Saturday, 24 August 2013

SPOON # 33 - Satyrday 17th August

This weekend I was running a youth camp for boys aged 12-18 for church. In the past I have done some whittling and carving with the boys, but this year there were too many and I didn't feel I could have proper control, knowing what boys are like once you give them an axe or sharp knike. Instead I decided to make what I have always called French Darts - though I'm not sure why as an internet search returned only information about skirt pleats and a game with a beer bottle on a pole and a frisbee. My version, taught to me by my big brother Adrian when I was much younger, is basically a long, thin hazel spear, fitted with a flight made from the plastic of a pepsi bottle, then thrown with the assistence of either a length of knotted string or an atlatl - a short hooked stick.

If you're interested to see how this kind of thing works, have a look here:

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I handed out knives to all the adults (this was my safety precaution) in order to split the ends of the spears, in order to insert the flight, with the strict instruction that you never cut towards yourself. Next thing I know one of my friends, Chris, has cut himself at the top of his thumb, there is arterial spray over his legs and face and no sooner have I bound it than blood is soaking back through the wadding and bandage that I am using. I only mention this in order to remind myself and anyone else who might be reading that the tools we use are intentionally sharp and when used carelessly or incorrectly dangerous. Chris went back to hospital three times and was eventually operated on to mend the nicked tendon and the cut artery.

I took a turned bowl, beaker and spoon with me to eat my meals at camp and the boys and leaders were very interested to see how I carved a spoon so I made this one - not great because I didn't have a lot of time nore a proper chopping block, but it served the purpose of demonstration. It is sycamore.

Just spotted my Freudian slip-up in the title - it's not the day I dance around with Pan's People, nor do I have goats legs and little horns! 

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