Birch burls waiting in the wings.

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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
There are maybe 6-8 different kinds of totem poles here in the Pacific Northwest. Among the First Nations, true totems are family heritage, that house pole says who you are, your ancestors and where you're from. Interior house posts, mortuary poles, welcome figures and so on. I don't carve those as I am not entitled to use the totems.

Anybody can carve story poles. Maybe they are reminders, maybe like mine, they are illustrated lessons for little kids to learn.

I can buy beautiful split 5" x 5" x 64" western red cedar posts from a local mill.
Then I picked out 2 of them and used adzes and a draw knife to round them off.
I made birch bark templates of the different sized caterpillars and did the drawings.
I used a RotoZip (18,000rpm?) to outline the body forms.
>>> in the midst of all this, my health failed badly. I claim that I'll be 2 years old on August 21 after some dramatic internal repairs. I do have after-market parts now.
So the greatest possible news is that I'm happy to be back at it again. Slow, but I'm in the shop and that's what counts. Not just because it was 111F yesterday and 72 in the shop, either. Melt your eyebrows but dry heat.

This is the frog pole in a carving bench. I can raise and lower the carving that stands on a movable shelf: Top frog was yet to be finished.
 

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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,289
2,087
McBride, BC
Hope that this isn't too scrambled. I have no common sense when it comes to filing pictures and I've been out of the game for a couple of years.
I think this will be the caterpillars started. I have not yet planned all the egg things for the bottom of the pole. Butterfly body is sort of roughed out. No process pictures for a very long time.
 

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quietone

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May 29, 2011
789
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Wales
Sorry to hear about your health. Glad you're on the mend. That's awesome RV. An interesting and useful carving for all to appreciate. Love the idea of an informative story of nature for children to grasp. The bench is inspiring for me. I keep telling myself that I need to fashion one. It would make carving a lot easier for me. Have been grasping the burl between leather protected knees in order to use both hands on the tool. Smoothed the outside earlier and rubbed on a little food grade walnut oil to see the grain pop out. Never fails to make me smile.
 

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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,289
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McBride, BC
Thanks. That kuksa is going to be gallery grade. AND, I can dismiss the notion of needing a stereotypical handle. Coffee in the big part, Gran Marnier in the little part and tip it over, so very carefully. The carving woods we have here are as dull as dirt.

I like story poles. There's no cultural misappropriation from here and the pole might describe an epic family adventure. There's a new (10 yrs) story pole in Jasper National Park just east of my place. The story of 2 brothers. Carved by the Edenshaw boys and some apprentices. I can never remember the whole story. It's in the JNP website, somewhere. I see a problem as the pole has to face north so all the carvings are in shade all the time. Kind of dull.

Anybody wants to do story poles and crib my ideas, go right ahead. Some parts are as much fun as watching paint dry. My poles are unlike others as I have carved in the round, all sides. Most other poles are carved to be seen from one side only.

I had to go out this afternoon. Fluck, anyway! 101F outside my front door. Went down only to 70F last night. The mountain ranges are only 3-5 miles from my house, we can watch the snow-pack melting from day to day. That makes for 40F water in my kitchen. Should taste pretty good from that kuksa.
 

quietone

Full Member
May 29, 2011
789
42
Wales
Thanks. That kuksa is going to be gallery grade. AND, I can dismiss the notion of needing a stereotypical handle. Coffee in the big part, Gran Marnier in the little part and tip it over, so very carefully. The carving woods we have here are as dull as dirt.

I like story poles. There's no cultural misappropriation from here and the pole might describe an epic family adventure. There's a new (10 yrs) story pole in Jasper National Park just east of my place. The story of 2 brothers. Carved by the Edenshaw boys and some apprentices. I can never remember the whole story. It's in the JNP website, somewhere. I see a problem as the pole has to face north so all the carvings are in shade all the time. Kind of dull.

Anybody wants to do story poles and crib my ideas, go right ahead. Some parts are as much fun as watching paint dry. My poles are unlike others as I have carved in the round, all sides. Most other poles are carved to be seen from one side only.

I had to go out this afternoon. Fluck, anyway! 101F outside my front door. Went down only to 70F last night. The mountain ranges are only 3-5 miles from my house, we can watch the snow-pack melting from day to day. That makes for 40F water in my kitchen. Should taste pretty good from that kuksa.
I feel for you in that heat. I get grotty when the temps get like that. Must be hard for you guys over there not used to the heat. I think I'll extend the natural sipping edge around the cup, for convenience to the drinker. Also thinking about attaching a leather cord somwhere on it. Possible on the base. It will not sit level on a flat surface anyway.
 
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bobnewboy

Native
Jul 2, 2014
1,077
551
North West Somerset
I feel for you in that heat. I get grotty when the temps get like that. Must be hard for you guys over there not used to the heat. I think I'll extend the natural sipping edge around the cup, for convenience to the drinker. Also thinking about attaching a leather cord somwhere on it. Possible on the base. It will not sit level on a flat surface anyway.
If you can attach a leather cord or thong, you could make a belt toggle to go on the free end of the cord, like the Canadian Voyageurs did for their cups/noggins. It might be possible to make the toggle a suitable shape to set under your cup, so it sits up on a flat surface. For example, if the cup was spherical or evenly round, you could make a circular ring out of some similar equally lovely wood for the cup to sit in/upon. When the cup isn’t in use, the toggle is passed up between your belt and trousers and flopped over the belt. The belt tension keeps the cup hanging from the cord and the toggle keeps it there :)
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,289
2,087
McBride, BC
Bring your kuksa. Today is grocery shopping day so there should be a wide variety of drinks. Drink Canada Dry, as we say (that's a common drink brand).

Question: How thick is the kuksa? Any traditional number?

The Fraser River is flooding, people moving livestock to higher ground. Hot nights up top and the snow pack is melting 1m/24 hrs in some places. All rock of course so nothing soaks in, it's all run-off.

We might see daytime highs back down in the 20's in a week. It's the hot nights that I find uncomfortable. I'm hoping that this heat breaks with one hell of a wild thunderstorm. Rare thing, here.
 

quietone

Full Member
May 29, 2011
789
42
Wales
If you can attach a leather cord or thong, you could make a belt toggle to go on the free end of the cord, like the Canadian Voyageurs did for their cups/noggins. It might be possible to make the toggle a suitable shape to set under your cup, so it sits up on a flat surface. For example, if the cup was spherical or evenly round, you could make a circular ring out of some similar equally lovely wood for the cup to sit in/upon. When the cup isn’t in use, the toggle is passed up between your belt and trousers and flopped over the belt. The belt tension keeps the cup hanging from the cord and the toggle keeps it there :)
That is an excellent suggestion. Thank you.
 

quietone

Full Member
May 29, 2011
789
42
Wales
Bring your kuksa. Today is grocery shopping day so there should be a wide variety of drinks. Drink Canada Dry, as we say (that's a common drink brand).

Question: How thick is the kuksa? Any traditional number?

The Fraser River is flooding, people moving livestock to higher ground. Hot nights up top and the snow pack is melting 1m/24 hrs in some places. All rock of course so nothing soaks in, it's all run-off.

We might see daytime highs back down in the 20's in a week. It's the hot nights that I find uncomfortable. I'm hoping that this heat breaks with one hell of a wild thunderstorm. Rare thing, here.
The walls vary in thickness. Currently all areas under 8mm roughly. There is still thinning to do. But have to be careful not to take too much off in some areas. Think I'll have a crack at carving a birch leaf toggle and maybe shape it to allow the cup to sit level. A suggestion gratefully received.
 
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quietone

Full Member
May 29, 2011
789
42
Wales
So it didn't didn't take long to realise that the chaotic shape of the burl will not sit safely, while using a birch leaf as a crutch. So I'm thinking maybe a curled leaf shape would maybe do the trick. Or am I just complicating things? Surely the user would like to be able to set it down, and not worry about the contents? I'll make one, and see what transpires. At the least, it can be a toggle.
 

bobnewboy

Native
Jul 2, 2014
1,077
551
North West Somerset
So it didn't didn't take long to realise that the chaotic shape of the burl will not sit safely, while using a birch leaf as a crutch. So I'm thinking maybe a curled leaf shape would maybe do the trick. Or am I just complicating things? Surely the user would like to be able to set it down, and not worry about the contents? I'll make one, and see what transpires. At the least, it can be a toggle.
I didn’t say it would be easy :) :)

However, for a stable contact, the leaf and cup only need to touch at three points - perhaps three of the bumpy projections of the burl at reasonable spacing. Once you have decided upon those three points, any other point of contact becomes superfluous. In order to use the same three points over and over, without too much fuss, you need to make the leaf match up with a notable point (projection of the drinking edge?) on the cup, as an indicator for use. So, for example, the leaf base/toggle shape could mirror the overall shape of the cup, and then you’d know that when they are aligned, the cup should sit upon the leaf in a stable manner.
 
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quietone

Full Member
May 29, 2011
789
42
Wales
Hey chaps. Not been able to do any carving or related due to other commitments. So I've decided to leave the latest one 'as is' I'll not attempt to try and fashion a way to lay it safely with a beverage inside. It's usable as it is. So if anyone would like to have it, free of charge, just reply to this post. Its had a light coating of food grade wallnut oil to the exterior. So not suitable for nut allergists. I can post foc to mainland uk only, sorry.
 

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