So what motivates me to carve?

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best. ” – St Jerome

This inspirational quote is certainly part of it. I love being able to try and improve my skills not only with carving but most things and I believe that is true with us all. We want to be better at everything we do – even just a tiny bit better.

I have been doing woodworking for many, many years – most of my life in fact. I have only been carving for the last few years. The main reason for that is is one of practicality. I lived in Africa and had many resources of space, machinery, labor etc etc. As a fairly recent resident now in the USA I have had to start again. Carving uses few tools, quite cheap to start, and can even be done indoors with not much mess! The labor is me so that is cheap!

If you add to that, the limitless creativity possible and raw material availability and sustainability, it becomes almost the ideal hobby.


I love the way that art – in its pure and natural form –  combines or indeed merges with functionality in a finished piece, as this coffee scoop in Spalted Birch demonstrates. I further love the fact that this piece like all other works are absolutely unique. There is not another like it in the whole world!

Fantastic to me is when someone buys one of my carvings as this is the ultimate validation of my work. It obviously appeals not only to me! (And now I can buy that knife or tool I have been yearning for)

Sometimes my carving has a masochistic element to it like a piece I just recently finished.


This spoon is carved from Colophospermum Mopane – one of the well known and loved woods from Southern Africa lowlands.  It is extremely hard and to make matters more interesting, it was very dry – been in my possession for at least 10 years. It took me weeks to carve and much resharpening of tools but I persisted and am very pleased with the outcome. Don’t think I shall sell this one!

On occasions I may add a small embellishment, more to test my ability rather than improve on the effect nature provides.


I can’t say it improves the spoon – just makes it different.

I am currently working on a 3 spoon set as a wedding gift and I must say this is one of my greatest joys. When you give a gift such as this it ticks so many boxes. It’s hand-made by the giver with love. It is unique and it’s a natural material. Hopefully it is also useful and attractive. These are the first two and I am working on the last which is a scoop. All in Birch that has a rare dark part of the grain. She is a chef so they certainly will be used!



Well that’s it for this week

If you follow me on instagram I usually post a carving pic every day. The link to my account “zambesiboy”  can be found at the top right on this page.


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