Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Warm weather and spoons

With the abnormal weather of the past couple of days, I decided to do a little spoon carving on the back porch.

Toward the end of last summer, Kelley and I started in on some hand carved spoons. We frequent craft fairs throughout the year (mostly Sugarloaf Craft Festival), as well as the Maryland Renaissance Festival, and when it comes to wooden objects, we are most likely to try and do it ourselves. It started with me learning to turn, so I could make a couple of wooden goblets to take to the renn faire with us.
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Wooden bowls were used during the lathe learning process, and from there we wandered into the handcarved bowls and spoons arena.

Kelley got a set of palm gouges, which I don't like because I've slipped with those before and punctured my palm. So initially I started with whittling the handles and the outside of the bowls (which is the activity that doesn't go over very well for Kelley), while she would gouge out the insides of the bowls. We made a team effort out of the project.

Then, while poking about the internet, I kept finding references to "hook" or "crook" knives. A knife with a bent or curved blade used to hollow out vessels in the same whittling method that I'm most comfortable with. So I ordered one.

During this time we also learned more about the appropriate sized scraps to use for spoons. We started with the notion that you needed a thick piece of wood in order to create any spoon of substance. This isn't necessarily the case. You can make a nice serving sized spoon with 5/4 material, and everyday stirring or eating spoons you'd want something closer to 3/4" or even 1/2". And you only really need 8/4 lumber if you were going to carve a ladle, where you need the extra thickness to place the handle at an angle to the bowl.

(A note for you non-woodworkers out there. Raw woods come in thicknesses referenced in quarters. 4/4, 5/4, and 8/4 are those we use most prevalently. That number is what the lumberyard rips the tree down to, and comes to us just slightly smaller than that due to the drying process)

There's a shot of me shaping the backside of a spoon bowl (mahogany) and next to that a sycamore spoon fresh out of the water, ready to have the bowl dished out.

We keep them in water, to re-green the wood and make it easier to carve. It also helps in the finishing stages, where we can repeatedly raise the grain (make it fuzzy) and sand it down in order to minimize the amount of fuzziness you get after you use and wash it.

Too bad the weather isn't ready to cooperate, and give me sunny and warm afternoons to carve outside, but that's ok. I just ordered up a few hundred feet of titanium wire, and that should get my creative side through the next month of not quite outdoor weather.


Lynda said...

I like you goblets. You are so creative. What are you gong to do with the wire?

Sidewinder Studio said...

I will be making some jewelry again. I've ordered some raw wire as well as some anodized in an array of colors.