the benefits of working in slöjd, and a chapter that shows you how to make knobs and latches.
The pdf for “Cut & Dried” by Richard Jones includes a detailed table of contents (three pages, singled-spaced), foreword, acknowledgements, a guide to the abbreviations used in the book and Chapter 7: Coping with Wood Movement (25 pages on dimensional change, distortion, moisture cycling and stress release (kickback)).
The pdf for “Welsh Stick Chairs” by John Brown includes a poem, introduction, author’s foreword (there are two) and his chapter on Bending Wood for Chair Parts.
You can find more details and ordering information for each of these books here.
This cutting board is based on ones I saw in Norway. One side had a decoration painted on it and faced outward when it hung on the wall. The other side was the real cutting board and unpainted. A cutting board gets tough treatment. In frequent contact with water, it swells and shrinks again and again, so the wood changes in volume.
A cutting board with a glue joint cracks sooner or later. If you use a single board from the outer part of a straight-grown trunk, where the annual rings are of more or less of equal length, it warps to be slightly convex on the cutting side and is stable.
Material A blank from straight-grained birch or common alder. Ash, maple or beech are also good. Make sure that the blank isn’t twisted.
Cutting boards are good to make from leftovers from other projects. For example, when splitting out stool seats from a half log, you can use the remaining outer parts for cutting boards.
Hew away thick parts with an axe. Smooth both sides with a drawknife in the shaving horse, or with a scrub plane at the workbench. Make sure the blank isn’t twisted, and is evenly thick. It can be slightly cupped. Seal the end grain with glue and dry the board for a couple of weeks.
Drill holes for hanging or for a handle. Use a brace and auger bits. When the tip of the bit has come through on the backside, stop, turn the blank over and drill from the other side. This avoids tearout and splinters at the edges. If you want to make a handle with a larger hole, use a fret saw to saw out the shape. Clean inside the hole using a knife with a narrow blade.
Plane the surface with a smoothing plane or use a sharp drawknife. It is when you flatten the surface that you realize the importance of a quality, straight-grained and knot-free blank. Even so, planing a wide board can be a difficult task. Think of all the slöjd makers throughout history. Rise to the challenge!
Saw and carve the overall shape. Clean-carve all end-grain wood using the can opener grip. Chamfer the edges carefully. On the bark side, chip carve a cool pattern and paint with a thin coat of oil paint. Now you suddenly have something spectacular to cut your vegetables on.
Jögge Sundqvist’s “Slöjd in Wood” ships from the printer on Thursday, and will soon thereafter mail to the many of you who’ve already ordered (thank you!).
Here’s a palate-tickler of a PDF excerpt for download and enjoyment while you wait: PegBoard2
Don’t know what this book is about? Here’s some of the text from the back cover:
“Slöjd in Wood” inspires and teaches you how to start with green wood to make
functional and fun traditional household objects. With an axe and a small set of
knives, you can make your own spoons, ladles, spatulas, bowls, butter knives,
shrink boxes, cabinet knobs, walking sticks, cutting boards, stools and more.
You’ll discover the tools you need (and how to keep them sharp), how to select
and process your materials and what wood species are best for every type of slöjd
object. “Slöjd in Wood” includes everything you must know about riving green
wood and drying it properly, then carving, painting and finishing it in the slöjd
tradition. A special “Knife Grips” section includes detailed instructions and
illustrations to help you learn the various grips needed for safe, efficient and fun
The lusciously photographed and illustrated book is printed on heavyweight matte paper with a hard cover and built-to-last sewn binding. It is 116 pages, and, like all Lost Art Press books, printed in the United States.
We don’t know which retailers will opt to carry the book (we hope all of them will), but we will update you here when we have more information.
Note that on “Slöjd in Wood,” a translation, we do not have electronic rights (so we cannot offer a full PDF version).
Traditionally, households needed to be self-sufficient and had to make all kinds of everyday objects. There were many kinds of hewn bowls and troughs for baking, meat preparation, milk production and fermented drinks. They were made from a green blank from a tree trunk. The trunk was cut and split lengthwise into a half, then hollowed out from the heartwood side. Because these containers are exposed to moisture, the design incorporates strength and durability. The walls at each end of the trough must be three times thicker than the wood along the sides. The handles are placed at the ends of the blank.
I have learned another way of doing this from the legendary woodworker Bengt Lidström, who made beautiful bird bowls. He worked from either the heartwood side or from the bark side. Both methods are described in this chapter.
Material. Straight-grained, knot-free deciduous wood such as aspen, alder or birch, wood glue, raw coldpressed linseed oil, and artist’s oil paint.
PREPARING THE BLANK Choose a straight-grained, knot-free piece. Trim to about 10cm (3-15/16″) longer than the bowl you want to make. When a tree is felled, the pith always has a crack that begins in the end grain. When you split the blank, line up the froe blade with this felling crack.
Hew away about 1cm (3/8″) of the juvenile wood nearest the pith. While hewing, sight along the edge of the blank’s end-grain face as a reference for a flat surface.
If you are hollowing from the bark side of the log, further flatten the heartwood side so the blank sits steady on the bench. Use either a plane at the workbench or a drawknife at the shaving horse. Remove the bark with a drawknife.
Lay out centerlines on the bowl face. Transfer the lines to all four faces. Now lay out the shape of the bowl using the centerlines to guide the shape. Make sure there is 2cm to 3cm (13/16″ to 1-3/16″) extra material on both ends to fasten the blank on the workbench.
You will use a lot of force during hollowing, so it is important to clamp the blank firmly to your workbench. Now hollow out the blank with an adze.
To quickly remove material on the bark side, you can first use a thin, straight-beveled axe to cut off the upper layer. You can also use a bowsaw to make multiple depth cuts to allow the waste to chip out more easily.
Hollowing out from the heartwood side with an adze. Firmly clamping the piece and stable work positions are important. Note the centerlines along the top and the long sides.
Marked trough blank for hollowing out from the bark side. The outermost layer can be rough-cut with an axe before hollowing with an adze.
To be able to clamp the trough on a workbench for clean cutting, leave temporary shoulders on each side of the bottom. The shoulders are sawn off after final inside and outside smoothing.
Use an adze for hollowing out the blank. The adze has a bevel on the outside, which in combination with the short handle creates an arc when you cut. Lock your elbows to the sides of your body. Place the other hand around your wrist for control and accuracy. Holding the adze at the farthest end of the handle, drive it into the wood vigorously to make depth cuts into the surface. Start from the middle of the hole and work toward the ends.
Like hewing with an axe, you now change the angle of the cut to clear away the waste.
Turn the piece and refasten it if it is difficult to cut from the other side. Use your body to change the cutting angle as you follow the shape.
You can also use a mallet and a long bent gouge (No. 8L, 35mm) to start cutting in the middle of the bowl. To begin hollowing, it is easiest to cut across the fibers. Keep in mind that cutting the fibers across the grain doesn’t leave as smooth a surface as cutting with the grain.
For controlled cuts, place your left hand on the gouge handle just above the tool edge and use your wrist as a brake as you press it against the blank.
With your right hand against the end of the handle and supported by your chest, push the gouge forward by leaning into the cut. Use steady pressure to get long, even and controlled cuts.
This technique is particularly useful in the bottom when you cut near the cross-grain wood, where the fibers meet each other. The left hand acts as a control for both speed and depth of cut.
The narrow ends of the bowl are thicker and angled toward the bottom, making the end-grain fibers longer and therefore stronger.
Smooth the rim along the top of the bowl. At this stage, it is necessary to refine the form by marking new lines.
Check the level of the sides of the bowl by laying a straight edge across the top.
Measure for even thickness along the bottom by using a ruler to compare the height of the sides versus the depth of the bowl.
The fibers rise a little after drying. Remember to clean-cut the bowl when it is dry for a smoother surface. For a bowl 40cm (15-3/4″) long, I suggest a final thickness of 8mm (5/16″) along the sides and bottom, and about 20mm (13/16″) in the end-grain wood. If there is tear-out in cross-grain wood, you will need to carefully make the final clean cut at a 90 degree angle to the fiber direction.
Discover a bit more about Jögge Sundqvist, author of “Slöjd in Wood,” in this short film that is part of the current CraftBOWL exhibition (which closes April 8, 2018) at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.
In it, s u r o l l e (Jögge’s artistic alter-ego) shares his deeply intertwined philosophies on life and slöjd.