Teaching people how to carve spoons is always a pleasure but it’s great to be asked by an experienced carver to extend their skills.
Gareth has been carving for a few years now and teaching too. We talked at Sizergh Greenwood Fair about spooncarving and he asked there about some specific spoon carving questions which he wanted help with before booking a day of individual tuition with me.
I love teaching spoon carving to beginners but it’s even more exciting to teach someone with more experience and specific queries, it’s so great to be able to push someones skills and challenge my own carving and teaching.
I brought along a ‘gallery’ of spoons for inspiration but we quickly got carving. To start with Gareth wanted to watch me shape a blank using the axe and we covered how to form the intitial shape including the crank between the bowl and handle and using an adze to start hollowing the bowl. After that Gareth axed his own blank and we continued through the process of carving together. This highlighted other issues areas where either Gareth had a specific issue or I thought it was worth pointing out tips and ideas. This kind of atmosphere is great for exploring design and technical issues in carving so it’s also interesting as well for me as a greenwood carving teacher.
After dinner we spent some time on sharpening carving knive, hook knives and axes with Japanese waterstones. Looking at the edge through an eyeglass and understanding the process makes sharpening a completely new experience and is the foundation for great spoon carving. Gareth certainly seemed to discover new levels of understanding and sharpness for his knives.
Gareth made a great spoon, achieved a lot of learning and we had a terrific day together. It was only a shame that I was so busy teaching that I didn’t get my own spoon finished but that can be a treat for another day.