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.

spoon-carving-course

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.

spooncarving.axe-sharpening

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.

spoon-carving.jonmac.spooncarving-courses-devon

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.

axe-carving.jonmac

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

spoon-carving-course.devon

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.

spoon-carving-courses


spoon-carving.hook-knife

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.

spoon-carving.jonmac.spoon-carving-course


spoon-carving-knife-holds

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. 

kuksa.guksi.kuksa-carving

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.


nic-westerman-axe.spoon-carving

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...

laavu.tipi.camp-cooking

We have also been demonstrating at local shows here in Devon

spoon-carving-demonstrations

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...
J.



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!



kuksa-carving-course


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.
ATB.
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...
Enjoy.








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.

spooncarving.chipcarving

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.

spooncarving.chipcarving

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

spooncarving.chipcarving

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.

spooncarving.chipcarving

And repeat the other side.

spooncarving.chipcarving

You should now have a clean petal shape.

spooncarving.chipcarving

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

spooncarving.chipcarving

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







Thursday, 15 February 2018

Sharpening a spoon carving hook knife.


A very quick post showing a technique for keeping your trusty hook knife in good sharp working order.
You need two things, both shown in the video below.
The first is a flat strop, good quality leather glued to a flat board.
A dowel strop, leather glued or tied around a suitable diameter dowel.
Add to this some polishing compound or chrome cleaner applied to the leather.
In the case of chrome cleaner please let it dry before use.
That's about all.
Earlier in this blog you'll find a tutorial about how to sharpen a hook with stones, but you don't really need this.
Practice the technique shown in the video and your hook knife should cut like a laser...



Sunday, 28 January 2018

Long distance charity bike ride ( Canada-Mexico )


@Oggweatherwax

My great friend Sarah is undertaking a journey of a lifetime to raise money for 
R.C.T.N
Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland.
She's planning a cycle tour from Canada down to Mexico.
I promised Sarah that I would help by spreading the word in the hope that some of you might be able to pop a few pounds/dollars in her coffers.
As you know, I was a keen cycle racer in my youth and can only admire Sarahs tenacity.

Sarah is a keen spoon carver, I sat with her some years ago to get her on the right track and we've been friends ever since.

@Oggweatherwax

@Oggweatherwax

I'm a bike mechanic who loves carving spoons, climbing, circus skills, and of course, cycling. I also volunteer at Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland (RCTN), a charity that blows my mind with the amazing work they do and how many people they support.

@Oggweatherwax

I'm going to cycle from Canada to Mexico to raise £5000 for RCTN. That's over 3000 km in a month! I've never cycled that far before, so it's going to be a challenge. I'll be sharing my journey as I go, from bike build, training and kit selection, to what's happening as I ride. 

I need your support in two ways: 

1) Donations, anything you can give is amazing and makes a massive difference 
2) Social media shares. Please chat about what I'm doing, like and share my FB page or Instagram and twitter, the more people know what I'm doing, the more likely we will meet the target

All money raised will go direct to RCTN: don't worry, you're not paying for my trip!



@Oggweatherwax

Thursday, 25 January 2018

My first Kuksa.

Hi.
I haven't been able to write for a while, I seem to have a bit of a block trying to transfer thought into the written word. I suspect the dull winter has some influence over this.
I've had a busy year showing, demonstrating and teaching.
It's been fabulous and I'd like to thank Frances and Barrie at the Scottish Crannog and Roger at Wildernessgathering especially, for their support and faith in this old folk artist.

I've been on the tools over winter and have run a few experiments regarding stabilisation of Kuksa.
It's all working out well which has allowed me to produce more Kuksa without their associated issues.
I'm very pleased and will pass on my experience at courses during the year.

I am still limiting myself to three basic tools for my work, plus a wee 3mm gouge for making holes, so my output is slow, but steady.
Each kuksa I make can be replicated in the forest with the tools one uses for camp.

As you know, my work is available to purchase, simply contact me through my email and I'll send clear photographs of available work.
I have Kuksa ready to ship.
I have no spoons ready at the moment, everything on my spoons for sale page has a sold designation at the moment.

kuksa.kuksa-carving-jon-mac

It's a beautiful sunny morning here in the shire and I've decided to share something with you.
I'd like to show you a peep at my first piece of carving alongside my latest piece. 
I've been on this journey for approximately 10 years now and have learned during my process, and I'm still learning.
From early days I decided to limit my tooling, this was a decision based on being able to travel and produce art.
So my first piece was carved using Axe and knife only, I used my knife to slice and chisel.
This first piece taught me a lot as my wood choice was wrong. 
I chose a piece of very old hard oak.
A hook knife would have been useful, still, when you go down the 'self taught' route you can't expect to arrive at accomplished overnight.
So here it is, a first, a photograph depicting 10 years of journey without taking a lesson.

kuksa-carving.first-kuksa-latest-kuksa

The left hand kuksa was finished yesterday, it's birch with carved facial details and some gold leaf to add a twinkle to your Cognac.
The right hand kuksa is Oak with straight sides.
I'm glad I made it as it catapulted me toward the work I produce today.

kuksa-carving.bushcraft-kuksa

I'm going to leave this blog post as it is and get back to finishing off my latest work.
I'd like to thank all of you for your comments and patience over the years.
I will be at the Crannog Centre in the summer both demonstrating and teaching, I'll pop course dates and prices up when I know more. I'll also be at the Wilderness Gathering with my wonderfull wife Sarah, who will bring along her wool dyeing hokus-pokus for those who wish to know how.

loch-tay.crannog-centre

Happy New Year.
J.