2 Years Ago Today – First Spoon of 52

2 years ago today I had just completed my first wooden spoon of the year. It was the start of a slightly bonkers challenge for 2015 where I decided to carve a spoon, using only hand tools, for each week of the year. I completed the challenge and ended up giving a handful away, keeping my favourites, and selling about 35 of them – donating half of the money towards the charities I supported whilst swimming the Thames. To see all the spoons take a look here.

So, if you bought one of the spoons, or gave it to someone as a present it is about time it needs an oil. What if I don’t have any special oil I hear you ask? Not a problem, just use regular sunflower oil. Apply it to some paper or a cloth and wipe onto the spoon. This will keep the wood nice and supple and stop it from drying out. Don’t use olive oil though, it will make it smelly.

And don’t oil if you bought:
Spoon 23 – The Paella Server (Just oil the unpatterned side) – Anna Hobbiss
Spoon 34 – The Egg and Spoon Race Spoon (Just oil the spoon bowl) – Antony Joury

Also, I would love to see some pictures of the spoons in use, or wherever they may live now  Happy Spooning!

 

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52 Spoons – Making a Spoon for Each Week of 2015 – Project Round up

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A few weeks ago I completed my New Year’s Resolution for 2015 – to make a spoon for each week of the year. This was by far the best new year’s resolution I had ever done. I can’t even remember any of the previous ones.

I had carved around 3-4 spoons before starting this project, so I knew the basics, but I was still a novice. I made all the spoons using hand tools only – an axe, a carving knife, a hook knife, some chisels, sand paper and oils. I did this because I wanted to improve my knife skills and wood working ability, it meant I could work on the project wherever I was and partly because I didn’t have access to any machinery or power tools.

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Spoon 36 of 52 – The Blini (Miniature Pancake) Flipper in Lappish Scot’s Pine

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This is the fourth spoon from a special bit of pine sourced from the North of Finnish Lapland. The wood is incredible, it is dense yet workable, has a rich creamy colour, a distinct grain and an almost magical quality to it. Quoting myself, below gives a bit of background info on the tree.

“It’s made from a dead standing pine found right in Northern Finland in Lapland. The tree was located on the edge of a bog where the soil nutrition is poor and because of the long harsh winters the growth of the tree was extremely slow. This is perfect for carving, as the usually soft pine is dense and strong.

Although the trunk wasn’t much bigger than the thickness of my wrist, it was approximately 100 years old or more. And it could have been standing for 30 years or more once it was dead. I was using it for firewood but had to keep some for making spoons as it was so beautiful.”

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Spoon 31 of 52 – The Cinnamon Spoon in Finnish Juniper

Spoon 31I couldn’t think of a name for this one, so decided to go with the Cinnamon Spoon. This was made over a few evenings last week. I was going to make one in Apple but it was so hard I decided to leave it for another day when I had more time. This juniper felt like butter compared to the Apple and came together quickly. I have already used some of this juniper for Spoon 17 – The Japanese Sushi Server in Juniper (I have later realised that they don’t use spoons in sushi).

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Spoon 30 of 52 – The Hummus Serving Spoon in Lappish Pine

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This is from a bit of wood that I smuggled back into the UK from Finland, its from one piece of a suitcase full. Each bit of wood with a different charm, hence the reason for transporting them 1000s of miles home. This is the third spoon from this particular tree – an ancient dead standing pine that I was using for firewood whilst on a 10 days solo ski through Finnish Lapland. The other spoons were: The Three Bear’s Porridge Spoon and The Necklace Spoon. The beauty of this pine is that is has grown so slowly due to the conditions it was in – high in the North of Lapland where the Winters are long and harsh and the summers are short, bright and relatively hot with poor soil conditions. This means that the wood grows very slowly creating a hard, close grained pine.

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Spoon 25 of 52 – The Finnish Midsummer Spoon in Pine

IMG_9445This spoon was made whilst hosting some friends from the UK. We paddled on Lake Äurejarvi for 2 days and walked through Seitseminen National park for 2 days, then a couple of days in Helsinki. During the evenings of the canoe and walk we found some time to make a spoon each. It also happened to fall during the mid point of the year – midsummers. Generally during this time the Finns gather in their summer houses and celebrate.

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Spoon 22 of 52 – The Necklace Spoon in Pine

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Made this little number as an anniversary present for my lady. I’ve nearly finished studying out in Finland now, but came back for a friend’s wedding, which happened to be on our anniversary too, nice coincidence.

It’s made from a dead standing pine found right in Northern Finland in Lapland. The tree was located on the edge of a bog where the soil nutrition is poor and because of the long harsh winters the growth of the tree was extremely slow. This is perfect for carving, as the usually soft pine is dense and strong.

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Spoon 12 of 52 – The Shaken Not Stirred Olive Spoon in Scots Pine

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Ever needed a spoon to get the olive out of your martini? I didn’t think so, but here’s one for you anyway!

This spoon was a nightmare to make! I didn’t enjoy the process at all. Mainly because I was rushing to make it yesterday. It was a complete test of patience and I learnt that you should never rush a spoon – carving and rushing don’t go hand in hand.

I intended it to look nothing like this. It started as a strange double ended number, but after numerous cracks and snaps in the wood whilst carving, the design completely changed and the spoon gradually got smaller and smaller. I nearly gave up with it many times, but glad I persevered.

Although it resembles the original idea in no way whatsoever I kinda like this little guy.

 

How to… Make A Forest Shelter

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Making an effective shelter can be the difference between having a cosy and dry night’s sleep or having a horrendously cold and wet ordeal. I know what I would rather choose. In extreme situations, it could mean making it through the night alive.

In relation to building a shelter, Mikko our tutor aptly told us the fable of the cricket and the ant:

“During the wintertime, the ant was living off the grain that he had stored up for himself during the summer. The cricket came to the ant and asked him to share some of his grain. The ant said to the cricket, ‘And what were you doing all summer long, since you weren’t gathering grain to eat?’ The cricket replied, ‘Because I was busy singing I didn’t have time for the harvest.’ The ant laughed at the cricket’s reply, and hid his heaps of grain deeper in the ground. ‘Since you sang like a fool in the summer,’ said the ant, ‘you better be prepared to dance the winter away!’.”

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