Friday, August 27, 2010

Sweet Birch spoon

I do my carving in the garage.  I have a work bench out there and enough light to see by.  I need to do some serious work out there if I am going to continue with this hobby.  Mainly I think I need to just clean it all up.  It is a disaster out there, stuff thrown haphazardly around, saw dust and shavings are starting to pile up.  There are random pices of wood, a few walking sticks, and tons of other stuff that need to be taken care of and put away/thrown away.  I also need a chair out there..and maybe some music.  I don't mind the silence though, I like sitting out there working on my spoons.  It's quiet, it gives you times to think and to plan.  Above all, it is a time when you can actually control what goes on.  In the world of work and conference calls and football practices and baths and dinner and running from here to there, the simple act of carving a spoon, working with your hands to shape something, feels pretty good.

I won't write a book called Chicken Soup for the Carver's Soul but, I'll make the spoon you can eat that soup with if you want. 

Birch tonight.  I like it.  My hands still smell like wintergreen despite washing them.  The picture isn't great, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Busting my Ash

Three weeks ago, I think, I went up to Mom and Dad's and visited the family.  Not only did I bring home quite a few spoon blanks, but I also brought home a 6 foot White Ash log.  It is still in the back of my truck.  I see it every day and think that I should get it out of there.  Soon though, maybe the first of the month, it is coming out of the truck and I am going to split it.  I have a few odds and ends that I want to do with that log, I plan to make some spoons out of some of it I think.  Some baskets out of some of it (maybe, we shall see), and maybe something else.  I have an idea in my head.  Well two ideas maybe.  One I can do for sure..the other, I don't have the tools.  Someday maybe.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I have three spoons sitting down in the kitchen, drying.  They are going to sit there all week, and then it is finishing time.  I am going to sand them with 440 grit sand paper.  The finish will be mineral oil.  It is food safe, non-toxic, non-staining, and will bring out the grain really well.  Organic oils like olive, vegetable, and canola oil can go rancid on you.  Nut based oils, like walnut or peanut can potentially cause allergic reactions in people who touch or use your spoons, and go rancid as well.  So Mineral Oil is the way to go, I think, and is what I will be using.

My brother talked about being perfect on his most recent blog entry.  You know, I think he is right.  Perfection is in the eye of the beholder.  I spend a lot of time being pretty critical of the shape of my spoons.  I don't like the way the bowl feeds into the handle on a lot of them, or the way the end of the handle ends up being shaped.  At the same time, I think that maybe I need to settle down a bit, each spoon I make is better than the one before it.  That is all I can hope for I think.  Just to be happy with this thing that I have made.  When I can get to that point, I know that I will have reach perfection.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Sanding is not fun..period.  But let me tell you what..when you get to the point in the sanding process when the grain really starts to pop, it is all worth it.  I sanded the three spoons in the pictures below..they are going to dry for the rest of the week, then get one more good sanding..with finer and finer sand paper.  I'll oil them next weekend and they will be ready for use.

Spoons and Salsa

I made and canned some homemade salsa today.  I think three of the four jars actually are going to seal.  Maybe..I can't leave them alone long enough I think.  We will see..if nothing else, we are going to be eating salsa for a while, for sure!

I also wanted to post a picture of three of my most recent spoons.  Front and back..The two on the left are carved from Black Cherry, and the one on the right is from a piece of Black Birch.  I must say, the black birch carves so nice and easy compared to the cherry. 

They all need some sanding still, the black birch has barely had any at all.  The two cherry spoons need some finish sanding before I can get some oil on them. you go.

Jim wins..this round

So my brother Jim flat out robbed the idea of a blog from me.  Well, maybe not robbed, since I hadn't said anything about it ever, but still it was on my mind.  Why do people who make things with their hands, experienced people, or even those that are novices at this whole thing, feel the need to share with the world what they make or do?  Human nature?  Probably.  They are proud, they feel good about what they have done and do, and want others to see it.  So here it is..this is my spoon carving..this is why I disappear into the garage at night and come back dusty, sweaty, and maybe..just maybe..a little bloody.