Sunday, 23 February 2014

Bent branch wood

I love using bent branch wood for spoons and I recently got hold of a decent sized bent birch branch. 
I find that in my job we don't get many birch trees to take down so when one comes along I try and save as much wood from it as possible. Birch is a very nice wood to work green, it can be a bit stringy if you carve it straight away so sometimes it's best left for a period of time to dry a little a little.

There was an old branch wound on the bottom of the branch so I used the top section to work.

I cut the branch to size then split using the axe and wooden maul.

Once it is split I can then mark up the spoon and carve out the excess wood with the axe.

This is what I ended up with. The shape is similar to eating spoons that I have been making. I wanted to try a serving spoon with no decoration. I wanted to try and concentrate on just shape and symmetry, as this has been bugging me a little recently. I'm always trying to improve my spoons and shape is important to get right. 
I'm also thinking a lot recently about spoon design. 

Spoon design to me isn't just about the look of the spoon but also about how it functions. Ergonomics and how a spoon feels and functions. 
Bent spoons can work better than straight spoons for eating and serving. Straight spoons work well for stirring and cooking.
 So to get the balance right is important to creating a functional spoon specific to what it will be intended for.
I have always been Working towards this and I feel that it is always an on going thought that drives my work forward which I find important.

After the axe work is complete I can work the blank with my knife. It's this stage that I can really work the shape and achieve definition. Creating finer detail in cuts with the knife either small cuts on the reverse of the bowl or long straight cuts on the handle, it's these detail knife cuts that can give a very nice faceted finish that cannot be achieved by sanding. 

The finished spoon as the branch intended it to be following the direction of the fibres of the wood to give strength.