I have met and spent time with Wille Sundqvist several times and been inspired by his book Swedish Carving Technique, both the technical advice and the life philosophy, I had not met his son Jögge until this last week when he came to SPOONFEST taught 2 short classes in knife carving grasps for us and gave an inspirational lecture. His teaching style is great fun but also highly effective, he really understands the various knife grips and has good ways of helping people to use them effectively. I have been teaching knife grips for several years yet I still managed to learn some new ones.
Jögge started by cleaving up some billets of birch and telling us how the old foresters and folk in the mountains when sitting around the campfire would practice their knife skills by making a “nothing to do stick”
We then set to using a variety of grips to make nothing to do sticks.
this grip has lots of names, such as a chest lever grip or chicken wings grip but now it’s also called the “taste the woodchip” grip.
He’s a funny guy
using the shoulders and the big back muscles to generate the power
each grip was introduced with a demo
then he would come round and help us individually.
This was a grip I have seen but never really used, the cross thumbs grip.
The knife slides forwards and the elbow rocks round, see how the wrist has changed position.
now quick as a flash the knife pops over the other side and starts to draw backwards from hilt to tip
the end of the cut. These two cuts are repeated back and forth very quickly to create a smooth hollow.
Jögge has the most beautiful knives
Most use the frosts 106 blade set into carved handles and sheaths. When the blade is ground away he taps it out and puts a new one in.
He is very hands on and this is how he teaches the “can opener” grip making sure you feel the strength of your thumb closing the grip before putting a knife in your hand.
and now the can opener grip at work.
Jögge’s talk was wonderful I was frustratingly busy sorting logistical stuff and missed it but Alex Nicholson recorded it for his wife Vicky and has kindly uploaded it here
I know Sean Hellman filmed the talk too so hopefully that will appear online in due course.
So it’s been quite a while before I got to meet Jögge, he had a lot to live up to but exceeded all our expectations, what a lovely guy, he liked my turning too and took a set of plates home. I have no doubt we will be meeting up again.