Making an ancient bucket with stefang and mafe #1: those cold Alaskan Winters

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Blog entry by Clung posted 02-07-2011 08:34 AM 1155 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Making an ancient bucket with stefang and mafe series Part 2: planes and staves »

In order to feel part of the group and add to the bucket making fervor I will take stefang’s advice and also blog on my bucket making progression.

Unfortunately, I have no intelligent insights to offer or really much of anything at all to add to MaFe’s ingenious inventions and stefang’s expertise, but I am enjoying all the posts nevertheless and the discussion that is being produced by this project.

My excitement was such that as I began to consider my alternatives for rough stock to use in the building of my first wooden bucket I decided it had to have a ladle accompany it. The spoon carving complete, I became convinced to try and use some of the old birch that was piled among my winter woodpile outside and I got busy making sawdust.

By following stefang's excellent instruction I then tackled the wooden plane.

The plane body was made from scrap wood lying around the garage, namely tigerwood cheeks and sole, with an oak inlay. The oak is two pieces laminated together orientated with opposing grain which I hope will add stability to the body. I then decided to try to carve my own version of acanthus leaves on the cheeks, which turned out with mixed success. I do like the shape however, which I adapted from David Finck’s “Making and Mastering Wood Planes” (Sterling Publishing, 2000). Once the carving was complete, my original plan of using an old #4 plane iron became absurd, for the 3 inches of blade protruding from the top of the plane would not only look weird, it would definitely impede during its use. So I began a search of acceptable alternatives, and finally decided to order a blade from Lee Valley. It’s a replacement blade for their Taiwanese Jack plane, and at $12.90 the investment isn’t such that I will worry about messing it up in the grinding process. I even ordered a second blade should the plane making fever overtake my bucket making fever.

Then the conundrum of having to drill through all my intricate carving to install the pin had me scratching my head for alternatives. I’m going to try something unorthodox (mafe style) but you’ll all have to wait and see how that turns out before I’m willing to expose myself on that idea.

Today I took a look at all the birch that I milled and had stickered in the corner of the garage and decided to run it through the thickness planer to knock it down to approximately 5/8 stock. It has moved some since milling so it will be interesting to see how stable it is planed down. I also jointed one edge square, and it is some nice looking wood. About one half of it is spalted, and the rest is a close grained, shiny looking wood. It will be fun to work with.

So you see, I haven’t really got a lot accomplished. I haven’t even built my binding lever, although I have sourced out my willow that I will use. That is if I get to it before the the leaves come out.

I blame it all on these cold, Alaskan Winters.


-- Clarence

3 comments so far

View tdv's profile


1139 posts in 2494 days

#1 posted 02-07-2011 10:24 AM

Everyone seems to be having bucket loads of fun with this project it’s almost becoming the new cutting board but a good way to re-learn lost skills, making your own specialist tools. I’m nearly 60 & I remember at school watching an educational film on making oak barrels. They still did it by hand then (no stainless steel kegs) I’ve never forgotten it. Raw oak shaped by hand with only a drawknife & then loosely assembled & lit a fire inside the ring of “staves”to dry them. The iron ring was made by the blacksmith heated up on a fire (like a wagon wheel rim) & then dropped on the barrel & hammered down onto the curve until tight & cooled with water to shrink fit this pulled the “Staves” together making them water tight,when the barrels were filled they expanded making it even tighter. Even the rebate for the lid was cut out using a circumference plane & each lid made individually to fit like a Rolls Royce Grille. So I’m fascinated to see all this revival can’t wait to see the coopered buckets finished.

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View mafe's profile


11061 posts in 2513 days

#2 posted 02-07-2011 05:43 PM

Wonderful, just wonderful!
Love the carvings you do on these tools, not only do they add beauty, they also add grip.
Thank you for the kind words, I’m happy to know you are on the way with us.
Best thoughts and keep up the cold winters…

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2539 days

#3 posted 02-08-2011 11:35 PM

looking forward to see your serie :-)

good luck with it

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