Bushcraft weekend – spoons, baskets, fire! Sept 22/23

Sept 22/23: Learn basic bushcraft

Carve a spoon from greenwood, weave a cattail basket, make fire. Includes a wood-fired pizza potluck, and whatever other projects we can fit in around the evening fire.

Myron Cretney is a regular teacher and inspiration at primitive skills gatherings throughout the west. In addition to cattail and all the other things he knows how to do, Myron is really good at teaching friction fire with a hand-drill — he’ll help us light fires, and maybe make traps to catch some of the gophers eating our garden.

Kiko Denzer has spent decades teaching various crafts to kids and adults.…

2017 – Crooked knives for Greenwood; in April!

Crooked knives for Greenwood is an

introduction to bladesmithing and green woodcraft. I’ll be teaching it at Aprovecho Institute, in Cottage Grove, OR, April 4-8, 2018. Join us to learn how to make your own basic toolkit for all kinds of decorative and practical woodwork. We’ll start by forging the essential tool for carving spoons and bowls, a crooked or bent knife. In addition to new tools, you’ll go home with the knowledge to set up your own inexpensive, simple forge. We’ll learn about hardening/tempering, sharpening, knife use/grips/techniques, other bladed tools, principles of carving, sculpture, and design, discussion (and demonstration) of traditional and appropriate technologies, including the foot-powered lathe (which requires tools you forge yourself).…

Spoon Carving w/Lynn Rosetto Kasper on The Splendid Table

This spring, after my first spoon carving class of the season, I got a call from Lynne Rosetto Kasper, of the Splendid Table. She did a show about earthen ovens years ago, but wanted to talk spoons — Wow! What could be more fun?! I sent her some spoons and a pages of enthusiastic spoon notes…

But we needed a fancy sound room to do the interview; it took a few weeks of wrangling to schedule a time w/the folks at Oregon State U. in Corvallis. Ironically, the location was a brand new building called the Learning Integration Center. Tho it’s beyond me how they hope to “integrate” learning in what must be about the coldest, most sterile, flattest, deadest place you could possibly design.…

2016 – Spoon-Carving Classes or Why it’s good to carve your own spoon

This summer, I’ll be teaching three spoon carving classes, all on Saturdays: May 21 June 18 and August 20 Classes are hosted by friends Richard and Charlene at Nanacardoon, their wonderful 1.5 acre suburban food-forest/garden/learning ground. It was very popular (and fun) — we spend a day learning about wood and basic axe and knife techniques so that everyone can go home w/a spoon. Click to see more about the class and to register (great grub included!)

I’ll also be teaching green woodworking at a couple of primitive skills gatherings: Buckeye, in CA, May 1 – 7 (already full) And Echoes in Time, near Salem OR, July 17-23.…

2015 – Green-wood carving classes: make a spoon from a branch

Green-wood carving classes, spring, 2015. Carving green wood is much easier than carving dry wood, and in the days when most people didn’t have woodshops with power tools, vises, clamps, and hold-downs of all varieties, carving green wood was something you did in your lap while you were sitting around of an evening. So that’s pretty much what a spoon-carving class is all about. I’ve been teaching it mostly at primitive skills gatherings (this year I’ll be at Buckeye, and maybe Echoes in Time), but this year friends Charlene and Richard Murdock white invited me to teach at their wonderful home/garden, which they’re turning into an educational center called “Nana Cardoon.” For a class description and schedule (April and May), go here.…

A Beautiful Spoon

Friends Charlene and Richard in Forest Grove let me sleep in their Garden while I was attending Aikido Summer Camp. They have converted their one-acre suburban lot into a beautiful permaculture garden and food forest that not only feeds them (and a local Latino family that uses part of it for their own market garden), but has also given them the means to develop an interesting educational program. They had talked to me about teaching spoon carving up there, so one evening they showed me their collection of spoons and kitchen utensils. One jar of spoons they had gotten from a friend who had traveled the world collecting beautiful things.…

Some wooden bowls & spoons

So about a year and a half ago, I built a foot-powered lathe for turning bowls. It’s a very rough structure that works really really well. Power comes from your leg, pushing on a stick, which is tied to a string, which wraps around a mandrel, which spins a chunk of wood. Sticks, string, and two fixed points create the axis of rotation. Apply curved blades (on stix) to roughly round chunk, dig out a void until it’s smooth and beautifully hollow, remove a bowl. I still love carving wooden spoons, but there is something about the lathe. The design goes back thousands of years, originating with the spindle that gives us fire, and the spindle that gives us thread for weaving.…

Spoons

carved from green wood: roughed out with a hatchet and/or a northwestern style adze, then shaped and finished with crooked knives and a straight blades (click on the thumbnail for an uncropped view of the entire photo). Some of the detail work is done w/little burins. The bowls I carved with a crooked knife, straight blade, and a neat jig designed by Bill Coperthwaite (author of A Hand Made Life). Bill’s spoon is the little yellow (birch) ladle with the scooped indents where the handle meets the bowl — his addition to the tradition of spoon design. After I started carving spoons, a friend gave me a book about the Shakers.…