On my last spooncarving course one of the students was TV presenter and green woodworking enthusiast Adam Hart Davis. He has been greenwoodworking for many years and is particularly fond of spooncarving. I was inspired to hear that Adam carves spoons on the train. I travel to London fairly often and have been learning to knit but spooncarving on the train, there’s an idea. Adam catches most of the shavings in a sheet but also carries a small hand held vacuum cleaner for tidying up when he has finished. Last week Adam went from Totnes to London on Tuesday, to Birmingham on Wednesday, and back to Totnes on Thursday, and on each day he finished another spoon. Here he is on the train working on a curved sycamore spoon.
O was inspired enough and this week had to take my daughter to the doctors so rather than waste an hour reading old magazines I took my spoons. It was a lovely day so I sat on a bench outside carving away. I have a linen pinny that I sometimes use at home to catch the chips. I took rough carved spoons which just needed the fine work doing on them, I think axe work in public may not be the best idea.
Some readers will know my friend Barn the Spoon who also carves in public though he is doing it as a sales pitch, the busking spoonmaker. It’s interesting that despite the knife frenzy in the media I have not heard of any reaction to public carving other than surprise and genuine interest.
I often carve spoons at shows but it somehow felt very different doing it outside the doctors, the one is sort of a public performance, I am there as part of the attractions for people to watch something interesting and unusual. Carving outside the doctors I am just doing something normal, like knitting or reading a book and that is the way spooncarving should be. For anyone not sure about the legalities of carving in public in the UK basically you are allowed to have with you a non locking folding knife with blade length no more than 3 1/4″. For a larger folder, a locking folder of a fixed blade knife however big or small you have to have “good reason”. A chef on his way to work has good reason, a youth outside a night club does not. A spooncarver minding his own business outside the doctors or on the train I believe has good reason, in fact the knife is no different in the eyes of the law to a 10″ knitting needle.
Anyway let’s finish with one more photo of carving in public, this is from the back cover of the book that started my interest in spoons 20 years ago. This is Wille Sundqvist also carving on the train.