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Monday, July 12, 2010

Something to consider...

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I was very excited to see the start Dave has made on the spoon, especially seeing it all cut out. Seeing the blank all cut out is one of my favorite parts of the spoon-making process. It feels like a milestone accomplished. It also means that now is time for carving, which is another favorite part. For me, though, this time I still have to wait! It is making me all twitchy to wait to hold the cut blank in my hand and study how the coloration of the wood is showing up on the design.
While I wait, though, I realize there is something I should consider: my work space.
I know it's a mundane topic, but it's something that needs serious consideration. So, today, I thought I would muse a bit about considerations for a work space.

Dave seems to have a proper workshop, complete with appropriate workspace, and all the right tools and equipment. He has been woodworking for much longer than I have. I, on the other hand, have a very limited workshop, with no proper workbench or carving space. I'm workin' on it, though....

Meanwhile, this is my normal workspace, for the most part:
I am usually, however, working on spoons 12" or less. That is quite manageable in an armchair. This spoon, on the other hand, is 17" long, and I suspect it may be less manageable in an armchair. I'll need to decide on a more proper workspace - I'm considering building the work bench I've been meaning to build for over a year. We'll see.

So, first, the workspace has to "fit" the item being carved, keeping both the item AND you safe. You need to be able to move your elbows and other parts of your body freely around the piece, as necessary. You also need room to keep your tools handy.

Why not use the dining room table?
Second consideration: Things can happen with tools - so I don't let them anywhere near furniture I don't care to get nicks and scrapes, etc.. Well, I really like my dining room table. I think it was built by my Great Grandfather, from a walnut tree that was in their yard. So, dining room table is out.

Third consideration: what happens with all the wood chips? Well, they fall on me or the table, and then probably onto the floor. So wherever I choose, I need to be able to sweep up the chips, or leave them (like when I carve outside). I also need to live with the few rogue chips that will remain between cushions in my chair, or in some other corner of the room until I do the super-thorough sweep.

Fourth consideration: The spoon needs a safe place when I'm not working on it. A workbench (in a room where my dogs are not allowed - like my workshop in the basement) would be a good place for that. So... I think I probably should get building soon! I also tend to hang in-progress spoons on a pegboard in the same room as my armchair. Storage just requires that nothing is set on top of the spoon (or pushes it around), and no dogs can get to it.

These are the main considerations I'm making, at any rate.
- Laura


  1. I love your cozy chair workspace, and your toes! That's a great pic with the intriguing snow of sawdust on the floor from something you've been working on. The design you and David are working on is absolutely amazing and I wish I could win it! I can't thank you and David enough for this, it's an absolutely amazing creative work and we're very grateful to have your help and your contribution to the Left Coast Eisteddfod.

  2. My workspace at the moment is the garden table (really hope the weather holds out)

    Been reading your blog off an on for a while now. And just bought your book (which is excellent) from Amazon.

    I'm carving my fiancee a lovespoon for our wedding (October) as well as some spoons for family who have helped out... I've just started to apply some Danish oil (which smells great) to my first three spoons. I was a bit surprised that it seems to have come out a bit rough but the colour and tone is great - can't wait to finish them with beeswax!

  3. Hi Martin
    Glad you are enjoying the blog and that you have been inspired to carve a few spoons of your own. A nice way to remedy fuzzy finishes is to give the final wet finish a light (don't sand too hard!!)buff with some 400-600grade wet and dry abrasive paper. This will smooth off any raised grain and will leave your spoon nice and glassy.
    Don't sand too vigourously though or you will sand through the raised grain and into new stuff and will cause the fuzzing to reoccur as soon as the oil hits it.
    Good luck with the spoons!
    Cheers Dave