A Spoon Full of Neglect

I've been neglectful in documenting my projects for a while. I think that's mainly due to a long bout of dreary weather a week or two ago that drained my will to do much. Don't get me wrong, I actually like the steady rain, but I spent more time smoking cigars than taking pictures of projects. Also, I spent some time away from the woodworking getting back into some programming topics for an upcoming contract that I start next month, so that put a damper on other things for a while. All that being said, I have been in the garage crafting things. The first picture there is of two very quite small, probably child-sized, cottonwood spoons. That's from the same cottonwood that I harvested a while back, but I allowed the piece that I used there to cure a while and split naturally. I continued the split with my hatchet and carved those two pieces over two days. They probably only took an hour or two a piece and I'm mostly happy with how they turned out. I think that the deep brown pith looks very nice, and since it was already dried when I carved it it should be structurally sound. One thing I would like to work on more is getting the inside of the bowl utterly smooth; sometimes there will be very small imperfections that you may not be able to see so easily but that you can feel. I do spend quite a while sanding, but that only gets you so far unless you want to dump more time into it than it's worth.

This next image is of a spoon that I finished just the other day. It's carved from a block of crappy birch which was infested with larva over much of the surface area. I had started another spoon the other week knowing full well that there was a larva hole in the block, but I was going to give it a shot and carve out the bowl first to see if the hole made it all the way down to that point. In short, it did, so I had to reject the piece after I dug into the hole with my hook knife. All that aside, I picked a good block for this spoon for the most part. I did need to contour the end of the handle strangely to chop out part of the waste that had a pretty harsh, flakey bad spot in it. I had originally hoped to carve the end into more of a ball shape, but I ended up with this weird fin on the bottom instead that keeps the whole thing sitting flatly.

I noticed that there are some positives and negatives to working on larger pieces such as this one. One of the negatives is that since the piece is so large, any lack of symmetry will stand out significantly. On the flip side, you have more material to work with to fix the symmetry problems. You could viably use a spokeshave on a utensil this large, though I did not in this case.

This was the first project wherein I didn't use sandpaper to smooth it. I ended up creating some simplistic card scrapers out of spare 22 (?) gauge sheet metal. I cut out a rectangular piece using tin snips, then squared up the cut edge with a file. I rounded off the top edge's corners so it's more comfortable in hand. I made a second one the same way but with various sized convex curves to scrape out the bowl interior. They worked quite well for something thrown together in a few minutes. They were a bit crude and I didn't do anything more special than a 90 degree edge with no burnishing (since I suppose you can't really burnish that angle to any useful effect), but they took off enough material to smooth over the tool marks, mostly. I'll have to spend some time crafting some more realistic scrapers in the future.

In the coming days I should be able to unveil a new tool that I'm building myself. I'll hold off on the details until it's done, though.