Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Beginnings Part II

Continued..  The Soup Spoon.

Using the thicker half of the first log I split -Alder - I roughed the piece by taking out the pith - the pith dries at a different rate to the rest of the wood and this puts tension into the length of the wood.  This in turn causes the finished product to crack or split later on.  Ill try to do some diagrams in the near future to explain the roughing concept but there are loads of YouTube videos out there showing this as well.

Here are some photos - I will try to be a bit more on the ball and take more photos of the stages.

It took about an hour to get from the raw to the completed stage above.  I left the spoon in a plastic bag for a week, rotating it each day as a means to control the rate at which it dried out (the Willow Big Spoon was going through the same process - update: the Willow Spoon has developed a small crack on the lip of the bowl. )
Next was sanding, hopefully as my knife skills develop I will sand less.  Sanding goes on FOREVER! - going through various grades from 70 grit to 100, 120, 200 and 320.  Although having said that the difference in the finish is well worth it.
Below is the spoon just before oiling.  As the spoon is made of wood it is soft and absorbent. Oiling will help to fill the cells and certain oils dry out and harden, resulting in a more robust item. Trying to reduce the number of variables for now, Im going with walnut oil but have been reading up on beeswax and coconut oil.  I have a couple of friends with nut allergies so want to be able to make them an item or two that they can use safely.

Below are the last shots before oiling - which involves coating the spoon in walnut oil and leaving it to dry. Repeating the process until it doesnt take anymore oil.

* working around a knot (dark spot) in the bowl takes some imagination and tons of patience!

The last item I worked on is a Spatula (of sorts) which Ive called the Whale Spatula.
The Big Willow Spoon was carved out of the bigger/deeper half of the split log.  The other half was just screaming to be used to make a flat naturally curved implement.

The process is much the same as the above but the piece of wood was destined to present some challenges - and I cant say I overcame them all.
Primarily the grain around the knot ended up ripping a hole out that was too deep to work around.

If you look at the underside of the spatula (bottom of the 3 above) you can see how the grain runs in multiple directions - I think it might have a bit to do with the fact that this piece has been drying out for a few weeks and I was a bit to rough with it when I used the surform to get the general shape and thickness.

The spatula is drying out at the moment, and as it came from the same piece as the Big Spoon Ill leave it for another week before I oil it.

So. That brings us up to date on my 4 attempts so far.  The Soup Spoon is looking good with it taking on the richness of the walnut oil and the Big Spoon has just started its oiling process - as it is starting to split Ill put it on the shelf next to the first attempt and have it as a reminder to be a bit more patient in the future.
Im in the process of building a "desk top" for my chopping block to enable me to clamp bigger blocks of wood down to carve things like bowls and kuskas safely.

Ill take some photos and do some diagrams if it works.

Thats it for now.

(Edit 29/11/2014) Adding the finished photos of the Soup Spoon.  Oiled with Walnut Oil - It took about 2 weeks for it to taper off on the amount it would retain.

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