Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Ladles, made from trunk and branch

I have made and finished off some half made ladles recently. The walnut one at the top is 9.5 inches long and the bowl is nearly 3 inches wide.

 And a detailed image
I saved the other part of the walnut log I split the ladle from.
I was given a small walnut tree that someone had cut down in their garden. Not being foresters, they had left 6 to 10 inch branches sticking out of the main trunk. Unfortunately all tree surgeons and foresters are taught to "sned" off all branches right next to the main trunk. This is why it is difficult to find forked or tripod branches or larger trunks of wood that us green woodworker so dearly love.
This is the position of the spoon in the walnut log
 Splitting wood out of a trunk/ branch can be a big unknown. I have yielded 2 ladles from a willow log before, but this is not common. With luck you will get one and if unlucky, nothing. Some woods are great and others like wild cherry, I have found, are impossible.

I started the split in the top of the branch coming off the trunk. It is common practice to start at the thin end of a log when splitting wood. I never had one split like this before, taking a V out of the trunk. Next step is to hit it with an axe, wave a knife at it and finish off by showing it a spoon knife, and hey presto, a ladle.

One last ladle made from sycamore with the branch coming out of the trunk at right angles.
The bowl is just under 2 inches across.

Why use a bent, forked or angular limb coming off a trunk? Because the the grain of the wood follows the shape of the spoon and is stronger than making a ladle from a straight log which will have lots of "short" or "cross grain" in it. These will break or get damaged more easily than spoons that follow the grain.

If you carve spoons and have not tried making a ladle like these, then find yourself some bent or forked wood and give it a go. Do gather a few bits, as failures can be common at first.