Tag Archives: carving

Goal: Carving spoons and other useful things

In our new life, I plan to make more time for spoon carving.

I’ve done a bit in the past, but my tools are now in France so I’m itching to get back to them.

Shoehorns I carved for Christmas presents last year (Lime and Hazel)

Spoon carving is not and never will be a job for me. It’s a craft, or maybe a hobby; an alternative to television that’s infinitely more engaging and rewarding. It’s a great way to pass a winter evening by the fire, or a summer evening in the garden.

With a small hatchet and a couple of knives that I’ve learnt to sharpen myself, I can turn a branch into a tool. And in doing so, I can show my son something of the real value of human time. The pure economic madness of carving your own utensils is itself a challenge to the madness of ‘pure’ economics. Because time is not valued only in terms of money. In carving spoons (or other utensils for that matter) there is experience, history, skill, resilience, self-satisfaction, art, relaxation, meditation, utility, exercise (mental and physical) and the ever present chance of cutting off your opposable thumb if you don’t pay the job enough respect. I concentrate when I’m coding websites, but never like I do when I’m swinging an axe to carve a spoon.

One day I hope to be as good as this:

This learning is not to be rushed.

Shake out.

Goal: Building a shaving horse

This goal is nice and simple; build one of these:

19th century knowledge carpentry and woodworking shaving horse 1

This has been on my todo list for a while, but it wasn’t worth starting once we began planning our move to France.

After I’ve knocked one of these together, I’m looking forward to working with the draw knife that came with my Erik Frost carving set. It’s been untouched until now as no modern clamps or tools do quite the job quite as well as an old fashioned shaving horse.

And if I recall, I think there were shaving horse plans in my favourite book, William Copperthwaite’s ‘A Handmade Life‘, so this feels like a good time for a quote:

“I want to live in a society where people are intoxicated with the joy of making things.” -William Coperthwaite

Shake out.