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.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

A Spoonmakers' Basket.

spoon maker
I think it's about time I introduced you to the simple edge tools I use to produce my Art. I've taken some photographs of the tools next to an unfinished spoon to give you an idea of scale. I start my work with an Axe, so I guess that should be the first introduction...


stubai side axe
This first Axe is made by Stubai, and it is a side axe. This type of Axe would normally be used for wall finishing in log cabins or ships, but we can easily use this type of Axe for quite delicate work.
This Axe was given to me by my great friend Ralph Hentall...

spoon gransfors bruks axe
The Axe above is one of many types manufactured by a company in Sweden called Gransfors Bruks. It is what they call a small forest Axe. It is most useful on the trail for cutting timber for shelters or splitting down fire wood and making feather- sticks. Once sharpened properly it is a remarkably sharp tool that keeps a keen edge. After some experimentation I have found that I rarely use this Axe for spoon work, but I include it because it is such a good all-rounder...


axe spoon maker
Here is a close-up of the head, and as you can see it is marked with the makers mark and the initials MM of the man who made it. Mattias Mattsson. A nice touch in these days I think.

The next Axe is a favourite of mine and is made by a chap in Finland called Heimo Roselli. It is of the Bearded type. As you can imagine, it is quite easy to get your hand up and behind the cutting edge for maximum control. It is about the same weight as the Bruks Axe and will sharpen incredibly well. I have used this Axe for most of my spoon work and find it a joy to use...


h.roselli spoon carving
Here is a close-up of the head where you can make out the makers mark...Fantastic !


spoon carving
I have found in my time that some ladies find it difficult to control an Axe, it does take some strength in the wrist. So I have introduced them to my next edge tool, the Leuku. This is a large knife that would be used by, lets say a Reindeer herder, for cutting Larch poles for shelter or using around the fire to cut firewood and feather-sticks. A very controllable and useful edge tool. This edge tool is again made by H.Roselli...

leuku spoon carving
Here it is in the sheath....

leuku spoon makerAnd unsheathed...
Used in lighter and more measured chopping action, with the work close to the handle, you can safely chop out spoon blanks....

This next tool is also from the Roselli stable. Its what he calls a Carpenters Puukot, or Carpenters Knife. There is still a strong and healthy carving tradition in Nordic countries, passed down through the generations, it would be quite everyday to meet people with this sort of knife on their belt. It is non folding and quite small, easy to turn quickly in the hand, single bevel which sharpens very well. In fact I can shave with all of my edge tools....

spoon makers knife

In the sheath....


spoon makers knife And removed....


I have also included a photograph of a Puukot from another famous Knife maker, Julius Pettersson. Sarah bought the blade a number of years ago, and some of her family supplied the wooden blanks with which I fashioned the handle. All the leather work, brass work and wood work by the author...



julius pettersson spoon makers knife


julius pettersson spoon makers knifeThese kind of Knives are the mainstay of my Art. You can employ these knives in a wide range of work from power cuts to quickly remove waste wood, down to the fine business of spoon making....


The final Knife I shall show is a Sloyd Knife or Craft Knife. I use this knife for the nitty gritty of carving. It is not employed in hard labour, but with this knife you can undertake the finer types of carving including chip carving. This Knife is made by Frost of Sweden, It is factory made so lacks the individual feeling of the other tools, but saying that, it is still a splendid and well made inexpensive tool...


jon mac spoon maker
As you can tell, it is much smaller than both Puukot...


And here, the specialist tool....



frost hook spoon knife

The Hook Knife or Spoon Knife. These are used in hollowing out the bowl. The Hook Knife above again comes from Frost....

And the one below is hand made by a young chap called Dave Budd, a local and very skilled Knife maker....


dave budd jon mac spoon maker carver

Last but not least, I have employed a pruning saw from Japan for the last nine years or so...


pruning saw spoon carving jon mac

The best pruning saw, with the daftest name...

Well...With these tools or some like it you can, with imagination, make whatever you like for the kitchen or camp....
See you soon...

Jon Mac
....

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jon!

    I hope you don't mind me contacting you here - I saw that you're a friend of Ralph Hentall. I'm a photographer/artist and I took a couple of shots of him at the craft fair at Wrest Park last summer. I'm currently updating my online portfolio and would really like to use one of them, but thought I would see how he felt about it first.

    I couldn't find an email address for him, hence contacting you! I am happy to send him copies of the photos, of course. If you have any way of contacting him, I'd be very grateful!

    Best wishes,

    Lizzy Doe

    ReplyDelete