Friday, May 22, 2009

Carving a sunflower spoon

Since my life is mostly "on the go" from sunrise to sunset, it seems that most of my carving projects end up in the cargo pockets of my pants at one point or another. This particular spoon rode 1st class in one such pocket for the most of the last month and I would carve on it when I could with my highly portable Flexcut Carvin' Jack.
I just now finished it and I'd have a hard time parting with this one because I really liked the twisted handle that only God could design, I liked the light and dark core contrast markings that God also threw in for good measure, and I love the little sunflower that just plain ole me added. It measures 8-1/2" in a straight line from the tip of the bowl to the handle, not accounting for the great twisting which probably adds a bit more "actual" length.
I made it from a fallen tulip poplar limb that was bone dry so it was some hard wood for carving but heck, when it's just riding in my pocket all day I really wasn't in a big hurry to finish. This is the kind of stuff that gives me a reason to wake up another day and gets me into a contented sleep at night dreaming about that next cut. It's these kind of connections with simple things that give all the reason to live.

I cut a chunk of the limb to the desired length then split it right down the center with my bandsaw, just like a log is fed into a sawmill. This left me with two sides of the limb to make two spoons. This particular limb was greatly twisted which provided an interesting project. On the flat side of the cut limb I sketched out the spoon I wanted then once again took to the bandsaw to give me a rough-out that my carving knives could then handle.
Finally finished I decided that it needed a little decoration so I burned my favorite flower into the base of the handle and that was a sunflower. I lightly stained the colors of the leaves and flower with highly watered down acrylic paint. I then applied several coats of mineral oil which gave it a nice luster and was the food safe finish I wanted since I just might eat my oatmeal with this one.

Spoons are the greatest carving projects ever because no two ever turn out the same. They are all unique in their own way if you just let the wood tell you how to find the spoon. Spoons are also great beginner projects for new woodcarvers providing a just right challenge and introduction into carving in-the-round 3-D projects. Hey, they're also practical because this is a carving that you can actually use to do something instead of just retiring it to the nick nak shelf.

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