Summer nights…never last long enough.
I’ve been exploring different sharpening methods – something I put off for a long time out of the fear that I’d ‘ef up my blades, but I finally found a process that I like, and for me, is effective. I’m using Shapton ceramic stones and love them.
It’s rare for me not to have bandaids on my fingers, and I had a bit of recent stretch where I was without them. But I knicked my thumb with the Silky saw. I tried something my wife suggested and mashed up yarrow leaves and put them on the cut. The bleeding stopped fairly quickly.
I roughed out four birch spreaders. I still don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but I think pursuing a craft is a journey that takes a lifetime, and then there’s still stuff you could have learned. But tonight, I’m remembering where I was two years ago, and it feels alright. If you’re new to carving, be patient, carve as often as you can, learn from the cut fingers, splitting end grain, and way too thin spoon bowls. Think of your fuck ups as your best instruction, and say to yourself, “Good, next time, I’ll know what to do, and it will be way better.” I carved these spreaders in about two hours, and two years ago, it would have taken me two weeks. Man, does carving and chasing after a craft feel good!
I’ve recently found bits and bobs of wood along the creek. I worked on a little spoon from a scrap of willow. I also roughed out an ash cooking spoon this afternoon. I know ash isn’t great for spoon carving, but I was curious.
Wisconsin author Ben Logan once wrote about his “thinking place.” Somewhere to gather his thoughts and contemplate them for a while. One of mine is this bench at Richardson Nature Center. It’s a place to watch deer at dusk as birds dance airborne in the fading light. It’s quiet apart from the occasional train horn off in the distance. It’s helped me in good times and bad. Never asking anything in return.