Sylva Spoon

Apprenticing Day One

Thomas Bartlett3 Comments

As mentioned in a previous post, I'm apprenticing with Jarrod Dahl for the next few months. Jarrod was nice enough to go easy on me today, focusing on spoons instead of having me embarrass myself on the pole lathe. 

The day actually began with me sitting in on the weekly meeting Jarrod has with Jasmin. This is a big part of what I was looking forward to seeing as an apprentice. The opportunity to see the nuts and bolts of Jarrod's operation is one I feel fortunate to have. The meeting laid out the short and medium term goals they have, checking in with the progress of the various projects they have going on. It was also a good time for Jarrod to fill me in on what I'll be working on this week.

Day One was all about spoons. Jarrod knows I'm comfortable with spoon carving. He cut a couple of rounds of birch, showed me the thickness he wanted it splitting into and handed me the froe. I got busy riving billets. Once that was done, and the billets were separated into thick and thin (for spoons vs spatulas). I used a template to draw on the spoon design then Jarrod axed out a blank to show me what he wanted it to look like. 


I axed out the spoons to the template, handing them to Jarrod, who drew a more refined design that better fit what the wood was doing. It was interesting to find that when I started axing, I was trying to incorporate some of the techniques I saw Jarrod using. However, as time wore on, I settled back into using the techniques I'm more accustomed to. In the end, there wasn't much of a difference in the blanks. A big difference I noticed between Jarrod's axe work and my own was that he made fewer strikes, removing more material with each stroke of the axe. Something to work towards. 

Once I'd axed out the blanks and Jarrod had drawn on the new designs, we went over to the spoon mule. Once again Jarrod demonstrated what he wanted these more refined blanks to look like. Using a drawknife and a scorp-like hollowing tool I removed the axe marks and shaped the blanks closer to the new design. 


Jarrod took these refined blanks and finished them. Working side-by-side Jarrod finished six spoons, with eight more ready for the knife work. It was a comfortable pace, with plenty of breaks to go more in-depth on whatever subject we were chatting about. Our conversations covered a range of topics: craft and copyright, normalising woodenware, how to promote craft to a wider audience. Each worthy of their own blog post. Something I might try and do if I have the time. For now I'll stick to the basics of what goes on each day. Tomorrow is set to be another spoon day. If it follows the structure of today, my next post might be more about the conversations we have.