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Blog

Hook Tools for Bowl Turning

jarrod

This past weekend I taught a class up at North House Folk School. I decided to offer a hook tool class, because there is just not very many places to get these tools in North America. I do sell them, but always try to get folks to find a local blacksmith in their area to make the tools for them. Some times when you get into more obscure woodworking  a need develops to learn to forge some tools and to get into some basic blacksmithing for that purpose. This is the way it was always done for pole lathe turners. These tools are very specific to bowl turning on a pole lathe. You can see a little of the process and a hook in use here YouTube. I began blacksmithing tools about 15 years ago when a met my good friend Michael Jones. He is a master smith and makes a living doing it. He brought me into the smithy and taught me the basics. I fell deeply in love with it and almost sold all my woodworking tools for an anvil and forge. Well I did get the anvil and forge but kept the woodworking tools. Back to the class, this project is a good one for beginners. Dealing with simple tasks like drawing out steel and bending, tending the forge and dealing with the fuel, plus some slightly more advanced but not complicated heat treating. This is dealing with high carbon steel, the softening, hardening and tempering to make edged tools. Fun stuff and in my opinion a necessary knowledge for woodworkers. This knowledge helps us to understand our tools better, how they cut, why they cut, why they stay sharp or dull quickly. We also get to understand why a nice handmade axe is costly. We understand the skill and time it takes to acquire the skill as well as make the item. I didn't end up taking too many photos. It's hard to do it while teaching.
view out of the blacksmith across the commons to the "Red Building"
view toward the lake and the on the right "Blue" building

inside the new blacksmith shop


the "crew"



I'll be at the wooden boat show next weekend demonstrating and I'll have a birch bark canoe on display. Check out  info on that here. I'll try really hard to take a lot of photos and post them after I get back.

Another highlight was that I ended up on TV. A film crew was up doing a piece on the school and I ended up being filmed turning a nesting set of 2 bowls on my pole lathe. They did a good job.