I recently attended a basic carving day run by a very talented scout leader.
I set off nice and early on a Sunday morning for a 1 hour drive, I didn’t know much about the course, what it would entail, I knew that I had 1 project I wanted to achieve by the end of the course – a beetle. It’s basically a wooden mallet than can be used at camp. When I did my 1st Bushcraft course about 5 years ago. The instructor was using 1 and called it a thwaxcker – so it has many names.
Anyway, I arrived at the venue and noticed that it was going to be a nice intimate course, only 4 other people excluding the instructor.
We had a brief chat about what we wanted to achieve from the course, our experiences, what tools we’ve used etc. We were told we would make 3 items by the end of the day, a beetle, a carved for head bookmark and a spoon blank or spatula.
Nice and simple and easy going.
We set off to work and was shown how to make a beetle. Now it might seek very simple but I. Was really looking forward to. Making 1 of these for so long. We selected our piece of wood which in this case was Ash. Our instructor demonstrated the simple steps we would have to replicate to produce the result. So, without any hesitation I cracked on, using a simple Mora knife and a Bahco Laplander I was under way. About 15 minutes later I had produced my very 1st ever beetle. Now if you’ve ever made something from scratch whether it being a carved spoon, baked your own load of bread or knitted a jumper. When you’ve finally made something simple you’ve always wanted to do it feel awesome. Makes you feel warm inside and that’s how I felt.
Next, we cracked on and was shown how to make a carved fox head bookmark. Our instructor shown us the simple steps and now it was our turn. This time we made it pit of Silver Birch. It always looks easy when someone else does it…well this can’t be too difficult. Its only about 6 steps. How hard can it be…? Well it wasn’t that easy or difficult. I would say as a beginner of carving I would give it a 5/10 for difficulty.
After a little bit of help and guidance I produced something that resembled a fox…. maybe a run over squashed fox…but it was still something that I. Made by myself with simple tools.
We broke for lunch, had a wanna around the scout Hall and another cup of tea….
After returning from Lunch, it was going to be the big finale, making a spoon. Now I’ve tried twice to carve a spoon and on both occasions not had a spoon at the end of it. My 1st go was a few years ago, and was a disaster. I tried again last year and was doing so well… carved a nice bowl in the spoon, handle was good. Went back to the final touches and crunch, took too much out of the bowl of the soon and created an awesome pea strainer.
So 3rd time lucky maybe…
Our wood for our spoons was to be Cherry, I drew out a spoon blank and got to work chopping the log down the size, chopping out a rough outline of the spoon and started carving with my Mora knife.
Now I’ll let you in a little secret…. I have bugger all patients and a big key to spoon carving is relaxing and enjoying making a creation. This was very hard for me to calm down. My day job is full on the moment I get to work till the moment I live, I then get home and its daddy time, so calming down and relaxing isn’t something I’m 100% used to if I’m being honest with you. Patience is something that I lack.
Why am I saying all this, well sadly I ran out of time on the day to finish my spoon carving. I need to finish it off at home or even 1 night at the scout Hall.
For me I like to see an end picture rather quickly, rather than in a few hours’ time, and spoon carving does take its time when you’re a beginner like me.
So, to wrap up this carving blog. I had an awesome day with the Scout Leaders, it’s always great to spend time with likeminded Scout Leaders.
When I finish my spoon, I’ll update you all or maybe it will be another Pea strainer…… who knows, only time will tell.
Believe in yourself and just do it, even if your not gifted in making things, just give it a go, you might surprise yourself and create something useful and might even be beautiful.
Remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
*equipment I used on the basic carving course
- Mora Clipper knife
- Bahco Laplander
- Robin Wood Carving Axe
For the spoon carving, I will use a Mora Crook Knife.
These can all be bought from most Bushcraft/camping websites