Would you be interested in joining me in making an ancient style wooden bucket as pictured below using the same ancient methods and tools used to make the originals? I have outlined the background and my ideas for carrying out such a project below.
THE FINISHED PROJECT FOR EACH PARTICIPANT
This is a cut-away sketch to show a little detail. The bucket would be made from staves in a material of your choice and held together with bands made from Willow or Mountain Ash branches. The staves would be connected with dowels, as will the bottom as well. The bucket will not require any glue or nails, and it will be able to hold water or your liquid of choice without leaking (much or at all).
PURPOSE OF THE PROJECT
1. to enjoy the work process. (this is not meant to be a competition or prestige project)
2. To learn something firsthand about woodworking in the past
3. To have a sociable group comparing notes and helping each other each step of the way.
4. To have a little fun and laughter.
5. To have an ancient bucket and some shop-made tools made by yourself on display with bragging rights to family and friends.
WOODWORKING SKILLS REQUIRED
You will have to be the judge yourself about whether or not you should tackle this project, but I believe even someone fairly new to woodworking can do the work by following the step by step methods and getting help from other group members when needed. I think everyone in the group, even the highly skilled will learn something new.
There are 3 main tools needed to build this bucket. These have to be made by each participant and are shown in the sketch below. They are a wooden plane (like the Romans used in the iron age, a lag knife to cut the groove for the bottom and a binding lever to stretch the bindings over and around the bucket.
MY INSPIRATION FOR THIS PROJECT
Many years ago I bought a book on the subject of making these ancient containers entitled ‘Lagging, the old and new methods’ by Johann Hopstad a Norwegian author and craftsman who has held courses on the subject around the world. Toward the end of the book he outlines a suggested course plan for a group. This implies that he wants others to share his know-how, and that is what I’m attempting to do here.
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE ‘LAGGING’ METHOD(pronounced ‘Logging’)
Probably the earliest method of making containers was using the inner layer of bark from trees. Birch trees are especially well suited to this. The bark , which is for practiical purposes waterproof, was formed into a container and sewed together. They were often sealed in the seams with pitch to make them watertight. These containers were not well suited to carry heavy loads however, like milk or water, because they were simply not strong enough over the long-run..
The lagged containers evolved as an improvement on the bark ones to provide strength. One of the earliest known containers built with this method was a barrel from about 400 BC found in Greece. Though I have used the Nowegian name for this type of container, they were very wide spread over Europe and probably most other places where the raw materials were available, and surely had different names in every country.
Lagging was the precursor to the coopering method which became the ultimate method for making wooden containers. There are many differences between lagging and coopering, but I will just be covering lagging for this project.
*HOW WOULD THE GROUP FUNCTION?
I would like to hear your comments on that.
Thanks you for reading this. I’m hoping you are interested and I’m looking forward to your comments on this proposal.
-- Mike, American in Norway