Sound the new hobby klaxon!
I recently dipped a toe in whittling, on a spoon carving workshop at the Making Winter retreat. Guided by Alistair from The Woodlanders, we spent two hours carving spoons with an axe and a knife. After getting over the initial fear of making a wrong move and cutting off a finger or accidentally burying a hatchet in my own leg, something clicked and I wanted to do more.
After Christmas I cut the bottom off the Christmas tree and used it to carve this butter knife. I wish I’d taken more photos of the process but I got carried away and forgot to pick up the camera.
It’s only the second thing I’ve ever made so I’m super pleased with how it turned out. Until I uploaded this photo I hadn’t spotted that line on the very edge of the handle that could have been sanded a bit more. Dammit.
About 70% of the work was done with the hatchet, the other 30% with a Mora 106 carving knife. I carved a blocky looking shape ‘side on’ and then shaped it from the top and bottom. The things I found most difficult were thinking about the overall 3D shape and carving the finger ridges between the blade and the handle.
The process of carving wood is pretty magic. I turned a lump of wood into a roughly shaped knife, covered in blade marks. That part was done with my eyes. When I started sanding I used my fingers to find all the bits I needed to work on. And all of a sudden there were no more areas to sand and my knife was silky smooth. To finish it off I added a couple of layers of my homemade wood butter (walnut oil and beeswax) to finish it off.
There are a few other things I want to make for our kitchen; some wooden spoons and a spatula. I just need to find some wood and then I can get cracking. But first, I need to work on my ‘concentration face’. Far too much pokey out tongue action and starey eyes at the moment. I probably look more like a serial killer than a whittler.