Mocotaugan

Last week (seems like at least a se’night ago) I attended another course (well it is holidays season).  It was held in Edale, Derbyshire as a conjunct to Spoonfest, organised by Robin Wood and tutored by Jarrod Stone Dahl.

We were making and learning to use a knife used in North America by various native tribes living in the Eastern states.  It is called the mocotaugan and is alien to the shores of Albion as it is used held in the inside knuckles palm up, thusly:

The mocotaugan has a whole battery of myth and legend surrounding it, but it is also a very useful tool, so we were all tool-makers for three days (OK, 2 days, I managed to miss the first day, but caught up).

Jarrod had provided the steel (O1) blanks roughed out, so the first job was to file them into shape and then take the edge back to flat to avoid burning it in the forge.  Then it was up to Robin’s workshop to do the hot stuff.

O it’s getting late and I have a course to run tomorrow so I’m going to let the pictures do most of the speaking:

Jarrod explaining the simple blacksmithing techniques required.

Robin’s propane gas forge, based on a farrier’s set up.

Bending the tip.

Duly bent.

Heat treatment – quenching in spent chip fat.

Alternative tang as used in the old-fashioned-days.  Requires an open dovetail and binding.

The examples, some experimental, brought along by Jarrod.

My knife fixed in the elm handle.

This is how it’s used.

The class’ set of new knives.

Great course, good folks, great and gentle teacher.

 

Spoonfest

A unique event.  A fieldful of people getting together to share knowledge about spoons and a lot more spoon-related knowledge.

Spoonfest was organised by Barn Carder (AKA Barn the Spoon) and Robin Wood, as a weekend international extravaganza incorporating workshops for people just starting out spoon-making, engraving spoons, carving as a work-out for the body, rather than punishment, bacon butties, local beer, large piles of a dozen species of wood to sit and carve and burn on the camp fires.  There was no competition, there was a spoon shop, also a very diverse display of spoons from around the world.

Some of my favourites:

Fred Livesay, all the was from Minnesota. Fred discovered his woodworking skills at age 10. He later trained as a wheelwright and carriage-builder for seven summers, and then went on to study Scandinavian folk art, decorative arts, art history, and museum studies, and boy does he carve beautiful spoons!  I got to know him later in the week and he’s a great gentle guy (like all the spoon carvers I know, I wonder why that is?).

Next up Jarrod Stone Dahl’s fine spoons.  All his spoons for sale in the shop were quickly sold, but he carved a cherry one for me later in the week when I was on his knife-making course (see next post, blimy I’m still two and a half posts in arrears.) Here it is:

I think I’ll add some paint to the handle when it’s dry.

These are Jogge Sundquist’s.  He really is the master of spoons. A couple of the very fine ones at the bottom are his father’s. Wow!  Jogge gave a great demo on the Saturday – I’d missed his talk and class on the Friday as I was still in Cumbria.

There were just too many spoons to post here, but it was a real feast for the eyes and the brain.  There were lots of great friends and new friends to meet too, here’s my mate Sean, we snapped each other.

He looked very stylish in the new haircut and T shirt that everyone was wearing.

Steve Tomlin gave a very good seminar on improving your spoons.  I found this really helpful.  I also found Terence McSweeney’s workshop on stance while carving and working in general very helpful indeed, I am very aware that it is easy to damage your back without really trying, but keeping it straight whilst working is a good route to keeping it healthy.  Thanks very much chaps!

I enjoyed the Sunday morning sermon on the search for the patron saint of spooncarving (St. Peter Damian) by Martin Hazell

The finale was a massive spoon club event where spoons are worked on for 5 minutes and then passed round until they are finished.  Here’s what the results were of a class Fritiof Runhal ran the week before:

And here are the carvers lined up ready to work on 12 different spoons over an hour:

What a great weekend!  Many thanks to all who put in so much work to create such a successful  fulfilling event.  Hope you can manage it again next year.