Carving kuksa’s has been a very interesting journey for me, and I’ve been waiting for the right time to share my journey. Sand your spoon to 220-grit, then apply a nontoxic oil finish (e.g. butcher block, olive, peanut or vegetable oil). Looking through the hundreds of spoons on his Instagram (note the #woodspecies) you begin to notice patterns of interest. So I arranged with him to shoot some video of him carving a spoon in trade for a few of my knives. Some people even use their spoons for breaking apart frozen beef and chicken – they are that solid!
To begin, I use any means available, including the assistance of friends, to break the wood down into a manageable size. Most commisioned designs will remain unique and unpublished as patterns unless they are sufficiently generic in nature and are likely to be of general interest. When it comes to household objects, a wooden spoon may not captivate the average person.
It’s been some time now that I’ve been carving Kuksa’s and trying to get that one design that I really love, and I think now I’ve found that perfect Kuksa. I am old & have collected a few large tools over the years, you can use a band saw & a drill press with a forstner bits to speed things up. Of course, if you like the slow hand process, then that fine too. This is just a selection of some of the women creating amazing pieces of work from green wood. All you need are your hands, a sharp knife, a creative mind and a simple block of local wood. With this spoon, as with most spoons, you will want to shape the working part of the spoon first.
Use the gouge to cut the wood away, but leave plenty of material all the way around.. a spoon with a hole in its bowl will have to be alibied into a stirring stick or a fork! When I first became interested in carving a wooden cup, all I had in my mind was the shape of a cup that would be common in the kitchen. I was interested because I often wonder what does an American wooden spoon look like?” – so I asked what the provenance was, how she knew it was a Revolutionary War-era spoon.
First comes the forehand grip: spoon held by the bowl, its rough-shaped handle resting on my thigh, I grasp the knife firmly between right thumb and forefinger and skim the blade down the length of the spoon handle towards the floor. A first thought might be that a kuksa was carved from figured wood because it looks nice, but the way I currently see it, is that it is for function.
I have also recieved in the post from Israel a lovely eating spoon from a friend Yoav Elkayam. The pleasure in spooncarving is in using small branches of freshly felled hardwood as material for carving useful products that are both functional and unique. This is the most tedious part of the entire operation, and you’ll probably be tempted to use a blade to remove large areas of wood in a hurry. My first link is reserved for Pinewood Forge because his photos of spoons for the mouth inspired me from the start to get back into carving.
That’s because carving a spoon, like other forms of woodworking, is really a matter of knowing your material. A spoon has to approximately follow the grain direction that formed as the tree grew. That said, if you have uhurushi, the wood underneath the lacquer is more of an armature than an important factor in durability…even palm wood will have the properties Wombat lists if it has absorbed enough of that sap. Driving too far will split fibres on the other half and that can extend into the wanted wood.
You’ll be learning more about spoon carving in the August issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine in an article from Peter Follansbee (who learned the craft from Wille and his son, Jogge, and Drew Langser). I had never heard of the tradition of wedding spoons before- but what a beautiful gift! When you are happy with the handle and back of the bowl (diagram 5) you can now remove the surplus wood from the tip of the bowl. This spoon is a sort of remake of a design of a spoon we have used in the kitchen for years.
The properties of green wood mean that the carving process is a joy and requires few tools and equipment. Welsh Lovespoon carving has waxed and wained over time until now achieving its arrival in the twenty first century as a living and fertile means of artistic expression. I also like to have the bulk of wood surrounding my scalloping; so that I have the mass of wood counteracting the mallet blows and to generally support the work. A good spoon should last in the kitchen for many years, but eventually it will wear out. Chris and I have finalised the design and material for the MaChris bushcraft knife.
For me, making a spoon is not typically accomplished straight through from start to finish, but might be stretched out over weeks, months, or even, years. Woodworkers work with material at a variety of moisture levels, depending on how they obtain their wood, what they are making and what methods they use for removing moisture from the wood (drying”). I haven’t tested painting the inside of the cup too much, but my theory would be that its to prevent the wood from absorbing too much moisture while in use to put as little stress on the cup as possible.
Although a few of these spoons are made from horn, the flow of the design is very elegant and pleasing to the eye. Draw out your spoon design on your stock, ensuring that the grain runs straight through the entire spoon. I am showing with-the-grain cuts to use the #7 38mm gouge as the tool you can use to guarantee and exact shape for the bowl and this works with almost any straight grained wood. The adze, used to hollow out the bowl, has been in our culture since the stone age and is a wonderful introduction to the other traditional edge tools used to create your bowl.
On the other hand, I do believe that a do-it-yourselfer with modest skills (and a jigsaw or bandsaw) could make good money if he turned out a line of standard (but classy) spoons.. to sell at art fairs and in craft and gift shops. I was about to buy this spoon but my wife didn’t let me. This is one of my favorites from Patrick Alan Diette. Some evaporation and respiration will always occur with wood; however, the moisture content will seek a balance throughout the wood and cracks will close naturally. As I noted earlier, if the wood dries too quickly, the outer layer shrinks too much.
This is best achieved using a small, curved bladed knife called a crook or spoon knife. Wille’s book Swedish Carving Techniques” (Taunton) is back in print, and available, as they say, wherever books are sold. If the spoon survives the process of its own making, it will survive for many years in the kitchen. I’ve rubbed olive oil into wood and never had a problem with it going rancid, probably because I use the chopping board most days. The process of starting with a simple and uninteresting block of wood and creating something beautiful. Make sure that checks like this won’t interfere with your carving before you start!
Somebody gave me the bottom half of a very thick maple door and I’ve been slicing sections of that for carving spoons very dense and fine details show. Knife grips: Giving you confidence in safety and ability to accurately shape wood with a straight knife, as well as a bent knife for creating the bowl of a spoon. The Carving Shed on Orcas Island welcomes people of all ages on Sunday mornings. I just finished my first spoon and my wife pinched it so I must make another one for my camping gear.
I alternate between working on the inside of the bowl and working on the exterior of the spoon seeking to have as much agreement” between interior and exterior surfaces as possible. I promised to finish the spoon as a gift as she liked it, once it was dry it needed a few finishing cuts in order to achieve a smooth finish. We had a 2-day spoon carving class during which I apparently took zero pictures.