Last-minute gift idea

My sister Abby is getting married next Saturday! I've been meaning to make Josh and Abby a gift to go along with the gift we bought for them and finally got started on one the other day. Here's what I did in case you want to make spoon from a branch. (For real directions, check out Drew Langsner's series of articles here.) 

Cut down a tree. This is an elm. This 3" diameter tree has several possible (small) spoons in it, as it was very gnarled and had branches that angled out in a good way for spoons. Cut down the whole little tree. Upon further reading, it sounds like elm might not be the easiest wood to work with, but I didn't know that at the time.

Cut branch to length.

Peel off the bark.

Use a really-dull hatchet to split the piece in two. Wonder if it's too late at night to be making such a racket outside, though I think the neighbors are used to our family making a racket by now.

Use the same hatchet to rough out the spoon shape. Promise to clean wood shavings from studio floor. 

Call it a night. Wish for a new axe.

Rough out back of spoon bowl in the morning. Carve out spoon.

Put bandaids on blisters. Keep carving while Laura hand-stitches the binding on the quilt she's making for Abby. Wonder if a kinda wonky spoon is a crappy gift compared to a huge lovely quilt.  

What are the kids doing while we sit on the porch? 

The kiddos love cob too. They are making earth ovens for gnomes. 

Strop knife and re-read carving directions. 

Realize that small hook knife is too small to make fast work of large spoon bowl. Call nice husband and ask him to pick up a gouge from the Woodcraft store on his way home from work. Marvel at how nicely the gouge works to remove large chunks of wood from the bowl of the spoon. Almost burn dinner because you are so entranced with the new gouge. 

Leave the spoon a bit rough so finish carving can be done once spoon is dry.

 Set the spoon in the humid, dark pantry to dry. 

That's where I'm at right now, I am hoping it dries in time to do the finish carving, sanding and oiling next week. This is my first time making a spoon this large and starting with a tree rather than a dry wood blank and it's thoroughly engaging and fun, nerve racking and frustrating at times but overall really satisfying, which might be an apt description of marriage too.