Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Right Gourd Tool for the Job

The right tool for the job really makes a difference. That phrase holds true for pretty much anything, but especially for crafting with gourds. As I become more skilled with each gourd project, the more precise I find I want to be with my cuts, carving, and shaping. I need the right tools. Ahhh tools.

Some tools that I use I purchase through woodworking supply houses, online gourd specialty stores and even the local hardware stores. If a tool works well for wood, it usually works well for the wood-like hard shells of gourds.

Sometimes though it’s hard to find exactly what I’m looking for, or I’m just too cheap to spend a ton of money on something that looks totally easy to make. In that case, I just build it.

The first tool I made (above) was a gourd clamp that holds the gourd while I’m working on it. It functions like a third hand to secure the gourd so I can use both my hands for other tasks. I have to admit that I saw the idea online but was too cheap to purchase the instruction booklet on how to make it so I just used a little Yankee ingenuity and made my own version based on pictures I found. If you’re more comfortable with specific instructions, The Caning Shop (Gourd Clamp) sells the instruction booklet by Jim Widess for $5.95 plus S&H.

The second tool I built (left) a horizontal scribe. I make a lot of gourd bowls and marking an even line across the top can sometimes be a challenge. The scribe lets me place the gourd on a flat surface to find it’s natural balance point, adjust the pencil to the height that I want and spin the gourd to mark the cut line. The beauty of this is that I don’t just get a straight line, but I get a line from the natural balance point on the bottom of the gourd so I don’t have to sand the bottom for a flat surface. This also is available online to purchase through the Caning Shop (Gourd Scribe) for $14.95 plus S&H but I made mine for a total of about $2, which was considerably less.

Whether I purchase or build my own, now I truly understand a man’s fascination with the tool isle at Home Depot. The right tool for the job really does make a difference.

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