Thursday, June 24, 2010

Carving the Dragon

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After the sawing last week its time to start shaping the handle a bit. I've got the bowls roughed out and am satisfied they will look good so I'm starting to shape the 'overs and unders' of the knotwork. With this type of knotwork it is remarkably easy to get discombobulated and screw up the sequence, so I always go over everything carefully and just cut shallow cuts. Once I am satisfied that things are going as they should, I deepen the cuts and bring things to life a bit more.

This shows where we are at once I've started digging in a bit deeper. This is a fun part of the process because although things are still pretty rough, you can start to see the spoon taking shape and you can get a good idea of what it is going to look like finished. I've also started to shape the dragons wings a bit and have taken a few exploratory cuts. I want the wings to have a bit of a curve in each segment rather than simply being flat plains.

To achieve this, I will use a bent knife (I could also use a gouge here) and I work my way across the wing one segment at a time. I'm careful here to work from the top segment to the bottom...that way I can always work my 'ramps' into thick stock on the next segment. If I work from the bottom segment up, I would be constantly in danger of chipping the finished segment in front of my knife. A simple trick but of course it had to be learned the hard way with a couple of chipped wings... the first time I didn't believe it, the second time I never thought I would make the same mistake again and then after the third time, the light went on. Apparantly I'm the dull knife in the drawer here!!

This little close-up shows the roughly shaped wings and the gentle curve I've worked into each segment. The birch we are using is carving really well... which is a huge relief since I promised Laura it would!

The last pic shows where we are currently at with the rough shaping of the bottom section. I'm happy with how it is all taking shape and will next finish sawing the top section of the spoon. Until then, I hope this little peek at the developing spoon will persuade you to drop a dollar or two into the Left Coast Eisteddfod's little tin cup. You could be the one making off with this spoon after the big draw in October!!

- Dave


  1. Hello Dave,

    I'm so in love with your works, absolutely beautiful!!!! is that the magic of lovespoons :)

    I'm thinking of trying out carving. I plan to buy power carving tool in the future for the work because it can be hard on my hands to use knife? I imagine...Will I able to create lovespoon such as yours with power carving tool?

    I was checking out leevaley and chippingaway websites and your book/works are introduced there. For your information, Google book show many pages of your books, is that okay to you?

  2. Hi Iffdream

    Sorry to take so long to reply to your questions! I have never found power carving tools to be terribly efficient for lovespoon carving BUT I know plenty of folks who swear by them. For me personally, the noise and dust is not something I like and I generally find I can cut faster with knives than with power heads. If you have hand problems though, a power set up can make life a lot more pleasant for you....although I would recommend doing the rough work with power and then doing the clean up work with hand tools! Thanks for the tip about the Google thing...I will pass that along to the publisher and let them deal with any issues.
    Hope this helps!
    Best wishes