Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Carving a Kuksa

Well it's been a while since I posted anything myself but I love reading other people's blogs relating to the subjects that interest me. The quality of some of them is astounding, which is a bit intimidating; but mine was only ever meant as a record of things I've made for my own reference anyway so hopefully I'll start posting regularly from now on. I am very ad hoc in the way I use my spare time, which means I may start off doing one thing, pick up a lump of wood and carve a ladle or something just for the hell of it. In future I'll try and think on and get the camera to take a few WIP photos.
This is the start of a carved Kuksa:- a scandinavian drinking vessel. I am using a lump of Sycamore (Acer Pseudoplatanus) for this little project, which incorporates some nice burr or burl. I took a slab about 4 inches thick and roughed it out on the bandsaw, this is the only power tool used in this particular project

Here you can see the underside and some of the nice burr figure. The bowl af the cup has been roughly shaped with the axe.

From the top I have started excavating with a spoon knife, and already the burr figure is appearing in the bottom. Deep hollowing with spoon knives is extremely wearing on the hands and wrists so I think I will get some spoon knives, blade only, and fix long handles on them to increase the leverage for this task. Incidentally, I find in very beneficial to have both right and left handed spoon knives for "cutting with the grain" in a cylinder.
This is as far as I got on the first day. It's helpful to remove as much material as possible whilst the timber is still wet, as the material is much softer in this state. If you have to leave itand come back to it: wrap the piece in a plastic bag with some shavings to prolong this period. I wouldn't leave it in a carrier for too long though, as mildew can form and stain the wood after a while, a particular problem with timber such as Sycamore which stains easily.

I never set out with a specific design brief when I make things, I just let the design evolve as I go. Here I thought I'd allow an undercut, similar to mugs turned by potters- I'll see how it works out.
I intend writing individual posts about my thoughts on specific native timbers, but for now just an observation on this Sycamore tree. The grain in the timber is 'Rippled' which occurs in about 10% of Sycamore trees, I understand. I don't know why this occurs; I used to think it was 'creases' due to a bend in the bough, but every branch in this tree is rippled, so maybe it's something genetic- I've never heard an explanation. Here you can see the fine ripples (or 'fiddleback') in the grain.

Cheers for now.

1 comment:

  1. hi john-hope knee getting better!....you asked me to let you know when play on in york-its on at york theatre royal oct 21 and 22nd-box office no-01904 623568 hope you can make it, be great to see you!
    ian gain -innit!