Woodworking in the great white north.

A wonderful gift – carver’s carving kit

This weekend, I received a gift I cannot put a price on.  I was given a carver’s woodcarving kit.  This is not something you purchase at Lee Valley, Woodcraft or Lie-Nielsen.  This is a carving set built up over time by a person of simple means with a passion for woodcarving.

A bit of history.  I have a neighbour, in his 80’s who along with his ‘girlfriend’ (also in her 80’s, a very cute story for another time perhaps) who have adopted my family as their own (figuratively).  For many years he did a lot of woodworking, building rocking horses and framed mirrors which he sold at fairs.  His girlfriend did a lot of woodburning and woodcarving.  Along with her husband, they were key members of the Ontario Woodcarvers.  We visit back and forth and talk often about woodworking.

Being a relatively handy person, I’m more than happy to help anyone who sincerely could use some help.  As my neighbours have gotten into their 80’s they have needed more help with day to day maintenance of their house and I’ve been pleased to fill the gap where I can.

This past weekend, I dropped in to help with a fairly routine bit of maintenance which consumed all of 10-15 minutes of my time.  Once complete, we talked a bit about what I am working on in my workshop.  I mentioned my desire to advance my handtool skills and how I felt that I wanted to evolve as a woodworker.  It was at this point that my neighbour’s girlfriend disappeared, only to return with a box.

She opened the box and said “these aren’t doing me any good sitting in the basement, you should have them and put them to use.”

What I saw was the carving kit that her husband has used, built over years of carving and touring to woodworking shows.  I was speechless, knowing how important this was to her, I was really honoured to be the recipient of this gift. 

The box itself is handmade from an old wine crate I think.  The chisels are sharp like nothing I own.  These have been honed to a mirror finish that is remarkably well done. 

There is a tray inside with honing strops (diamond dust and green honing compound), some hand made picks, dental tools, chip carving knives, an F clamp and a school geometry set and of course, some bandages.

 Under the tray were a few more chisels and a full pack of bandages, which looked suspiciously new, I’m not sure if this was part of the kit of a new addition for my own safety.

I am truly humbled by this gift and feel the need to do something meaningful with it.  I also feel that I must show that appreciation by reciprocating with something made by my own hands.

I hope that I, when my turn comes, will find someone to whom I can entrust these tools along with my own to ensure that they can carry on the legacy of this great craft.

6 responses

  1. Kyle Barton (TexWood)

    Wow. that is great! I expect to see some carving on your next plane, like the ones in Sinclare’s Traveling Museum at WIA. lol

    October 27, 2010 at 10:19 am

    • lol…ya, cuz I’m already THAT good!

      I actually would love to make one of those big carved wooden jointer planes. That may be something for ‘next year’. 🙂

      October 27, 2010 at 11:04 am

  2. DonP

    Sounds like she made a good choice.

    October 28, 2010 at 6:30 am

  3. jverreault

    That is an incredible gift. You lucky dog you!

    March 15, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    • jverreault

      I know this is pushing 2 years after the post but I just found your blog and have been going through it. Thanks for the inspiration.


      March 15, 2012 at 6:21 pm

      • Thanks John,

        I’m really lucky to have met these folks. They treat me and my family like their own, they are genuinely releived to see someone half their age taking a serious interest in woodworking and carving in particular.


        March 19, 2012 at 4:07 pm

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