Most of the trees I use come from a tree surgeon who does a lot of management on Sheffield’s street trees. Even large old trees can not be sold to the sawmills because of the risk of nails and things inside. This can mess up an expensive sawmill but I cut them up with a chainsaw and if I hit a nail I sharpen the chain and carry on. Today though I came across a nail that was buried deep in the wood, it must have been hammered into the tree more than 50 years ago. It didn’t show up as i cut the blanks and took a very nasty chunk out of my favourite adze.
Out of all the tools I own this is the only one that I consider irreplaceable. I bought it from Ion Constantin a Romanian pole lathe turner and spoon carver in 1998, it an antique blacksmith made tool and it is quite the best adze I have ever used.
This is the nail that did the damage.
Thankfully I now have the tools and skills to repair the damage, so after half an hours grinding, shaping and polishing my adze was working again. I remember over 15 years ago meeting an American blacksmith/woodworker called Don Webber, he showed me the basics of toolmaking in a very demystified way. He said that it was very empowering for a tool user to become a toolmaker, it has been good advice.
After that experience I felt like a break from that tree, I couln’t face hitting another nail in the same day so I picked up a bowl blank I cut a few eeks ago from burr maple, this one was destined to be a mazer. I turn these very finely and ready to fit a silver rim. The rims are made first and I turn the bowl to fit. The problem is I have to turn them a little over size and gues just how much it will shrink so that when it is dry the rim fits perfectly. It took me quite a while to work the technique out but I have a pretty good succes rate now.