Wednesday 26 July 2017

Devon Dragon Kuksa (And an update)

I thought it was about time I put down the Axe and camera and sat in front of the keyboard to give you a brief update on what is going on in the world of Mac.
It's been a long and sometimes difficult year with plenty of ups and downs.
This time last year, I was preparing to teach classes at various places in the North of these fair Isles, after cancelling my annual appearance at the Wilderness Gathering.
On my return, I had a chat with Roger Harrington, and he has popped me back on the list.  I'll be demonstrating spoon carving techniques along with my great chum Terry Longhurst, at the Bush Farm Bison Centre, West Knoyle, Wiltshire, in August.
We also came home to discover the folk we were renting from had been far from truthful in some matters, and we had to find a new home.
We have moved into a splendid little cottage in the Shire, for the first time in many years we no longer live on Dartmoor, but have instead become close neighbours to the big old granite lump.

Since the move, I have had various meetings with various companies, who are interested in producing my MiniMac carving knife design, with some success.
I'm hoping to move production soon, as problems developed with our supply line, and I am looking forward to the New Year, when hopefully they will be made available on a large scale, manufactured from 52100 and at a reasonable, affordable price point. The New Year is a way off, and I'm determined to make it happen.

I have finally convinced WorkshopHeaven to produce and stock my Bushcraft Auger set and I will post a tutorial on it, when I've finished a large batch of Kuksa I'm working on.


I have also procured a plot of land in the village, where I can teach a spot of carving, although I've recently been busy carving and have yet to put aside time for any teaching.

I have spent the last year working on my spoons on the whole, I put down Kuksa carving to give myself time to think about what direction I wanted to head with it.
I have had folk ask for Kuksa in some of my old styles, but somehow I felt uncomfortable in doing this, as I needed to step forward in my personal process.
So once I'd thought enough about it, a year, I headed off into the woods with my wife Sarah to collect some suitable green Birch.
Our little car wouldn't make it into the middle of the wood, so it was on with the Bergan and off we went with Axe and saw, to attend to a recent wind blown Birch.
You'll see a photo of me below snedding a branch from the crown. 
I'm Axing on the opposite side of the trunk, I'm always aware of where the Axe head is heading.

glut.wood-splittingjon mac.small-forest-axe

spoon-carving. sawing-wood

I have made myself a comfortable place to carve in one of the old pig sheds near our home.
Clearing it out and installing a wood-burning stove was good fun. And so it was to the new Pig Sty Workshop, that I headed with my haul of green birch.



The process of carving my next evolution is similar to the actions I went through with my older pieces, only this time I managed to compress the form into an altogether smaller piece of timber,
both in length and height.


Yes, it looks a mess, but I have been away, and lots of thoughts where flowing through my mind. After making ten of these, I now know where to go.
I usually get the Axe work done and dusted as quickly as possible, as I just can't wait to get the knife out and find the eventual form of the piece; the curves and straights that form my folk art.
This time I actually sketched out part of the design.
Most unusual on my part.


With obligatory changes along the way...


I like to bring the carving indoors for the final finishing.
It can of course be accomplished in the forest, however, these days I need a bright light.
A good head torch is the way forward for a fireside carve, along with good spectacles.


As you may know, I limit myself to carving folk art with three tools usually found at camp.
Axe, knife and hook.
Well, on this project I had to include a tiny 3mm gauge which I used to let the Dragon mouth in.
The timber is still too green to drill, the resultant hole will simply fur up.
I could have used a hot nail applied carefully, but decided against that course of action.
The 3mm gauge was cheap as chips to buy.


So, over the course of a couple of days, I arrive at a place where the big carving stops and the detail begins.


 I find the next step nerve-wracking as a mistake here can lead to swearing and a vow to never again pick up an Axe....
The mouth is finished and the gauge is put away.
So it's out with the pencil and a good strop on the point of the pointy knife.
Shallow 'V' cuts are needed, gently applied.


A bit of colour and some Tung oil to finish and here we have the first of many Devon Dragons.






I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my customers, both knife and carving.
If you like what you see, and want to purchase a Dragon Kuksa, drop me an email.



Carving a Dragon Kuksa.

Carving a Dragon Kuksa.  I have been carving Kuksa from green Birch for 15 years or so, I’m self taught. From the beginning, I limited mysel...