It all happened very quickly. The fire was roaring in the living room as my son was playing with cars on the couch, my wife weaving, and I, of course, was happily carving a spoon. A few days earlier I had decided that I needed to be braver about sourcing wood for spoon carving. In doing so, I noticed a tree that looked like it had a lot of spoons in it by the shop at work. A friend came over and identified it as an autumn olive. There wasn’t a whole lot to be found about autumn olive, other than it is considered a weed in the area, and for all intents and purposes, you shouldn’t hesitate to cut one down. Jackpot! I finally had a good source of wood for carving–there was much rejoicing.
In my excitement over a supply of wood, and probably, do to the absolute adrenaline rush that comes from carving truly wet wood, I decided that I need to get good at this. But how?
I have found that a shortcut to learning a worthy skill is as elusive as a tasteful drum solo*. I knew I had to put time into this effort. I knew it would require diligence. Then it hit me. Like many of my working revelations, I would steal from Matt Kenney! Not that long ago, Matt set out to make 52 boxes in 52 weeks. To some that might not sound difficult, but if you’ve seen the boxes that Matt makes, his designs, and his level of execution–well, it’s from another place. It was a challenge that–I think–wore him down, but took his craft to the next level.
My challenge was similar, but entirely different. My challenge would be skills based. At my current level, there isn’t a whole lot of designing that goes into a spoon. Usually I’m just trying to make a dang spoon. That’s enough! This was going to hone my skills, all of them. Wood procurement and selection, axe work, knife work, sharpening, and lets be honest, time management were all skills that this challenge would stretch.
What you see here, is what I made after deciding I would set forth on this challenge, followed by the equivalent of nailing a papyrus to a door, posting my intents on Instagram. This is not my first spoon. More like my eighth or ninth–of which probably four wound up in the fireplace. But, for this challenge, this one is the origin.
We’ll see how the other 51 go!
*I once witnessed Greg Morrow, straight up refuse a drum solo… that’s the pinnacle of drum solos
Wood: Autumn Olive
Tools: Mora 106, Robin Wood compound curve hook knife, Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet