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Showing posts from November, 2017

Strawberries and spoons

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Decorated spoons from the Pays de Léon, in NW Brittany

There is a particular style of decorated spoons from a small area of NW Brittany centred around the small town of Plougastel-Daoulas. This lies within the old diocese of St Pol de Léon. St Pol de Léon is a fascinating small town with a big cathederal, near the ferry port of Roscoff, and which is the origin of the area name: le Pays de Léon. 

The spoons from around Plougastel-Daoulas are very distinctive. They differ in three main respects from the other styles of traditional Breton spoons. Firstly, they are invariably one-piece spoons, unlike the other main Breton traditions of spoon making, in which about half are folding spoons. Secondly, the spoons are usually a fairly basic but elegant shape. They tend to have a distinct crank and a pronounced keel, and they lack the elaborate cut-outs and piercings seen in other breton spoons.
Thirdly, these spoons tend to be very richly decorated with inlays of coloured wax - often on the s…

box wood and tiny clamps

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Many people will know my love-affair with box wood for spoon carving. Box is super hard and dense, it takes a wonderful finish and allows minute chip-carving, but it definitely has its drawbacks when making hinged spoons.

To go back a bit... the first hinged spoons I made were in woods such as holly, maple and magnolia. These are all hard dense woods but they all have an important difference to box wood - they have more 'give' than box. To put it technically, their Elastic modulus is much lower than that of box wood. Elastic modulus is described in Wikipedia as 'the ratio of the force exerted upon a substance or body to the resultant deformation' or the amount of force it takes to bend the wood a particular distance. Very stiff dense wood will have a higher elastic modulus than very flexible lighter wood.


If you take a look on the Wood database project site (http://www.wood-database.com/) you will find all sorts of technical information about lots of different woods…