Thursday, 29 October 2009
Sometimes the best source of wood for an urban whittler is simply the furniture discarded on the street. I don't mean those piles of wet mdf-pulp mixed with cat-piss, but broken chairs and cabinets where even a scratched leg might be made out of prime hard-wood. Professional whittlers and woodcarvers have long used old furniture for obtaining rare or extinct woods. I have not come across any of these rare woods yet but a broken chair on the street served up another set of sticks for making Burgis-style fingers – enough for a whole hand.
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Saturday, 17 October 2009
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Bleeding Thumb is ambivalent about this particular update, containing as it does good and bad news. First off, the club has obtained a stock of six Opinel No. 7 knives with carbon steel blades. These will become the club knives available on loan to those attending without a blade of their own. Sadly, these are some of the last Opinels on sale in England, their locking blade having fallen foul of recently updated knife laws.
It's not entirely clear how the homespun, slow-action mechanism of the Opi poses a particular threat, especially compared to, say, a butcher's knife. What is apparent, is the hateful machinery of the "Theatre of Security" grinding into action, spitting out worthlessly demonstrative policy without thought or care over what might actually have a positive impact on society.
This is not some libertarian polemic against some perceived infringement of liberties, more a coda to a governmental blunder. Whilst having a weapon function, a knife is a tool in a way that a gun or ninja stars can never be; to end on a positive note, it is still legal to carry a blade "with good reason". And to whittle is certainly that.
Posted by Bleeding Thumb at 18:08
A chair was attacked last month by a small gang intoxicated with alcohol and tabasco. The chair was reduced to rubble within minutes and spread across a vast area of the kitchen. The finger below was whittled from the remains a couple of days later by Ben Burges. The other kitchen chairs were found unharmed.
Posted by Bleeding Thumb at 17:03
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
The Mora knife is as much an institution in the average Swedish household as the Ikea Billy bookshelf. The knife is named after a small town in Sweden where knifes have been produced since the 17th century. The classic model has a red wooden or plastic handle and a 3- or 4-inch blade, but the original makers of the Mora knife, Frost Knivfabrik (Frost Knife Factory), also produce knives especially designed for whittling and carving. One particular model is called the Erik Frost 120 and is named after the founder of Frost Knivfabrik which has been internationally renowned for its production of high quality blades. The simple design, high quality carbon steel and cheap price makes it the best whittling knife we have come across in the Club so far. Unreservedly recommended.
Erik Frost 120
Monday, 5 October 2009
The Opinel knife from Savoy in France is undoubtably a design classic, and is certainly suitable for whittling. In fact, my first whittling was done with an Opinel, and it was that same Opi No. 7 with which I first gashed my thumb, spilling warm red blood on dry summer grass. I digress; the Opinel is a folding knife which locks shut and (on newer models) open. The locking-open is a handy feature and the handle is comfortable to hold, though as with many folding knives, the slot for the blade can lead to blisters where pressure on the skin is concentrated. I became most acutely aware of this after hacking my way through a 4cm limb of birch one afternoon, though it is testament to the quality of the knife that I could even do so.
The Opi is very cheap and cheerful, but prospective buyers will wish to be made aware of recent developments in the manufacture of the knife. The classic model features a beech handle and high-carbon steel blade (oil it to prevent rust with, say, mineral oil). This blade in particular is strong and tough and will sharpen easily and take a good edge. By way of contrast, newer stainless-steel models (and stainless blades in general) are much harder to sharpen and many will not hold that eye-wateringly sharp edge which we all hope and strive for in our knife-care.
In conclusion, an excellent tool, as suitable for whittling as it is for cutting up a fine block of cheese whilst on a picnic.
Posted by Jack at 00:04
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Jack's cut of the week:
"This was a cheeky little cut, I barely felt it, and not much blood to show for my trouble. Later I added to it by jabbing a perpendicular incision near the base of the cut so that it formed a kind of cruciform shape." - Jack