Saturday, 7 June 2014

I Love Wood....

I know I am not alone in these feelings, but I love wood. I actually quite like trees, and whilst I have fantasized about another life where I am a lumber jack, a tree surgeon or a forest ranger, I'm not convinced I could actually bring myself to fell a really beautiful tree, even if it was for the general good of the woodland. But I really love wood: the smell (I often catch my wife from the corner of my eye, laughing at me whilst I sniff a freshly hewn piece of wood), the smoothness and pattern of a piece of newly axed wood, the bark, the different colours and grain patterns, the unpredictability when working each different piece, etc, etc. I was thinking about this when working a piece of birch this weekend - I hope I never take this for granted or let the act of carving become so common-place that I can't see the wood for the trees, so to speak.

So, I made the fatal mistake of having a quick brouse of carving blogs when I got home on Friday night and that's all it took to turn my best intentions of report writing to the compulsion to carve a spoon. And here it is.

It's birch and medium sized - a bit bigger than I usually make eating spoons but smaller than a serving spoon. This is the first spoon I've done using my new Del Stubbs left handed hook. I tried to do it left handed at first but found it too difficult - maybe in time with a little practise - but managed quite well using my right hand and pushing instead of pulling the blade. It definitely made the job easier, and will only become more efficient with time..

Relief carved and kolrossed basket weave pattern, coloured with gravy!!

I'm quite pleased with the final finish of the bowl, having spent a while with my knife trying to get as smooth a finish as possible whilst it still being tooled. I don't always get as good a finish as other people achieve, and I'm sure its largely down to my laziness in not keeping my tools razor sharp.

I really like this double cranked handle - it's not the easiest thing to do, but makes the handle not only interesting but very nice to hold. I've done it before, and always used my hooked knife across the grain of the handle to achieve the rear sweep, but this time used my axe, coming at it from either direction, making it very difficult to get a smooth transition from one plane to the other, where two lots of end grain meet. Fortunately you can't see it now that it's decorated.

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