Spoon carving.

Spoon carving with Jon Mac.
A blog following my journey into the world of bushcraft, spoon carving and kuksa carving.

Monday, 4 June 2018

spooncarving courses.

We had a super week here in our wee village down in Devon.
Sarah and I organised two spooncarving courses which we delivered in the old orchard next door.
We set up our little Laavu and a shelter sheet, popped the stove in and waited for the arrival of our first students on this particular site.
It takes a bit of hard work setting up a comfortable site, something that is pleasing to the eye and comfortable. I tapped into some skills I learned whilst working for a Chrysler Jeep roadshow some years ago. Judging by the smiles on the faces of our students, we made a good job of it.


Not only do we have to spend time on the set-up I have to fettle the students edge tools to give them the best of carving experiences.


I'm very keen on delivering good instruction and like to keep my group size to a minimum, five is the maximum. If students require a more intimate experience, I can accommodate their request. Our first students were from Northern Europe!
A super couple, one a fine furniture maker and the other an accomplished leatherworker.


It is often the case that my students are novices who have no experience in the use of Axe, knife and hook knife. I run through the whole process from Axe work through to the tricky hook, including knife safety and knife holds. We also spend some time on how to choose the best part of a log and how to split the round down to a useable size and shape.


I must say, I enjoy kick starting folks spoon carving journey.


The weather held for both courses, it was brighter for the second event, so we decided to go with a shelter sheet and leave the gazebo in its pack.

We used some Hessian gifted to me by Willow Lohr a few years back to create side panels to shade us. It worked well and I will have to buy some more for future use.



Whilst I teach my students I will often endeavour to carve a spoon or two for them to take away as patterns for their next carve. I'm sure it's useful to have something one can reference.



I will post more available course dates here at Spooncarvingfirststeps.com
All are welcome, from beginner to journeyman. 
I will also be offering classes in carving Kuksa using only three edge tools, Axe, knife and hook. 


Being able to carve these pieces in the forest is a wonderful skill to learn. No heavy pieces of equipment are needed, just quiet determination.
We can offer camping at the site to accommodate two day courses.
Bring your own tent or bivvi.


Sarah and I spent a few nights in the Laavu, cooked dinner on the stove and enjoyed the peace bought on by the setting sun. The birdlife here about is bountiful, the dawn chorus is an absolute cacophony of song, utterly wonderful. We even saw owls fly over camp and listened to them calling from early afternoon through twilight until it became fully dark, then I guess the hunt for food began in earnest. We were snug in the Laavu, it was really quite warm...


We have also been demonstrating at local shows here in Devon


We have confirmed a place at 
 Marldon Apple Pie Fair
Saturday 28th July
Jubilee Meadow, Marldon. TQ3 1NH
So if you are passing, pop in for a chat.

Before I sign off I'd like to thank my friends and neighbours Tim and Chris for their support.
And all of you out there in cyber world too.
All the best for now...

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Kuksa carving course.

I've just set up a Picatic event where you can buy a ticket for a two day Kuksa carving course with me, Jon Mac, here in the Shire, rural Devon.

You'll find details HERE!


Two day Kuksa carving course with Jon Mac, a leading exponent of spoon and Kuksa carving. Camping and carving in beautiful rural Devon.

A two day course with Jon Mac at a beautiful rural location in Torbryan, Devon. Jon will teach you how to carve a Kuksa (wooden drinking cup) from green Birch, using traditional camp or bushcraft tools, namely Axe, straight knife and hook knife. The first day will involve Axe work, blanking out the Kuksa, and hooking out the bowl, the second day will revolve around hooking out the bowl and balancing out the overall shape. Jon will supply all tools needed, bring your own if you wish. You can camp at the site or you can find your own local accommodation. It is permissible to arrive on the Friday night to set camp for the course start on Saturday morning. Toilet available at the house.
Course requirement.
Prior knowledge of Axe use is preferred.
If you have no previous experience, watch out for my future spooncarving courses.

Kit list.
Warm and waterproof clothing.
Own camping equipment if choosing to camp. 
Tent/ground sheet/kip mat/sleeping bag.
Cooking equipment/food and toiletries for the weekend.
I'll see you when you get here.
Jon Mac.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

A real time spoon carving movie.

I have finally, nearly, almost, come to grips with the movie settings on my trusty camera.
I thought it was about time I made a movie of a complete spoon carve.
This is not a film of close up detail but a film covering all of the motions one needs to carve an eccentric Jon Mac pocket spoon using my three trusty edge tools, Axe, knife and hook knife.
I was joined in the movie by one of my Red Robin helpers.
I do hope you find this movie useful.
All the best for now...

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Chip carving.

I recently handled a little blade I bought from Nic Westermann some time ago.
I've been meaning to have a proper attempt at chip carving and now I have the right tool I'm really enjoying the process.
You'll find how to pop your blade onto your own carved handle if you click HERE

I've been carving some nice little pocket spoons recently, around five inches long, just right for lightweight campers or cycle tourists.

The first thing you need to do is carve your spoon, leaving enough space at the handle to allow for your chosen design.
With a compass describe a circle.


Take the compass point off of the spoon and place the point anywhere on your circle.
Describe a semicircle dissecting the original circle.
Then place the point on one of the new junctions of circle and semicircle and proceed until you've drawn a simple flower shape.


With your sharp knife cut into the centre line of one of the petal shapes.
The blade should be vertical.


And draw down from petal end to end.
Then you need to cut obliquely into the bottom of your original cut from petal end to end, describing an arc as you do so, and keeping the knife point within the your original vertical cut.


And repeat the other side.


You should now have a clean petal shape.


Once you've finished, add a stem using the same technique.


Here's a little video I managed to take that shows the process.
I hope it's clear enough for you to copy the technique and have some fun.
I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying this little blade and the things I'm able to do with it.

All the best for now... J