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INTERESTED IN LEARNING HOW TO MAKE ANCIENT STYLE STAVE BUCKET?

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Blog entry by stefang posted 06-03-2016 02:19 PM 1160 reads 0 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ancient History
A few years ago I posted a blog on making an ancient style stave bucket using only hand tools. Unfortunately, while I was cleaning up my Photobucket albums I accidentally deleted all the photos from the blog and I also lost them on my computer’s gallery earlier when my computer crashed. All I have left are more recent photos of the finished product. When the photos were deleted from Photobucket they also disappeared from the blog. Thankfully we can now post our photos directly from our computer’s photo galleries. This will ensure that they stay put even if deleted from the computer.

These buckets like the one above are not glued. The loose staves are held together with bands made from willow tree branches (or numerous other types of trees). There are also other types of bands that can be made from wood strips. These are not held with any fasteners, only opposing hidden notches. I tested this bucket and it does hold water. the wood swells a bit and expands the staves to make it water tight, although as you can see, my wife had other ideas about it’s use!

If enough folks are interested and would like to participate
I’m now thinking about posting a new and I hope better blog on how to make these and I’m wondering if any of you might be interested in learning these techniques and also how to make some simple shop made tools that are needed.

Background
Buckets with this type of construction have been found near were I live on the south west coast of Norway that are 2,000 years old. However, the alternative methods and hand tools used have changed somewhat over time, but not really all that much. I chose to make mine with hand tools generally used during the 1800’s, even though earlier methods and tools were still being used even then.

Wide range of possibilities
I particularly like the Norwegian style buckets because they are thin walled and more elegant looking than others I have seen from other countries. I also like that there are no nails involved. Also a wide range of containers can be made using the same techniques and tools including oval shaped containers, wooden canteens, butter churns, beer mugs, teapots, etc.

The hand tools
Picture below are 3 tools; a shoulder knife for cutting the bottom datos, a round bottom handplane to hollow out the staves inside, and a lever to force the bands onto the bucket. Strictly speaking, the only really necessary tool is the last one for the bands. The other work can be done with modern methods and/or other hand tools if one wishes.

Please let me know if you would like to participate. It would be nice if others would build this along with me and blog their progress. I did this with Mafe with the first blog and we had a lot of fun. His bucket was styled a little differently than mine, so we both wound up with similar but still unique projects. If you don’t want to bother making all the tools I will show you how to do the work with a regular handplane and the tablesaw, a knife and a chisel. You will need the band lever though, which is cut out from a flat board with a bandsaw or scrollsaw.

Thanks for reading.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.



24 comments so far

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3962 posts in 2626 days


#1 posted 06-03-2016 02:42 PM

Mike

I am interested, but would have to use mostly power tools. We talked about this before, I believe.

As I sit here typing, I note my wrists bothering me. I am building a raised vegetable bed for Sherie, so it is probably the culprit. She just got back from babysitting my youngest grandson in Omaha, so now there should be fewer chores. That may spare my wrists a little. They are the weakest part of my upper appendages.

If you pace a little slow…...I would have a better chance of keeping up. I would probably make the hand tools anyway just for the fun of it.

This is very gracious of you Mike. We all appreciate your blogs.

OK, count me in…........I’ll give it a whirl.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2795 days


#2 posted 06-03-2016 03:01 PM

Great Jim! I will try to take it slow enough to give the participants time to make the tools and get their materials together. I will show the power tool methods and even alternative hand tools.

This method of construction among us English speaking folks is known as ‘white coopering’ in case you want to see some youtube videos on the subject. The methods I use are different and I think easier.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3962 posts in 2626 days


#3 posted 06-03-2016 03:11 PM

Thanks Mike. This should be a good way to get me off in a different direction in the shop. I better get down there and finish the cedar raised bed so we can get some special plants in it. Located in the hottest spot in the back yard, it will be the place where Sherie can play with tomatoes and corn. These are marginal crops in Alaska in the outdoors. The valley north of us, and even Fairbanks, have hotter weather in the summer, and can actually grow more things than Anchorage.

I’ll be watching…........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

3657 posts in 1727 days


#4 posted 06-03-2016 04:00 PM

Count me in! When last in Europe I was shown several coppered type items used for decoration purposes. I took measurements and photos in hopes of copying them. I’m sure you will make the effort much easier.

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

651 posts in 402 days


#5 posted 06-03-2016 04:11 PM

Mike, when do you plan on commencing? I’m trying to finish up my pergola and would like to see if I can follow along when you start.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn :)

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2795 days


#6 posted 06-03-2016 06:26 PM

Welcome aboard Bob and Bill. It may be a little while depending on the weather. It’s not often that we get a good summer here in Norway and I want to be outdoors as much as possible, but I will probably start in July when it usually rains a lot (of course that’s when most folks take their vacations here!).

Meanwhile, if you have the opportunity, you might want to gather some willow branches that are around 1/2” in diameter and about 1 yard long, to be used as bands. You can also use alder or even pine branches if you can’t get hold of willow. The bucket will have 4 bands which can be made from 2 branches split in two if you’re lucky, but take my word for it that you will probably need a lot more to learn how to cut the necessary joinery, I sure did. Good thing they are free.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

651 posts in 402 days


#7 posted 06-03-2016 06:53 PM

Thanks Mike. I should be done with my pergola by then. If not, I should turn in my tools LOL

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn :)

View Druid's profile

Druid

1299 posts in 2256 days


#8 posted 06-03-2016 07:48 PM

Hi Mike, not sure if I’ll be needing a bucket of this type around the house, but I am interested in learning traditional methods such as this. Please let me know when you are starting.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2795 days


#9 posted 06-03-2016 07:58 PM

John Probably in the beginning of July.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

5219 posts in 1504 days


#10 posted 06-03-2016 10:56 PM

Hi Mike. I won’t be building a bucket at this time, but will follow along when you start. I do think they are really cool so on the list it goes.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

3392 posts in 1665 days


#11 posted 06-03-2016 11:01 PM

Hello Mike, initally I thought I might have a observation interest only, however after browsing through your and Mafe’s efforts in producing these buckets for the last hour I am now of a different opinion.

Also the picture you posted of the flowers in the one you made gave me cause to reconsider as it would make a nice little portable herb plot.

I am not sure of its life expectency here in QLD though as I was looking at my “mower shed” I built in Dec 2013 and I see rot setting in on the roof, not entirely unexpected as it was just humble pallet timber recycled anyway.

A note on your previous bucket blog work:
I did notice however that most of the text is still present on the bucket blogs, and a indication that there was a photo “missing” it made me wonder if the website has a backup system and the missing information could be recovered, as there appears to be quite a lot of work effort expended by yourself in producing the series. Reinforced by Mads work as well!

-- Regards Robert

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

3392 posts in 1665 days


#12 posted 06-04-2016 12:23 AM

Me again! (you cannot edit comments after 60 mins)
After some more research on the subject matter I see your existing blog from 2011 had 4679 views and another 3412.
Wow thats an impressive amount of interest!

The missing photos: At the time they may have been just linked as opposed to being embedded, so possibly lost forever!
The website administrators will know the answer.

-- Regards Robert

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2795 days


#13 posted 06-04-2016 08:37 AM

Yes Robert, the photos were linked from Photobucket as we were unable to post photos directly from our computers on LJ at that time.

These buckets should last a long time outside if made with white oak or cedar and it will last forever if kept indoors as I have done. It’s a great conversation piece with the loose staves and tree branch bindings. I will be making mine from nicely planed and dimensioned pine that is knot free (knot free is important regardless of wood type). If you plan to use it as a planter then an inside plastic or felt liner might be a good idea.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

922 posts in 1773 days


#14 posted 06-04-2016 08:40 AM

Hi Mike
I’d like to follow this. What do you prefer to use for the staves? Will a “round” moulding plane be able to handle the inside curves?
Jim

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2795 days


#15 posted 06-04-2016 11:28 AM

Hi Jim
I prefer to use pine because it’s soft and easy to work and I don’t plan to store any foodstuffs, or any drinkable liquids in it, since pine leaves a flavor as many other woods do, although pine can be ‘cooked’ to get the sap out if it is to be used for food or drink. I imagine most folks would just want to use their finished bucket as a conversation piece/ decorative item, or perhaps a planter or dry flower container as my wife has done. Traditionally, in the U.S. many of these buckets were made cedar, but the Norwegian ones for outdoor use were mostly made from pine, which they had a lot of available. You can also use fir if you want which does not leave any taste. Regardless it has to be knot free. Fir isn’t too good if you plan to keep it outside though.

If your rounded molding plane can cut a 2-1/2” wide cove, then it should work fine, but the narrower the blade is the more work it will be. You can also also cove the staves with your tablesaw, but it is a bit messy and noisy. I am assuming some folks will want to use their machines, and that’s ok, but then they will not experience the joy of quiet handworking. Another option is an inshave if you happen to have one of those or if you don’t mind buying one.

The inshave can be used with the stave held in a bar clamp fixed in your bench vise if you don’t have a shaving horse, or between your bench dogs.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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