Burns quaichs and experimenting with Japanese woodworking

Lunchtime today the reflected winter sun falling on the table was beautiful so I snapped a few of the quaichs I had just finished. I have been working on quaichs this week especially as we approach Burns night, I love these but it’s not easy to make just one or two, best to make a batch and Burns birthday approaching seemed a good enough reason.

And over the last couple of weeks much of my time has been spent sharpening my Japanese axes and adzes. This morning I took a few minutes to experiment with an adze trying to recreate some of the textures I so admired when in Japan last year. On the right is a surface which mirrors the feathers on an arrow shaft and on the left the scales of a fish. Far from perfect but nice to play with.  I was pleased with the overall effect though I have a few bits of tearout. Those of us who aim for a finish from a sharp tool have the disadvantage of not being able to just tidy it up with a bit of abrasive paper. This sort of bold tooling has to work first time, if you try to go back over it it looks more of a mess. The solution is just to keep practicing and the surfaces will get better and cleaner cut.

This is what I am aiming for.

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3 Responses to Burns quaichs and experimenting with Japanese woodworking

  1. Brian January 20, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    Nice quaiches Robin, auld Rabbie would like them.The adze finish is well worth mastering it looks good I like working with timber that's warped I give it a gouged finish. If the shape is so bad that I can't plane it .I have an old shipwrights adze I might give it a go instead of the gouges:)

  2. flyingshavings January 20, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    I can see what you're aiming for. The light reflecting effect of a textured surface has far more interest than a flat one. Or should I say is more unexpected and dappled (see G M Hopkins) than the flatened surfaces we are used to viewing on, say, sheet steel (cars),extruded aluminium (double glazed window frames, aeroplanes), pressed ceramics (plates, dishes, glasses) plastic (handles, pipes, electric switches, computer hardware), processed wood (kitchen cabinets, handrails, picture frames), paper (magazines), tarmacadam (motorways), concrete (skyscrapers, walls, stairways) and so on …

  3. Danny December 20, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Wonderful quaiches!One thing I don't get with the adzes – they appear to have flat (rather than slightly convex) blades, how do you avoid nasty tearout at the edges?

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