Thursday 19 May 2011

Carving bowls

If you dont have a lathe, or you dont want a bowl or vessel that's circular, the only way to make it is by carving. The first wooden bowls would have been carved with stone tools, or progressively burned out with hot coals. These days the way to go is with a short handled adze and large gouges. I have just bought a new adze made by a blacksmith in Sweden, where hand-craft, particularly wood craft, is still culturaly quite strong. The tradition of carving bowls and cups has continued to the present day and takes some interesting, often stylized and beautiful forms, influenced by the Saami reindeer culture and of course the wood loving vikings.
 This is my first effort with said adze, made with cherry. I will leave the tool marks, the strong grain pattern of cherry is enhanced in a rather nice way by the undulations left by the gouge. These sorts of oblong bowls were used for kneading dough amongst other things, so are often referred to as dough-bowls. They would often be quite large, up to 2 feet wide, so I am looking out for some nice large section polar or aspen which carves well and dries quickly, giving a light, stable vessel.

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