Sunday, May 10, 2009

Whale-fish Redux and Eagle Lovespoon

You see, Kari, I told you the whale-fish was coming back for another sitting. This time he brought both his uppers and his lowers! He's so much more impressive now that he looks like he could do more than just gum you to death. :)

The knife blades didn't come in this week, so I can't finish the knife yet, but stay tuned. It promises to be something of a challenge. 

A few weeks ago I had a post about the evolution of a lovespoon design. I finally got around to starting the pattern I came up with. I first transferred the pattern onto a piece of alder and started drilling out all the places that would be pierced as well as a couple of places outside the pattern that would allow me to decrease the time it would take me to cut down to the outline.

I finally found my old Stanley egg-beater drill again, and drilled all the holes with that instead of the power drill. Call it a quirk. Actually, I discovered, after I learned to use it all over again, that it took no longer to drill a hole with the egg-beater than it did with the power drill -- as long as the holes were a small diameter. The larger the diameter of the drill, the more torque it takes to drill through the wood. You can only get so much torque out of an egg-beater, thus the larger holes didn't make it all the way through the wood before I gave up. Got close enough, anyway. Once the holes were drilled I ripped the handle to thickness with my Japanese saw. I do this after I drill the holes so that any tear-out on the back side will be cut away when I rip the handle.

Once that was done, I carved out the bowl of the spoon and drilled a few more holes in places I missed the first time. You'll notice that I'm not in such a big hurry this time to carve down the thin places, like the junction of the bowl to the handle. I may be a slow learner, but I do learn! In the close up you'll see why I always leave the rim of the bowl higher than it will be at the finish. For one reason or another I always nick the rim of the bowl while hollowing it out.

The next couple of photos show how I've carved the leaves/hearts of the four-leaf-clover and how I've started the piercings. You can see that I've left some extra wood at the bottoms of the hearts in the house to reduce the risk of breakage when I start rounding and relieving them. I've also started chip-carving in the feathers on the eagle.

I have to say I'm not well pleased with alder for this design. It has a tendency to get splintery on narrow cuts such as where the wings join the body and touch the roof of the house. It's also not good on the chip carving. It's nothing than can't be overcome, but it's one more pain in the tuchus that I could do without.  I am, however, pleased with the way the grain in the clover turned out. It kinda looks like I actually planned it that way. [Hah!]

One lesson that pounded itself into my brain while carving the clover was to keep an eye on the WHOLE length of my blade, not just the portion I'm cutting with. I don't know how many times I had to go back and recarve that central rib on one leaf because I put a nick in it while carving a different leaf. 

Next week, if I'm lucky and real life doesn't intrude too much, I'll have finished this turkey . . . . um . . . . eagle lovespoon and have a new knife to play with. Until then, let the chips fly!


  1. Rob, the whale/fish is much more ferocious with both sets of choppers! The love spoon is looking fantastic. Keep up the good work!

  2. A great looking love spoon.

  3. Wow~ the spoon is so cool! Great work!

  4. Thanks, Kari. I finally got my new blades, so the whale-fish is planned for finishing this weekend. Can hardly wait!

    Thanks, Tom. Good luck at the show this weekend. You've got some great stuff there! Some of it I could even see without a magnifying glass!

    Thank you, Soyun. I love the colors you use! BTW, how do you ship from Korea so cheaply? I just sent a lovespoon to Italy, and it cost me almost $28!

  5. I've been following your lovespoon carving with interest. Love to see it finished.