Monday, September 19, 2011

Hurricane Spoons part 1

Yesterday I was about to gather up the last of the Ginkgo tree that fell during Hurricane Irene. All together I was able to collect some ash, ginkgo, silver maple and sassafras, all suitable woods for spoon making. I got a little obsessed with the ginko tree because I know there won't be an opportunity like that any time soon. Unfortunately, the neighbors got to the pile of cut wood before me and all that was left was four HUGE pieces of the trunk. But I went after it with three wedges and was able to break it down to piece I could load in the van and bring home. The the left side of the photo shows just one piece split apart! I now have a much greater appreciation of the power of the wedge as a tool.
7 Maple spoons and 1 Sassafras spoon
5 Ginkgo spoons
I have to say, carving ginkgo is quite enjoyable. It has a creamy feel and sands well. I have yet to complete the ginkgo spoons I carved, so I don't know how they'll take to finish. I have finished several spoons of maple and there one sassafras spoon in the photo. I also enjoyed carving that one. I have ween working hard to get a few batches of these done for a local craft fair coming up soon. They seen to be a popular item, so for now, that's how I'll be spending my carving energies. As for my designs - I work intuitively and work to create organic shapes that fit nicely in my hand. When I make one I really like, I turn it into a cardboard pattern and routinely interchange handle and bowl designs based on the size and shape of the blank I'm working with. I like working with small pieces split off of large pieces rather than cutting blanks from branches. That way I can work more freely and with green wood. After I rough out the shape and carve the bowl, I hang them up for a few days. They go from 25% moisture to 7-8% in a couple days without splitting. I'm pretty happy with that deal. I'm sill experimenting with finishes, but getting close to my own "ideal". I'll discuss that in a later post.

P.S. I added the Ginkgo spoons after writing this post. They sand and finish beautifully!


Carvin' Tom said...


Do you hand or machine carve these spoons?

I've carved dozens of spoons but only a couple of spoons out of something *other* than Basswood.

How difficult it is to make one out of the harder woods?

Don Dailey said...

Tom, I'm still working out a system for best time/quality results. And I'll be posting a video soon on how I do my spoons. The softer woods, such as sassafras, ginkgo and soft maple, I rough on the band saw, then carve to a rounded shape then go to sanders of various types.