Sunday, 19 May 2013

SPOON # 20 - Sunday 19th May

I was surfing my regular favourite blogs this week when I came across this on Paul Adamson's blog 'woodsmancrafts':

If you read Paul's blog he explains that they are plans for The Finnish Defence Forces who were encouraged to carve and sell wooden spoons in order to support the war effort. I love the idea of making something with a bit of history behind it so had a go at making the smaller of the spoons (far left) out of a nice piece of sycamore.

I was fairly pleased with the results, with one small exception - no sooner had I finished carving the bowl but about ten splits appeared on the bowl and handle. I've wrapped it to dry anyway (I can't ever seem to be able to throw a spoon away) and when it's dry, they may close up and I can finish it up.

One thing is for sure, I know I'll come back to those finnish designs many times in the future.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

SPOON # 19 - Sunday 12th May

I've ended up doing something very different this week - something not really me, but I don't actually mind it too much.

I set out in the rain this afternoon in the hope of finding a branch that might offer me some good carving and maybe an interesting spoon or two. After a couple of hours scouring the woods, however, I came home empty handed (except for an old fence post that I found moss-covered in the undergrowth and thought I might be able to use on my summer project - a little summer house).

So, without any new wood to carve, I got my wedges out and set about splitting a chunck of very twisted and gnarly lilac. Having created some very irregular and odd shaped (and very fragrant)sections of lilac, I decided to try something I've really not done for a couple of years - to carve an irregular shaped spoon, the shape of which was dictated by the natural shape and grain of the wood. And this serving spoon is what I ended up with:

A look at some of the lovely purple grain pattern

A very 'organic' profile - despite how it looks, it feels surprisingly good in hand

More curly grain...

...and still more.

The spoon is still fairly green, and I've had some disasters with lilac as it dries and splits along the grain of the purple heart wood, so I'll wrap it in paper for a month or so to let it dry slowly and then perhaps I'll add some detail to the handle and maybe a little carved decoration.

And on a different note - I was up in the loft this week looking for some lost paperwork, and found this spoon in a box of old keepsakes. Whilst this is not the first spoon I ever carved (my first was a tiny love spoon a friend helped me carve from a piece of silver for a girlfriend when I was 16) it was the first wooden spoon that I ever attempted. It was done whilst I was a student working on an American summer camp in New York when I was in my early twenties. I made it during my free time over a couple of days with a blunt craft knife (hence the rather ragged bowl) and when finished I had sent it home to my then girlfriend, who is now my wife. It just shows that I have had this fascination with carving spoons for some years now.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

SPOON # 18 - Saturday 4th May

A couple of new spoons for a new month. These eating spoons are based on a design I saw at Spoonfest last year - a really nice little spoon by Barn Carder. I've made a couple before but not been entirely happy with the shape so thought I'd try again.

Two spoons; two varieties of wood and two very different experiences.

The larger of the spoons, the one on the right, is green apple. Easy to carve but wet and now needs a couple of weeks of drying out before finishing (the sides on the bulb of the handle need straightening - they're too curved for my liking at the moment) and oiling. It looks very blonde at the moment but should take on some nice colour with age.

The spoon on the left is probably the hardest spoon I've ever done. Before I discovered a bag of green off-cuts in the garage (hence the green apple wood) I carved the smaller one from the nicest bit of fire wood I had on the log pile - a bent piece of seasoned ash. And boy was it hard work. My thumb feels like it's been tenderised with a meat mallet. Having said that, it carved so clean - no tear-out and no real need for finishing (unless I decide to sand it).