Monday, 22 July 2013

New axe, and some carving....

When my colleagues gave me a very generous leaving gift of some money I knew right away what I wanted - a new axe. I have several smaller axes, and really only use one of these for carving, but have been aware for a while that I don't have anything a bit bigger, good for large amounts of wood removal, for bowl blanks, etc.

So, which should I go for?  Didn't have a bottomless pit of money and I know that some of these carving axes can be quite expensive. I asked Julian for his recommendations, based on the axes he has or has had, and I decided that my number one choice would be a Stefan Ronqvist, only to discover that they are  alost imposible to actually get hold of. So, choice number two: either a Hans Karlsson or the good old Gransfor carving axe with the Sundqvist red beech handle? The more I thought about it the more I felt sure I wanted the Gransfors - I know these are fairly common, and I'd seen plenty of them at Spoonfest last year and really liked the look of them.

Then Julian texted me to say he had heard that Nic Westermann had some nice carving axe heads available and that I should think about perhaps getting one of them. His logic was this: Gransfors axes are nice, but will always be available; Nic's hand forged heads are one-offs and don't always come up. So, I contacted Nic, chose the one I wanted and waited anxiously for it to arrive. And it did, this Saturday, and what a beauty it is.

New Nic Westermann carving axe with all seven layers of packaging - it is sooo sharp, I guess you can't be too careful sending something like this throught the post.

£100 plus £4 postage - a bargain if ever I saw one.

With new oak handle. I wasn't completely happy with the finished shape - more curve than on the ones I had seen on these heads. Then I got impatient and broke a section off the heel of the handle whilst knocking it on with a beadle. I know it should slide effortlessly on, but after the hundredth time of trying the head, doesn't quite fit, knock it off again and shave a little more off and try again and repeat ad infinitum, I got a little impatient. I guess I'll replace it eventually.

Thought I'd try it out on a spoon. If I'm honest, the extra weight, handle length and extreme sharpness frighten me a little. Despite that, it carves amazingly well, and with great precission and detail when necessary. Look how close I was able to carve to my pencil line.

Close-up of pencil line in case you couldn't quite see it in the last picture.

Roughed out entirely using new axe - and I still have all my fingers.

And the finished article...

It was the back of the design for this spoon that I particulary liked.

The spoon design is inspired by one that I saw on this blog:
I only wish I could understand what it says. Anyway, I saw this picture

and loved the shape of the spoon on the far left and thought I'd give it a go. I wish I'd had some wood with a bit more colour or pattern on it - perhaps mine will colour up with time.


  1. You, impatient, never.
    The axe looks great mate. I think you made the right choice. Love the spoon too.

  2. Really happy that you like my spoon :), Initially the back design was inspired by the small eating spoon I bought from Barn. The wood I used was blackthorn.

    I really love the axe! It is for shure one thing I want to take a look at at spoonfest.

    Some or other time I will start writing bilingual, for now I have thought about something, so keep checking back ...