Wood of Choice

OK, it’s been a while since I’ve updated the Welsh Lovespoon section of this blog but the latest carving has also been a challenge. Not only is it intricate from a carving aspect but fitting it in during my lunch period when things have been hectic has also proved to be a challenge. The maximum carving hours for the past three weeks is, three hours a week at best.

I finally decided to make the carving from Mahogany, one of the reasons being that it is a little easier to carve than Maple or Walnut. The only draw back is that care has to be taken when carving because of the unruly grain. You’ll find the grain alternating in direction in the same section so care has to be taken to prevent tear-out. The other reason being, I wanted the color to show the details at their best. Maple may have been too light and Walnut may have been too dark and I new that a lot of time would be spent in this particular carving.

With the design put to paper, the overall length turned out to be 14 inches by 4 inches, quite a respectable size.

Welsh Lovespoon design and Mahogany blank.

After fixing the design to the Mahogany blank with spray adhesive the first job was to remove as much of the surplus timber with the bandsaw. In this case it was a small 14 inch Grizzly bandsaw with a 1/4 inch blade, ideal for maneuvering around the tight corners and less lightly to snag. Next was to drill in pilot holes to accept the blade from a scroll saw. This part of the process is always my pet hate, it always puts me on edge waiting for the blade to break. I’ve got a reasonable scroll saw, one made by Delta with variable speed but during the course of removing the waste the blade breaks and you have a run-away on your hands while you’re trying to find the off switch.

Once the nerves have calmed down and I’m able to replace the blade, the waste is eventually removed and we can then proceed with the fun part and that is carving the form. I always start with the bowl first, I don’t know why, I guess you get an instant result. Just carve away with a 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch Marples gouge and you have your form reasonably quick. Next I’m alternating between the dragon and the heart and just feeling my way into the carving. With this there is no set procedure, it’s a case of visualizing the finished design and relief each area to achieve the desired effect.

Finalized carving of Traditional Welsh Lovespoon with Dragon, Heart and Celtic Cross.

I decided to have the Celtic cross raised on the heart to give it more drama and have simple scroll work linking the spoon bowl to the heart. As the actual design was unfolding as a three dimensional sculpture I tried to get as much relief into the dragon as possible to accentuate the form so that once polished the prominent lines would explode from the surface.

Back face of the finished Lovespoon showing initials and date of carving.

To provide a means of hanging the Lovespoon from a wall I decided to use a flame design coming from the back of the dragon. The intent was to make it as plain as possible so as to minimize the distraction effect.

On the back of the lovespoon the only dramatic effect would be the reverse of the dragon and my initials with the month and year of carving. The standard finish I give to my Lovespoons is a citrus paste wax. It maintains the original color and gives a pleasant orangy smell as well as a silky smooth finish.

The finished article is now available for sale and any collectors who are interested in purchasing this spoon may contact me at stevea@limb2limb.com for price.

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