Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The lovin' spoonful

I'm grateful to be able to say that I was too young to experience The Lovin' Spoonful's music. Great name though and I've been having another spoon experience of late.

A fella in Tennessee told me a few years ago that when he tired of making chairs that he was going to carve wooden spoons. I'm sure when Curtis does, they'll be about the best spoons going around

Pete Galbert carves them regularly as well and says that if you want to learn about working wood - carve spoons. In fact he showed me how to select the right part of the trunk and branch to make graceful spoons with flowing, curved, continuous grain. Have a look a Pete's spoons on his blog, they are spectacular.

And lastly, I've been admiring the spoons and courses run by Drew Langsner for years. Just a bit far to travel to make a spoon.

But the other day I found myself down at the farm with a bit of time up my sleeve and staring at a very scrubby looking wattle tree. No good for chairs, but being scrub like means lots of branches and branches mean spoons.

I didn't have much in the way of tools, just a carpenters axe and my trustee pocket knife. At first I took the top of the branch down to reduce the weight below, so the blank I wanted wouldn't split or tear.

While I was cutting the branch off I noticed just how how rigid the remaining branch and trunk were. So being in the field, without a workbench or clamps I thought why not let the tree be the clamp for me. So with the bit I wanted still attached firmly to the trunk, I just hewed away as much as I could with the little axe ( albeit, the absolute worst type of hatchet for the job at hand ).

But wrong axe or not, it worked a treat and I found that I could really chop out the rough shape with relative ease and without trying to either balance it on a chopping block or clamp something uneven to a bench.

 There's a bit of work to go and I'm not happy with the handle, but as pretty much my first serious crack at spoon carving, I'm pretty pleased. And it's a nice thing to do by the fire at night too.

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