Commission

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:

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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:

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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.

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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……

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Sharpening your knives (part 1)

This past week I spent some time in the workshop of @bidaweebushcraft where he showed me his sharpening techniques. Bidaweebushcraft is my son and he can be found on Instagram as such. He is a professional Squash and Tennis coach but a skilled craftsman in many areas, but more especially knife and blade making. I am very fortunate to have these skills “on tap” so to speak.

In this post I will add a short video clip of him sharpening a flat blade knife that he made me. It is my main carving tool for all outside edges of any carving. I use it also for rapid removal of material. It is of the Scandinavian design and holds its edge really, really well. I guess it’s all in the tempering. On my tools page in this website, there are more technical descriptions of the blade. He does make custom blades and more recently damascus knives with exotic handles.

So without further ado – herewith the clip.

 

So a couple of things I want to mention. Firstly a piece of scrap leather can be used to hold the knife securely without damaging the handle. Secondly he uses a simple setup to secure the blade using a normal bench-mounted vice and then a quick release clamp in the vice. This allow fast repositioning of the knife to the best ergonomic setup suited to you. What goes without saying, is that the knife MUST be held securely and safely.

On a humourous note his wife was telling me later that she wondered why his forearm was shaved!

Finishing off with a couple of shots of the knife with some spoons I carved.

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