24 July 2020

Highwayman's spoon

There is a popular musical Painted on glass about a legendary highwayman Jánošík. One of the songs is about Jánošík saying farewell to his adventures and some of his trusty equipment, including a spoon from lime wood.
And this is how I imagine that spoon. I've been considering the shape and decoration for a long time but I think it should look quite simple.

14 May 2020

Shrink Cup with Tigerwood Handle

For a long time I've admired shrink cups from Central Slovakia decorated with architectonic elements. Then I decided to give it a try and I created something rather original.

The cup is from maple and the handle is from exotic wood with commercial name tigerwood. It is sold as a material for floor boards. The wood is from Astronium graveolens or Astronium fraxinifolium tree. These trees originate from Brazil, they are from cashew nut family, but they are quite similar to our ash trees.
I'm pretty sure that no one has ever made a shrink cup from these materials before. Not because tigerwood would be so hard to get or because the idea would not occur to  anyone else. But I found that tigerwood is a tricky material, tears out easily, so you can ruin the whole work with a single careless cut. If I wasn't so stubborn and if i didn't have so much time during the quarantine, maybe I would have given it up, too. But now I think it was worth the trouble.

I was able to document the process of creating a new type of handle. I began with cutting a template from a carton and fixing it on the cup to see how it looks.

Then I retraced the template to the board with a white pencil (for better visibility on the dark wood) and I drilled several holes.

After removing some wood, it looked like this:

I cut the small windows with Swedish knife Mora 106, the narrow blade is ideal for such tasks. I used a small pocket knife blade for the spiral column because nothing else seemed to work. Thin strips of tape were used to keep the spiral pattern even.

Bit by bit I removed the excess wood. The spires on top were carved last to protect them from breaking off accidentally.

1 May 2020

Peach and Plum

I have two new spoons, one is from peach wood, finished some time ago:

The other one is from plum:

Both were carved from my stock of dry wood, so it was very hard work!

15 February 2020

Miniature Shrink Cup

I've finished another shrink cup of the same style but this time it is much smaller.

Such small cup can be hollowed very fast. However, the handle is more complicated: it is so tiny that there's literally no place to put your fingers while carving.
Here is the series of three cups together.

25 January 2020

Maple Spoon

I have a new wood in my collection: maple. This spoon is from a bent branch, so it has wavy patterns (but you must zoom in to see it). Maple wood is hard but not as hard as most fruitwoods.

16 January 2020

Maple Shrink Cup

At last I've finished a shepherd's shrink cup that has been lying around forever. This one has a standard size and materials. The cup is from maple and the handle from pear wood.

I also made a tool for fixing the branches while drilling with an auger. It is something like a wooden jaw vice, one hollowed block is fixed to the bottom board with screws and the other is held with clamps.

8 September 2019

Finally Finished

It took a long time but the batch of 8 spoons from the freezer is finally finished. The pictures show (left to right) 4x apple, willow, plum, hawthorn and walnut. You can see how much wood must be removed from the blank to the finished spoon and also how different types of wood change their colors after oiling.

This spoon is inspired by a shape traditionally used in Romania. I think the design could have been imported to our country during Vlach colonization. I wasn't able to find any traditional Slovak design yet because museums usually don't keep historical spoons.

This is a copy of another spoon found on instagram (I don't know the author's name):

This spoon is decorated with a simple ornament that has been widely used ever since drawing compasses were invented.

Although I don't usually do such things, I left a piece of roughly cleft wood on the handle here because it created an interesting pattern:

This spoon is from a bent willow branch. The chip carved handle is painted with natural iron oxide and sealed with beeswax. The design comes from Dave Cockcroft. I found that many non-toxic dyes can be ordered online as additives for making homemade soap and cosmetics.

Plumwood usually has interesting colors whether it is freshly cut, dry or polished and oiled. This piece of plumwood originally had a very dull grayish-pink color but it changed dramatically after oiling. The spoon ended up with rather short handle because the wood was split quite asymmetrically.

This is a spoon from hawthorn, very hard and beautiful wood. The brown parts will eventually become much darker.

The last spoon is from walnut sapwood. At first I wanted to throw it away because the wood was gray and ugly, however now I'm glad I've changed my mind. The oil helped to improve the color again.