Sunday 8 November 2009

Wooden cups

Wooden cups, made by hand tools only, these cups are also known by some as kuksas. Each kuksa is made from one piece of wood, and most of the samples here are apple, with two of them made from Sika spruce.

The cup at 3 o`clock was the first one I made (it is also shown in the last image at the bottom of the page). It has gone very much darker with use and was made just under a year ago. I frequently for water, juice, and alcohol. I dried it out a bit to quickly and some splits appeared in the main body of the cup and these open and close depending on how hot it is. These splits do not go all the way through. These cups are not made from burr as is traditional, but from larger branch-wood. Burr wood is far more durable and apparently more waterproof. I soak these in hot beeswax to waterproof. As these are waxed they can not be used for hot drinks or wax melts; to use them untreated they do slowly leak, which was not a problem in the past with outdoor living or with stone and mud floors.

The top left cup is made from burr sitka spruce, and came from a log that was 14 inch dia and only 9 inches thick. This log was in a pile in the woods for about a year.

My first wooden cup, as new. They acquire a patina and darken very quickly.

The bench I now make the cups on: note the French clog-makers tool, that I have found to be very useful for hollowing out. I use an adze and then long bent and spoon bent gouges to hollow out the bowl finishing up with a small hook knife. I will be making long handled hook knives as these are so much easier and quicker to use.


  1. Really neat stuff. I have never seen a "bench" anything like yours or work quite like it either.

    Thanks for posting. I really enjoyed this one.

    Luke Townsley

  2. Cheers for that Luke, I popped over to your site, you have some good links there.


  3. Hi Sean

    These are really well shot images of your kuksas, thanks. I've always wondered how you can easily access such a deep bowl like a cup and the photo of you using the clog-makers tool gives me a clue, but what's happening at the cutting end of the tool?

    Best wishes

    David Knight

  4. Tim Straight, Yerevan1 August 2010 at 12:15

    Sean! While traveling in connection with a handmade product development project I am working on, I met a woodworking woman in southern Armenia just two days back...she showed me a chalice she made in walnut...thought struck me when I saw your teach your talents abroad? I see so much potential...


Sorry, because of the huge amount of dubious people leaving spam comments for their useless stuff, I unfortunately have to bring back word verification.