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Blog entry by stefang posted 03-08-2011 10:30 PM 2846 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi fellow bucket enthusiasts. I finally have something new to show. Today I cut the binding materials and made some bands. The photo below shows the cut materials and some of the buds. This is the most difficult part of the project for me because I’m in unfamiliar territory here. In short, today was learning through minimal instruction and maximum experience. In other words trial and error. today was heavy on the error side. I’ll take you through the step by step with the hope that you will benefit from my experience.

BINDING MATERIAL
Here’s a picture of the branches I cut from the willow tree (or at least a willow cousin anyway). The 2nd picture shows the buds if that’s any help. The last picture shows the pith in the center of each branch.


PREPARING THE BINDINGS

Step 1
The bark and shoots should be removed from the branch. Then it should be split in two. I used a camp knife for this. The idea is to get the knife started and cut down a little and then twist the blade a little to continue the split. I’ve tried this 3 times now without success. The book I have doesn’t give any details or tips on this work. Maybe you will have better luck. The split kept narrowing out to one side until it parted off the main branch. I therefore used the remaining half for each binding. That means I have to use one whole branch for each binding. If you do this correctly you will get two bindings from each branch. I hope you have better luck with this than I did.

The first photo below shows the bark being removed and the 2nd photo the 1/2 branch I’ll be trying to make the band out of.

Step 2 planing the band
Now it’s time to plane away the pith and the wood surrounding it. It should be planed down to an even flat surface as shown in the photo below.

Step 3 Making the band supple (bendable)
The band should now be a pretty even thickness. Don’t make it too thin or it will be weak, but an even thickness will give a good even bend without breakage. DON’T TRY TO BEND IT YET. FIRST YOU NEED TO MAKE IT SUPPLE. The band will be worked on the half round stock shown in photo 1 to make it soft and supple. This is done by pulling the band back and forth around the stock until it is supple. It takes a while. I also found thick spots on the band while doing this, so I stopped to thin it out a little with my knife. You will feel this and see it while you work. It can also be smart to start with short lengths of the band first and then work longer lengths as you go. This work is shown in photo 2 below.

Step 4 Measuring the band

The band is measured directly on the bucket. It is important that the bucket is tightly clamped before the actual measuring. In the photo below you will see that I’ve put the band around the already clamped bucket. One end of the band is clamped to the bucket so you can pull the band tight as possible with one hand and make a mark across both ends where the two ends of the band meet. These marks will be the cut line for the notches that will be carved in each, and which will hold the band together.

I forgot to take photos of the notches, but just as well since I did them a little incorrectly and also it turned out that my band wasn’t quite long enough. I will show this work in the next blog.

Step 4 Making the notches in the band
I did the notches a little backwards and also my band wasn’t quite long enough, but it did work anyway. After cutting the notches I hooked the two ends together. It was too tight to just slip it over and around the bucket, so I used the band lever which was shop made for this project. To my surprise it worked perfectly! I use it to lever the band on and then I used a piece of wood to gently knock it further down. I will be showing the proper way to make the notches in the next blog.

Below are photos showing the band mounted. It is sitting very tight on the bucket. I will have to replace it with a proper one, but I was thrilled with my partial success with this third band after total failure with the first two which broke before I could mark and install them. KEEP TRYING UNTIL YOU SUCCEED. IT’S THE PRICE WE PAY TO LEARN SOMETHING.

I hope you got something useful out of today’s blog. I might have to harvest a few more branches to get 4 good half round bands, but that’s ok by me even though it’s a bit of work to get a band prepared. If anyone has any tips about splitting the willow branches, please share it!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.



14 comments so far

View Dave's profile

Dave

11205 posts in 1587 days


#1 posted 03-09-2011 01:04 AM

Very Nice Mike! If it was willow you could chew the bark and you wouldn’t get a headache. My Mawmaw taught me that when i was little. She was half Cherokee. She taught me many things and would love your bucket. I hope your project has no leaks.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View therookie's profile

therookie

887 posts in 1574 days


#2 posted 03-09-2011 01:16 AM

Thats looking good.

-- http://aewoodworks.webs.com

View mafe's profile

mafe

9670 posts in 1836 days


#3 posted 03-09-2011 01:28 AM

Hi Mike,
It is looking so good!
Now I’m disturbed… I’m not able to work on this for a week, and I can’t wait… Guess I get another important lesson in patience from the master. lol.
Don’t worry, I will have plenty of other stuff in my mind, I am reading the Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and enjoy this book a lot. Also I borrow a series of dvd’s with videos of old Danish crafts that I will bring and watch.
And yes I need time to just smell Paris also. Ohhh yes and a kiss or two for Caroline if I get the time.
I look forward to see how you make these knobs, how you manage this.
Also how you use the lever.
I searched the internet and found nothing of splitting willow…
Best of my thoughts,
Mads
(Ohhh yes I was at the post office…).

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

View stefang's profile

stefang

13633 posts in 2081 days


#4 posted 03-09-2011 10:51 AM

Thanks for the tip Dave. If food prices keep escalating I might have to eat the willow bark for food, so it’s good to know that it also cures headaches,lol. I have in fact heard about that before but I can’t remember where. I love the idea that she might like the bucket. My wife’s aunt in the states was 1/4 cherokee. She was a wonderful person and she was very kind to us when we were young. She grew up in Arkansas and lived to be 100 years old. She also visited us a couple of times years later here in Norway. I have very fond memories of here.

Thanks Adam, I need all the encouragement I can get.

I’m really glad you are taking this time off Mads. It’s so hard to keep up with you. I’ve noticed that as I get older the world spins faster. I have read a few Dostoyevski novels including the idiot, but for some reason I can’t remember it. I do remember it was a little weird. Maybe I didn’t finish that one. Back in 1981 I spent a couple of weeks at the rheumatic hospital in Haugesund and I picked up Tolstoy’s ‘Anna Karenina’ from the hospital library. It was a Norwegian translation and I still wasn’t all that good with the language at that time. On top of that, I wasn’t familiar with the Russian practice of people having all those different pet names for people. I really struggled with that book, but it was one of the best I’ve ever read. Thanks for trying to find something on willow splitting. I’m going to try a little different method today, still using just my knife. I am not going to try to saw it in my bandsaw! Have a good time in Paris and give my best regards to your Caroline.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2908 days


#5 posted 03-09-2011 12:25 PM

View stefang's profile

stefang

13633 posts in 2081 days


#6 posted 03-09-2011 08:14 PM

Thanks so much for this link Debbie. It was very kind of you to take your time to find this info and post it. I did try it out with partial success. I managed to split a branch perfect except the last 10” using the advice in the link. Maybe next time I will get the whole thing done right. What would we do without all the really good people helping us out here on LJ? I just hope I don’t start taking it for granted. You’re a gem.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

2617 posts in 1524 days


#7 posted 03-09-2011 08:24 PM

The bark of white willow is basically asprin. I am looking forward to seeing how you notch the willow. I have seen Shaker boxes and how they band them which is pretty elegant but buckets require more robustness.

MsDebbie – that, is really cool. Thanks—

-- David in Damascus, MD

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2908 days


#8 posted 03-09-2011 09:48 PM

gives me more respect for our ancestors who worked with the willow on a regular basis – the knowing that was in their hands.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

2617 posts in 1524 days


#9 posted 03-09-2011 09:54 PM

The wisdom and knowledge that some of these cultures and peoples across this world had within their midst is awe inspiring. What they did, with what they had, makes it that much more amazing.

Sorry to hijack the topic.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1862 days


#10 posted 03-09-2011 10:55 PM

thank´s for the blog Mike :-)
yes I´m still with you on the sideline
someone has to volunteer to trow in the werd questions …. LOL
and here its coming (after a little headdec from trying to think) and not have seen Msdeppie´s link yet
wuoldn´t it be logic to split from the top to the bottom of the branch
to keep the knife in the mittle of it the hole length
if you start from the bottom and don´t hit the excact mittle you will come
to a point where the knife get to the side before the top is reached
I think I did see that in the vidio on the Nordic Craft Houtje pointed us to

take care
Dennis

View stefang's profile

stefang

13633 posts in 2081 days


#11 posted 03-10-2011 02:14 PM

Thanks for that advice Dennis, I will try it out and let you know how it went. When I finally get it I will be over the moon with happiness.

Dave from Damascus. All comments are welcome and not considered ‘high-jacking’. Thanks for your input.

Debbie The branches I’m using are too thick to split by hand, but the idea of bending the thick side a little to straighten out the split did seem to work, even though it couldn’t be bent over as shown in the link.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2908 days


#12 posted 03-10-2011 02:17 PM

a good tip, then.glad it helped

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

2617 posts in 1524 days


#13 posted 03-10-2011 02:35 PM

Stefang –
I was thinking about this and have an idea – cut the thick end on a bias and put it in luke warm water for a day. It may be that the willow it dry and a little stiff.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View stefang's profile

stefang

13633 posts in 2081 days


#14 posted 03-10-2011 05:22 PM

Thanks David I’ll give it a try.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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