Sunday, February 12, 2012

A workshop - Part 2

Last week, I talked a bit about a workshop I've been invited to give at a local carving club. Since this is a brand new endeavor for me, I may be a little over-analytic about it.... but, then, I'm kinda like that. Well, since last week's post, I've been busy with some commissions, and between work on those, I've been finishing up the carving part of these 6 carving workshop example spoons. And now, I'm pretty much through that part...
So, here they are...

I talked a lot last week about the various aims I had in mind when I drew up these designs, so I won't go into that today. But I will say that I'm pretty comfortable that I've met my goals with these designs. They're all pretty close in difficulty, they all took in the neighborhood of 3-4 hours, and they all had similar challenges.

On all of them, I continued the handle a little bit onto the back of the bowl, which isn't necessary. On several, I added some other details to the back, as well, just because I can't help myself. :) They could all have smooth backs (not flat, but smooth - all of them are a little concave in the back of the handle). Sometimes I add details just because it seems like they belong there - like they are some kind of continuity from the front. Here are some closer pictures of that...

Seemed to have a little trouble with some of those pictures, but hopefully, you get the idea.
Next step, sanding. I'm interested to see what kind of finish I can get out of this basswood. You may notice, also, that one of them - the 5th one in that top picture above - is darker than the rest. That one is from a basswood board I got at woodcraft a couple years ago, as opposed to the others, which are made from half-priced basswood from Itasca, from a week or two ago. Honestly, I think that half-priced stuff is a great deal. A few boards have these little brownish - er - speckles through them, and I'm pretty indifferent about that. One board had a hefty couple of knots (both of which landed on one of the spoons, and I carved them both away without too much trouble, really). Anyway, I wonder if that darker one will finish differently than the others. I guess we'll see!

A little about basswood... I have always understood why it's so popular among carvers. It really is a dream to carve - can take quite a lot of detail, and is incredibly easy to carve. It's also very plain, so there's not strong grain to compete with details. It just goes so much faster than other woods. I'm finding myself thinking, "why don't I use this more often?" And then I remember, my spoons are usually filled with lots of piercings - these are a total departure from  my normal stuff, and were designed specifically for basswood. Oh yeah. :) Yeah, I still don't think basswood would be strong enough for those much more open designs. I am, however, very grateful for having been asked to do this class, because it forced me to make these much simpler designs, and to use basswood, which really has been a pleasure. Maybe I'll manage to come up with some more simple designs, too. You never know.

Well, that's enough for today. Maybe next week I'll have them all finished up, and ready for the workshop, or at least getting their final coats of oil.
Now, off to bed!  Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you're carving a lovespoon for someone for Valentine's day! Happy Valentine's day!
P.S. - nope, no Valentine's spoon for my husband this year... I need to top my last one, which remains my favorite of all the spoons I've done. It may take a while to come up with a better design, and then, for sure, to make it. 


  1. Your delicacy and elegance of design comes through even on these simpler spoons, though I do worry about the stem above the bowl. I had a basswood spoon break at just such a point. That darker spoon is probably from southern basswood. It is more yellow than the northern variety. I like carving the basswood, but when the spoon is finished it is just so damn light (in weight). It doesn't seem to have any substance. I've taken to using it only to test new designs when I have a place where the carving is going to be tricky. But to get people involved in lovespoon carving, it's perfect! Best of luck on the class.


    1. Thanks, Bob! I'm really glad to hear that something recognizable as "me" still comes through.