Thursday, February 21, 2008

Marty's high bidder on the Tamarack hook (bidding closed)

(please click image to enlarge)

Once in awhile a feller has to go back to his roots. I started off hand carving hooks from wood I collected or rescued from the firewood (pronounced "fahr-wood up on the Ranch). By hand carving hooks, I was able to form the hook body into shapes that seemed to mold to the contours of my hand. And if I selected the wood just so, I was able to make hooks that were feather light and so smooth you'd think they were made of velvet, carved from branches let me leave a little of the character of their parent tree.
Now mind you i LOVE making hook blanks on my lathe and carving the details, but alas the lathe is a machine and it doesn't like to make forms that aren't perfectly circular, which isn't a bad thing, but a circle is a limited shape. And working on the lathe requires focus on tools and technique. There's not much chance for me to drift away, and get caught up in the beauty of the grain that appears with each shaving thats removed. So yeah I get a hankerin to make a hook like in the good old days, and what you see is the result of one such little escape.
One of the things that fascinates me as I whittle, is that here is a piece of wood that's never been touched by human hands other than mine; grain that's never been seen by anyone before me.
This hook came from the branch of a tree that still stands overlooking the ranch; a tree that was there when I was a little kid, playing with Sonny in the spring that runs down to the crick. Chances are it was part of a pine squirrel's pathway from one tree to another before it was pruned by wind or the weight of snow.
There's a bit of Ranch history in this little stick and it has easily earned the right to be something other than firewood.
The hook evolved from a Tamarack; one of the most beautiful trees you'll see here in NW USA. Tamarack fools folk into thinking that its like its cousin the Fir, but it's little ruse is foiled every fall when the needles turn the most beautiful rich yellow, while the firs stay green. Tamarack is a disguised hardwood. Not as hard as oh maple, but WAY lighter.
So here you have a Tamarack hook that's been totally and completely hand carved by yours truly into a shape that is just, well you have to hold it to understand.
And its doing its part to help renew the ranch, and hopefully become a treasured tool for someone who it will inspire to make wonderous things.
And so a little ranch stick becomes a hook and is on its way to a new home.

Technically, this hook is 6 3/4 inches long and is a P sizewise in the Bates gage.
I'll take bids on this hook till next Wednesday night, 10pm.
You can email bids to me at

I'll try to post them as they come in.

Thanks for stopping by.

Oh and please consider buying a chophook (see Dec 7 '07 post) or go to to help support research for a cure or treatment of Friedreich's Ataxia. Also feel free to copy the "Axe Ataxia" button to your blog to help spread awareness of this hideous condition.

Tristi, proud new owner of a FA Chophook, bids $20
Debora S. raises to $25
Kelly brings us to $35
Debora hears the hook calling all the way to Wyoming.. $40
Marty thinks a P would be peachy for felting... $45

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