Spoon carving from a Bushcraft perspective with Jon Mac...
I am a spoon carver who lives and works on Dartmoor in Devon.
I carve spoons and Kuksa from green wood, using the three principal bushcraft tools. The knife, Axe and hook knife. I find spoon carving gives me a greater understanding of these tools as I can demonstrate a precision of craft in the finished spoon. I have developed my own spoon carving knife 'The MaChris' which is made by 'Chris Grant' a fantastically talented bladesmith.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Kolrossing pattern for your hand carved spoon.

 I've shied away from the Sami patterns that are quite common on Scandinavian/Nordic type spoons.
However, today I  succumbed -  due in part I think to a curiosity about setting up the repeating pattern.
I've seen a lot of this type of design, I took a look around the web today and could find no information as to how to set the whole thing up.
The reason for the lack of information is undoubtedly down to looking in the wrong place.
Doh !

So, here is my own tutorial on how one might go about setting the pattern up.

It's snowing out, the flu or whatever it is is making a comeback, so I've lit the fire and I'm working in the warm today.

Apart from a wooden spoon, you'll need a super sharp knife, pencil, rule, fine Abrenet (optional) and some dry, finely ground coffee.

Not a bad tool list...


I selected a spoon that I've carved for a friend who is embarking on a cycle tour across Europe, commencing in the spring.


All I need to do now is carve one for his lovely wife.
Can't have arguments on the adventure eh ?


Have a practice first on a clear sheet of paper then
with your rule and pencil, make feint cross hatchings on the spoon.
Then, with a heavier line, mark out the patten.


I have highlighted the basic repeat in blue.
I hope this makes sense.
Once finished, check the work to make sure there are no errors.

Once you are happy with your design, carefully cut along the heavier pencil lines.
Just one slice, not too deep.

Once you are happy with your work so far and have been over the complete design, use the tip of your knife to make the Maltese cross shape.
Simply poke in and remove.
Or sharpen a fine nail to make a dot.


Finally, rub some coffee grounds into the design with clean dry fingers.
Wet or oily fingers will cause the fine cuts to close up.


Clean the spoon with a clean cloth.
Lightly sand with super fine Abrenet
 to remove any raised fibres.
And oil.


I'm going to ask Sarah to proof read this whilst I nip into the kitchen and make a 


Enjoy.... J.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Bushcraft folding saws.

I wanted to make a small kuksa for the new year -
something like my large Ale hens, but smaller, more compact.
I knew where some Birch was lying, it has been down for about a year and rather than cutting fresh I decided to try out the older seasoned timber.
I packed a small bag with water and a saw and headed woodward.

I've been using a saw supplied by Matthew Platt who owns Workshop Heaven.
A purveyor of fine tools.
The saw I have been using recently is a 

bushcraft+bushcraft saw+folding saw+pull saw+workshopheaven

A really good folding pull saw.

bushcraft+bushcraft saw+folding saw+pull saw+workshopheaven

It's a big old bugger that'll cut pretty much anything that needs dividing into two.
Its 16tpi blade will cope with rip cuts, cross cuts, slant cuts, green and seasoned wood.
The dimensions are, 640 mm unfolded and 350 mm folded.
It weighs 400 g.

bushcraft+bushcraft saw+folding saw+pull saw+workshopheaven

The Shogun 265 will cost £37.49.
Replacement blade is £12.00.

So, once I'd cut my timber I carried it home and set to carving a new year Kuksa.
I did most of the work in my old draughty barn and bought her in and worked at the table when the weather turned.


I wanted to try out a little Kolrosing on this kuksa.
So went about finding a repeating pattern that was suitable.


I drew the pattern free hand with a pencil, then used a knife to cut lightly into the design.
Once done I rubbed some fine dry coffee grounds into the cuts to highlight them.


Whilst this was going on Matthew had sent a more compact saw down to my home here on Dartmoor.

bushcraft+bushcraft saw+folding saw+pull saw+workshopheaven

It's a really good compact pull saw.
The dimensions are 415 mm unfolded and 237 mm folded.
It weighs in at a cheeky 186 g.
Here's what Workshop Heaven have to sat about it.

The Gyokucho Arame is a high performance folding japanese pruning saw. Its razor sharp progressive teeth slice through the wood quickly and exceptionally cleanly, without crushing or bruising the adjacent timber which would otherwise render the tree more vulnerable to infection.

It also cuts dry wood like a dream, so if you are looking for a nicely proportioned folding saw for the toolbox, car boot, or something to pop in your backpack for camping and bushcraft, this is a perfect, if slightly extravagant, choice!

The blades of Gyokucho saws are treated using a process called electroless nickel plating, this has three functions. Firstly, it protects the blade against corrosion, secondly it provides a nice shiny mirror surface, and thirdly its low friction properties inhibit resins and sap from building up on the blade - anything that does manage to get stuck to them can easily be washed off with warm soapy water.The teeth are differentially impulse hardened, one by one, bringing the outer surfaces to RC68 or more whilst still leaving the metal that forms the 'root' of the tooth tough.

Blade length 200mm
Overall length 415mm
Blade thickness 0.8mm
Pitch 2.6 to 3.5mm / 10 to 7.25tpi
Max depth of cut = unlimited
Eva grip handle
Replacement blade = Part No S811

Gyokucho 811. £29.50
Replacement blade £16.20

bushcraft+bushcraft saw+folding saw+pull saw+workshopheaven

I took this saw out today in the Dartmoor rain to cut some more of the Birch.
It's a quick saw and very easily replaces my Silky Pocketboy, the replacement blades are also cheaper.
I think it would show the Laplander the way home also.
Its cheeper to buy than the Pocketboy the price is more comparable with the Bacho Laplander.
The Gyokucho weighs 186 g compared to the Silky 170 which weighs 212 g.
I won't go into a comparison with the Silky, but I can tell you right now which one will accompany me into the woods in the future.
The Gyokucho 881.

bushcraft+bushcraft saw+folding saw+pull saw+workshopheaven

I thought I'd share this little gem with you, I hope you find the information useful.
Back to the Kuksa.....

I think she came out rather well.
You can find some higher res photos on my other blog.

Here's wishing you all a fine 2015 and thank you once more for following my blog.

Jon Mac.