Saturday, May 26, 2012

Making Tools with Shanna Leino

I just spent nearly 12 days at Paper and Book Intensive without posting to my blog even once. My reliability decreases every year. But do not despair, I intend to share lots of information about PBI now that I am back home. One of the classes I was taking, was tool making with Shanna Leino. My first introduction to tool making! Shanna makes stunning tools, both bone and steel. Check out her tools (and her books too) at www.shannaleino.com. Here is Shanna, cutting something in class last week.
We were using elk bones to make the bone folders. The bones have to be chopped up a bit, into long narrow slabs. Shanna had a box full of bone slabs that we could pick through and select ones that appealed to us for our own tools.
Starting with a hatchet to hack away any large pieces, then using rasps and files, the slabs can be shaped and refined into useable tools. Here are the first bone tools that I started - nearly finished:
After all the rasping and filing, the bone tools were also decorated and then sanded and polished. By the end of the session, I made these four bone tools and one chunky bone needle.
Shanna also had us make a steel tool. Starting with a plain steel rod, the ends were shaped and then the rod was decorated. We also tempered the steel to make it hard and durable (red hot into water - my first taste of blacksmithing). These kinds of tools can have different shapes on the points like hearts or squares or stars etc. After a false start, the one I made turned into a simple round point, with some decoration on the rod. The little brass star in this photo has been punched with my newly made tool.
Thanks to Shanna and PBI, now I have this selection of beautiful new tools to use. And as Fran so wisely pointed out, they fit my hands because my hands made them.

6 comments:

ronnie said...

goodness! how fantastic..... makes me wish there were a few elk roaming around the (aussie) bush behind my home!

PrairiePeasant said...

Those are beautiful, Rhonda! I'm sure you will make good use of them. I'm looking forward to hearing more about PBI.

Velma said...

so wonderful! i love reading about pbi...and shanna is a fine teacher. more, please!

Nina Fenner said...

lovely bone folders, I want to make one, I guess cow would do?!

Barb said...

How incredibly rewarding it must be to make your own tools for your craft...and that they are a perfect fit!! Love it.

Rhonda Miller said...

Thanks ronnie, laura, velma, nina, and barb!

And Nina, yes, bone tools are often made from cow bones.