Sunday, 20 April 2014

Some animated spoons...

It's Easter holidays for those of us who work in schools and, whilst I haven't spent as much time as I would have liked making spoons or carving generally, I have made a few. Sorry if you hate these little GIF. videos - it was my daughter's idea and I guess it does give you an idea of scale and three dimensional shape.

This first one I carved yesterday out of really quite seasoned....oh, I've forgotten what it was. It looks a bit like ash, and I do have some ash in the garden. Either way, it was hard carving, but gives a nice definition on the cuts. This is a little eating spoon I have made as a gift for a friend who I have not really seen since at school, 30 years ago and then turns out to be the mum of a young lady one of my teenage nephews is dating. Bear in mind foreshortening and use my daughters fingers as reference for size, not her head - this is a dainty little spoon.

This second one is birch, a lot bigger, a proper serving spoon, based on one Julian bought from a charity shop which I'm guessing is eastern European. Nothing decorative, but very practical.

And this last one is birch again, An eating spoon, heavily cranked with a little kolrossing rubbed with paprika.

I will take and post additional photos with a bit more clarity and a little less headache!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Bowl no.15

I guess this one is pretty similar to the last, same wood and carved decoration. The idea with this one, however, was for the carved are to be more subtle, with just a slight ridge to carve out of. I probably should have done a before and after shot of the carved area to illustrate what I mean.

The bowl is bigger (about 10" diameter) and the notches cut out are a lot smaller. This made it a bit more difficult to mark out, but once I got the hang of it it was a lot quicker to do as each notch was just three cuts: one in the centre and then one coming towards the centre cut from each side.

not having the defined area to carve made it more difficult to get the notches all of a uniform size as the top and bottom were not marked out. You can also see where some of the centre cuts went too far and extend beyond the notch. I'm not too worried about this though, it made me think about something I read on another wood worker's blog (I think it was Simon Hill). He mentioned that while doing a course at Spoonfest with Janharme te Brugge, JanHarme said not to worry about little mistakes in the carved decoration of spoons as it just emphasises that this is something made by hand and not by a machine. I hope it applies to bowls as well.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Bowl no. 14

This is another from the spalted sycamore. I'm going to miss this stuff when it's all used up, but I look forward to painting some bowls again (this is far too nice to paint).

Some more carving on this one, though a much simper pattern. One thing that I love about doing carving on the bowls is that I can do it in the living room whilst talking to or watching TV with my wife, much more sociable than the actual turning.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

An afternoon of sharpening...

I tried to do a little bit of carving last weekend, but the fates seemed to conspire against me. Either wood didn't split nicely, or else knots appeared where there hadn't been any before, or splits opened up in half carved spoons, and so I gave up.

One thing I did notice in the process, however, was that may tools were all blunt. Now, I've never gone whole hog on the sharpening thing - I know some people make a science of it, have umpteen grades of Japanese water stones and use a microscope to see the striations on the tool edge. I nearly choked the first time I looked at the price of water stones in Axminster, and whilst I know there is a proper way to do it, and that those people who invest in the right kit will get a much better, neater and safer result than me, well, it just isn't in my nature to do things properly.

I have found that with proper, careful use, other than the occasional accident (like a month or so ago when I chopped my Nic Westerman axe into my chopping block only to discover a hidden nail!!), tools rarely if ever need full scale sharpening or re-profiling, and so I use a small water stone that Julian picked up from a car boot and gave me - it's fairly fine - and then an EZE LAP diamond stone, and then finish off with a strop with Flexcut polishing compound.
My very minimalist sharpening kit.

This is not a perfect method - the stones are both small and take my fingers in a rapid circling motion too close to an increasingly sharp edge for comfort. It gives me a lovely sharp edge, but as it wears I get tiny striations on the blade which leave a striped effect on my work, but I don't mind too much. I really do enjoy a good sharpening session.

Then, with newly sharpened tools, I carved a couple of spoons - both in green birch, a joy to carve. One small eating spoon, heavily cranked and shallow bowled.

The other a long serving/spatula type affair.

Both need to dry for a few weeks now and then a spell in oil and I'll then carve some decoration on them.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Spoon knife case

I have a few spoon knives and most of them live with my other knives in a little canvas tool roll. But my Robin Wood spoon knife has a much longer handle, so it won't fit in my roll. I used to protect the edge by wrapping it with leather, which works well, but I wanted something a bit better.

Burning the recess for the blade was a bit tedious and It may have ruined the heat treatment of the knife (not really, I used a bit of scrap metal). I'll probably have a go at another one soon as it should really be turned the other way around so that the edge of the blade faces in towards the case. I'm happy with it as a first attempt though. I'd also like to make a double one like one made by Jogge Sundqvist that I saw at the first Spoonfest.