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Blog entry by stefang posted 03-09-2011 10:50 PM 2614 reads 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well it’s time to once again reveal my ignorance about ancient bucket making. Today I went out to the shop armed with some new knowledge about splitting willow branches, thanks to a link on willow splitting posted to me by Debbie.

I managed to almost perfectly split a willow branch with the new found info. If at first you don’t succeed…....... In spite of this new found skill I still had mishaps that prevented me from making a good binding, but…..I did learn how to correctly cut the joints where the bindings hook together. A major learning point and another step towards success and mastering this archaic skill.

Today’s subject is how to cut the band joints. Our forefathers were very clever and cunning in coming up with this joint. Not only does it work well, it is also a little hard to figure out, thereby eliminating competitors. However, having the advantage of various unclear drawings, several failed joints and a lot of luck, I have finally figured out how to do it. Those of you who are more gifted (have brains) won’t have any problems with this joint.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words so the photo below shows the joint on one end. What the photo cannot convey is that the we are looking at the inside of the band. I have thinned out behind the cutout (to the left) and cut a shallow diagonal in toward the hook. The tip of the hook on the edge is slanted slightly towards the cut. It is cut this way in order to retain strength in the band while giving a positive and strong joint. Think of the diagonal cut as thinning the inside of the band from the top inside of the band and down to the bottom of the cut out hook.

The next photo shows both ends of the band each with their own hook, how they will be engaged, and how the ends of the band will be tucked away behind the outside of the band.

Here you see how the hooks go together. The ends beyond the hooks have to be thinned out so they fit snugly behind the main band and are invisible. I found that for me it easy to thin out the ends after hooking them together while the pieces to be thinned are supported by the main band.

This is how they look from the inside with everything in place. the end on left is carved too short. They should both be like the end on the right.

The next picture show what the joint should look like on the outside when finished.

Clear a mud? This is difficult to explain, but if you don’t understand my description please let me know and I will try to come up with a better explanation. I managed to learn this through pictures in my book and some trial and error.

It’s probably a good idea to make a practice band and try making the joints a number of times. Just cut off the failed ones and keep trying until you get it right or run out of band.

Some of you asked to see the band lever being used. the first photo is the bucket with the first band installed. I thought I did it wrong to start with, but it seems really good now. It dried up a bit overnight and shrank, and it is now so tight I can’t move it at all. So I decided to just keep it.

And lastly using the band lever. This worked perfect, How ever the band I’m putting on was already botched at the joint, so this was just to show the lever in action.

I hope the above will

I won’t be in the shop for a day or two, so I will have to continue with the banding as soon as I am able. Meanwhile I hope this will give you enough to think about for now. I am aiming at two bands at the top and two at the bottom.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.



15 comments so far

View MyChipCarving's profile

MyChipCarving

476 posts in 1844 days


#1 posted 03-09-2011 10:59 PM

”Not only does it work well, it is also a little hard to figure out, thereby eliminating competitors.”

I like this line :-) Good one!

-- Marty, https://www.MyChipCarving.com, 866-444-6996

View daltxguy's profile

daltxguy

1373 posts in 2633 days


#2 posted 03-09-2011 11:03 PM

Wow, that’s looking really good Mike! I think you’ve got it!
And now finally we see how the binding lever works, so now I understand where it is important ( and why) to curve the bearing surfaces. If the bottom is not curved, then it is likely to dent the bucket. If the hook is not curved, then it may not grab the hoop securely.

Excellent progress. The picture is worth a thousand words! If they only had digital cameras in 1500, it would be easy :) but now you have it captured for everyone else from this point on…

thus inviting competitors ..and now you have broken the back of the wooden bucket making industry!

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

View Dave's profile

Dave

11194 posts in 1559 days


#3 posted 03-10-2011 05:08 AM

I got it – the rabbit goes in the hole …..... wait, pearl 2 stitch 4….. no, owww just get some duct tape ;)
When the hook is cut right, Mike it looks like a vine that has naturally grown around a tree. I like it, lots. Great work. She is going to hold water. You wait and see.

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

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1835 days


#4 posted 03-10-2011 10:28 AM

that binding lock looks very clever and well made Mike
I even think they have bee used on barrels instead of iron if the barrels ain´t too big
can´t wait to see the water drip from it …. :-)
and if its tight then make one more and the shoulder vice (åg) and send the girl out
to bring the milk home to the house …. LOL

take care
Dennis

View stefang's profile

stefang

13524 posts in 2054 days


#5 posted 03-10-2011 01:43 PM

I appreciate all the positive comments. I just hope you won’t be swearing at me when you actually try it.

I suggest you use a minimum 1” diameter banding on your first bucket. The smaller ones probably look a little better, but the larger size will allow you more room for error without a loss of strength in the joint.

I had intended to harvest some more branches today, but this is what we woke up to.

I used up the larger sized willow branches yesterday due to various errors. Some were incorrectly jointed and too weak, a couple of others broke at offshoot junctions. It takes a lot of work and time to learn something new without proper instruction, but the joy of finally getting it right is all the greater for that. So if you experience some problems, keep at it and you will learn something from each failure until you experience success.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View mafe's profile

mafe

9617 posts in 1809 days


#6 posted 03-10-2011 01:54 PM

Mike you are nothing less than wonderful today!
I think this blog 23 has all the wonders going on! A catch 23? Stop Mads.
So I see the lever in action, and this makes me sure I will reinforce mine a little.
The binding are clever, and I cant wait to get to this. Clever also to wait with final shaping until the knot are made. Mike you are at your best!
Steve I love your ‘if only they had a camera in’ that really made me laugh.
I think today is a day of smiles, perhaps because it is MSDebbie birthday.
If the water runs out we can always put a plastic bag inside and call it invetion!
The best of my thoughts,
Mads

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

View mafe's profile

mafe

9617 posts in 1809 days


#7 posted 03-10-2011 01:58 PM

Mike I only have thinner branches, and nowhere to harvest, so I will have to give it a try when I get back.
Can we get the link you got about splitting?
It looks beautiful there, here it’s spring.
I start to be almost a little spiritual now! MsDebbie in your post, I made a MsDebbie hammer, the smoke, and now her birth day… http://lumberjocks.com/projects/45756
Best thoughts,
Mads

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

View stefang's profile

stefang

13524 posts in 2054 days


#8 posted 03-10-2011 02:20 PM

I love your plastic bag idea Mads and I’m sure I will need it! I off to shop some food so I will be looking at your hammer project a little later.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View stefang's profile

stefang

13524 posts in 2054 days


#9 posted 03-10-2011 06:14 PM

Mads here is the link you asked for about willow splitting that I got from Debbie.

http://www.nativetech.org/willow/wilsplit.htm

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View swirt's profile

swirt

1949 posts in 1691 days


#10 posted 03-10-2011 06:29 PM

Very cool Mike. Thanks for showing this.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View stefang's profile

stefang

13524 posts in 2054 days


#11 posted 03-10-2011 07:14 PM

Thanks Swirt. I just took a look at your home page and I see I have missed all your great posts. I especially liked the folding chisel holder. I’ve been thinking about something better for my carving chisels than the tool roll I now use, and the folding holder would be perfect to just fold near my carving projects. I also liked your very unique mini-lathe. I don’t need one, but I thought it could be quite useful to someone without a lathe. Great for kids too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View daltxguy's profile

daltxguy

1373 posts in 2633 days


#12 posted 03-10-2011 08:54 PM

Here is an excellent demonstration of how to split coppiced hazel for the making of a traditional hurdle ( which were used for fencing stock). The split hazel is used to weave between upright ‘sails’ forming a large flat panel.

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

View stefang's profile

stefang

13524 posts in 2054 days


#13 posted 03-10-2011 09:54 PM

Thanks for the video Steve. I have been using my knife like he did at the start. Maybe I can clamp a sharpened piece of oak in my workbench to complete the split like in the video. My problem with these can of course also be that the limbs I’m trying to split aren’t completely suitable. I will keep trying until I succeed though. I don’t want to lose my ‘Master’ title endowed me by Mads.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roz's profile

Roz

1661 posts in 2506 days


#14 posted 03-14-2011 05:02 AM

The bucket is really looking great. Even though I am not building a bucket with you I have learned a great deal by watching your progress. The video From Steve is great. I saw those in England on several visits but did not know how they were made. I have the Farmers knife but did not know how it was traditionally used…. great stuff!

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View stefang's profile

stefang

13524 posts in 2054 days


#15 posted 03-14-2011 05:39 PM

Yes, that was a great video Terry. I wondered what that knife was called. I was a little surprised he didn’t use a ‘froe’, which is normally used to split spokes from logs, but maybe that has too thick a blade for splitting branches.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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