Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lovespoon Angst, Part Two

Welcome back, friends and neighbors! Take a look at the photo of the lovespoon in this post and compare it to the one in the last post. What you see is the result of approximately six hours of carving!

When last we talked, I hadn't yet decided what I was going to do with the birds at the top of the spoon. Originally I had intended to either kolross or chip carve them. At the last minute I decided to throw caution to the winds and carve them in the round. Fine.

I wish I had made that decision earlier. If I thought the flying heart knot was too small . . . . .  I had no idea what I was getting into. I first started by cutting shallow ramps in the "neck knot" to delineate which strands pass over and which pass under. Because when I laid out the pattern originally I intended to carve only one side of the birds, I didn't mirror the pattern on the back side of the spoon. No big deal. I can free-hand the pattern on the back as I carve. Rrrriiiight!

So I started at the bottom of the neck knot and started working my way up the edges of the spoon. I worked the bottom loops around to the back and drew and cut freehand where I thought the strands were going. I worked about a quarter of the way up the back. Then I moved around to the front of the spoon and started work on the piercings. I was using the knife you see on the left of the spoon, made by Carl, the Carver/TurnerFromNoWhere. The blade is tiny (14 mm long, 4 mm wide at the handle, 2 mm wide at the tip), sharp as sin and twice as dangerous. A beautiful knife and the perfect tool for working on small knots. In spite of that, I quickly discovered, while trying to relieve the piercings with the knife, that they were so small that I could only do it by drilling. A 1/16th inch drill bit took 99% of the wood out of the piercings leaving me with only squaring up the insides of the holes with the knife, something emminently do-able.

Only one problem. Because I free-handed and carved the bottom strands of the knot on the back of the spoon, before I drilled the holes, two of the holes went directly through the middle of the strands I had already carved. OK, how does that go? Proper Prior Planning . . . . .

No problem! I had, from the beginning, only intended to finish the front of the spoon. What does it matter if the back of the spoon looks like a dog's dinner? The front looks halfway decent, even though I'm still having trouble keeping the thickness of the strands consistent.

BTW, when carving strands this small with those tight turns, cutting against the grain, unless done VERY carefully, tends to break out relatively large sections of wood, making it even more difficult to keep the strands consistent.

This week I only had two breaks (literally). The first was the crest of the bird's head on the right. When undercutting the front of the crest, I wound up levering the knife blade and snapping off the entire crest. Super Glue to the rescue!

The second break was on the left wing of the flying heart, caused by holding the spoon wrong while carving. Same thing I did to break off the right wing. This time I didn't break it off totally. In any case, back to the Super Glue. David Western gave me some excellent advice: Do the delicate parts LAST! One day I'll learn to listen.

I think I've rambled enough for this week. Next week I think I'll talk about Santa. That'll give me enough time to slow down on the lovespoon so I don't fly into a fit of frustration.

As you can see on the right, I've begun Twittering. Don't know how that's going to work out, but if you want to follow me, just click on the link.

Until next time, let the chips fly!


  1. Wow, gorgeous work! This is really looking fantastic!

  2. Ah, Gaabi, like me it looks much better in photos than in real life! :)

  3. I like your bird design....especially the way they are standing on the heart. I am now carving the petals on my sunflowers....61 petals carved front and back.....I need to remember just how much fun these are (NOT) on my next design. I already have the next one you think we are addicted?

  4. Hi, Joy. I think so. I was intending to make my next post here about my Santas, but . . . . I got this new idea for a lovespoon. I'll post about it in the next couple of days. I know all about learning what elements NOT to include in the next design!

  5. Bob, Rather than continue to lurk, I thought since you are following my blog I better get on board here too. Although spoon carving is way to difficult for me to attempt, I do enjoy the product of those who carve them.

  6. Hey, Tom, nice to see you here. Given the size of your carvings, I think you'd be great at baby spoons! :)