I have never devoted a post to a business before, but when I stumbled upon this little shop on Highway 101, in Florence, Oregon I immediately new I had found an unsung gem.
More pictures, information, address and phone can be found at: https://heffysgallery.com/ My only regret is that I did not take a picture of Heffy’s bust carving of Jack Nicholson. It is iconic. You will just have to go and see it yourself.
I enjoy carving wooden spoons for people to use everyday. Each spoon is unique as the natural patterns in the wood itself dictate much of the final form. When I want a particular style of spoon I have to find a piece that will allow me to make the shape and then I must work with the intrinsic grain patterns to expose it. Most of the time I simply let the wood tell me what to do. It is all very hard to explain. For me there is a distinct pleasure that only comes from using a hand crafted tool. It is similar to, but somehow different from the pleasure of its creation.
Most of the people who know that I carve wooden spoons have seen me carving them in one campground or another. Then there are others that have seen them and can’t believe that I really carve them myself with hand tools. Well the simple truth is that I am a woodworker and I have an internal need to be doing something with my hands much of the time. That can be a problem when you spend a lot of your time traveling in an RV. Not much room for tools. Sporadic opportunities to purchase supplies. Well you get the picture.
A few years ago Elaine and I chanced upon a bird carving museum and school somewhere near Bar Harbor, Maine and I saw this wood carving kit of knives that looked to be of good quality at a reasonable price. I purchased the kit and a block of basswood with directions for carving a loon. I carved the loon, and then from another piece of wood an armadillo, an old sea-captain, an owl and some other critters and they were “OK” and the carving part filled the time. Then one day I decided to carve a spoon and I was hooked. 50 or a 100(?) spoons later I am still carving them. Nothing fancy just utilitarian spoons.
I typically start with a piece of firewood, a material that I can find in almost any campground. Some of my spoons start as scrap from my wood shop, some from driftwood, some donated, and occasionally I will buy it either because I really like the piece or scrounging isn’t keeping up with demand. First, I use a hatchet to split the limb through the center. The very center must be removed or the wood will crack as it dries.
Depending on my whim, the piece of wood, and the spoon that I am making I may proceed to rough out the spoon with the hatchet. Next I will pare off waste with the saw and chisel and finally with roughing and bent knives.
In about an hour I have very nice pile of stuff.
Oh! And the beginnings of a spoon or sometimes, a smaller piece of firewood.
This one looks just fine. It should clean up nicely.
So I scooped out the bowl and then hand scraped it smooth which took the better part of an hour.
Then a little more careful knife-work, a little of hand scraping on the exterior, and last a bit of sanding. Another hour gone, but I have a new spoon!
The only thing left is a protective finish. I generally use food grade walnut oil as it soaks in well and “dries” as opposed to mineral oil which both evaporates and is washed out with normal dish washing. There is no perfect solution to the problem. If you use the spoon its finish will have to be renewed from time to time.
Hope you enjoyed your short course in spoon carving,
We traveled to the Albany / Corvallis area of Oregon to check on the construction of our new home and to see my older brother Stephen and while there we took a little time to see the Historic Carousel and Museum located at 503 1st Avenue West in Albany, Oregon. It was a major highlight for the trip.
An emu carved and painted by William Dentzel III in 2002, a statue, and an antique pony are a small portion of a large collection of Dentzel pieces for public view.
Three carvings attributed to Gustav Dentzel circa 1895. How many children laughed and rode these ponies?
How many smiles and rides will these new creations provide?
These animals are all being created by volunteers. From sketch-up through carving and finally hand painting they are truly works of art. If you are ever in the area I would urge you to take the time to see see this museum, studio, and gallery. Visitors are welcome Monday through Saturday. For more information see: AlbanyCarousel. All of this is part of a grand scheme to build a 52 animal carousel. The mechanism, one of Gustav Dentzel’s last, built around 1909, has already been restored and is awaiting its new home.
We took a short break from house hunting and spent 4 nights in Albany, Oregon (about 115 miles) where Gordon enjoyed the first semi-annual Oregon Woodturning Symposium.
Here we are at our home for four nights in the parking lot RV Park at the Linn County Expo Center. What this site lacks in campground beauty it makes up for with convenience. We were quite comfortable here.
This is a small sample of the turnings from the show’s gallery. I should have taken more pictures as there were pieces from most of the categories of wood-turning. I really liked the wooden cowboy hat and of course took lots of pictures of the segmented work. I watched about 18 hours of demonstrations by turners with amazing skills. Hopefully a little of the training worked its way in. I won’t know until we get settled and I have a shop again.
In addition to the seminars there were many vendors with great bargains most of which I had to pass up but I did get a few tools and a little bit of African Blackwood that I intend to use to make crochet hooks. The Saturday night banquet was much better than we expected in fact it was actually very good! At our table we met a very nice couple from Nova Scotia. She was the turner and he was just along for the ride. Also at the show I recognized my cousin Dave Geotz whom I had not seen or talked to for over 40 years. We did a little catching up and exchanged phones, addresses, and promises to get together. All in all it was a very enjoyable, well-organized event where I had many learning opportunities. I will definitely go in 2017 if I am able.
One good turn deserves another,
Your Random Rover.
The crazy guy / woodworker has been at it again. I built this just because it challenged me. One day I saw a soccer ball in the trunk of my son’s car and just knew I had to try making one out of wood.
First I had to do some research, then brush up on some long unused math skills, finally cut parts and glue them up.
Bucky balls are named after Buckminster Fuller, the man who popularized the geodesic dome. The shape, often referred to as a Buckminster Fullerine, is found in the Carbon 60 molecule, the truncated icosahedron and many soccer balls. This one planned as a prototype is made from cypress, the hexagons, and western red cedar, the pentagons.
I think it is pretty neat in a “nerdy” sort of way. It was definitely a challenge to layout, cut, assemble, turn, sand and even finish. Will I make another? Yes, because I truly do belong in a straight-jacket. (Don’t give those white coat guys my address.) The next one will actually be a lidded bowl.
For anyone interested, both the hexagons and the pentagons are regular. The degree of precision required in sizing the pieces and in cutting the compound angles is well beyond anything I have ever done before.
Enjoy every day you have,
Your Random Rover, Gordon
Well, I do believe we have done all the preparation for another odyssey / adventure that can be done. This will be another there and back again, but without dragons, rings, elves, dwarves, and wizards, though that would definitely add interest. Elaine and I have done all the little repairs to the homestead and performed the small maintenance tasks that every house seems to need. In addition we have (I hope) made all the needed modifications to our new rig and Elaine has spent days arranging cupboards and closets to best utilize our 334 sqft home on wheels. I am writing this and will continue as it seems there are a number of people who find it enjoyable following along on our adventures and have asked that I continue. I enjoy doing the blog and it makes for a dandy scrap book. This summer we will be traveling through eastern Utah to see Arches and Canyon Lands and then heading west through Salt Lake City, UT and Reno, NV to California wine country, then north to Medford, OR to see friends and finally to the southern Oregon coast where will be volunteers in two state parks. It promises to be a great trip and I will keep you posted.
There are to more creature comfort items I have added to Bertha since I wrote the modification post. I created this 4 drawer end table to hold all the items we like to have nearby when we are in our easy chairs. It is stained to match the cabinetry and has a matching solid surface top.
I often have not used a regulator on the water line like I should because of the reduced flow they caused so I purchased this “Big Boy” 3/4″ pipe model at the local home improvement center and added the hose adapters. Now no more worries about the plumbing and plenty of water. That’s it for changes and additions. Hope it all works!!
I have had a little time to pursue my hobbies during this short visit at home. I made this yarn bowl for Elaine for Mother’s Day. It has a total of 271 pieces and is made from narra, walnut, maple, cherry, and mesquite.
Elaine has taken up crochet as yet another hobby / creative outlet. Well Gordon just had to try his hand at making some hooks for her. From left to right they are ironwood, cherry, saguaro, maple and ebony. I will most probably be making more as they were an interesting challenge and they use up some of the “too good to throw away” wood scraps.
We will hit the road on the June 2nd so I will soon have some travel news.
I had wanted to create one these bowls ever since I first saw one a number of years ago. Taking the time to do it was the major hurdle as it seemed to be a very daunting task. This one is really quite simple, basic basket shape, straight forward construction, and two color contrast. The design objective was to make an attractive, useful item that had the basic elements of segmented construction while keeping things relatively uncomplicated so that I actually had a chance of completing it well enough that I would not be tempted to relegate it to the just bin. I believe I accomplished the goal. You be the judge. I will be making more of these as I think they are a beautifully unique combination of nature and precise mechanical-industrial design.
It is: 3 inches tall, 8 inches in diameter, has 110 individual pieces (3-36 piece layers and a two piece bottom), and is made from eastern maple and black walnut.
By the way if you don’t think this is a basic example of this art form then google segmented bowls and see for yourself some of the exciting challenges I have ahead and maybe understand why I want to do more. This was fun!!
It seems that I cannot simply leave well enough alone. Even before buying Bertha, Elaine and I had already discussed some of the necessary “changes”. So here in no particular order are most of the modifications.
We took one look at the wine rack (first picture) and decided it was cutesy (Is that really a word?) and impractical. Besides there would certainly be better places to store the alcoholic beverages. So I removed the wine rack that was to the left of the sink, took out the dividers, made some bins to hold (vertically) the oils, vinegars, and sauces that we use all the time, and remounted the unit. The bins are of the simplest possible construction but they look fine and function well.
Camping World, on line, had basement slide-out kits on sale at a price I could not pass up. The kit, a sheet of plywood, some outdoor carpet, a little ingenuity and voila! (Check that out a French contraction, minus the obligatory grave accent, and you thought I only spoke redneck.) Anyhow, this is one mod I know I will be happy I did. Now that is accessibility!
There was a single fixed shelf under the kitchen sink which to our minds made for poor storage and we wanted a pull-out trash unit. Plus, we like a tall faucet and wanted a charcoal filter for drinking water. OK Start by removing the cabinet doors and then the shelf. Like most of the other shelves in the unit it was made up of 1/8″ plywood over a light weight pine frame. Pry the plywood off the frame, unscrew the frame, unscrew the face frame rail and remove all. Remove the existing faucet. Place the new faucet in the existing hole. Position the filtered water tap and mark its desired location. Get everything out of the way and drill for the added tap. (An ordinary drill bit will work fine on the solid surface top) Mount the filter, faucet, tap, and hook up the plumbing. Build the pull out trash and 2 pull out trays. Install a short floor mount partition to hang the full extension guides on. Reinstall the right hand door. Remove all the hinges from left hand door. Slide in the pull out trash. Align the left hand door with the right and hold in place. Open the right door and from inside the cabinet screw the door onto the trash bin uprights. Place the trash bin and install the other two slide out trays. Eureka!! A sink area that functions.
Since we both often read in bed we needed a place to put our books without getting out of bed. But where?? With a king size bed in a Queen size bedroom there just did not seem to be anywhere that did not get in the way of something else. Two narrow shelves right over the headboard made from one of the now unused wine rack dividers ought to get the job done.
Did I mention beverage storage? Yes I did – simple removable bins to keep bottles upright and separated.
Unfortunately the sun does not always shine while we are on the road. So this is a place to hang items that are wet. It is situated just aft of the skylight over the shower. It is made from 1/4″ plexiglass that was cut, glued, routed, and drilled before being torched to polish the cut edges.
The rest is all pretty standard stuff like a soap dispensers in the shower, storage for dump hoses underneath, or duplicated items from Hannah. (see “Hannah” posted July 2012) I did do under the bed bins again and added some fixed shelves in the wall cabinets to keep things in reach. A total of 9 roll outs, including a mini roll out pantry, in the kitchen make more things easily accessible. If you have questions send me a comment and I will try to answer. As you can see I have been pretty busy. The only thing left to do is to set up the satellite system and Bertha will, I hope, be ready to travel. Now on to that list of things that I need to do for the homestead. Oh yeah, I guess we need a small drawer cabinet for the living area. Did I forget anything?? Maybe I’ll be done in time to leave. When on earth do retired people get to take a vacation?? 🙂
Keep the shiny side up and seek out the things that make you and your loved ones smile.
Just a quick post to let you all know that I haven’t been completely idle.
This 10 foot long bench and the octagon pool bench with table are two of the six that I have made for the park here with a skill saw and screw gun from stock lumber. Nothing fancy but comfortable, durable places for people to sit and enjoy this areas wonderful winter weather.
These are 2 spoons I carved to amuse myself when I did not wish to do anything complicated or particularly difficult. The top spoon is made from a piece of madrone that was a gift from my good friend Gerry in Medford, Oregon. The bottom spoon is of eucalyptus that I collected in Arizona. It is from a tree that was killed in the freeze of 2011.
I finally finished this little guy. I started carving him at Cape Disappointment where one of my fellow campers who saw me carving said he was a cute little man and the name has stuck. He is a freehand caricature, my very first.
This is an Hors d’oeuvre set I made from spalted Oregon Myrtle wood I found on my summer 2012 trip to the pacific northwest. The serving tray is approximately 10.5 inches and the 4 individual bowls are about 6.25 inches. All are about 1.25 inches deep. I was very pleased with the colors, grain patterns, and shape in this set and hope that other pieces will come out as well. I will have to wait until next winter to see as I am going to the Texas Gulf Coast for December, January, and February. We have also made plans to volunteer on the southern and central Oregon coast this coming summer.