Monday, May 8, 2017

Carving a Spoon for Margaret & Dennis-Pt. 1

Hello All,

Well, the weather here has finally gotten warm and clear and it's really time to get down to the woodshop and get moving with this year's turning and woodworking schedule.

Since I haven't done a posting about spoon carving for a while now, I thought it would be a good idea to re-visit that activity. And low and behold, just as I was thinking about this, my postal lady delivered this mysterious box with a...

With a tree branch just perfect for carving!

Ok, it wasn't mysterious. But it is intentional so here is the story behind this...

Sometime ago I met up on a social media site with an old friend that I have known since about the 1st grade and we chat occasionally and she and I both post photos of family, etc, on our respective pages. About 2 weeks ago she posted a photo of a huge eugenia tree in her backyard that was causing some damage to her property and had to be taken down.

The tree had been in place many years and her children and grand kids have played with it and it has become a part of their lives over the  years and so Margaret and her family were sad at the prospect of having to loose the tree. I saw the posting and offered to make her  a spoon out of one of the branches if she could send it to me here.

Here is a photo of the tree:
Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, tree, sky, plant, cloud, outdoor and nature

You can see that it's a huge tree. And holding it up is her husband Dennis the Mighty Man.

So she had a tree removal service come out and saw it down. But Margaret saved me a branch and mailed it to me and I began carving one of two spoons that I'll be able to get from that branch.

Here's the process and photos:

The branch has an oval end:

and a round end and has a slight curve to it:

I decided to place the bowl end of the spoon on the wider end. This will give me enough wood for a broad, shallow bowl:

And so I placed it on the bandsaw and cut it in half length wise. It has a nice reddish brown color and you can see lots of little branches that were going to grow out of this branch. The branch also has a curve to it and you can really see that in this photograph. The twigs proved to be tough to cut through and even though the blank I'll cut will be straight, the wood may cause the spoon to curve as it dries out:

I then cut the branch halves into long rectangles so as to make it easier to hold in a vice:

Doing this also gives me a nice flat surface to draw on:

Carving the Bowl

Here is a photo of the basic carving tools that I use for hollowing out the bowl. I mostly use the two very narrow gouges on the right hand side of the photo as it's easier for me to push a narrow tool through wood than it is a wide tool. I also use a mallet which is not in the photo:

And here I go. I begin at the base of the bowl. I like to carve this deeper  than the top of the bowl. I think it makes for a good serving and kitchen spoon:

Then I turn the blank around and carve the top of the bowl. The wood grain direction runs from the bowl to the handle. I prefer this as it makes shaping the handle a little easier:

After several minutes of carving, here is the bow. I like the depth and the shape:

Here is a hook knife, which is a common tool and you can see this on other spoon carving sites online. As this wood is wet and therefore soft, I'm going to use it to smooth out the surface of the bowl:

I also use small, curved scrapers on spoon bowls too:

Here you can see the scraper. I aim to produce fine shavings with this scraper:

And that's the bowl for now:

Shaping the Handle

To begin the process of shaping the handle, I'm going to use my bandsaw to remove some of the wood from the carving blank. I'm going to make two stop cuts and I've marked those of with dotted lines. The rest of the cuts will following the lines on the wood:

And here is the carving blank. The blade came off the bandsaw while I was cutting:

I was going to cut this next section off with the saw but I'll have to do this by hand:

So I began doing this with my draw knife which would ordinarily make short work of this. But those tiny little branches came back to haunt me. They acted like little stops in the wood and it was next to impossible to shave that area down:

You can see how the wood is tearing instead of cutting smoothly:

So out came my 1 1/2" carpentry chisel. I keep this razor sharp and I use it quite a bit. With practice I've found that I can not only rough out something but also do fine detail with it. It's like having an old friend in the shop ready to always lend a hand:

And you can see those twigs are history, although the wood fibers instead of laying flat and straight are laying in all sorts of direction. This proved difficult to cut through even with the chisel:

I kept whittling away at the handle, slowly shaping it:

And there it is:

Refining the handle

For this step I used this little gem. I'm not sure what this tool is called but I've used it on almost every spoon I've made. I find I can carve in tight curves, flat broad surfaces, and every place else in between. I misplaced one time and went into a panic and spent a considerable part of day searching for it. I also use files and sanding blocks too:

And so I smoothed down the surface of the handle more. It has a broad handle:

And a narrow neck with the beginnings of a filet between the bowl and the handle for strength:

Now I'm going to stop and have some lunch and a cup of coffee. Then I'm going to go out and see what's up with the bandsaw.

The next posting will involve shaping the spoon bowl and drying the spoon.

Stay tuned,

No comments:

Post a Comment