The spoon workshop was a fabulous day!
Just as Alex promised, Barn's a great teacher and we all learned loads. Much of what we learned was about axe and knife skills; you'd be surprised just how much of the carving of your spoon you can get done with an axe:
The rest of the work is done with a few simple tools, a Mora 106
sloyd knife and a Mora 164
spoon knife. You'd be amazed at just how easy Barn makes it look - with a few deft slices and scoops, he manages to make a spoon that's more delicate, smoother and sleeker than anything you can imagine carving with just these basic blades.
None of us managed to completely finish our spoons. That's not a criticism though, we were all being very careful and there was a lot of learning and practising on various splinters of wood to learn the knife grips that we would need later. I was surprised at just how many really useful new techniques I came away with. You get very set in your ways when it comes to something as basic as using a knife and it was great to be taught a completely new approach to the way a blade is held and controlled.
We also learned about sharpening and stropping our new tools (most of us bought the Mora blades we used). Barn's a big believer in low-tech sharpening with lumps of MDF, pieces of wet and dry paper and tubes of (would you believe it?) Autosol. Having spent the best part of a year trying to get to grips with my two Japanese waterstones, I was absolutely blown away by the scary sharp edges you can make with his technique.
Here are your intrepid YACF spooners with their (mostly finished) creations:
L to R - Wascally Weasel, Phil and Phil's Dad, John - sometime of this parish as Melbourne12.
And here's me:
Barn's been setting up an event called Spoonfest
in August, up in the Peak District. I'm almost certainly going to attend. It's three days of camping and sitting round fires, carving spoons. There are going to be some of the world's finest spoon carvers there, doing workshops and showing off their skills. Sounds like an awesome way to spend a summer weekend.
So yeah - if you get the chance to go on one of these workshops, I totally recommend it. You'll learn loads and acquire a skill which, at the very least will mean you'll never be short of a beautiful and meaningful gift for a a friend again.
So here's the portrait I made of the mighty and very excellent Barn:Barn The Spoon
, on Flickr
(more words over on Flickr, as well as the techy stuff about how the photo was set up)
A few other photos are available here