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Thread: Fascinating Wood experience

  1. #1
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    Fascinating Wood experience

    Contrary to what this might seem this is not a post about spoon carving.

    So i was sitting outside with Linda and i spotted a log left over from a fire my son had with his mates on Friday night this past weekend. The thought occurred to me that this birch log might be just the wood i have been itching to get my hands on to make a spoon from.

    So off to the garage I go and get my camping axe out (this is a real suspect axe btw) and i head to the basement and get the grinder going and put a fresh edge on it.

    Outside again to have a go at getting myself a blank for carving out a spoon

    Well I wish i had taken pics of the log but sorry did not. It showed zero signs of any knots which is why i selected it thinking this was a clean piece of birch.

    There was a bump on the outside of the bark but very slight and i only noticed it when i had already blanked it once.

    Here is the pic of what came out of the small log from the top as the blanks occurred.
    First pic is to show bark side
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    This is the two blanks layed in each other as i had chopped them from the log the lower piece in the pic is the outer piece of the log and as you can see from the pic above there is no sign of knot.

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    Here is a top view of the two as they were nested unfortunately as said i should have snagged the pic before chopping out a spoon which is what is beginning to take shape in the front heartwood facing blank.
    Here you can see the recess in the outer blank there is a spoon in there waiting to be carved
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    Here is the rear of the second blank from which i am busy carving a spoon, honestly i wish i had not touched this blank now just for the record of this knot.

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    This is the face of the spoon or the inner blank and the big thing i am on about is this is a knot that if i had not taken the axe to it to see if it would simply pop and let go would have shown the bud (dead and dried) that was pointing towards the heartwood.
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    Here are a couple of closeups of the spoon (knot center)
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    With all that said and shown have any of you sawyers or wood experts ever come across a knot that seems to have been kinda like a deformity or i guess an ingrown toenail where it is heading for the center of the tree rather than pushing out to the side to make an exit on the bark side and become a branch.

    I am wondering if anyone has sufficient knowledge of trees to know if this might have been the beginning of a burl ?

    I am not sure i now want to finish the spoon just wish i had not touched the center/knot as i kinda think its a rare occurrence but heck i dont know perhaps an arborist can say if knots start out on the opposite side of a living tree and manage to push their way across the center pith and out through the opposite side. I would have thought not but heck who am i to say.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails uploadfromtaptalk1432642052855.jpg  
    Last edited by Rob Keeble; 05-26-2015 at 12:26 PM.
    cheers

  2. #2
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    Mack C. in Brooklin ON
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  3. #3
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    Try again Mack i was busy editing the post.
    cheers

  4. #4
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    Looks to me like a limb that was cut or broken off years ago and it grew around the area. As a ladle, dig it out to size and cover with clear epoxy and would be an interesting one to use and a conversation starter for sure. Do you prefer green wood or dried wood for spoon carving. Have a couple small cherry trees I would like to try to make some spoons out of during the Family Gathering, wondering if I should cut them now or the day we want to carve them?
    Last edited by Jonathan Shively; 05-26-2015 at 02:50 PM.
    Jon

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Shively View Post
    Looks to me like a limb that was cut or broken off years ago and it grew around the area.
    Yep I think so as well - the dead/dried part is on the outside so it makes some sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Shively View Post
    Do you prefer green wood or dried wood for spoon carving. Have a couple small cherry trees I would like to try to make some spoons out of during the Family Gathering, wondering if I should cut them now or the day we want to carve them?
    Green is easier/quicker to cut to the initial shape but you usually have to do another pass to clean it it up a little once its dried. Basically the same idea as green turning bowls where you rough turn them, let them dry and then finish turn them - except substitute "carve" for "turn" and "spoon" for "bowl" If you're careful with the knife cuts you can get a carve to finish piece in one pass, but I wouldn't expect someone to do it on their first attempt. Dry is smidge more work to carve but can be cut to finish in one sitting.

    Having said that; if it was me, I'd cut them at my leisure ahead of time and lay them out in a shady spot in the shop (or maybe wrap the chunks in a garbage bag - but you'll need to open that several times in the first weeks to let some of the moisture flash off so it don't mold). Left in "largish chunk" form they won't completely dry out between now and the meetup and it'll be one less thing that you have to worry about on the day of. Cut them into ~18"-24" chunks so you can remove some of the ends if there's checking, leave any that have interesting crooks with ~6" on one side of the crook and ~12+" on the other side for anyone who wants to try a ladle. If you wanted to split some of the straighter pieces in half that would help keep the end checking to a dull roar as well (although cherry has been pretty good in that regard in my limited experience - might be worse if its twisted or has a lot of wind on the tree).

  6. #6
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    Ryan, the trees are in the fence row and are only about 8" around. Wild cherry leaves are deadly to livestock. Have let them grow only for spoons. So will try to get them cut soon.
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

    Host of the 2015 FAMILY WOODWORKING GATHERING

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Shively View Post
    Ryan, the trees are in the fence row and are only about 8" around. Wild cherry leaves are deadly to livestock. Have let them grow only for spoons. So will try to get them cut soon.
    I was thinking they were maybe even smaller (even a 3-4" piece will make a couple of nice spoons and have used stuff as small as 2" when it looked interesting). That's plenty big enough to get ~4 or more spoons per billet so I reckon you likely have a whole lot of spoons there . Sounds like fun, love the look and feel of cherry!

    Yeah, I don't know how many folks know that but the leaves are definitely bad juju for animals, this is true of most prunus and some other plants in the rosaceae family not just cherry.. The leaves are especially bad once the trees been cut or broken and they wilt a bit because that starts the cyanide production up. Last I read it was something less than 2lbs could kill a full sized cow

    edit: also at that size they won't be dried out hardly at all by the time of the gathering so there's no reason to worry.

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