I think I'm in love with an Axe

Posted by Piers Cawley on Sep 9, 2008

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We’ve just spent the weekend on one of Robin Wood’s spoon carving workshops, which was my 41st birthday present from Gill. It was great fun, if a little tiring. There is something primally satisfying about turning a piece of wood into woodchips. Getting a spoon or spatula at the end of the process is a huge bonus. We came away with a bag full of more or less decent treen, a couple of woodcarving knives and a burning desire to own one of Robin’s small drinking vessels.

Oh. And I fell in love with an Axe. The Gränsfors Bruks Swedish Carving Axe to be precise. This is the tool you use for turning a log into a spoon blank, and for much of the rough shaping of that blank. During the course of the weekend, I tried both the Gränsfors axe and an English ‘Kent pattern’ axe of the sort that can be picked up at car boot sales for pennies and sharpened and rehandled easily (quite what you use to rough out the new handle is left as an exercise to the interested reader). The English axe was very nice, but the Swedish one was just lovely. In particular, there’s a move which involves gripping the handle right by the head and flicking your wrist. This takes the top half of the blade through the wood in a precise sweeping motion that slices off wood in a way that’s almost erotically satisfying.

Yup. I don’t get out much. Why do you ask?

My choice lies before me: an English blade for maybe a fiver from a car boot sale or a sultry Swedish beauty for seventy quid from gransfors.co.uk It’s not even a choice. The Swedish beauty had me at ‘car boot sale’ - I’m not sure which circle of hell car boot sales belong in, but I’m certain I don’t want want to go there. Besides, I’m a photographer and a computer programmer. Most of the bits and pieces cost hundreds or thousands of pounds.

Now, where did I put my credit card?