Sylva Spoon

Axes

Variations

Tom BartlettComment
I opened up a cherry log. It really useful to make a couple of wooden wedges before starting the split. The wedges help split the log, and won't damage the axe if they come into contact.



I split the log into ten sections, ready to be turned into ten cooking spoons. 


By the end of the morning I had ten spoons roughed out. 

I used my adze to help speed up hollowing he bowls out. 

The twca cam also quickly removes wood from the bowl, and I find it easier to get a smooth finish.

I've got five pretty much finished, with a few minor refinements still needed. I am really surprised with the variation in colour between the spoons, especially as they're all from the same log. 

Hewing Out A Beech Bowl

Tom Bartlett1 Comment
I brought home a large beech log from Spoonfest, with the intention of making some bowls from it. So after a particularly hectic week, here's the first of hopefully several bowls this log will provide.

It's a lot of fun working on a bigger project like this. I do however want to make sure I have it ready for drying by the end of the weekend, as I already have about three bowls that have dried before I've got them to where I wanted to get them. They've all been sitting untouched for a while now. Should probably get round to finishing them soon!

Here's what I managed to get done today. Hopefully I can show you the (almost) finished product tomorrow.
Took a while to saw through



Looks great on the inside

I was surprised at how easily it split.
I used the left half, the right half has a large knot on the outside


Learnt this technique of drawing an oval from David Fisher's video.

Hewing out with my Hans Karlsson adze

The inside all roughed out. 

I used a Hans Karlsson gouge to remove the adze marks. 

Using a Svante Djarv little Viking axe to rough out the outside.

After about 4 hours work I decided to stop here. More tomorrow!

An adventure into Welsh dolphin spoons

Tom Bartlett4 Comments

On Friday I made this spoon from a purple plum branch and shared it in a Facebook spoon carving group. I've mentioned before that the group is a great source of help and inspiration and the following spoon making journey is proof of that. 




Jojo Wood, a fantastic spoon carver, whose work I admire, asked if the above spoon was inspired by the dolphin spoons made by a chap called Owen Thomas

I'm not particularly familiar with Owen's work and his dolphin spoons didn't feature as inspiration for the above spoon (turns out he was an apprentice of Barn the Spoon and does really nice bowls as well as making spoons). The above spoon was a bit of a mash up of aspoon I received from Jojo, a cherry spoon I bought from Jane Mickelborough and my own creative meanderings. 

However I had a look at the link to Owen's work that Jojo supplied:

Owen's dolphin spoons
In the description of these spoons, Owen says:
Initially influenced by the traditional Welsh dolphin spoons, these have developed into a shape of their own. 
For me, these spoons have moved quite a way from the traditional Welsh dolphin spoon design. I'd really like to have a chat with Owen at Spoonfest next weekend to find out more about the journey his spoon design went on.

Traditional dolphin spoons from Caernarvonshire, Wales

For me, the biggest difference between what Owen has developed and the original dolphin spoons is that the dorsal fin-like ridge has disappeared from Owen's design:
Side profile of Owen's dolphin spoons
I actually quite like the look of the traditional ridge, and the aquatic shape it gives to the spoons. I ended up doing quite a bit of desk-based research into the traditional dolphin spoonand they all seem to share that ridge and a wide, up-swept end to the handle.

So, the inspiration for this spoon comes directly from the traditional Welsh dolphin spoon, but via a comment by Jojo Wood, the work of Owen Thomas and a spoon I carved that had nothing to do with a certain aquatic mammal.



I used some purple plum branch wood for this spoon. Traditionally they seem to be mainly sycamore, but plum is what I've got, so plum is what I use. 


The design is based on the various images of traditional Welsh dolphin spoons I found. I drew it off-centre due to the asymmetrical shape of the branch wood. 


Here's the top view after rough shaping with the axe.


For me, the key feature of a dolphin spoon is in the profile view, the top of the thin stem is raised, akin to a dolphin's dorsal fin, and the wide, flat end of the handle mimics the dolphin's tail. 


The bottom of the spoon roughed out, following the pencil lines as closely as possible. 


Here's the spoon after I've finished with most of the axe work. I did some rough shaping of the underside of the bowl with the axe before moving onto the knife work. 


Here is my finished dolphin spoon, the bowl on this traditional Welsh design hollowed out with a traditional Welsh tool, the twca cam


The side profile shows the raised 'dorsal' stem. I feel that I could have done more to exaggerate the lift at the end of the handle, but the upward sweep is there. Not bad for my first attempt.


It actually felt nice to carve a traditional design native to the UK after focusing on Swedish style spoons for so long. I think I'll have a look into other traditional British designs. If you have any suggestions for traditional British spoon styles, please let me know.

Sharpening in the sunshine

Tom Bartlett5 Comments
Some of my tools were starting to get a little dull, so I've spent most of the morning putting an edge back on them. I use sandpaper wrapped around wood working through 150, 320, 600 and 1000 grit before a final strop using autosol as the honing compound. Not all my tools needed all the grits, for example, the Nic Westermann chip carving knife only needed the 1000 grit and stropping




Axing spoons

Tom BartlettComment
Today's weather was extremely changeable. After roughly finishing two spoons (another two were failures - an unexpected knot and a too thin bowl) I decided to concentrate on just the axe work as I could do the rest indoors. I'll finish them off tomorrow.