Monday, January 2, 2017

slight detour into some spoon carving

i think i'm burnt out.

i'm trying to attack this bed frame project but keep looking for other things to do. so much compulsory work this year in my shop with the kitchen and bath the time i started making furnace vents for the floor kicks i had had it up to *here* (points to throat) i just want to have a bit more fun. try to use my hands and find their way through the grain. drape this mindset with a long standing desire to get into the kind of woodworking that i *really* want to do which involves carving and cleaving tools. I really want to build some wild appalachian ladderback chairs someday. work with green wood entirely.

well last couple days i just decided to let things run their course and finally set myself down to carving some spoons. never tried that before, and wow has it been fun! Today, i carved out a spoon from a knotty cut of madrone that our friend Suki handed me after we returned to her house from a walk in the hills above the Russian River.

I wish i had taken a before pic of the madrone. it's a "weed" up in these parts, but gorgeous and tight grained. extremely hard when dry, but carvable when it's green. It had a few knots that needed to be taken into consideration, but when you flow with the grain of the wood, you end up with some pretty cool shapes. the crook of this spoon just happened that way to meander around a knot.

I don't have what you'd call the best spoon carving toolkit, which might include a hook knife and a larger gouge. instead i used a 1/2" #9 sweep gouge for the bowl. I would like to get a hook knife kit and then maybe a wide #7 gouge as well to help hog out the bowls. carving is very much about setting yourself up to take clean cuts without putting any of yourself downwind of a blade's throw. I didn't take the interim shots of the spoon's progression. I hogged out the bowl from the wood billet first, then roughed out the shape on my bandsaw, then refined it progressively using a knife chisels and my spokeshave. I further refined the bowl using this sort of cut where my curled up fingers hold the gouge and only allow a small amount of movement. So many tricks to learn.

while at Suki's place, this 6board chest caught my eye. it was a very handsome box...

1 comment :

  1. This is a fine notion. Wondering if you plan to use the spoon in your kitchen. Is the direction to allow the 'carving strokes' to remain in the work - an attractive effect - or - will there be further sanding? Recall there is a great deal of Holly wood up here drying in the barn loft. It also has a tight smooth grain. Your grandmother Tracy used to have a hand made salad bowl that came from way before her time - probably a farm artifact from the north west Ohio 'firelands' district where her, my and your people homesteaded. It saw lotsa salads and simple dressing mixed up in it and had a great 'patina'. The last time I saw it (maybe 50 years ago).Maybe you'd try bowls?

    Wild carved ladder back chairs, eh? a la West Virginia?

    The spoon looks real fine!