Skewed Carrots

No, this is not a typo. It’s not skewered carrots, either.

As the esteemed reader of this blog will know, we (Helen and I) will attend a number of events this year, with the idea of tempting the general public into spending the hard-earned cash on some of my efforts (for the simple minds: we are trying to flog some of my stuff).

When you do this sort of thing, obviously one the the things that come to mind is the question: what are people going to buy? After all, there’s not much point in selling jewelry at a live animal auction. Or, for that matter, selling live pigs at a jewelry fair.

Well, in the end, and since we are doing this for the first time, there is some guess work involved. One of our guesses was that there might be folks interested in gardening. So the idea here is to make some dibbers. You know, like a wooden stick with grooves on the side, you stick it onto the soil twist a little, and there’s your whole for planting a seedling.

I thought, OK, I’ve seen Steve Jones doing some excellent skew chisel work on youtube, let’s see how good I can be. Cut some blanks from an oak plank, 1″ thick and 1″ wide, 10″ long. The first one took me about 15 minutes, but then I figured out a few things, and when I got to the end  (i.e. the 12th one), I had it down to 8 minutes. I reckon Steve can probably do one in under 5 minutes, but then, he’s been doing this sort of thing for 25 years.

So I end up in the kitchen with 12 dibbers, all same size and more or less the same shape, with burned rings on them and nice round handle. That’s when Michael (my stepson) pipes up they look like carrots. So here’s the idea: we dye the bottom part orange, up to the last ring or so, and then the handle gets dyed green.

There you go: skewed carrots. You never such a thing existed, did you?

Oh, and for the uninitiated: the carrot thing should be clear enough. They are made from a square piece of wood, and most of the work is done with a skew chisel, that’s a turning tool with the cutting edge set at an angle, hence the name. It has a reputation for being difficult (well earned) and at the same time being the favourite tool of the production spindle turner (for a good reason). Practice, practice, practice, and then more practice.

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