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New member from the UK


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Hello Carving Path members!

I live in England, UK and found this forum when researching tips for my current project. Previously, I have carved two canoe paddles, one for my Son and one for my Wife. Being Canadian, my wife introduced me to Canoeing and after a few years of loving the activity, felt my Son would enjoy a little paddle of his own. I used Spruce for this, as it is light and easy to work with. I found out how much fun a spokeshave is to use and was pleased with the result.

My next project was a full size paddle for my Wife. This was also a success - the key being taking my time (I'd never make a living making paddles!) and I learned more tricks along the way.

My Son recently has been learning about the medieval period and we read 'Beowulf' for bedtime. After seeing some of the awful plastic toy swords on offer when visiting various castles, I offered to make a toy sword for him from wood. Initially, the plan was to knock up a quick toy from soft wood, but I thought a hardwood would last longer, if I was going to all the effort of carving one.

I live in the Chiltern hills, an area of Beechwoods, traditionally used for furniture making. Up until the 1960's, Bodgers would live in the woods turning beech for chair legs etc. I thought beech would make a good wood for my project, as it is a wood with local connections. I located a man who owns an area of woodland nearby, who owns a mobile sawmill. He has a great attitude towards sustainable woodland management and runs carving classes alongside his milling operations. He was very interested in my project and cut me a beautiful plank of beech.

Well, after lots of research I decided upon the 'Sutton Hoo' sword as a basis for my project. I drew up plans and cleaned them up on my computer, then printed it off. I stuck the outline plan to card, then cut out my template that gave me my outline to cut to. there were lots of challenges along the way, but the sword is about two thirds of the way through now and the handle/grip is not looking bad. My next step is to carve the groove ('fuller') down the middle of the blade, and to chamfer the edges with the spokeshave.

I'm enjoying this project greatly. I found this forum after Janel kindly helped me with a question I had, and have found many gems of useful information here that will come in handy as I near the final smoothing stages. I really do like the look of polished beech and will post pictures of the finished sword - assuming I don't mess it up of course! Then onto the scabbard...

Best wishes to you all and good luck with whatever projects you turn your hands to!

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