Monday, 19 March 2012

Bent Branch Spoons

Three very different spoons all making use of the natural bend where a branch joins the main stem. They are all finished with cold-pressed raw linseed oil which seems to dry quicker than walnut oil.

The first one is in Hawthorn. This was made using very fresh wood, then left for the sap to stain it before drying and oiling. Length 18cm with a round  bowl suitable for soup or as a small serving spoon.

The second is made from Sycamore growing wild in an old cemetery. 17.5cm long.

And this ladle in Aspen is from a very bent branch. The grain follows the handle and bowl giving it greater strength. It is 39cm long with a large bowl.
I find these bent branch spoons a pleasant diversion. When the wood crops up I just have to try it to see if a spoon develops. Sometimes they don't work but when they do, often turn out quite differently to how you first imagine they will look. This week I'm supposed to be making bowls, which I am, but was distracted by another bent branch so had to stop and try it out. Think it's going to be a pickle or olive spoon for a deep jar! Anyway, it's good to give the muscles a rest from bowl carving.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Aspen Serving Spoons

I'm becoming a bit of a fan of Aspen, which is great as I have enough to keep me going for years. It is straight grained and fairly easy to work and has very little taste so it's good for cooking spoons and bowls which come into contact with wet foods such as bread dough. Some pieces have a lovely ripple like fiddle back sycamore and I have been making some serving spoons from these.
They have been finished in walnut oil which works well but may be a problem with some people with nut allergies. Raw linseed oil is OK in that respect, but most that is available in the UK is pressed at a high temperature and isn't fresh so it has a strong smell and taste which many people find off-putting. I've just taken delivery of some UK grown linseed oil which is cold pressed on the farm and is only a few days old. This is culinary grade and more expensive than most virgin olive oils and has to be kept in the fridge. It does have a nice taste and virtually no smell and can be used in salad dressings etc. It's going on the next batch of spoons and bowls so I hope it works!