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Blog entry by stefang posted 02-08-2011 08:59 PM 1539 reads 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Another short update.
I finally got my bucket stave’s mounted on the bottom. I still have to round the stave’s on the outside and drill the dowel holes. The joints are mostly tight between the stave’s, but a couple of very small adjustments will finish the job. The black you see between the gaps in the photo below are just pencil marks. I did the edge angles by starting out with an angle that seemed about right and then I adjusted them afterwards, also by eye. All the planing was done freehand on my hand plane mounted in the bench as I showed earlier. This time I got the planned diameter.


My work sequence
I found a great work sequence that saved a little time.

1. First the concave side of each stave was planed.

2.The planed stave was left between the bench dogs after planing, the bottom dado was measured, marked and cut before planing the next stave and so on until all the stave’s were finished (except the rounding on the outside).

3. I marked the same edge angle on all the stave’s (except the last one).

4. The staves were taped together on the outside to hold them together while I placed them on the bottom.

5. I tightened the stave’s with a cord clamp to see how accurate the angles were. About half seemed alright. The others were marked for adjustments using my eye and a ruler to draw the line with. I dismounted the stave’s and replaned the ones needing adjustment. I had to do this 3 times, but it didn’t take long. Now they are almost perfect except a couple that need a small adjustment.

Sorry I didn’t take more pictures, but I was working like mad to get to the point where I left off. Tomorrow I plan to finish up the outside of the staves, make those two small adjustment and drill the dowel holes. Still a bit of work to go before making the handle and the bindings.

Thanks for reading.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

12 comments so far

View patron's profile


13609 posts in 3369 days

#1 posted 02-08-2011 09:33 PM

mike this is a great work you are doing
problems and all
your humility is inspirational

however the old timers did this
you have shown one trait
that stands out


my hat is off to you
(sorry my toupee got stuck to it) lol

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18291 posts in 3704 days

#2 posted 02-08-2011 09:44 PM

Looking great from here Mike!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2885 days

#3 posted 02-08-2011 09:59 PM

Mike, that is coming together really well.

Thanks for sharing all of it.

You could have hid pieces, I’m glad you didn’t.

I’m in the shop again tomorrow (yippee) and I’m hoping to get a start then.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3362 days

#4 posted 02-08-2011 11:00 PM

Thanks for you supportive comments David, Bob and Jamie I do hope it comes out ok. I’m sure mine won’t look nearly as nice as Mad’s (Mafe), but this is not a competition and I hope all the participants do well and also put their own mark on their buckets.

I think we are all learning a few things and learning/practicing our hand skills too. I do hope you will be joining our little group Jamie and of course anyone else who wants to give it a try.

This skill opens the door to a lot of different projects which can be built with this method, and many of them can really be beautiful.

I’m letting all the plane shavings stay where they landed so I can take a photo of them when I’m finished with the hand planing tomorrow. I might be using a spokeshave to do the outside of the stave’s, but I’m not sure yet.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3143 days

#5 posted 02-09-2011 12:07 AM

looking goooood sofare Mike :-)

take care

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3135 days

#6 posted 02-09-2011 12:13 AM

Impressive, Mike. Thank you.

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 3942 days

#7 posted 02-09-2011 03:36 AM

Looks really good Mike. I’m glad you are blazing the trail for slowpokes like me.

One of the things which I may have missed or don’t understand is how the lagging knife is used exactly. I am still planning on skipping that step as I have not seen why I need it yet. A few photos of that if you have any would be appreciated.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2868 days

#8 posted 02-09-2011 03:57 AM

OK I have been out in the back yard digging a hole for my new sistern. [thats what my pawpaw called it] I am in need of a good bucket. Would you know of a good place to find one.

Great progress Mike

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3362 days

#9 posted 02-09-2011 01:17 PM

Thanks for those comments guys. A little clap on the back never hurts.

Steve The picture below somewhat illustrates how the lag knife is used. The handle should actually be a little longer. Mine is 50cm. The lag or dado as we call it is made the following way.


1. Mark the lines with a try square. The bottom line should be at least 1.5cm from the bottom. The width of the lag should of course be the thickness of the bottom. This means that the bottom should be finish planed and of a consistent thickness before you do the dado.

2. Score the dado lines with a sharp knife. First lightly to prevent going outside the lines, then a deep score. I found it is best to slightly angle the edge of the blade away from the center of the dado to insure that the edges of the dado score won’t be wide at the top and narrower on the bottom. you should do the same when you cut with the lag knife. It is irritating to get a dado that fits the bottom at the dado’s upper edge, but is to narrow at the bottom of the dado to push the bucket bottom all the way into it.

3.Hold the lag knife as shown in the illustration and holding the the long handle with one hand near the top and more or less braced against your shoulder. This will maximize the leverage while cutting.

4. Cut both the scored lines straight across as you did when scoring. I found that the tip of the knife does most of the work, so make sure it’s well sharpened.

5. Cut across a couple of times to deepen the cut, then take a sharp chisel of the appropriate width and start removing the waste. I start the cut with the bevel up. It’s best to start the cut a little higher than your cut lines might indicate to avoid breaking off the lower corner under the dado.

6. After getting the cut started, I reverse the chisel to bevel down position and continue cutting right through to the other end. I found the the chisel follows the convex shape of the stave best in the bevel down position. I used my carving mallet to do the chiseling.

7 I found that I had to repeat this routine 3 times to get down to 5mm depth. You don’t have to score with a knife after the first time.

Approximate Time used so far
1. Plane bottom to final thickness and drill dowel holes….......60 min.
2. Plane stave’s convex 4 min. ea. x 12…..............................48
3. Cut dado 3 min. ea. x 12…...............................................36
4. Mark and cut stave edge angles 4 min. ea.x 12…...............48
5. Assembling and reassembling bucket to get angles…..........60

Total time so far, a little less than 4-1/2 hours work plus some some wasted time.

I thought you might be interested to get an idea of how efficient this work is. I’m sure my work pace is really slow compared to an experienced maker of these vessels. It would be interesting to know how many buckets a day were the standard for the ancient professionals.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18291 posts in 3704 days

#10 posted 02-09-2011 08:47 PM

I’m sure they made them a lot faster than we would dream possible. A Continential soldier ws not excused form drill untill he could load and fire his musket 15 times in 3 min 45 sec. That is a shot every 15 seconds!! It would not surprise me if they turned out a bucket every hour.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3117 days

#11 posted 02-09-2011 09:04 PM

Hi Mike,
First of all no this is no competition, and I’m sure my bucket and yours will be perfectly fine how ever they turn out. I guess I also have to learn to shut my mouth, I just get so exited and curious…
I truely am so happy for the efford you have made, it is more than wonderful, thank you.
I don’t understand in the first text you say you need to make the dowel holes? What dowelholes? Are all the safs connected with dowels?
I do hope also the ancien bucket makes was able to be faster than me… I think this bucket would be the most expensive bucket on the planet if it was to be paied by the hour… But this will with no doubt be my favorite bucket for as long as it exist.
So a big hug to you, and thank you!
Best thoughts,

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

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3362 days

#12 posted 02-09-2011 10:29 PM

Mads. My comment about this not being a competition was definitely not directed at anything you have said, so please do not feel bad at all. I was just pointing out to readers that this was cooperation, not competition as I don’t want anyone to misunderstand my motives for wanting to do this project with a group. Some of us are bound to make better and/or better looking buckets than others, but that doesn’t matter to me because I am having fun doing the work and enjoying seeing how others do it. I will be even more happy to see others including yourself to finish the project.

Bob I can assure you that nobody except maybe Superman on a good day could build one of these buckets in one hours.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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