Friday, August 31, 2012

Mr. Coffin's Wood making

Last week, the kids went to camp in Sandy Point. On the way, there was a house with bird houses for sale out front. The sign said $5. I decided to investigate and was rewarded with a lovely hour or so in the morning.
Mr Coffin, an 80 year old man, wearing suspenders and looking like he had already been up before the sun rose with energy to spare, invited me in to see his things.
He apologized for his work piled up in his house and said that if a woman was around, it probably wouldn't be allowed past the kitchen. His work was neat piles of finished wood working. Mr. Coffin declined to be photographed, but was happy to have me share his work with you.
Here's a little tour. (photos with cell phone)

These oxen and ox were carved by hand with a jack knife. At the exhibition, they have oxen pulls and the oxen are decorated as such.

 These chains were carved with a knife. Each chain came from one piece of wood. Not each link, each chain!. That takes a bit of work. And time. And patience. And finger cutting I'm sure.
 This is a 6 player board for a game I can't remember. He has the rules printed out to accompany the board. 
The 4 player board. 
Here's a plant table. I remember my grandmother having a table like this with a huge, viney plant.
 A 3 tiered shelf. He makes 2 tiered ones also.

A miniature sized lobster trap.
And a few more lined up. He makes about 5 at a time to ensure that they are available for customers.

A basket of wooden spatulas. All of his cutlery are sanded so smoothly.
The fork tines are cut with a jack knife. I don't know how he gets them sanded so round and smooth.

 An assortment of sizes for spoons. I think I would want to rub it with mineral oil or a mixture of beeswax and olive oil. Which one can you use for food?
 A 3 person cribbage board...
 A 2 person cribbage board. All of his game boards are made with various woods doweled and glued together, instead of 1 piece of wood that would warp. The colours are so rich. His wood is kiln dried.
 When I told him that I was from Newfoundland, he showed me this. There is a quarter coin under the hammer. You open the clothes pin and it hits the quarter. ha ha. Funny. :}
 This tractor and trailer are all hand carved.
 The next stop was out in his shed. I bought the teal coloured bird house.
Look closely, the bird houses are hanging....
 Upside down! 
 These bird houses cost a little more. I think they are $15 or $20. Log Cabin Style.
 And this is a bird feeder. The roof comes off so you can fill it with seed. He suggests you put it on a post, as the weight and size of it are a little big to be swinging in the breeze.
In addition to buying the bird house, I also bought a bat house. We have it hanging on the post in the middle of the garden. The post was a mystery to us, but now it has a purpose. I'm not certain that we have any bats. There are some in the town. But we have flies, mosquitoes, annoying flying things that we hope the bats will come to eat!

I will be going back to see Mr. Coffin and to buy some things before he sells them at the Christmas Market at the local fire hall. If I'm lucky, I may have a few things to sell there also. 

It was nice talking to him. His house overlooks the ocean. It was a warm, sunny day with the sea breeze coming over the land. A nice spot and a nice feller.

Thanks Mr. Coffin, see you soon.



  1. What amazing work. It sounds like fun hour or so poking around his work. There is such variety.

  2. I love Mr. Coffin!

    All the cutlery looks so smooth and lovely. I imagine licking batter off the giant spoon, and a fresh green salad tossed with the forks!