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Post by Chilli-head on 3rd June 2015, 12:10 pm

Feels like I've not posted any treen for a while - I've been too busy with other things.  Last weekend we met at Wimpole, and having turned the front legs for my ladderback chair - the last components - I found myself with some time to spare so thought I'd try a first for me, a porringer.  This is a small bowl with horizontal handles.  I've seen some rather lovely ones by Robin Wood .  There was some largish logs of Alder to go at.  Alder can supply a range of colour dyes; red and yellow from the bark, and black if the tannin of the wood reacts with iron, so I expected perhaps an interesting result.

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A tricky turning job. ...  mine has a few warts; the alder was a tricky wood to turn without lifting and tearing out the grain.  Also the blank is not round; the width of the log is the size of the bowl part, but it is cut off longer than it is wide to provide material for the handles.  That means that in turning the handles, the hook tool can't stay with the bevel always in contact with the workpiece,  making catches easily acheived and requiring a very light touch.  The "flange" left on the bowl was trimmed with axe and spokeshave to the final shape  of the handles.

The weekend before I picked up some wood waste for firewood; it was prunings from a large contorted willow.  I'm not really much of a spoon carver, but splitting one of the spiral shaped branches down the middle produced a shape that begged to be made into something.  Pity I didn't realise I was making a left handed one !
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Post by Ploshkin on 4th June 2015, 2:26 pm

As always, CH, that is just beautiful and why shouldn't it have a left handed spoon. You could make a unique set from your willow prunings.
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Post by FloBear on 4th June 2015, 8:54 pm

What lovely work CH. And so very interesting to hear about the wood and the making process. LH spoon good in my book. My OH is a leftie.
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Post by freebird on 5th June 2015, 10:46 am

I love the spoon too - little versions, with bend either way, would be great for little hands. Seems just the right shape for a baby/toddler wanting to feed itself.
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Post by Dandelion on 6th June 2015, 9:47 am

Beautiful - I particularly like the handles on the bowl. Very clever.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 11th June 2015, 10:25 am

FloBear wrote: And so very interesting to hear about the wood and the making process.

The traditional uses of wood and the reasons why I find quite interesting. Alder has a variety of uses - as well as tannin for leather making and pigments, like willow it also contains the anti-inflammatory salicin. It has been valued for making guitar bodies (notably the Fender Stratocaster). However, one other traditional use was making charcoal for gunpowder. I presume the structure of the charcoal it makes allows it to be mixed very intimately with the other ingredients, which is the secret to a potent black powder.
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