Category Archives: Summer

Speed drawknifing


August used to be the month we went on holiday.  Nowadays it seems to be my busiest month what with courses, shows, and caving …

SAMSUNG CSCWell, actually this is my garage/store-room and it leaks far too much, so much so that it will be destroyed and out of the ashes will be built a new glorious stone and green oak workshop with brewery area and a pitched roof. NOT a flat concrete slab that sweats and leaks, cold in Winter boiling hot in Summer.  But first I have to get this lot:

SAMSUNG CSC(You should have seen it before I started throwing things out.)

.. into this:

SAMSUNG CSCThis is a tin shed, 10 foot by 13 that my brother and I just spent 2 days putting up (including making a floating floor for it).  I think I must have screwed about 200 screws in and dropped probably 400 into the flowers.  Anyway it’s up now, and the poor flowers are down.

SAMSUNG CSCAmongst other things to go in The Shed like bee keeping equipment (photo op. for my first honey extraction:

SAMSUNG CSC) are a cast iron band saw, a second-hand multi-fuel boiler I bought in readiness for the new workshop (well for the brewery really), all my tools, two bikes, about half the last charcoal burn output (our warm Summer has suddenly stopped), various jerry cans of fuel etc, etc.  And then I need to find somewhere else secure to put the two chainsaws.  Man!

Anyways, I’ve started running spoon carving courses finally and made this totally silly spoon during the course of it.

SAMSUNG CSCYep, bark and moss on (C’mon – who’s going to buy that? – Ed):

SAMSUNG CSCThe interesting thing is the spoon is photographed casually relaxing on the roughed out top of the clover leaf top three-legged stool I’m about to make for a competition.  I’ve worked out that the legs will be truncated equilateral triangles where the draw-bored M&T joints will be in the apron and rung areas.  Then turned between on the pole lathe (important consideration for the comp).  Ah well, perhaps ye olde 17th century joinery will catch on over here one day (maybe after Peter Folansbee has taken his class here!)

I’ve been busy with oak again – another garden bench commission.  Here’s some speed drawknifing work (Not too long I hope – Ed)

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So lots more shavings, and a growing pile of parts,


must make sure I don’t mix members for the stool with those for the bench.


SAMSUNG CSCPhew!  Where to start?  Maybe in the morning (as above).

I took the role of morning hot water monitor:

SAMSUNG CSCEarly morning is my favourite time of day – a whole day ahead to spoil, and not many people about.


The fire ring was big and usually had embers in from the revels of the previous night, so it was easy to rekindle it and race the gallon kettle against the Kelly Kettle.

The festival is a great meet up place, OK currently only two continents, but I can’t see that lasting for long.  People carve spoons all together, all the time (the first axes start at about 7am):


Check out how concentrated everyone is.

But spoonfest is not just spoon-carving alone, it is about learning and meeting people.

Here is  Fritiof Runhall explaining the development of wooden spoon styles as living traditions changed and associated ergonomics.  So cranked handles are hypothesised to go back to a communal bowl and straight handles can only work with individual bowls (i.e. when the standards of living changed).

SAMSUNG CSCThis is JanHarm ter Brugge.  Jan excels at teaching spoon decoration amongst other things.


He is an excellent disseminator of techniques, principles and design.  This is his illustration of a Sami maze decoration:

I learnt a lot from him, and I’m aiming to copy this style:
There’s a mistake in one spoon – can you see it? Jan explained that mistakes are fine as they reinforce the hand-made quality.

This is Jarrod  Stonedahl explaining how to make and use ‘natural’ paints, oil paint, milk paint, egg tempura with earth pigments for colouring.  I learnt why my paint wasn’t working – missed out the lime!

SAMSUNG CSCNic Westerman’s rather neat blacksmithy.  He demonstrated in full forging an axe, the crowds were rather deeper when that was happening!

Not all hard work and learning.  2013 saw the premier of The Spoonfest Athletics.  Here is the start of the race to stir a cup of tea with a wooden spoon no-handed.
There were a handful of races in the championship including The maker who looks most like their spoon.  Fritiof that afternoon had made a spoon with a statue of himself as the handle, it was topped off with a bunch of his own hair!  Steve Tomlin was overall winner, and I should really have taken a vid of his extraordinary victory tour.

Great weekend, great people, great location,


and I learned quite a bit too – my spoon knife is now pretty damn sharp, and I should be able to stitch leather neatly, I’ve got the basics of playing the spoons (thanks Jo) and I’ve already got the first stage of a moulded hook knife sheath.

The finale again was spoon club with around 200 people all doing 5 minutes carving a spoon and then passing it on.  Although not a race, it was hard concentration, as you can see the moment after the hour was up:

SAMSUNG CSCThis is the output from out group

SAMSUNG CSCA big thank you to these two guys who put so much effort into the production of Spoonfest.

SAMSUNG CSCRobin Wood & Barn The Spoon in very uncharacteristic reflective mode.