I’ve been roughing out a couple walnut bowls, which means plenty of fun axe work. One of the more challenging aspects is shaping the end grain area S curve; the bowl will be convex as it leaves the bottom, then return in a concave area beneath the handles. Essentially, I handle this in three steps: Hew away the bulk of material in one convex arc from bottom to handle, hollow beneath the handle across the grain with an adze, then hew again with the axe down to the newly created hollow. You can see these same stages in the series of three photos below, but on an oval bowl that features that returning curve all the way around.
Of course, all of this is much more fun with a sharp axe. It may sound boring, but the ability to get your tools properly sharpened can transform your carving experience and the final product.
One guy that eat, drinks, and breathes all things related to tool design and sharpening is Tim Manney. I experienced this first-hand in some of the conversations Tim and I enjoyed in Plymouth. Tim has put a lot of time, thought, and unique experience into developing practical sharpening methods that work and don’t require expensive fancy equipment, and I noticed that he’s going to share his skills and ideas with folks at at an upcoming Plymouth CRAFT class in November. Looks like PC has redesigned the website and it looks great. Check out Tim’s class here, as well as other upcoming classes with Peter Follansbee and Amelia Poole.