Author:
Meelis Kihulane

Bent Wood Box with Woodcut Patterns */**

Teacher: Meelis Kihulane         

Image
Meelis Kihulane

Meelis Kihulane has been a furniture restorer for more than 20 years and a teacher of traditional carpentry in Olustvere School of Service and Rural Economics. He has spent the past 10 years promoting and teaching Estonian traditional carpentry. He is re-introducing the traditional way of learning crafts - from master to apprentice - teaching native woodwork and furniture making. Meelis has been a curator of several woodworking exhibitions. He is an author of the book ‘Containers, Boxes, Sieves. Making Bent-wood Items’. He practises and teaches traditional carpentry methods in which hand tools are mostly used, such as knives, chisels, saws, axes, etc. Most of the raw materials come from nature and are not pre-processed. Meelis is also working at the NGO Edev Eremiit.

Image
Wood is being bent into a box

The first examples of containers made of stitched bent wood strips or thin wooden boards date back to the 13th century in Estonia. Historically, bent-wood items included various boxes and hampers for storing foodstuff and clothing, as well as sifters, sieves and side hampers used in households. When decorated, they were used also as jewel cases.

Image
Woodcut patterns

Making a bent-wood item provides diverse opportunities to better learn to know the material. In this workshop, participants prepare a light bent box. Diameter of the box is 10-15 centimeters. For preparation thin ashen or oaken shreds are used, they are bent together from ends and sewn using roots or feather. Birchen or alden lid and bottom is attached to the box using wooden dowels. To make wood flexible it is previously humidified in hot water or with steam.

The participation fee includes material for making one box and the usage of tools. Work is mainly done using knife, saw, chisel and bradawl. Students do not need to have prior experience in woodwork, the course requires average ability to handle tools.