I was given this bit of Apple wood months ago, from a Finnish man named Mika. I met him whilst training as a Wilderness Guide – he was one of the assessors for the practical exams. A nice guy through and through, we got chatting regularly and conversation somehow ended up being about knives, bushcraft, whittling and spoons (as it does). He mentioned he might have some interesting bits of wood that he could give me for my spoon project.
A few weeks later he joined us for the Bear Ski, and upon returning back to college he presented me with 2 beautiful bits of Apple from the back of his car. They twisted slightly and were naturally curved upwards at the sides – I think the inside of the wood must have rotted away.
I have been meaning to make a spoon from them for months, but each time I picked up the wood it didn’t feel right. I don’t know why, a few times I even drew on a design, but never got round to carving it. This time however I wasn’t going to give in. I was trying to think about how I could incorporate the natural shape of the wood to make a spoon head, but wasn’t really getting anywhere. I kept drawing on designs only to rub them back out. Then one of my flatmates suggested I do a scoop, A SCOOP. That would work perfectly, the wood was basically a scoop already.
The outer layers of the wood were extremely hard and brittle, and it took a while to get used to carving it. Firstly I took of the bark with the axe and then did the rest of the detail with the knife and a small chisel. During this process I snapped the handle twice, changing the design somewhat. But, sometimes mistakes end up being the best design decisions, (this is what I tell myself).
This has to be the smoothest I have managed to get any of the wood I have used so far. I think it is because the wood’s grain is much tighter than that of any others. It sanded up to almost a honed finish. I finished it with trusty linseed oil which made the grain stand out beautifully.