Roughing out the Blank


1. On this image you can see where I want the bowl to go- lower than the handle which will run closer to the top of the blank. I want a shallow angle from handle to bowl to maximise the length of continuous wood grain in the handle at this point.l


2. I've done a rough drawing of the spoon here, looking at what will be the bottom of the spoon. I've not invested too much time on the design yet as I like this to emerge as I understand the nature of the wood and the direction of the grain as I'm carving it. I will need to run against the direction of the grain at some point along the handle if I want it to be straight because of the slight banana-ing of the grain that the darker coloured pith makes so clear in this sycamore branch.


3. I'm now going to start hewing the blank from behind the drawn out shape of the bowl along the length of the handle. By taking a series of small cuts along the edge of the blank I can remove wood quickly but in a controlled manner. From this angle I am looking at the bottom of the spoon although I will remove a layer of wood to get beyond the pith and any chance of checking (small cracks appearing as the blank dries out).

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4. So after a little bit of hewing the blank is finally beginning to take on spoon-like tendencies. At least it is possible to see which end is the bowl and which end is the handle now!а

5. I've now started to use the axe to cut down from the outer curved surface of the spoon blank to begin to create the surface that will become the lip of the bowl. This immediately introduces some of the height difference I want to see between the bowl and the handle.

6.I've used the axe to remove some wood from the back of the handle to get the cranking I'm after between bowl and handle. I'll keep the stem of the spoon as thick as I can as I'm carving as the fibres of wood are now shortest here as I'm not following a natural curve in the woodd

7. The stem of the spoon needs some attention next

8.The dark line is the pith of the sycamore which we'll need to carve away to reduce the possibility of checks or splits when the spoon dries.

9. So here is a rough drawing of the spoon. I'll be fully prepared to change the design if the grain of the wood takes me somewhere else- one of the joys of carving with green wood. I can still use the axe to waste more from the blank, especially from the stem.а

Next: Fine tuning the blank with the axe ай David Knight 2017