Friday, 28 September 2012

To sand or not to sand....

When earlier this year a tornado tore unexpectedly across Leicestershire it pulled up or otherwise demolished a number of trees in a number of villages. One such village was Newtown Linford where some rather old trees in and around Bradgate Park (where the ill-fated Lady Jane Grey had lived before reigning for only 9 days and then loosing her head) were up-rooted and a friend from work, thinking to stockpile timber for his woodburning stove, took out his chainsaw and set about cutting them up. To cut a long story short, he brought me in a few sections of ash, which was very welcome as I had recently been bemoaning the fact that I had nothing to carve.

When I split a couple of these ash rounds I noticed that one had an unusual grain formation whereby, instead of the grain running striaght, it was in tiny waves. I decided to make a couple of spoons in the hope that I could show off this incredible wavy grain pattern.

I know this is not a very clear picture - I'd hoped to be able to show the wavy grain pattern - but you can see the rippling undulations on the right of the wood from where it split.

Any way, I drew a simple desert spoon shape on the wood, unsure whether I'd even be able to carve it as it broke along the grain really easily. I was actually quite pleased with the spoon, but there was no real sign of the grain pattern, so I decided to sand and polish it to see if that brought it out.

Ordinarily, I don't sand. On a knife handle, yes, but on a spoon I like to leave the tool marks as a sign that it's hand made. And now I think I may have been seduced to the dark side, because I actually really liked the finished result, grain pattern aside.
After first sanding - the spoon picked up
a little pink colouring from a paper napkin
I used to apply the oil.

With the addition of a little chip caving

I made a second spoon, in much the same style, but after looking at some spoons on Peter Follansbee's site, wanted to try a technique where a 45 degree bevel is cut on the outside of the spoon bowl that then follows around and up the handle - simple but very attractive, I thought. Again, I was quite pleased with the result. And, of course, I sanded this one too.
Not terribly clear, but you can just make out that bevel
round the edge of the bowl and extending up to my thumb

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