Tuesday, 30 July 2013


I have noticed that for the last four or five posts the quality of my photographs has been pretty poor - either snaps taken using my phone camera or else taken in bright daylight so everything is just burned out with no real detail. There is no excuse. Please accept my official apology and I will endeavor to ensure definite and marked improvements as of this week.

The management.

SPOON # 30 - Friday 26th July

I was on a youth camp for church a couple of days this week. It was fun to be able to sleep out under the trees. The weather was great and fortunately we broke camp before the torential rain came.

There was a lovely elderly retired couple, visiting from Texas USA, who had been recruited to prepare all the meals for camp and they did an amazing job of it - not least of all the sloppy-joe sandwiches and home made chocolate topped flapjack.

Anyway, the gentleman was quite keen on whittling and I saw him a couple of times, when he had time on his hands, take out a pocket knife and carve away at a little piece of wood. He saw the spoons that I was using for eating my meal with and was very interested and complimentary, so I decided to knock him up a quick spoon to say thank you for the fine food.

I found a semi-green piece of holly in the woods, that someone had used for a shelter building activity, and it was a nice crook so I thought I'd have a go at a small laddle.

I was quite pleased with the results, I didn't have much time so didn't finish it as well as I would have liked (since it was a gift), but it was not bad. I can only apologise for the poor quality of the pictures, but I only had my phone with me.

I know this picture makes it look like it has a strange bowl shape, but that's just a chip on the stump behind the spoon.

As you can see, it had some nice colour and grain pattern. I gave him instructions to wrap it in paper for a few weeks, then to oil it and the colour should come up beautifully.

Monday, 22 July 2013

SPOON # 29 - Sunday 21st July

This week's spoon was carved using the second of the kent pattern axe heads that I re-handled last week. This one is not as heavy as the first, the profile of the blade being much thinner. It looks like it is made by folding flat sheet metal - whether it is or not I don't actually know, but it is thin enough to be done like that. It aslo has a much straighter blade compared to the other one, and the one that I am used to using, so I was keen to find out how I got on with it.

Any way, it's nice and sharp and I found that it carved really well. The lightness meant that it didn't lend itself particularly well to removal of large amounts of wood, but it handled the fine work really well.

The spoon is rowan, I believe, and, whilst not one of my favourite designs, it's a little more traditional scandinavian, I think.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

SPOON # 28 - Sunday 14th July

I have been teaching now for 16 years, and I must say, I am no less excited today about the summer holidays than I was 16 years ago - if anything I am more excited than ever. So, please forgive my, what could seem like, smugness about the fact that we broke up last Friday and now have six weeks of holiday. As a teacher, it's a big deal and I'm going to enjoy it - I've earned it.

So, first spoon of the holidays is this simple serving spoon.
I re-handled a couple of axe heads that my brother Julian picked up from a car book and thought I'd use them on my next spoons just to try them out.
I'm not sure what wood it is - it's something Ju gave me, rowan I think he said he thought it was. It's very blonde wood, and really nice to carve - not unlike birch, smooth and soft, giving nice clean cuts.

Not entirely sure what the dark speckles are - a little bit of aging, I think.
The axe is a bit of a classic - a Gilpin of Cannock 'Chip Chop' #1 - a very common axe still, but been around a good fifty years (maybe a lot longer). As it happens, it is a lovely axe to work with, a little heavier than my own kent pattern axe, which works well when you're doing some of the finer work and want to cut without actually swinging. It took about half an hour to sharpen, which was time well spent - and to think it cost Ju about .50p - what a bargain.

All in all, a nice axe.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

SPOON # 27 - Sunday 7th July 2013

Well, what a weekend it's been! Piping hot and very busy, what with volleyball, BBQs, babies being born (Liam Sanders), born on Friday, Wimbledon, penultimate week at my current job, preparing for a new job and visiting with family. Hence, why my getting this post up is a little late.

This week's spoon is a rowan kitchen spoon. Anyone who has read my posts regularly will know I am a fan of cranked spoons, and not such a fan of straight spoons, but I particularly like this style of spoon - quite traditional, old-fashioned and not unlike those found on the Mary Rose, if I remember correctly.

I guess the finish on the twist could be a lot smoother, but I really like the rustic look of the tooled finish.

Someone commented on one of my posts recently that I should include something in pictures in order to indicate the size of my spoons - an excellent idea and so, until I can think of something more aesthetically pleasing, here for your entertainment is a regular common-or-garden teaspoon.
One of the first spoons I made was this round shaped bowl, with the 'barley-twist' handle, but a lot shorter. I sold that one at a fair so thought I'd have another go but this time making it a little longer and so more practical for cooking. The last one I did had the year of my birth carved on the end, 1968, and the woman who bought it had done so for her son (who it turned out I had been at school with and hadn't seen for nearly 30 years) and she chose it because it was decorative and because it was consequently the date of his birth. She suggested that the next time we did a fair that we offered to carve the dates of people's choice - we might have to try that sometime.