Thursday, 28 February 2013

Wetterlings Axe

Got this little beauty yesterday off my good mate Hugo on BCUK, the axe is a Wetterlings according to the sticker that's on it, but apart from that, i have no further details on it as to model or approx date of manufacture, it has a fifteen inch helve and a three and half inch cutting edge

I intend to totally revamp this little axe by removing all of the paint and varnish that covers every surface of the axe, once i have all of the surfaces exposed, i can see what lays underneath and from there i can decide to keep or replace the helve as the grain orientation on it is awful, but, if the helve looks sound enough i'll keep it for the time being as the axe is only going to get used for light snedding up the woods and some bowl and spoon carving.  

Updates on the progress i make with the axe's restoration will be posted up here as and when they happen, if you can shed any light on the model etc, then i would be more than happy to hear from you.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Carving In The Wintry Woods

This picture to me sums up the way it should be up in the woods on a day like today, ie: late winter with a bit of a nip in the air, but it's still great to be out there with all the little signs of spring, just starting to appear.

The photo shows Rockmonkey, Hawkmaster & Hugo from BCUK earlier today, sitting by the fire, carving spoons from some Hazel, while we were out on a bimble around one of the woods we visit  - perfect.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Hand Carved Netting Needles

Made these needles this morning to cover an order i received last week.

The needles are made using locally sourced woods, the top one is made from Ash and the lower one is from Sycamore, both are eight inches long and approx one inch in width and were hand carved using just a small knife, to finish the needles were sanded to 2500 grit and then given a liberal coat of Danish Oil to seal the wood and enhance the grain patterns.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Gift For A Neighbour

About ten days ago, we did some tree work for one of my neighbours, the job we undertook was to Pollard a big old Willow Tree and i said to my neighbour at the time, that i would carve her a couple of spoons from some of the timber we took out, and being a man of my word, i made this pair of spoons for her, the small one is an eating spoon, whilst the larger one is a cooking spoon.

I roughed these out last week from opposing sides of the same piece of wood and decided pretty early on to make them in different styles, although you can see it in the photo, both spoons have a cranked handle.

I got them finished off this morning, having let them dry out nice and slowly, the large one is sanded (yuk) and the smaller one has a tooled finish, i was going to tool both of them, but decided at the last moment to sand one as that way, im guaranteed to get at least one of them right.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Carving A Spoon Blank

 Short video i made yesterday whilst up in the woods, title and content are self explanatory.
 
The axe used in the video is the one i recently did up and the knife is an A Wrights Bushcraft knife, the spoon is being carved from a piece of semi seasoned Hazel that was in my wood pile in the area i was using for the day.


Friday, 22 February 2013

Favourite Set Up - (At The Moment)

One of my favourite tool set ups at the moment is that pictured.

There is nothing flash or expensive about the gear either, the axe is the one i recently bought back to life from a rusty lump of metal to a good usable tool at a total cost of £7.00, the knife is my A Wright Bushcrafter, an often bemoaned tool, mainly due to the awful factory ground bevel the knife is supplied with, but as ive mentioned on my blog before, if you go to the trouble to get it sorted out by one of the many talented knife makers out there, it turns the knife into a superb tool.

I suppose in a couple of weeks time if i were to look at the kit i was using, it would probably be different again, i'll look in the drawer and see a another knife ive not used in a while and the components of my kit will change around again - we can be a fickle lot us Countrymen you know.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Eating Spoon In Willow

Small eating spoon in Willow that i knocked up quickly yesterday afternoon from the other half of the log that the cooking spoon in the post dated 18 Feb, was made from.

I just have to wait for the wood to dry out a bit before i can get it finished off, so at the moment it's in a partially open ziplock so it dries out slowly and wont crack or split due to the controlled environment it's residing in.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Long Handled Spoon Knife

I made this spoon knife a few months back from a Mora 163 Double Edge spoon knife, as i wanted/needed a spoon knife where i could apply more force and therefore torque to the cuts i was making when carving bowls and spoons.

So, having made and now used this knife for a number of months, how has it performed?, well, it's performed pretty well in all honesty, i did have to do some further re-profiling of the bevels and there are still some changes to be made, especially to the area between cutting edge and the handle as im finding with prolonged use, especially when carving spoons, where i tend to choke up on the blade, it does get a bit sore on the index finger of my right hand, but thats a minor point.

Overall the tool has performed admirably and due to the increased leverage the long handle affords, i am able to remove a lot of material very quickly from bowls and spoons and at the same time achieve a higher quality finish, as im not making as many passes to remove the material and the cutting strokes are significantly longer than you are able to achieve with a smaller tool.

Am i glad i made it?, yes i am, to the point im thinking about buying a couple more 163's and making some more long handled spoon knives and in particular, a left handed one, not because im left handed, but sometimes a left handed spoon knife is just easier to use in some situations.

More on the original build of this tool can be found here.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Notebook

One of things i normally have in my bag or pack is a small notebook and pencil, or at the very least a piece of paper and a pencil, it may not get used all of the time, but when it does it's invaluable.

So what do i keep in my note book, well notes i suppose, notes on plants and the environment, drawings of traps and other things that i may find useful or interesting or that i want to study further at home, as sometimes, a photograph just cannot capture the detail you want to study and rather than remove the object from it's environment, i think it's better to make a drawing of the thing or part of the object thats of interest, so you can study it further in the comfort of your own home and of course, a notebook and paper doesn't need batteries either.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Cooking Spoon

I made a start on a making a cooking spoon for one of my neighbours today, the spoon is made from some Crack Willow that we removed from her garden last week and i promised her a long time ago that when the tree was pollarded, i would carve her a spoon from the waste wood.

The spoon as you can imagine is very wet being it was felled less than a week ago, when it's dried out a bit, i will get it finished off and take it round for her.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Saturday Spoonage

Made another couple of spoons today, both from Willow and both for going into the stock pile.

The duo of spoons are of the eating spoon size and the lower one as you can see have some superb grain patterns running through it, which really started to pop once i had oiled the wood with Tung Oil, the other spoon doesn't have the same colours as it's cousin, but it does have a good grain pattern, but this unfortunately doesn't show in the photo.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Look To The Stars

The Constellation Of Orion.
Just had a great, if albeit brief observing session outside with my binoculars, i was hoping to see Asteroid 2012 DA14 on it's near earth miss and despite some broken cloud im 99% certain that i saw it as it passed through the constellation of the Plough, although it was very faint, but using averted vision im more or less certain that i saw it.

So what else did i observe, well again through the breaks in the cloud, i observed the Andromeda Galaxy, The Pleiadies, Jupiter, The Moon and the Orion Nebula, not bad considering it was all seen with just a pair of binoculars.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Cutting Tenons

I spent a couple of enjoyable hours this afternoon cutting tenons on a batch of Hazel stretchers that ive been drying out for about six weeks. In the end i cut sixty tenons, albeit using a tenon cutter in the brace, still a bit of graft involved though, in some cases before i could cut the tenon,  i ran the Hazel through a rounding plane to give a nice white stretcher, as opposed to the rich chestnut colour of the bark on ones so i have a choice of of colours at my disposal when i next build a chair or stool.

Spoon Carving

As the eagle eyed amongst will have noticed, there is a new page listed on the link bar above that goes to a blog that i set up earlier this week.

The new blog is simply called 'Spoon Carving' and it's dedicated, initially, to my adventures in spoon carving, my triumphs and my failures.

At the moment the new blog has been populated with most if not all of the spoon related posts from this blog and despite the dedicated blog,  i will continue to post things on here as always. 

 I have also added a some pages on there as well, one of which explains the basic tools you need to go spoon carving and there are a few other tabs as well, so pop on over there and have a look see and if you like what you see, why not subscribe?. 

The new blog is very much in it's infancy, but im hoping in time, and with your help, that it will develop and grow, and with this in mind, i will be adding a gallery where you can post pictures of spoons and also a section, where, if you feel inclined, you can add articles and stories of your own 'Adventures In Spoon Carving'.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Willow Spoon

Got this eating spoon in Willow finished off today, it's taken a few days to dry since i initially roughed carved it, as the wood was incredibly wet being fresh cut just a few weeks ago. 

The wood has some lovely patterning in it, which will hopefully intensify in colour as the spoon is used over it's lifetime, as per all my spoons, it's finished off with a fine carved finished and then oiled with pure tung oil to protect it. 

I have a good number of hand carved spoons for sale at any one time (over 40 spoons available at the moment), so if you are interested in buying a hand carved spoon as a unique gift for someone special or just for your own use, then please don't hesitate to get in touch, there really is nothing quite like eating your meals with a hand carved spoon, knowing there is not another one like it in the entire world.

Winner

I recently entered a competition that was being run by Copper Head on BCUK, he ran a comp whereby he showed a photo of a Response Pak and assorted items that were contained within it.

In order to enter the competition you had to guess the total weight of the pack and it's contents, the lucky winner, then receiving the pack and contents as the prize, more details on the contents of the pack  can be found here.

So i entered my guess as to the weight of the combined items and blow me down if i didn't get within 10grams of it, i guessed 1235g and the total weight was 1245g.

This morning the pack and contents arrived in the post from Copper Head and im well chuffed with my prize, so full kudos to Copper Head for running the comp and sending out this incredible prize.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sunday Spoon

Small eating spoon made from Magnolia, this one has a wonderful cranked handle shape, which unfortunately, you cant really see in the photo, ive left this one fairly plain as the spalting in the wood is showing off some amazing grain patterns which were further enhanced when i oiled the spoon up with some Tung Oil, which also exaggerated the thin bowl section, it's so thin in fact, you can start to make out the colour of your finger when it passes over the thin section

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Saturday Serving Spoon

Finished off one of the larger spoons i made a start on the other day today, it's made from Willow and features my now much favoured tooled finish. The photo shows the nearly completed spoon with a two pence piece for scale along side it, ive added a knop to the end of the handle and am toying with trying some kolrossing or chip carving on the handle, but im undecided, part of me says "do it" the other part says "let the natural beauty of the wood do the talking", think i'll sleep on it and make a decision tomorrow.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Dehydrated Meal.

On the 6 June 2011, i dehydrated the left overs from one of our family meals, it was nothing too special, just Rice with a nice tomato sauce and some vegetables in it, the dehydrated meal was then bagged up in a bog standard ziplock type bag and put into a cool dry cupboard, and that's where it has sat for the last 20 months.

So today, i thought i would rehydrate the meal and see how it turned out, first off i opened the bag and took a deep sniff of the aroma, good start, it just smelt good, no musty smell or indeed anything else that would suggest it had gone rancid, next step, I take a good look at it all to see if there were any signs that would indicate a problem, nothing - perfect, of course being dried and then kept dry in the dark and cool, there's not really much that can go wrong, unless  of course it had gotten damp, in which case it would have very soon gone off and i would have noticed that during the periodic checks i make in the food store.

Tables Laid

Went for a good long bimble round the woods yesterday with my old muckers Hugo & Rockmonkey, had a great laugh and saw some great wildlife too, including a superb Fallow Deer Buck.

Around midday it was time for brew and a bit of lunch and i guess we could not have chosen a better site to stop and brew up, as right in front of us, on top of a stump was a Squirrels feeding spot and the remains of a Fir cone from the last meal eaten there.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Stunning Sunset

Thought id share this photo of this evenings stunning sunset, as we sat there watching, the colours seem to intensify and within a short period of time the entire sky was red, and as quickly as it appeared, it was gone as the sun sank low below the horizon.The display does bode well for tomorrow though, it should be a lovely day out in the woods and the old saying of 'Red sky at night, shepherds delight' is not often wrong.


Tuesday Spoonage

Just a few of the spoon blanks i roughed out this afternoon, all of these when finished will go up for sale at the shows i have coming up soon, from the top the woods used are,Willow, Willow, Hawthorn, Magnolia, Magnolia & Willow, now i just need to leave them be for a few days in a partially open zip lock bag to dry out slowly as, with the exception of the Magnolia they are incredibly wet pieces of wood being fresh cut timber and i don't want them to dry too quickly and split.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Sunday Spoonage

Couple of large cooking / serving spoons made from Willow, the two pence piece is for scale.

The lower one of the two spoons i roughed out with the axe yesterday and today i carved out the bowl, along with the all the other spoon blanks i made yesterday, having done that i had one good sized billet of Willow left over from the log i split out yesterday.

So i grabbed the Carving axe and roughed out another large spoon, the bowl on the newer one is slightly more rectangular than the lower spoon, but i quite like that as it's a bit different, some of the 'squareness' will be reduced once i get it fine carved and  finished off in a few days time.

Cartridge Case

On a recent bimble with Hugo & Rockmonkey, we stopped at a Redwood plantation for a brew, while we were kicking around the area, i spotted something on the ground that caught my attention as it looked out of place, and what i found was this old cartridge, nothing unusual in that as there are spent cases like this all over the countryside.

What intrigued me was the firing cap, as this cartridge is not spent, the firing cap is untouched, but by the state of the thing you could see it had been there knocking around the woods for many years.

Upon further inspection of the round you can see that it's dated 1924, just six years after the end of The Great War, id love to know the circumstances behind this round being where it was in the middle of nowhere in the Sussex countryside, of course, any scenario we think up is going to be pure speculation as the round was lost over 80 years a go and anybody who knew what was occurring in that area, at that time, are sadly lost and we will never know, but it doesn't hurt to let your mind wander and speculate as to what was going on out there back in the mid to late 1920's.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Saturday Spoonage

Made a start on a few more spoons to go into stock this afternoon, all are rough carved from Willow and still need to have the bowls carved out.

There are a few spoon types here, including the big cooking spoon, the others are a mix of cooking and eating spoons in different styles and sizes, despite all the colour variations in the spoons pictured, they all came from the same log and i still have a few billets left over from the log to turn into spoon blanks  tomorrow.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Mora Classic No.1

A little while ago i was sorting through the knife drawer and rediscovered my old Mora No.1, i used to love this knife and I used it all the time, as you can probably tell by the state of the handle. I cant remember exactly why i stopped using it, but it was probably because i started to buy high end knives, such as Woodlores and other models from some well known UK makers, so at that point the No.1 and indeed my Mora No.2 got resigned to the drawer.

So, having "rediscovered" the Mora No.1, it's quickly become a firm favourite again and i think im going to start using it out in the wilds more and not just down the work shop as i have been, and whilst i still have a number of high end knives that all get used, bar a couple admittedly that im thinking about selling on, as there really is no point having them, if you don't use them, the good old Mora No.1 i think, is going to start seeing the light of day a little more often than it has over the past few years.

Card Wallets

When im out and about, i often get asked when im speaking to the general public about what im doing,  if i have a business card or the like on me so they can check out my website and blog when they get home, now whilst i have cards, i usually carry them in my wallet, which, if im on a bimble or working in the undergrowth, i leave at home.

The solution to the problem was simple, make a couple of leather card cases, these will fit in my pocket or bag no problem and are not as bulky as a wallet, nor indeed as expensive to have fall out of your pocket in the wilds.  Both cases are made from leather splits, the grey is pig leather and the brown is bovine and they literally took me minutes to make, a simple solution to a simple problem, just as it should be.