Wood – Metal – Synergy
Simply put I work with wood and a knife. With time and practice though, I started getting to know the little things that play a big role in this. I have been thinking a bit about these little crystallized pieces of information that are so precise and therefore simple that they can actually be seen in a very generalized way. For a good performance and experience when knife and wood meet – what stands out for me the most is a flat bevel grind of the tool also called a scandi grind. This makes for much better control and guidance during the cut. Also, it enables me to have a much better and a finer feel for the edge of the knife digging through the wood. A narrow blade with a long pointy tip works really well for spoon carving. The pointy tip is very useful for doing sharp inside corners and curves. Of course also the sharpness of the blade makes a big difference. You can even feel, when you are carving, that the blade is not ground perfectly flat anymore (not 100% scandi/sharp). The knife will not bite into the wood as well, especially with very fine shavings and where the grain changes you can see it starting to fail.
Now on to the wood. The way the cuts though the wood fibers perform and feel differs with every species. I have only had the chance to try a couple of different species by now but I’m interested in trying out anything that comes my way! Some woods are harder and more splintery. Some soft, easy to cut, but fine cuts are difficult and it’s impossible to leave as much of a shiny polished surface. Some just carve very smoothly and uniformly like butter. Some look pretty in the grain or are very colorful, others are plain and boring. Some are ring porous, which you can feel when you have the spoon in your mouth. In all cases the wood carves much better when wet. I can feel the moisture amount by how fast my hands get tired, but also just by touching the wood. The wood can be too wet also, fine finishing cuts are better and easier to achieve with dried wood. That’s why spoon carvers prefer wood that has very slowly dried even for up to a year (with still some moisture inside). It makes a huge difference how straight or twisted the grain runs through the piece of wood you are carving. Also, of course, any knot’s even small ones take much more effort and skill to carve because in those areas the grain is never straight, tighter and induced with more resin. If you have any questions about my work or anything else, feel free to ask me anytime or head to the spoon carving forum!