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!
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.
I collected this bit of spruce whilst doing the Bear Ski in Northern Finland earlier this year. The wood was laden with resin which smelt amazing, but made the wood tricky to carve and sand. I made this alongside spoon 50 yesterday and my hands feel sore today.
More of a small bowl than a spoon really. There’s a big crack running through the side of it, I didn’t think it would go so deep, it’s a bit fragile because of this. (You can see the black line on the inside). There was also a small weird knot on the back, at least I thought it was a knot, it seemed soft so I poked the tip of my knife and out came a weird bug of some sort, wiggling on the end! Freeaky! Poor guy, entered and then left the world with a knife through his head. He had probably been waiting for ages.
This spoon is made from a section of an old dead spruce tree I was using for fire wood whilst on a recent skiing trip. The beauty about this tree, (and similar small pines and spruces) is that through years of slow growth the grain is extremely tight – the tree must have been around 80 years old or more, but was no more than 5m tall with a trunk diameter of 12cm or so. This is because of the environment the tree grew in: at 70° North of the equator it is subject to long, cold, dark winters, with no sun for months of this, and this tree, on the outskirts of a bog and surrounded by much larger trees would be fighting to get light and nutrients. Many trees will stay small till a neighbouring tree falls, giving them the opportunity to grow. This one however died before it got the chance.
Just realised I didn’t post my spoon from last week. I did make it last week, honest.
I wasn’t intending on this being the 6th spoon. I started it about 5 months ago, not finishing it and leaving it on my windowsill. I thought I would finish it this week and keep it as a ‘backup spoon’ in case I was too busy. Turns out I wont have time to make another one this week, so this one slyly crept in there.
It looked nothing like this at the start of the week because I snapped most of the head off by accident. The spoon head was originally made using an ember from the fire. To do this you simply put the ember where you want the depression to be and blow on it till the concave spoon shape forms. You can still see some discoloration in the base of the spoon head from this. Not sure how I feel about this spoon, but here it is.
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!’.”