Thursday, 2 February 2012

Not just firewood!

Here is a bunch of spoons made from 6 of the trees cut down last week.
I used a similar shape for all to give a feel for the qualities of each wood used. From left to right they are:- birch, aspen, ivy, goat willow, hawthorn and sycamore. The aspen and ivy were both new to me for carving and gave a very contrasting experience. The aspen was easy to carve but needed a very sharp knife to get a reasonable finish. It has hardened a lot in drying but I think it would be better suited to cooking/serving spoons. The ivy was dense but with straight grain and gave a good finish from the knife. It can be carved thinner than the aspen which is better for an eating spoon. The goat willow and hawthorn were both from heartwood giving lovely grain patterns. Both the birch and aspen have a translucent quality which shows how the spoons thin out at the edge to give a better mouth feel when in use.
This ladle was made from a naturally bent branch of willow rescued from the village bonfire pile! The grain follows the line of the handle and bowl giving greater strength.

Nearest I've got to making woodland wine.


  1. Love the spoons! Ladle looks great for dutch oven stews.
    Is Ivy a safe wood to eat with - just thinking about american posion ivy and is it any relation to ours over here?

    1. Hi Alviti, thanks for comments and sorry for late response, I've been away in the woods this weekend! North American poison ivy is not a true ivy (Hedera) and is a separate species to European ivy. The berries of our ivy are mildly toxic but so bitter that poisoning is rare. The flowers produce nectar which is a valuable late source for honey bees. I don't like the taste so used to leave it in the hive as winter feed. The wood is used for carving and was used in the middle ages for drinking cups and I know of others who have used it for spoons. I can't find any reference to the wood being toxic and I'm happy to use a spoon made from it. Our goats loved to eat the leaves, and we loved to drink their milk!