Spoon carving.

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

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Spoon carving tuition at the Scottish Crannog Centre.

Spoon carving tuition at the Scottish Crannog Centre.
It's beautifully sunny here in the Shire right now.
Although I hate to say it, being a sun worshiper, we could do with some rain in Devon.


It's been busy at the stump here at the PigStye Works, trying to catch up with orders and putting some stock on the shelf for our upcoming Mac Roadshow.


I've been busy carving and finishing Devon dragon Kuksa for customers and I've carved a few simple Kuksa for sale at some of our up-coming events. 
We're headed up to The Scottish Crannog Centre for a week or two where there are still slots available for spooncarving tuition.


I hope some of you can make the journey and spend some time at one of Scotlands most impressive living museums.


All the best for now...

Friday, 20 July 2018

Spoon carving courses and demonstrations.

I've a few dates to share with you.
We have a busy period round the corner where I will be demonstrating and teaching at some special venues.

The first is the 'Marldon Apple Pie Fair' which is close to Totnes.
The fair will be on Saturday the 28th July.
I will be there with Sarah demonstrating the fine art of spooncarving.


Shortly after, we will be filling the car and heading north up to the highlands of Scotland where I will be resident at the 'Scottish Crannog Centre' from Wednesday 1st August till Tuesday 7th August.
I will be running courses over that time period and I will also be demonstrating over the weekend of Saturday 4th Sunday 5th at the Crannogs yearly 'The Celts are Coming' event.
Follow the link to make a booking for one of my courses.
We may even get a chance to sleep in the Crannog itself.




Then we are headed back south to rest and pack for the 'Wilderness Gathering' Bush Farm Bison Centre in Wiltshire.
This event runs from the 16th August till the 19th August.
I will be demonstrating spooncarving with Axe, knife and hook.
Come along and watch, ask questions and get involved in a spot of folk art bushcraft style.


All in all it's going to be a busy time, we're looking forward to the events and we hope to meet up with some of you soon.
All the best for now... J

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Char cloth production.

The summer is coming along nicely here in the Shire, hot days and warm evenings have bought the BBQ out in us. Home made burgers and salad is a favourite of ours at this time of year.
When I use a BBQ, I enjoy the challenge of lighting it naturally, I usually use a flint and steel with some char-cloth and fine Birch bark to set light to some kindling that will then be covered with charcoal. I had a pair of white linen loons that I like'd to wear when the temperatures rose, unfortunately they have given up the ghost. I thought, as I'm running short of char-cloth I'd put them to good use. The material is purely natural, no man made fibres included, this is important. I have often used Denim successfully too.


I tear the cloth into strips and carefully roll the material, tightly to a size that will easily fit inside my trusty, rusty tin. I don't make the roll to big as I have to carefully remove the char-cloth once it's burned and cooled.


The tin has a lid with a good seal, it also has a tiny hole in it to let exhaust gasses escape during the burn. You can see the hole size in pictures further down the page. It also has a wooden plug that I can pop into the hole to seal it at the end of the burn.


I lit a fire, with flint and steel, and popped the can carefully on top.
For a short while nothing happens, then a flame or smoke will start issuing from the hole in the lid making a whooshing sound as it does so.


After some minutes the fierce flame will stop and white smoke will take it's place. The process is almost over.


Once the smoke has stopped, remove the can and place it on a fireproof surface. Quickly plug the hole. The can is hot so use tongues or a pair of sticks.


With it's stick plug sealing the hole, leave the can for a few hours to cool down.
The can has a roll of hot char-cloth within and if you are too quick to open the lid, air will get in and the whole roll could start smouldering. Char-cloth smoulders at a very high temperature, so be careful. Don't bring it into the house or tipi just yet.


Once everything has cooled and there is no longer a risk of ignition, pop the lid of and have a look to see if the burn was successful. In this case it was....


You can now remove the char-cloth and roll it into convenient sized pieces to fit into your fire starting tin.


I use a small tobacco tin, inside of which I keep flint and steel, char-cloth, Birch bark, fat lighter, a ferrocerium rod and a couple of pieces of cramp ball. This is usually all I need to turn a spark into a flame.


Hold the char-cloth close to the edge of the flint and strike with the steel until a spark catches and starts smouldering. This might happen on the first strike or the thirty first.


Once the spark has taken I introduce the smouldering cloth to some fine Birch bark. Once the Birch bark has caught I can light my kindling and then my charcoal. I'm going to have to stop now as I have to make some burgers and get the fire lit.


I have made provision for a couple of spoon carving courses here in Devon over the next couple of weekends. You can find information further down the page. 
It'd be lovely to see you... J


I've just added a new date to the courses I will be running before the summer holidays here in Devon.
I'm running a course for those that are further along their spoon carving journey.
I will teach some techniques to allow your next step in your spooncarving process.

The new date is 21st July.

Details and ticket sales can be found....


See you soon... J

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Spoon carving course.

I have posted a date for a spoon carving course here in Devon.

Join Jon Mac for an introduction to wooden spoon carving. Jon is a well respected spoon and Kuksa carver, who will take you through the use of three main tools used for hand carving wooden spoons from green wood. He will introduce you to the carving Axe, straight knife and hook knife, and show you safe useage to accomplish a carved spoon of your own. This is a one day course offered for the inexperienced, aspiring green wood spoon carver. All tools and wood needed for this course are supplied.
Follow this link for details and payment options...


See you soon... J

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Spoon-carving with Jon Mac.

Hi hi.
It's been quite a busy few weeks here in the Shire.
I've been running carving courses and completing orders for Dragon Kuksa.
These latest two were bought by an American collector.
Apparently he'll be sipping fine Scotch from them once they arrive.
Fingers crossed Dragons like Scotch, I'm sure they will.
As you know, I carve my Dragon Kuksa using the same technique I've been using for years.
Hand carved using Axe, knife and hook.
No electric tools or abrasives.
Pure pie power.
You can find pictorial tutorials earlier on in this blog that may well help you on your way to carving your own. Or contact me if you would like to sit with me for a weekend of tutorial and hands on carving.

Dragon Kuksa.

I have, in between times, been carving spoons.
I have a basket of spoons ready for sale which I have photographed here, and a basket of spoons that need some decoration and oiling before they are ready.
The spoons shown here are hand carved by me using Axe, knife and hook.
These spoons are available for £35.00 inc post and pack, including the USA and Europe.
Simply email me with the Set number and number of spoon from left to right or screen shot the spoon you'd like to buy.

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Set 4

Set 5

Set 6

Set 7

Set 8

Set 9

I've also spent some time writing and article for the folk at Fox Chapel Publishing.
They contacted me a few months ago and asked if I could write a tutorial on spoon carving without a hook knife. I've written on this subject before here on SpoonCarvingFirstSteps, it can be accomplished by using a friction firelighting rig as written about HERE or by using a straight knife as touched on HERE.
I still haven't written the complete 'How to' on using a straight knife only for  SCFS and it looks like you'll have to wait a while longer, or buy the magazine for now.



That's pretty well all for the moment.
I'm working on another two Kuksa, one is for a customer, again over in the States, and I'm hoping it'll be finished soon. 
I must mention that whilst walking the hills of Dartmoor the other weekend, I came across a bit of ground that caught my geologists eye. On closer inspection, and after contacting a local historian, it looks like I may have found a forgotten WWII aircraft crash site. 
I'm awaiting news with baited breath.
All the best for now... J

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.