Several years went by before we were able to raise adequate funding to rent a professional video editing room during the graveyard hours. Somehow, Rick put the whole thing together in two long sessions. At the time, we considered this to be a work in progress version, since we had always assumed that there would be a voice over narration. But after watching the program, many viewers liked the program “as is.” It’s something like being a fly on the wall, watching this extraordinary person at work doing something that he loved doing for almost 70 years.

In the video Kohler crafts an asymmetric, oval plan milking bucket with multi-curved staves and a raised carrying handle. He uses a variety of traditional tools (many different planes and drawknives) while working at his shaving horse and workbench. The most spectacular part of the process is the crafting of the inter-locked wooden hooping which is made from hard maple. 46 minutes. Purchase includes a copy of my 5 page cover story on Swiss coopering that appeared in “Fine Woodworking” in 1983.

Carved Swedish Bowls – with Bengt Lidström.

Carved bowl by Bengt Lidström.
Another activity (besides our hands-on classes) that Country Workshops has organized has been a series of traditional craft tours. Over the past 20 years we have visited Sweden (and a bit of Norway), England and Wales, Switzerland (and a corner of France) and Japan. During the tours in Sweden we had the opportunity to meet bowl carver Bengt Lidström at his home and workshop. Bengt’s professional career was that of being a restoration architect. (He is credited for saving many historic log farmhouses in northern Sweden.) In the 60’s Lidström became interested in carving large bowls from halved logs. On traditional Swedish farms these carved bowls served many purposes, ranging in utility from being very plain cream separating containers to highly elaborate ale troughs (often shaped like a hollowed goose) that were used during celebrations such as weddings and christenings.

Over time Bengt developed his own personal style. He was the first Swedish bowl carver to fully explore the concept of carving a bowl from the bark side of a halved log, rather than the traditional method of starting work by hollowing the split pith section. He also developed a very personal approach to doing decorative chip carving on the exterior of his bowls. And he went on to include a polychromatic decorative painting of the chip carving. Bengt’s work started with tradition, but then evolved into something that was truly unique.

For this video I approached Rick Mastelli to partner with us once again. (I was the producer for these projects, but Rick deserves full credit for the extensive creative work in each production.) I also asked Jogge Sundqvist to be our translator, and the organizer of the arrangement with Bengt. This worked out especially well since Wille Sundqvist (Jogge’s father) was a life-long friend of Bengt who was also one of Jogge’s craft super heroes.

In the video viewers watch Bengt working on both bark up and pith up oriented bowls. Bengt’s unique technique for large scale chip carving is also recorded, along with the final painting. (He primarily uses artists’ oil paints). For this video Jogge is occasionally on camera, and you hear a few comments and questions from Rick and myself. There are also several short sequences with scenes of the Lidström’s’ beautiful lakeside property, including the house that Bengt designed and built, and a variety of finished carved bowls. 70 minutes.

Both videos are now available in DVD format, and we still have VHS cassette copies of Swiss Cooperage at a very reduced price.

Note: Neither of these are instructional programs. Some of the techniques shown are definitely not approved by safety authorities. Rather, they are documentaries of two extraordinary master craftsmen at work on their creations.

MV-23 Carved Swedish Bowls DVD
MV-21 Swiss Cooperage – VHS cassette >>>On Sale<<<
MV-26 Swiss Cooperage DVD

Purchase of Swiss Cooperage includes a photocopy of Drew’s 1983 “Fine Woodworking” cover story on the same subject.

Payment by personal check or Visa/MasterCard. S&H is $9.00 - $11.00 depending on quantity ordered and zip code. We accept orders by mail, phone (828 656 2280) and e-mail.

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Drew Langsner
828-656-2280 (Daily, 9-6 Eastern time)

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