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, 5 August 2012

Spoon carving Firststeps@thewood...



spoon carving first steps

I managed to organise some time out in the wonderful Devon countryside this last fortnight.
I spent some time with two of my good friends Kevin Endicott, Endicotts Army Surplus and Mark Lane, in some beautiful mixed broadleaved woods not 30 minutes walk from my front door.
The plan was to make camp and cook a Tandoori style chicken curry in a Dutch oven over a fire.
We arrived at the camp spot and set about making our home for the duration.
Here is Kevin testing his hammock, looks comfy enough.

spoon carving first steps

Kev bought a huge Swedish shelter sheet that we could use to protect the fire, and us, whilst Mark cooked.

spoon carving first steps

I lit the fire under the tarp using my flint and steel with some char cloth, Daldinia_concentrica and a large amount of good old Birch bark.

spoon carving first steps

The Larch twigs we collected lit beautifully, and I was able to grow the fire with reasonable speed.
The Dutch oven is a wonderful piece of equipment and it never ceases to amaze me how versatile it is.
Here you can see the oven with a covering of hot ash.




spoon carving first steps

I recently completed a little bit of work on behalf of the Ilford east scouts.
I'll tell you all about it in the near future...

spoon carving first steps

They sent me a badge by way of a thank you.
Love it.
Well, the sun went down and supper was served...

spoon carving first steps

We ate and chatted, laughing all the while.
Good company.


 After supper we made the fire good and hot with the addition of some seasoned Mountain Ash we found near-by.


And so to bed...
The next morning we coaxed the fire back into life and fried some eggs and bread all washed down with some strong MaCoffee.


I brewed up in a Highlander stainless steel (single wall ) bottle I bought a while ago from The Kit Shop.

spoon carving first steps

Versatile bit of kit.
This trip was also the first proper outing for the new finalised design of  the MaChris Bushcrafter.
Chris and I have settled on this design and steel specification.
We have chosen to manufacture the MaChris using 52100 bearing steel due to it's incredible toughness and superior edge retention.
I have been carving with it for a couple of weeks now, and it is a real joy to use, slim, lightweight, sharp and tough.
In a word...
MacFab !

spoon carving first steps MaChris bushcraft knife

After a walk through the local woodland it came to the time where I had to leave.
My friend Martijn Top was due to arrive from Holland and I wanted to get back to greet him.
Martijn is a carver and bushcrafter who spends as much time as possible out in the wilds.
He is often found in some of the most remote parts of Finland,  fishing, canoeing and hiking.
Martijn has a great blog here at Travels in Solitude.
At the same time I managed to lure Sean the silver Fox to my home with a promise of fried breakfasts, Sarahs home made Irish fruit cake and my home cooking. The ruse seemed to work as he arrived just after Martijn.

spoon carving first steps

I must say, it is great having like minded souls visiting us here at home, always something to enthuse about. We planned a trip up onto the moor, the weather has been quite dreadful here for some time now, not ideal weather for sight seeing.
Still... Martijn and Sean said the moor FELT really nice.






After a couple of days Sean had to get back to the world beyond the hills, Martijn and I decided to use a break in the weather for an overnighter.

spoon carving first steps

We headed out for a nice little place near Burrator.






My hopes that the older I got, the lighter my pack would feel, were un fortunately dashed on the rocks of experience...
Ho hum.....


Onward and upward...
Well, after some time we arrived at the place where I remember spending some great, comfortable nights on trips in the past.
We're here !


But where is the tiny Isle-let couched between two small babbling brooks ?


Gone !
Washed away in some storm that I have been blissfully unaware of these last years.
That's what happens when you spend time abroad I guess, things change...
The weather was closing in so we got into the fir forest for some much needed protection from the Dartmoor weather and set up our tarps and hammocks.


Home from home.
Martijn had bought a Bushbuddy stove which seemed to work well with even the damp Dartmoor sticks we cut to fuel it.
He cooked some dried pasta with sauce.
Now.... In the past I have eaten some right old nasties whilst out in the wilds, from corned dog and onions too dried space food that tastes like ground up crow.
This time however, with thanks to Mark Lane, I took some proper food.


You can find the details at Look What We Found
A packet of this, boiled in its' bag, added to a packet of partially cooked rice, simmered in a small amount of water, and I was totally blissed out....
I had set up my hammock with a poncho liner underneath to add some warmth, added to that, my old Snug Pack sleep bag and a duvet jacket, I was ready for a good night sleep....
Unfortunately for Martijn this wasn't the case for him.
It would appear dear reader, that I snore...
Oh Well...


The morning bought some dreadful weather.
I wanted to take Martijn over to some near by ancient monuments, but with viability right down we decided to head out for home.
So, with a good pace, a quick check of the map, and a couple of bearings, we found the car and headed home.
We spent the next couple of days carving and discussing our past adventures and future dreams.
With a few trips out of course.


As I mentioned earlier, Martijn is a super wood carver, he uses similar simple carving techniques.
One of his beautiful Kuksa...


I will post some more of his work in the next blog I write.
Martijn taught me a thing or two about fettling a very sharp edge onto a work knife.
I'll post some more info later.




Well, I guess that's me up to date.
One last thing...
Martijn carved this for Sarah and I.
Being able to craft a gift for a friend is priceless....


Thank you...
Enjoy.
J;-)



6 comments:

  1. Lovely countryside and good workmanship.

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    Replies
    1. I had a great time with these talented guys Gorges...MacFab !

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  2. Great post Jon, and thanks for the plug!
    I promise to return to the typewriter again soon to write more about my trips and adventures.

    I have had a great time with you and Sarah and am very glad for the memories.
    Thanks you!

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    Replies
    1. You are more than welcome Martijn. I learned a lot from you. Keep in touch...J

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  3. What a great trip report! I hope to one day wander around those forests. Beautiful terrain.

    Hey Jon, does your smock have a drop liner? I emailed Kevin about picking one up and haven't heard back from him yet... now I know why! 8)

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  4. Looks like a swell time! Looking forward to having this babe and getting back into the woods myself. Always enjoy reading you adventures. Cheers.

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