My Grant/Apprenticeship with Jarrod Dahl

This year (2017) I was lucky enough to spend two weeks with Jarrod Dahl (

This grant was funded by the Pa Council of the Arts under the Folk Art Catagory.

Specifically we focused on turning on a non-electric spring pole lathe, and carving eating and cooking spoons.  

Under each heading of lathe and spoons there were a lot to cover,

Pole lathe topics included, tuning up my lathe, turning eating bowls, handled bowls such as porringers, plates, mandrels, and nests of bowls.   With in each item, we talked about good design, the right way to turn, hook design for specific types of bowls, how to make mandrels for each bowl, and finishing.  

Spoon Carving allowed us to go over various safe effective knife grips.  Once we covered the safety of knives we went over the processing of wood with an ax and how to rough out a blank using ax. This included setting crank (which is the interplay of the top of the handle, deepest part of the bowl, and tip of the bowl) and safe ax techniques.  

We covered the process of designing eating and cooking spoons along with surface design.  

The last few days were spent turning with an eye towards removing falts, fairing or smoothing out the design, and forging 01 steel into hooks.  

It was an experience that I will never forget.  It took me to the next level of craftsmanship that I was looking for.  It was not easy, there were some 10-12 hour days and being away from my family was very difficult.  

I have to truly thank the PA Council of the Arts, Sally, Jarrod, Jasmine, and my family for the support during this process.

Jeff Kuchak