Sunday, 22 January 2012

Kuksa Cup in Beech Wood - "The Snifter".

Out and about on my travels I came across at the side of a track a piece of beech wood roughly about the same size as my forearm. It looked like it had been there for years and was pretty weathered. I picked it up and had a look at and thought I might be able to use this, it had a hole running through it and bits of wood from the inside kept falling out. I thought that this might be a lost cause, perhaps it was all rotten inside.

A horrible piece of tatty old Beech
 I had this feeling that there was a Kuksa in there somewhere as long as the rot had not got a hold on the wood. Time to find out what was inside I started to cut into the beech.

Same piece from a different angle.
Several cuts into the Beech
Eventually I got to a point where I dare not take any more wood away if I was to stand a chance of getting a small Kuksa from the remaining wood. I decided that I would use the cavity area to start the work. I saw a couple of issues with the wood. Firstly there was a large gap at the bottom of the area of the proposed handle and rear of the bowl. Secondly, on the under side I could only carve to the depth of the thinnest part of the wood. The wood was so gnarl and thick but in places quite thin. However, I marked what I thought would be the shape of the Kuksa bowl and marked a proposed handle in.

Bowl & handle marked out. Problem at the bottom right of picture.
So on with the carving. I decided to start work on the area that I thought might be a serious problem the bottom right hand side. I did not want to do loads of hard carving for the project to fail once I got to the hole at the bottom of the wood. Santa Claus brought me some new shiny gouges now was the time to try them out. I have to say working with large gouges was a real experience but it allowed me to take great chunks of wood away, what might have taken a 2 -3 hours now only took 20 - 30 mins.

Gouging out the bowl.
The size of the Kuksa is going to be smaller than I thought due to the excessive amount of rotten wood I had to remove. As I was working on the bowl I thought it would be just the right size for a Whisky, I like a drop of single malt. So, as with most things I carve I give them name's this will be called "The Snifter".


Once I had taken out as much wood as I thought I could the next phase was to do the remainder with a spoon knife. I have two spoon knifes a Mora Frost and Svante Darjv so I battled on with the knifes resharpening as I went. I have to say this wood was hard to get through then again Beech is. Finally, I had finished the inside, time to work on the outer side. I then belt sanded the bulk of the wood away to leave me with a working profile. Eventually, I was down to sanding the inner and outer with Abranet sanding sheets. I found that the dark areas were starting to dry out and the area around handle and bowl I thought that I had sorted out was starting to split. I was almost finished and then I had to start doing a repair. I mixed up some araldite and filled the hole / split taped it up to hold it together.

Araldite with supporting tape.
The tape did the trick and held together the split whilst the araldite set. Its now just a case of going back to the man cave (shed) and continuing with the smoothing down. After an overnight wait I finally finished the repair work and its a really good take almost invisible amongst all the beech knots.

Finished sanding 150mm x 80mm approx size

Its now time to complete the work with a final coating of Walnut Oil.

The beautiful shapes and colours start to appear

You can just see the small repair I had to make to the bowl middle and left of the picture
So, The Snifter is finally finished. I have to say that I really enjoyed this project, perhaps because the starting wood was in such a very poor state yet the Kuksa has come out really well. Hope you have enjoyed the write up.

On a slightly different subject the Yew wood that was soaking in the Pentacryl being stabilised is drying well one more week or so and we should be starting Part 2 of the Yew handle project.

4 comments:

  1. That is spectacular - congratulations. A perfect complement to the mysteries of the single malt.

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  2. Thank you for your kind words. The single malt mystery is easily overcome and forgotten after consumption unless drank to excess.

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  3. wow waldgeistman, that's amazing. I've got a piece of willow that looks similar, you've given me the encouragement to go on with th' project, thanks.
    ~rico

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    1. Rico, thank you for your kind comments. I took the chance and it worked out. I have to say at times it was hit and miss. I do hope that your project goes well, I would be interested to see some pictures of your finished cup.
      Paul

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