Today I finished my bucket project. The best part of the project for me has been doing the work, learning some new skills and last but not least enjoying the dialog with the other participants and everyone else who has commented on our progress from the start. I’m also pleased (and relieved) that I made it to the finish line.
We have been working on this project, or class as Debbbie has defined it, for about 3 months. None of us has to my knowledge used an inordinate amount of time on the work, but life has a way of keeping one busy with a lot more than just woodworking!
Just to recap the project, our end goal was to make an ancient bucket. The idea was to make it like they did in the past without metal fasteners or glue. Just a bunch of wooden stave’s all planed by hand and grooved for the bottom. The bucket to be held together with willow branch bindings around it and kept in tension with a (very) special joining method, again with no fasterners.
How I experienced the project. Most of the work was fairly straightforward and the tools worked extremely well. The biggest challenge for me was the willow bindings. I ruined quite a few willow branches, but I stuck with it until I got it right, and now I’m very happy with the result. The bindings are what attracted me to this project to begin with. The idea that such a simple accessible thing can be so useful still amazes me. In the old days, gathering these willow branches and selling them to container makers became a cottage industry that anyone with some extra time could do.
The first thing we had to do was to make the special tools needed to make the bucket with. These tools included a (1) a round bottomed hand plane to round the inside of the staves with, (2) a special long handled knife to cut the the groove in the inside bottom of each stave where the bottom edge would fit into, and lastly (3) a binding lever to help with stretching the willow bands over the outside of the bucket. All three of the finished tools together with the bucket are pictured in the photo below.
Here are some photos with a close-up of the finished bucket including the handle pins and attachment bolts which are made out of birch and hand carved.
The water test Although this bucket was intended to be used only for decoration, I was interested in finding out if the bucket would leak. So here are some photos of the test with a caption for each one.
Filling with water.
Good news, only leaking out from the bottom.
Refilled the bucket after some initial swelling (10 min.) and moved to a new location for a timed test.
After 30 minutes still about 1-1/2” of water left. I’m pretty happy with the result. The book I have on the subject indicates that these were never 100% water tight. This bucket could be useful for carrying water.
Now a series of photos showing the outsides just to show that there was no leakage whatsoever between the stave’s on the outside.
And finally the last photo after the transfer of ownership to my wife.
What next? Thanks to Mads slowing down to allow me to finish first, the other participants are still working on their buckets. I am hoping to see them blog their progress and completion too. It would also be nice if we could gather photos of all the participants in one blog if possible. So the class is not over until everyone is done. Then I will write a final blog at that time.
For anyone interested in how the tools and bucket were made, you can refer to all the blogs in this series. A list of these can be found on my home page under ‘Blogs’. I will try to also summarize the other participants blogs on the project in my final blog so you can also see how the others approached the project. Everyone is doing this work a little differently, so it should be interesting to see.
Meanwhile thanks for following with and I’m glad to answer any questions you might have.
-- Mike, an American living in Norway.