Monday, March 30, 2015

Return of Spoonula

I honestly do not mind my carving mess ups at this point in my learning.  There are so many things I learn from the mistakes.

My first spoonula was carved out of a fallen sycamore limb that I found.  The mistake in that one was that I carved one spot of it paper thin.  So, when I carved the next one, I tried so hard to not carve it too thin.

This one was carved out of Ambrosia Maple.  See the board under it?  That is the board it was carved from.  It is almost white before you oil it.  It feels like magic to put clear oil on it and have it turn this beautiful color.

Well, unfortunately, I repeated my mistake and carved it too thin again.  It isn't as paper thin as the first time, but still thin.  I carved the depression on the spatula before I carved the angle under it. And not only did that thin it out, but when I started carving the depression I gouged it out with too much gusto.  The more I tried evening out the gouge, the thinner the whole thing got.

So, now I am working on spoonula number three.  I am pretty happy with it so far.  There is a worm hole along one side that I might fill.  There is still a little sanding to do.  Then I will coat it in mineral oil.  After that, I will let my friend choose the one she wants.

Friday, March 27, 2015


I think I have not carved 2 spoons alike since I started playing with wood.  A lot of the reason is that each piece of wood presents its own possibilities and limitations.  That, plus I whack off an accidental piece of wood here and there.  That kind of changes the designs.

A friend of mine asked me if I would carve a "spoonula" for her.  That is a spoon and spatula combo. I had tried a spatula a couple of weeks or so and the angle of the the bottom piece was just way wrong.  So, last night I decided to carve a prototype of the spoonula.

I totally love the prototype.  It was carved from a found limb off a sycamore tree which was a limiting factor sizewise.  Besides that, the piece of wood carved just fine. 

My error was that I dug a little too deep in the bowl of the spoon. If you look at the next photo, you can see where the wood is so thin, light shines through.  Good enough for my kitchen for now.

Onward to a better version.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sycamore Ladle

I've been wanting to carve a ladle, but the boards I had been buying from Home Depot were not thick enough.  That is one of the reasons I started hunting big, fallen limbs in the woods.  From what I have learned so far, you can only carve a spoon on one half of a log.  You split the log longways.  Otherwise you have to contend with the pith.  That's the center of the rings.  It does funky things when you carve there.

This isn't the deep ladle I want, but it is getting there.  As I was carving, I followed the swirl of the grain.  Engrossed in the grain, I missed the dark brown stripe until I had carved a bit of it away.  Oh well.  Another lesson.  Pay attention to the whole piece you are working on.  I would have loved for the stripe to have gone all the way down the handle.

Here's the sycamore limb from which the spoon began.

Siren's Song

This is what gets me out of bed in the middle of the night.

Found Wood

Now that I have returned to wood carving, walking through the woods is like walking through a lumber yard.  I keep hoping to find some downed limbs of good size that are pleading to be carved.

Here is a beech wood spoon and the tree from which it came.

Actually, the spoon lived inside a limb that had broken off the tree.  I don't cut down trees to make spoons.  

I am having SOOOOO much fun carving, I don't want to do much else.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Little Carved Spoonies

My last little spoon was so small, it became a measuring spoon for 1/2 teaspoon.  Now, you can't just have one little 1/2 teaspoon, so I made a teaspoon and a tablespoon.

They turned out just fine in the end, but there were some catastrophes in the beginning.

I was horrified when the bowl of the first one cracked, but was doubly so when the second one did the same.  When I drew the shape on the wood, I drew the two at angles slightly diagonal to the grain so I could fit both on one piece of wood.  I suspect that is what increased the probability of a crack.

I decided to give them the good old college try to fix them before I gave up on them.  The store for woodcrafters had some heavy duty wood glue that seemed to do the trick.

So, these are mine.  No gifting them since they have been repaired.  I do like them regardless.  In a way, it is nice to know that they are not going anywhere.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Little Fella

Here is the little fella I carved today.

The bowl holds only a half teaspoon.  Originally he was supposed to be bigger, but too many "oopsies" brought him down a peg or two.

These were some of the stages I went through to carve this one.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Carvin' Complete

I've mostly finished the spoon.  All I need to do now is to treat it with olive oil and bees wax.  How I do that, I have no clue.

I am pretty happy and surprised with the results.  The bowl is not perfectly smooth inside but maybe that skill will come with time.  Of course, it was all done by hand, so maybe a little imperfection is acceptable.

Carving this thing took the better part of two days.  I wonder if I make more, if the process will speed up. 

My long time blog pal, Liz, commented that this is a big switch from the fancy eggs I usually make this time of year.  I was thinking the same thing myself.  Last year I sold my pysanky at work,  This year, I have no captive audience to sell them to and I already have tons of eggs as it is.  I'll have to figure out something next year.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Carvin' Down in Snippyville

I spent this beautiful snow day downstairs in Snippyville.  ( studio.)

I am teaching myself how to carve spoons via YouTube.

Last weekend I went to a craft show and came home with about a hundred dollars worth of carved wooden kitchen utensils.  Whenever I buy wooden implements, I wonder if it is something I could make myself.  Many years ago I took a wood sculpture class, so I figure spoon carving is something I can manage.  We'll see, I guess.

Here are the steps so far.

I'll show you later how it all turns out.  Wish me luck.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Namaste, Ya Little Buggars.

I encountered my first class of scoundrels as a substitute teacher.  Fifth graders.  They came in the classroom and never paused their playing for a second.  They didn't even give me a chance to announce that their teacher was out and had asked me to come in and be their "guest teacher" for the day.  They never got quiet.  Never got settled down.  Never acknowledged the chime we use for such purposes in "Responsive Classroom."  Didn't put their heads down when I finally gave up and told them to take a five minute break.

I refuse to yell at kids.  It does no good anyway. So I just took a breath for a moment to figure out my next move.

This is how I fantasized the scene.  Me....breathing deeply and removing myself mentally from the bad big claws come in and pluck the ornery little buggars away.  There's a hook that comes in a takes one of the entertainers off the stage. I found this little fantasy quite calming.

As I walked over to the telephone and drew my finger down the phone directory list, the room grew increasingly quiet.  I dialed the phone and knew that I had their attention. As I began to speak to their teacher, you could hear a pin drop.

Unfortunately, she was in a meeting and could not come to give them a pep talk, but I didn't let on.  They thought she was on her way.

They sat with their heads down in silence as I gave the evil eye to anyone who dared look up.  Finally, I pretended to call the teacher again to tell her that they had done better and I would give them a second chance.

They were quiet enough for the rest of the class.  Not as quiet as I prefer, but quiet enough.

Thank goodness that as a sub, I can choose to work with them again or not.

Scherenschnitte 5"x7"       "Fat Fairy"