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  • PNW style art/carving folded wood box

    after a wonderfully helpful and enlightening discussion with RV about adzes that lead to a more PNW style tool(s) and then native style of art, I went looking for more local PNW tools and art forms and found this old video https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wMWIcxkTMu8
    my wife had bought me a smaller similar version of one of these boxes years ago on an excursion out west. It has inspired much of my desire to try to build such things

  • #2
    Congratulations on finding Mungo Martin's old movie! What floored me was how he tunes up his knife with a rock and a bucket of water.
    Note also that in splitting out the plank (and carving also), they work from top down to avoid run-out splits. Sometimes hard to figure out.
    I think that was Henry Hunt that helped him with the log.
    Somewhere, I have drawings of 10+ different cross sections of corner kerf carvings. I will look for them.
    There are some good big boxes in the UBC/MOA that you can sit and study.
    Also, the steam bending doesn't work well in wood that has been sawn up, anglo style. Split wood (tangential) for planks is easiest.
    Make it maybe 2" thick and thin just the corners to leave you with lots of side wood for carvings.

    Haida cooked in those boxes, they can be made waterproof and for use to store oolican oil.
    Get on with it. The corners are nice things to carve. Cannot be done without a crooked knife.

    A slightly different search term is to look for "kerf-bent boxes." Some people are really fussy.
    We all just call them "bent-wood boxes."
    Brian T

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    • #3
      That was interesting to watch, Thanks for posting.

      Tom
      If I took the time to fix all my mistakes, I wouldn,t have time to make new ones.

      www.spokanecarvers.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the interesting post
        . . .JoeB

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        • #5
          Fascinating video and I was educated on some things I didn't know. Certainly excellent craftsmanship in the "old" way...thanks for the posting!
          Bill
          Living among knives and fire.

          http://www.westernwoodartist.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Robson Valley View Post
            Congratulations on finding Mungo Martin's old movie! What floored me was how he tunes up his knife with a rock and a bucket of water.
            Note also that in splitting out the plank (and carving also), they work from top down to avoid run-out splits. Sometimes hard to figure out.
            I think that was Henry Hunt that helped him with the log.
            Somewhere, I have drawings of 10+ different cross sections of corner kerf carvings. I will look for them.
            There are some good big boxes in the UBC/MOA that you can sit and study.
            Also, the steam bending doesn't work well in wood that has been sawn up, anglo style. Split wood (tangential) for planks is easiest.
            Make it maybe 2" thick and thin just the corners to leave you with lots of side wood for carvings.

            Haida cooked in those boxes, they can be made waterproof and for use to store oolican oil.
            Get on with it. The corners are nice things to carve. Cannot be done without a crooked knife.

            A slightly different search term is to look for "kerf-bent boxes." Some people are really fussy.
            We all just call them "bent-wood boxes."
            I enjoy older made institutional videos, they took their time to explain things and probably show details that we would have to miss today, they could do this before every one had a few mins of attention span.

            I couldnt the sharping on a stone aswel. I remember trying to sharpen a knife my grandfather gave me when I was in my single digits on a stone in the yard like I seen a cowboy sharpen his knife in a movie. I miserably wrecked my edge which some how my grandfather fixed on his bench top grinder. That looked easy I thought, so a week later I tried sharpening it on the grinder only to snap the blade, fortunately I only cut myself in the process and didn’t lose a eye or body part. I remember hiding my hand at dinner hoping to avoid detection. My father must have seen the mess I made or the trail of blood(that was my tale sign) so when I denied that I used something I knew I should’ve stayed away from, I knew I was busted when he said “oh really” . To this day I still don’t like high speed bench grinders. Any ways I don’t understand how Martin was able to get a blade carving sharp on that stone, talk about losing material on an extremely rare resource.

            This is the box my wife got me, B448293F-FEF6-46B5-B953-7A6A41CE9705.jpeg I thought it would be cool to make up an urn for my father in law this fall after he passed but my wife brother had bought one. I think I will make one up and give it to my mother inlaw the next time I see her and tell her to try it on

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for posting the video. Fascinating to watch him...

              Claude
              My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudesWoodCarving/

              My Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/cfreaner/

              My ETSY Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

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              • #8
                Yes sir, I remember "Mom-in-a-drum." Very compact she was.

                That is one cool box. When you lift the lid, can you see the geometry of the corners? The 4th corner = sewn with spruce root?
                I have yellow cedar, all set to go. All I lack is ambition! I can cut an undershot corner, 6" long, in about 20 minutes.
                My steam bending skills are terrible.

                The Haida used 2 criss-cross diagonal corner sticks to make the boxes square. Not exactly primitive to my way of thinking.

                I'm pretty sure that I know what Mungo was doing to sharpen his knife. Very light pull strokes with lots of water for swarf.
                The tricky part is to sustain a very shallow bevel angle for carving such soft wood (western red cedar).
                I've learned by practice to do that over my knee. It's quick.

                The hardest, fine grained rocks will be those tumbled in our rivers. All other softer rocks have been pulverized.
                I'm still looking for the long oval shape. I have a few but the grit can't be 600. Might as well try them = test on an old farrier's knife, I have lots of those.
                So I get one shot to look for rocks before the big melt up top then we have high water until maybe September.
                I can stay on the glacial outwash flats and hunt with a rake.

                I've got enough stone piled up in the back yard, I suppose that I could make a "fake river stone."
                Just cut, shape and grind a gigantic slip stone.
                Brian T

                Comment


                • #9
                  Very interesting video!
                  Arthur

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I found my file folder of old information on kerf-bent boxes. Probably 6-10 different corner designs.
                    I don't know how culturally distinct the corners are. I'd pick one and get really good at it.
                    Picture of a 12 sided box, steamed from one plank. They could bevel the joints to make a box fit into the bow of a canoe.

                    Mungo Martin (in that movie), Henry Hunt and Charles Edenshaw did as much or more that anyone to prevent the entire loss of the
                    First Nations culture of art and carvings, all up and down the west coast.
                    Brian T

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Robson Valley View Post
                      Yes sir, I remember "Mom-in-a-drum." Very compact she was.

                      That is one cool box. When you lift the lid, can you see the geometry of the corners? The 4th corner = sewn with spruce root?
                      I have yellow cedar, all set to go. All I lack is ambition! I can cut an undershot corner, 6" long, in about 20 minutes.
                      My steam bending skills are terrible.

                      The Haida used 2 criss-cross diagonal corner sticks to make the boxes square. Not exactly primitive to my way of thinking.

                      I'm pretty sure that I know what Mungo was doing to sharpen his knife. Very light pull strokes with lots of water for swarf.
                      The tricky part is to sustain a very shallow bevel angle for carving such soft wood (western red cedar).
                      I've learned by practice to do that over my knee. It's quick.

                      The hardest, fine grained rocks will be those tumbled in our rivers. All other softer rocks have been pulverized.
                      I'm still looking for the long oval shape. I have a few but the grit can't be 600. Might as well try them = test on an old farrier's knife, I have lots of those.
                      So I get one shot to look for rocks before the big melt up top then we have high water until maybe September.
                      I can stay on the glacial outwash flats and hunt with a rake.

                      I've got enough stone piled up in the back yard, I suppose that I could make a "fake river stone."
                      Just cut, shape and grind a gigantic slip stone.
                      Brian I’m definitely jealous of the amount of natural resources(cedar, we only have some white cedar in Maine none here in NH. We have white pine, popler, bass wood(never carved it) and hemlock for easier carving woods) none of our natural species are really weather resident like cedar except getting into the hard woods like red oak and locust(impossible to carve, it’s basically like a hard tropical wood). Plus you’ve got some great preserved native culture and art, we did too I guess but they were whipped out so fast that they didn’t get a chance to study and preserve some of it.

                      Or river rocks arnt aren’t as smooth as the rocks that are found on the rocky coast of Maine. New Hampshire has a large variety of different minerals even if it’s in small amounts. My father in laws is a biologist and his hobbies are tree coring and collecting rocks. He’s pretty good at identifying them, his father inlaw was a geology that worked for the government looking mostly for uranium all over the earth after WW2. What an amazing life that guy lived! He spend a long time living in interior BC and Alaska as well as South America. He was a commercial plane pilotel then a fighter pilot in WW2 and then would fly a bush plan into some where into Alaska or BC for 6-8 months. He’d land and get air drops of food and supplies. Three of his girls were born in Ecuador before he moved to NH to map the minerals. Lots of radioactive rocks over here. We both have found some great rocks. If I’m not well enough to ride bikes this summer that’s what I’ll probably do to get out, though it’s pretty tuff running up the mountains with a 10 lb sledge hammer.

                      Ive steamed some wood to bend some window trim with my dad. It was no where as complex as the kerf boxes, you should post any info that you have. My dad said his father used to build furniture and wood bend a lot of pieces. I think he told me that bending the wood before it was fully dried. He also told me they would only steam the area that they would be bending so it wouldn’t distort the rest of the wood and the flats would be more stable? I wish I could have worked with my grandfather, he stoped in the US from Latvia on the way to Australia after WW2, my dad was 5 I think and he kind of remembers being on the boat for a week from England. My grand father got a job building spec houses in around Boston MAss with no power tools, (he died with only two power tools a 3/8 Milwaukee drill and a craftsman circular saw) he would build all the cabinets and built ins as well as the furniture. After he got hired at the Deccanis hospital in the cabinet shop so he bought a house and never made it down under. I wish i had had more of his tools, even though he didn’t have much. Those old timers like many on this forum are built much better than future generations, both physically in mentally. It said that I can’t hire anyone that’s my age or younger. Only ones that have forked out that are younger are not from this country. (Sorry for getting off topic

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Some more direction on tools

                        http://www.speakingcedar.com/in-depth-tools.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I grew up believing that all Pacific Northwest carvers made their own carving tools = adzes, straight knife and crooked knives.
                          To some extent they still do. This link is the best that I've ever seen for making tools. Bar none.
                          Right down to the whipping to haft blades.

                          I've learned that a farrier's crooked hoof-trimming knife can be a shortcut when you don't want to forge your own.
                          You see what the PacNW crooked knife is supposed to look like to carve properly.
                          You see what the farrier's hoof trimming knife is like. Let's face it = what's the farrier carving?
                          There aren't too many changes to make and a forge is not needed at all.

                          Unless you do monumental sculptures and poles, I don't believe you need a special texturing adze.
                          It takes many, many hours to learn to strike evenly for that. The Kestrel Baby Sitka and the Kestrel D adze will cut for texture.
                          Brian T

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Robson Valley View Post
                            I grew up believing that all Pacific Northwest carvers made their own carving tools = adzes, straight knife and crooked knives.
                            To some extent they still do. This link is the best that I've ever seen for making tools. Bar none.
                            Right down to the whipping to haft blades.

                            I've learned that a farrier's crooked hoof-trimming knife can be a shortcut when you don't want to forge your own.
                            You see what the PacNW crooked knife is supposed to look like to carve properly.
                            You see what the farrier's hoof trimming knife is like. Let's face it = what's the farrier carving?
                            There aren't too many changes to make and a forge is not needed at all.

                            Unless you do monumental sculptures and poles, I don't believe you need a special texturing adze.
                            It takes many, many hours to learn to strike evenly for that. The Kestrel Baby Sitka and the Kestrel D adze will cut for texture.
                            It’s funny Brian, in my mind it would be easier to make an adze over a round crooked knife. Mostly because I do like a double edge crooked knife. But I do see the ease of just using a ferrier knife and slowly modifying it to retain the temper. But I see why making one would be more cost effective considering what makers like kestrel are charging for a crooked knife $100 :0 I’ll have to look at your pictures of your knifes you made again, I forgot what side the bevel is on, I’m guessing it’s on the inside if their ferrier knifes. I like the idea of an interior bevel but find having one on the outside has less chatters on tight turns in a bowl or spoon and over all has a less aggressive cut. I see a lot of elbow adzes don’t have the top curve that the Eastern European adzes have which seems to make them less affect in a bowl wall?

                            Ive made skew chisels, and regular chisels from files like most here probably have as well as gouges from spade drill bits, they also make great shaped skews that I use a lot to ruff in my trees I carve. I actually found an ferrier knife I tried modifying a long time ago, but I think I messed up the temper by the color of the tip.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Starting from repurposed metals, sure, I'll agree that making an adze from a truck leaf spring blade will be easier than building a crooked knife.
                              I forged a crooked knife blade from 1/4" copper rod. For what I got, it was an enormous amount of hammering.
                              I don't want to be a bladesmith so I buy blades even when the price makes my eyes water.

                              That explains the popularity of farrier's hoof trimming knives. They are nearly the right shape. They come in right-hand and left-hand model pairs.
                              You can sit there and carve with a knife in each hand! That way, you can push on the spine of the blade for control.

                              You don't have to buy new ones. Find a farrier and ask for their junk.
                              You get a scorp tip. You can cut that with a Dremel to any point shape that you like. The factory handles are OK until you decide what you want to do.
                              You can buy 2-edged farrier's knives (Ukal Supervet and Mora/Frost #188). My planer knives were #188 blades.
                              Go slow and gently in cutting. Change the color and you cooked it.

                              New farrier's knives here, cost $35.00 - $55.00 each. I'm giving the local farrier $5.00 each for his junk and I pick out 5-6 at a time from his junk box.
                              He's right-handed so that's all he's got. I have never tried to grind a LH bevel on one of his blades. I should, just for the experience.

                              Adzes are used in the Pacific Northwest for much more carving than the single-minded pursuit of a bowl.
                              I don't want a specially purposed bowl adze. I don't need one.
                              Aside from texturing, it's hard to imagine an adze as any kind of a finishing tool for carving.

                              Handle sizes: This is a matter which affects all knives and the adzes. Another whole area of exploration all by itself.
                              I have no plans to buy size 9 shoes for my size 12 feet.
                              Western red cedar is so soft and easy to carve that I could make handle prototypes in a matter of minutes.
                              Then came the knife handles that you see, the ones made from rosewood and mahogany.
                              I shaved them down with a Stanley $#5 plane to arrive at "my size".
                              That led to realizing that the adze handles had to be the same size for my hands. I was right.
                              A square blank, 7/8" in the hand area is the size I need to round off for me.

                              The boat-tail handle shape was another design element to explore.

                              Of course, because of all the blade sweeps, I had to relearn freehand sharpening, doing everything in reverse.
                              If I can do it, anyone can. $5.00 fine for whining.
                              Brian T

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