When I have demonstrated at festivals, I have noticed several different types of reactions and comments among observers. By far, the most common reaction is sincere interest and curiosity that elicits good questions from open minds and enjoyable conversation. However, a few scoff openly with suggestions of chainsaws and routers. Others view it as an exercise in extreme patience or penance. These look upon me either in odd wonder as they might view a disciplined monk, or with pity as upon a kind of Sisyphus charged with an endless task. Still others simply think it’s quaint.
They misunderstand. They look upon the great mass of wood to be removed as the main challenge of carving a bowl. In reality, the bulk of the material is removed relatively quickly. I spend much more time on subtle refinements of form and surface, as well as on design. I probably spend no more than ten percent of my time removing ninety percent of the material, and the other ninety percent of my time on the final ten percent. The folks that watch long enough, develop an appreciation for what an adze can do. It ain’t quaint. It is both powerful and sensitive. When it comes to hollowing bowls, chainsaws and routers lie awake at night wishing they were adzes.
I shot some video while I hollowed this white 0ak bowl. Lot’s of talking in this one too, but accompanied by flying chips: