Pulled fibre birch brooms

I can’t remember when I first heard of pulled fibre birch brooms, it may have been in Sweden at Taljfest or may have been through my friend Jarrod Dahl in USA who now makes them ocassionally. Whatever they are a wonderful green woodworking craft. I wonder who first pulled a few birch fibres in this way and worked out that they could keep going and turn it into a fine broom, was it 500 years ago? or 5000? It’s one of those things that once you have seen it done it’s pretty obvious but it’s hard to imagine creating the first one without any  outside inspiration. Our forebears worked out so many useful ways of making all the worldly things they needed from homes to clothing to brooms from what was growing around them, it would be sad if this sort of knowledge was lost just because we can currently buy a broom for a few pennies made on the other side of the world using cheap exploited labour and fossil fuels.

Anyway feast your eyes on a man of knowledge and skill Mr Joshua Young, and whilst you are watching listen also to his accent. There is a chap in our village who specialises in the study of English dialect, he spends a lot of time in Newfoundland and tells me that folk there speak with accent and dialect that is the closest thing surviving to 17th century English, I love it.

And now you probably either want to buy a broom or better still have a go at making one yourself. This webpage of Robert Aborn will help with either ambition.BroomIndian

4 Responses to Pulled fibre birch brooms

  1. Clark Schoonover January 13, 2017 at 8:53 pm #

    Edwin Tunis showed this in a couple of his books. It is really nice to see a live demo.

    Many thanks!

  2. Neil Carey January 14, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    Great video, one would wonder about the evolution of the secondary bristles, the ‘over-brush’ as it were. Much more useful with the longer strands lying down over the splayed under-brush.
    The accent is tremendous, in our neck of the woods , Waterford Ireland, there was a fishing industry in the late seventeen hundreds in the Newfoundland waters with resulting settlements. Until recently the settlers descendants’ still had strong Waterford and south Kilkenny accents. I seem to remember hearing that there were Scots Gaelic speaking communities there also.
    Anyhow will have to add this broom to my ‘to-do’ list.

  3. Joe DiMaio January 16, 2017 at 3:48 am #

    Thanks for this, Robin. I learned how to make these about 50 years ago while working at a camp in New Jersey, USA. They were virtually identical to what you show here, but for some reason we only made them from a small tree that grew in the area, witch hazel, and called them ‘witch hazel brooms’. It was an early introduction for me to the idea that some things needed to be made of green wood.

  4. don lemont January 16, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

    that’s very cool