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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Taking Shape

Well, the fun stuff has finally started. I've been busy scroll sawing out the shape of the spoon and am very pleased with how the wood has responded. There is lots of lovely grain patterns which should make the bowl and the leaf look really vibrant and the wood has been cutting evenly with no splitting or shattering. Wood this old and dry can sometimes be a bit brittle, but this walnut seems very good. The dowel that I came across last week shows up pretty well in this photo, but won't be quite so visible when the spoon is complete. I'm very pleased with the proportions and am even more confident that this will be a very smart spoon when complete.



In the second picture I have begun carving out the spoon bowl using a hand-made bent knife. These are specially made for me by Mike Komick at Preferred Edge Tools who specializes in crafting razor sharp, beautifully made blades. In the old days, the Welsh carvers used a ferocious looking bent bladed knife called a 'twca cam' which was often fashioned from whatever metal was at hand. Thankfully for me, I can rely on Mike to use the very best steel so that I can reap the benefits of a good, keen edge. Many carvers use gouges, electric grinding tools and curved scrapers to achieve the same ends, but I personally prefer the bent knife.

Carving the spoon bowl is one of my favourite parts of the process and is one I am happy to spend a good deal of time on. I tend to think that a lot of spoon carvers consider their bowls an afterthought with the lack of attention they give them showing up as a clunky and unsightly end to their hard carving efforts on the handle. But I'm starting to get preachy, so I'll get back to the tools and see how things shape up.

Before I go though, I hope that you are enjoying the blog so far and that you will feel inclined to donate a dollar or two to the Left Coast Eisteddfod! Every dollar you gift will equal a chance to win this spoon when it is completed. I hope you'll join in and I wish you good luck!







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6 comments:

  1. David, I'm really enjoying the blog. I've just recently started my first lovespoon from the pattern you published in WCI in poplar. I also have your book now (excellent, BTW). One issue I am coming across (my own fault since I don't use power tools; a personal peculiarity because I prefer the silence of hand tools) is cleaning up areas where two convex (and, to a lesser extent, concave) curves meet. Cutting down into the crease, especially against the grain, doesn't work worth a hoot. Perhaps I just need to sharpen my skills with a coping saw.

    Bob

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  2. Wow, what beautiful work. I love wood and recently bought a sculpture of dolphins that come up out of the roots of a tree. Seeing this process makes me love them even more!!

    Thanks so much for showing me what it takes!!!!!!!!

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  3. Hi Bob

    If you are having trouble with the grain changing direction at the bottom of a curved surface (such as is found in the mid portion of the spoon bowl) you are not alone. It is a notoriously difficult area as the grain changes direction there. A couple of things you can try are: get your bent knife or gouge good and sharp and cut on the diagonal across the difficult area, you can sand the bottom of the curve with cloth backed abrasive or just take very shallow and cautious cuts and hope for the best!
    The same changing of grain occurs on the outside edge of a curve. Here, the safest method of fairing the curve without digging in and chipping the edge is to take very shallow cuts and slowly work from both directions to the transition point. I sometimes find a file works really well for fairing difficult sections.
    I hope this helps and wish you all the best with your spoon project!
    Cheers
    Dave

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  4. Thank You Susan
    I'm glad you are enjoying it! Stick with us over the next few weeks, there's lots more to come!
    Cheers
    Dave

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  5. Dave...Very impressive work. Just dropping EC's and was captured by your unique work. Will be fascinating to watch how it develops.

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  6. These are beautiful. I also was randomly dropping entrecards. But I do like to look at the blogs anyway.. Wonderful work and very welsh looking, having lived on the welsh border nearly all my life, I can see familiar patterns. I will go and check out your website :D

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