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.


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

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

  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.

    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.