CONTENTS OF THIS BLOG
I am glad to see that there are many others besides myself who are interested in ancient woodworking. In this first blog of the series I will suggest how the group can communicate and function efficiently , timing for completion of the various steps, What materials can be used and alternative methods for those of you who are mainly interested in the finished bucket and/or just don’t have the time to make or use the shop made tools.
WHAT IS THE BACKGROUND FOR THIS PROJECT?
The idea and background is laid out in my last blog here http://lumberjocks.com/stefang/blog/20546. Here once again is what we are making.
FOR THOSE MAKING THE TOOLS
As mentioned before I hope as many as possible will make their own main tools for this project, but I want to allay any fears about either the tools or the materials. With that in mind alternatives and philosophy are covered below.
Personally, I don’t want to be TOO obsessive about using ONLY the ancient type of tools. For example I plan to use my cordless drill for making holes and my Stanley handplane for angling the edges of the stave’s and also to round the convex surface on the outside of the stave’s. I also plan to use machine made dowels and shape them by hand or chuck them in my drill and sandpaper them to shape. I will also use any other tools not specifically mentioned.
I plan to make the tools below with the help of my machine tools. They can be made with a bandsaw or a tablesaw or your machine of choice.
FOR THOSE NOT MAKING THE TOOLS
From some of the comments, it is clear that some are worried about the tools part, so I have some alternatives for those folks.You can make this authentic bucket with your machine tools if you wish. That said, I won’t be giving any details on how to use your machines. This is just to avoid confusion and to keep my own workload at a reasonable level.
1. Stave’s have to be concave on the inside. This work can be done on your tablesaw using the ‘cove’ cutting method. Info about this method can be found by searching the net or maybe your old woodworking books. This eliminates the need for the shopmade handplane with the rounded bottom.
2. The dado (groove) which holds the bottom in place can probably be done with a router, but you will need to construct a curved jig for this to match the concave inside shape of the stave’s in order to insure an even depth of cut. You may have a better way I haven’t thought of.
3. The binding lever has to be made as it is necessary to force the rather tight bindings over and around the bucket. I will be providing a plan for this tool, which is very simple and quick to make.
4. the outside of the stave’s have to be shaped convex to match the inside concave shape. A handplane or spoke shave is ideal for this job, but it could also be done with a power sander for example.
ADDITIONAL TOOLS NEEDED BY ALL PARTICIPANTS
You will likely need the following:
1. Flat handplane for the ‘cooper’ angles on the stave’s, alternatively your tablesaw with blade tilted to the correct
2. A handrill, electric or not for the dowel holes
3. Marking pencil to mark out the position of dowels, etc.
4. A compass to draw a circle of the circumference of the bucket and the circumference of the bottom.
5. A ruler to draw radii from the center of the bucket circumference.
There were also some concerns about getting the materials needed for this project. Don’t worry! You can use just about any wood you want. However, in the old days the wood was carefully selected and/or treated to suit their intended purpose. The main criteria were, perhaps in order of importance; availability, wood that would not impart a taste to the contents, easy to work with, long life and low weight to strength ratio.
Actually just about any type of wood is ok if you won’t be consuming any of the contents from the bucket. So just to keep it simple let us just assume here that you won’t be. You can use for example: Pine, fir, oak, alder, beech, elm, ash and, well you get the idea. If you want to drink or eat from it let me know and I will advise you the best choices and/or how to treat easy to get wood to eliminate problems.
PROJECT TIMING FOR EACH STEP
I will set up a fixed amount of time for each step in the tutorial blogs. Many will have time constraints and/or health problems to contend with, so I will try to make a schedule that is roomy for comfort, but short enough to keep things rolling along smoothly. Here is my suggestion for the various steps.
1. Acquire the materials, including for making tools (buy, beg, or steal). – 1 week
2. Make the rounded bottom handplane – 1 week
3. Make the lagging knife and the binding lever – 1 week
4. Cut up the bottom material to final lengths and cut to circumference finish smooth planing and/or sanding. Drill dowel holes and put together with dowels. Cut up the stave material into long lengths and plane the insides concave on the inside. Cut the stave’s into their final lengths and then cut the dado at the bottom of each stave. plane, or saw the ‘cooper’ angles on all the stave’s sides. Mark and drill the dowel holes in the stave’s. Prepare the dowels and and use them to assemble the bucket using a steel band to hold the stave’s in place 1 week
5. Prepare the band for the handle and bend it so it sits inside the assembled bucket. Scrape off the bark on the bindings material, split them into two halves, scrape out the dark pith in the center of each half. cut the hacks in each end of the bindings and make the other necessary cuts. Make extra bindings in case replacements are needed and leave these in water. Install the bands with the binding lever. This takes some patience and time, especially without an experienced instructor. Install the handle – 1 week
6. You may want to decorate the finished bucket with a traditional pattern. I will come with some suggestions for appropriate patterns
Although 5 weeks are set aside this project normally takes about 30 hours or so of actual work.
Each step of the work will be covered by a blog giving material quantities, dimensions, work methods, etc. The above is just to put you in the frame and to get your thoughts on how appropriate the suggested time plan is.
I hate blogs without photos, so I will be posting my own work as we go, plus supplementary drawings where needed covering the how to.
I think it would be best if every participant blogs his own intermediate results and frustrations too if he wishes. Questions for me or the other members could either be postd own on their blog, my blog or by PM. The important thing is that we are in touch with each other the whole time to enjoy the experience together and share concerns, successes and failures. The best way to do that is probably for the participants to buddy-up so that we will get email notifications when posts are made to insure we don’t miss anything. This could best be done as follows:
1. I’ll compile a list of all the known participants and post them. Then it is up to you to buddy up or not.
2. It would help if we use the blog name ’MAKING AN ANCIENT BUCKET- LJ NAME OF BLOGGER’
I hope this rather long and boring blog covers the admin stuff and gives you a rough idea of what’s involved. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on the proposed time-plan or anything else you want to discuss.
I will do my best to make the future blogs more picturesque and less wordy, although I had thought to have a fixed section to add some historical background. That part can be ignored if you are not interested.
Thanks for reading. Now you can go and take a nap.
-- Mike, an American living in Norway.