Thursday, August 21, 2014

My first wooden utensil carving projects - spoon, fork and spork!

Coming off the relative success of carving my first Kuksa, I decided to have a go at a spoon carve. I grabbed a piece of split wood from the campfire pile and made sure it was a piece with no center pithe (I've learned my lesson). There weren't any progress photos because it went so quickly ! I used my hatchet to rough out a working blank with roughly squared up sides, bottom and top. I grabbed a spoon from the drawer for reference and drew out plan (top) view. It only took a half hour or so sitting in the beach chair to carve out the shape with the pocket knife. I flipped it on outs side and drew the profile (side) view. Carving out unneeded wood from this angle was equally quick. The bowl was carved with a straight knife blade so involved some patience. A hook knife will be a welcomed addition to my tools! I took the sandpaper to the piece to round it off just in time for ice cream test with the family! 
I quickly learned why spoons are so shallow when I couldn't easily get to the icecream in the bottom of mine! A simple fact I really didn't think much about. I decided it would be necessary to rework the top to make the sides less steep and the inside more shallow. One's top lip should wipe the spoon clean when removing from the mouth. Duh. After a quick re-work that evening, it was ready for the breakfast test. Unfortunately, I was having waffles and learned quickly that I'd probably benefit from a fork!
Grabbed another split from the firewood pile and brought it to the beach. I quickly worked up a fork, but in the end found it wanting for a bit of a bowl and a better profile shape.

Back to the woodpile! I decided my third piece of wood-ware would be a "spork". I'd try to have the nice recurve of my first spoon, with some prongs for the waffles, steaks and chicken! The next two photos show the roughed out side and top view, next to my first fork.
A few nights on the chair at my son's football practice and I'd completed my spork. The blank I roughed out of the firewood wasn't very thick, so I didn't have the depth needed for a sweeping recurve. In the end, I just curved the end! I've very satisfied with it. The following two photos show it in comparison to the original fork. Its not better than a fork for forking, nor is it better than a spoon for spooning - but it is two tools in one.
I had been treating the finished items with coconut oil, until I picked up some walnut oil at the supermarket. With either oil, I'd put a bit in the cup, microwave for 15 seconds to warm it all up, then work it in with the hands. I'd like to do an oil/beeswax mix as I've seen some beautiful wooden carved pieces online treated this way. My understanding is that the beeswax and oil mixture affords some additional waterproofing and surface protection - with a nice shine. Working with these oils got me thinking of another project thats been on my long term to do list (that also requires the use of oils) restoring an old cast iron skillet! In my next blog I'll talk about that process and how it lead to my current wood project - a long wooden "sauce" spoon!


Written by Kevin Gagne

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