I had a very interesting commission recently. A regular customer at the store where I work knew that I did spoon carving. He had a intriguing request regarding a piece of Ash. His family had the use of a canoe belonging to a friend. One of the thwarts of the canoe had become rotten on the edges and he replaced the thwart with a new one.

This was how I received it:


He specified that he did not want straight spoons but wanted them curly or bent. Within the limitations of the piece of Ash, I laid out the best I could using the whole width, and most of the length. As the colour is fairly plain I also set holes at the ends of the spoon to add some interest.

This was my rough cut out:


Ash is different from any wood I have carved in that it alternates from softish to very hard wood with the growth rings. This gives a very distinct feel as you carve – almost a feel of corrugations.

As I have said many times – the sharper your tool the easier the carve,

The following pic clearly shows the growth rings in this wood.


I was quite pleased with the final outcome and so was the customer. The thwart now lives on, and hopefully will grace many a meal. This has spawned another commission – this time a set of salad servers as a wedding present. Better get busy on those……


Sharpening a gouge

Sharpening my gouges is probably my least favorite part of carving and most likely because I am not practised enough to be confident of doing a great job. Fortunately I live close to my son (bidaweebushcraft) and he makes my knives and gouges. He makes the sharpening look so easy and does it in no time at all. While I can I intend to use and abuse him for my sharpening!

A plug for him – he does make knives and gouges to most specifications and does other knife work using damascus and exotic handle material too. As he is full-time employed it is a hobby for him and he is happy for commission work where time is not a constraint.

So this week I feature him doing another sharpening of one of my tools in a short video clip.