Spoon carving.

Spoon carving with Jon Mac.
A blog following my journey in the world of bushcraft, spoon carving and kuksa carving. Home of the JonMac MiniMac carving knife.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

MacEndy Ranger Beads.

This afternoon I supplied my good friend Kevin Endicott with
the latest batch of MacEndy Ranger Beads.


 As you can tell, he's one happy chap...


These beads are a useful 'Aid Memoir' for all you navigators out on the hill.
A length of paracord with ten beads one end and four beads the other.
When walking on a bearing you will be counting your paces so as to determine distance travelled
along the bearing.
I will count 58/64 double paces for each 100 meters, approx.
You will need to find out what you own ratio is, I am very tall with long legs.
At 100 meters, move a bead.
At 200 meters, move a bead.
And so on until you reach a point when all ten beads are moved.
Time to move one of the upper four.
A great addition to your navigation kit.



I used to use this system when navigating at night or in bad weather with the Search and Rescue Team.



The MacEndy Ranger beads can be bought online from Kevin Endicott at

Or call him on

01392 433331

The price ?

£4.95

+pp

Enjoy.

J.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Spoon carving hook knifes.





My preferred hook knife is available from my good friend and edge tool supplier 

This spoon knife has a long compound curve to enable you to smooth out the bowl of a spoon, it is capable of larger cuts but perhaps suited to the more experienced user if it is going to be used for the entire hollowing process. When mastered however you are unlikely to ever want to use sandpaper again. Although a great finish is possible with one of these blades having a matching left and right handed pair will allow full use of the compound curve to allow you to really hunt down the last remaining facets in the bowl of a spoon.  
 Available in left and right handed, left handed version pictured. All of these blades are supplied unhandled, the tang can be easily glued into a handle with epxoy resin . Made from bearing steel heat treated to give a hard durable cutting edge and a tough spine. These blades are now forged to give a hollowed cross section on the inside face as can be seen on my Twca cams, this allows easier sharpening. The Bevel ( cutting face) is now convexed on the back edge to allow tighter radius cuts with less chatter, new pictures will follow soon, hand honed and stropped for a perfectly smooth, polished cut.
N.B.   I have renamed this blade as Jon Mac has been so taken with this blade he has added it to his select collection of tools (which will include the soon to go into production MacNic axe.)  It made sense to have coherent naming with the added bonus that customers were often confusing this blade with the Fawcett blade that I also produce.  

spoon carving hook knife

I am very taken with this wonderfully useful hook.
For me it is three knives in one.
  1. A beautiful hook that removes heavy waste wood quite simply and without fuss.
  2. A hook that is precise and produces fine slithers when finishing.
  3. And a straight blade knife for carving the transition between handle and bowl.
This hook is made with 52100 bearing steel.
The same steel used in my MaChris and MiniMac knives.
Due to Nic W's unique compound curve this knife will turn out of the cut without any fuss, leaving a beautifully curved, smooth piece of carving.
I call it Nicatronics !

spoon carving hook knife

I use this hook exclusively for my Kuksa and spoon carving.

spoon carving hook knife

This hook retails for £35.00 approx.
Its the best 35 pounds you'll ever spend.
It is supplied without a handle, which should pose no problems as you can find a tutorial here...



spoon carving hook knife


Enjoy.
J

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The MaChris Bushcraft and carving knife. Tech Spec and history.


The MaChris Bushcraft and carving knife.
Designed by : Jon Mac.
Crafted by : Chris Grant.
This MaChris has been in Research and Development for approximately three years.
Chris Grant and I have been working closely together to design and make the best possible knife for carving and camp work. 
I believe we have it in the bag.
The MaChris Bushcrafter is a full tang knife, and is made using 52100 bearing steel.
This steel is very tough and will not fold or chip in even the hardest of woods.
The cutting edge can be kept razor sharp using a good water stone 6000 grit or above, and a light strop on leather with high quality compound.
The MaChris has a Scandinavian grind, ideal for carving and skinning.
The fine tip allows for the working of tight internal radii curves.
The MaChris handle is of a fine ergonomic design that allows for long periods of use without fatigue or blistering.
The handle is designed to give a high degree of comfort and deliver maximum power in forward and reverse grips.
The design also allows for stable holds with just the small and ring fingers thus allowing a safe grip right at the fine tip of the blade, great for fine carving or skinning.

The overall length of the the MaChris is 8 3/4 inches.
The blade length is 4 inches.
The width at the spine is 1/8 inch.

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife


The MaChris has a smaller brother we call the MiniMaC.
The MiniMaC is a scaled down version and designed for smaller carving work.
An ideal carver with a very comfortable ergonomic handle design.
The blade has a pin tang and is again made from 52100 bearing steel.
The fine tip allows for the carving of tight internal radii curves. And the tip is also fine enough for good quality chip carving.
The overall length is 7 3/4 inches.
Blade length is 3 1/4 inches.
And width at spine is just a smidge over 1/16 inch.

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

Here is a description of the development written by Chris Grant.
Angus.
Scotland.
November 2012
Well, I'm crashing Jon's blog. I hope the following's of interest.

I first encountered Jon Mac in 2009. I'd seen Jon's work and asked him what knife he used, we conversed about axes and Japanese laminated steel and it became clear Jon was interested in pursuing high(er) performance tools for his work, perhaps bespoke.
 Jon had a few brand knives which he was very generous about, as well as his 'own knife', a multi layered stacked handle with a laminated blade hand forged by Julius Pettersen.
Of all the things Jon and I talked about, it always got back to this knife, it was admittedly not perfect, but it just worked for Jon, so we had our starting point.

Jon sent me up this knife, (call it a prototype for reference) while the handle was against my preferences at the time, I decided to leave it be as Jon was confident in it.
The blade was well made but lacked finesse, I reshaped it more in line with a template that Jon had sent me, in addition to this I tapered the point.
 Immediately after this I set about making what would become the first version of the knife, the MaChris No1, A similar knife to Jon's Petterson, but built for purpose.
To be sure the handle was exactly right, I asked Jon to carve it (got me off the hook). I prepared a blade from 15N20 band-saw steel, chosen because of its keen edge and similarity to the steels Jon was used to using/sharpening.
My main contributions to the MaChris design have been the tapered point on the original knives (and later the MiniMac), as soon as I mentioned this Jon was dead keen, he loves the fine point for delicate chip carving and we retained that feature on the small MiniMac knife.
I also added a reversed 'thumb ramp' to the back of the blade, the spine scallops from the straight back of the blade to the handle, meeting in a smooth transition. Jon was very happy with this design choice and the comfort it offered.
The No1 was a success, Jon loved the knife and I was delighted that it worked for him.

Job done?
No!!

Jon came to visit me in September 2010 and while out in the woods I mentioned making a `full tang knife for him`, based on his design, Jon said `No. I don`t want any blisters`
So... I had to prove him wrong..

I sneakily made a full tang version of the knife from CS80 steel with  birds eye maple slabs, and sent it down with another blade in silver steel.
The latter quickly became the top performer, even though Jon was initially suspicious of it... I also made another in O1 (which Jon did not think much of!)
Much to my delight and surprise Jon loved the full tang knife and it soon became his favourite for everyday tasks and for most carving, I was surprised, vindicated and motivated to keep going with this knife.

Months later I got some fabulous feedback about the knives and their various steel performances from Jon. He has been a fabulous resource of testing the edge retention and edge strength of different blade steels. His research and testing feedback independently and exactly matched mine! 
Jon dearly loved the 15N20 and the CS80 knives, but they rolled on hard woods, the O1 fared ok, but Jon never got the fine edge he desired and was not particularly impressed with the edge retention.
With a few modifications, the silver steel MaChris became Jon`s go-to carving knife, it kept the sharpest edge for the longest time, again he was won over!

Later on I found a source of 52100 ball bearing steel. I had used bearing steel for tools before and used some continental tools made from them and was very impressed.
I was very excited to be able to use it, especially for this project.
Bearing steel is a relatively simple steel it's alloy allows for a very fine edge which is very strong and tough, often the two don't go together... to my mind it is perfect for woodcarving.
I made Jon a small knife blade from the bearing steel and he was delighted, it even outperformed the silver steel... another step forward!! 
After a discussion with woodcarver friends Patti Landman and Sean Hellman amongst others, Jon decided a smaller, dedicated precision carving knife was needed.
He worked with me to make a smaller (slojd type) version of the MaChris, Jon had a very strong idea of the handle proportions (as usual) and the blade shape was to be the same, but smaller and with a tapered point like the No.1 prototypes.
He called it 'The MiniMac'
As of this Autumn, 2012, I have (finally) delivered the final versions of the MaChris Knives to Jon Mac, he has the Final versiosn of the full Tang MaChris and the MiniMac in 1/8" thick 52100 steel, I harden them to HRC 59 +/-1. 
I am pleased to say Jon is happy with both!!
We are now totally happy with the final versions of the knives.
It's been a lot of fun!!
We learned a lot.
I hope you like the knives.
Chris Grant
Knifemaker

Please feel free to email me with any questions regarding the Machris knives.
My email is:-
firststeps@thewood.eclipse.co.uk
For orders please contact Chris Grant.
His contact details can be found at :-

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife

spoon carving MaChris bushcraft knife





Top Left: SFK, Bottom Left CUB design by Sean Mulhall © 2013 
Top Right: MaChris Bushcraft Carver Bottom Right: MiniMac Carver Design by Jon Mac © 2013
 Chris Grant Bladesmith



MaChris and MiniMac.


MiniMac.


If you would like to order a MaChris or MiniMac
please feel free to contact Chris Grant through his web page.
Makemethischris...
or drop me a line at
firststeps@thewood.eclipse.co.uk


Enjoy.... J




Sunday, 4 November 2012

Spoon carving Scouts.

Last weekend I had a visit from two Scout leaders.
Terry Longhurst from Ilford East Scouts
East London.

spoon carving+ kuksa carving

And
Jim Cook from H.E.A.T Bushcraft and Survival Scout Active Support 
who is based at the Cricket Camp.
Southampton.
Hants.
07717 507529

spoon carving+ kuksa carving

Terry and Jim are both keen Scout leaders who have a passion for the great out doors, camping, exploring and especially green wood working. 
They both came down to chat with me about a new craft hand book they are producing.
The reason for the craft hand book is to spread safe carving and edge tool handling techniques throughout the Scouting fraternity.
They have also been instrumental in organising the new Scout handbook that should be available world wide in a few months.
The craft hand book will be filled with all manor of top tips and safe practice.
This now means that the scout leaders will have a universal teaching standard, they will be able to pass on safe practice to their students in the same way throughout the land. 
I will fill you in on details as and when I am updated.
Whilst Terry and Jim were here we chatted about how to teach axe and knife work to youngsters, it didn't take long before the MacNic axe was shared between us all, billets split and carving commenced.
They wanted to learn how to carve a simple kuksa.
So that's what we did....

spoon carving+ kuksa carving

It's amazing how quiet folk go when given a good knife ( in this case MaChris all round ) and a nice piece of Birch and a plate with coffee and cake.

spoon carving+ kuksa carving



We took a break from our work.
Jim bought with him a great big round of wood, a tripod and some tomahawks.
Well this was duly set up on the lawn and Jim set to,  teaching us how to throw an axe.
He runs this activity with his Scout groups, I suspect they thoroughly enjoy it..... I know we did.

spoon carving first steps tomahawk












spoon carving first steps tomahawk

spoon carving first steps tomahawk
Jim also ran Sarah through her paces....

spoon carving first steps tomahawk

spoon carving first steps tomahawk

spoon carving first steps tomahawk
That's my girl !
We spent a very calming hour throwing the tomahawk.
We found it great fun and quite relaxing.

spoon carving first steps tomahawk

Back to work in the afternoon, and by supper time the lads had their kuksa in the bag.

spoon carving+ kuksa carving


spoon carving+ kuksa carving

A little finishing off at home and jobs a goodun.
I think the Scouts are lucky to have these two inspirational chaps as leaders.
Sarah and I had the best of weekends.
And I thoroughly enjoyed the bottled beer they left for us...
We look forward to the next meet.



Cheers !
J