This week is all about preparations for SPOONFEST. I have been out collecting timber, it is probably the worst time of the year to run a festival that needs lots of green timber, most folk stop cutting through the summer but I have one little woodland I go to where I can cut birch. The woodland was planted by my friend Bill 25 years ago to protect his home from snow drifting off the Sheffield moors. It is very beautiful, what was even more satisfying was arriving there and finding Bill had already done a batch of thinning so the birch was lying on the floor waiting to be cut to length and carried away. This is perfect spoon wood.
Next stop Sheffield, I have forged many of my own tools for years and often been asked if I will make tools for others. I can make excellent tools but fairly slowly and I prefer working wood to working metal. It has always been a frustration though that when I run spooncarving courses I have to recommend Swedish tools when I live 15 miles from Sheffield. So I am working with various Sheffield companies to produce what I hope will eventually be an excellent spoon carving knife. Here are some prototypes, this batch will be available for sale at spoonfest.
They are made from a superb quality steel, the best I can buy. After cutting to shape they are ground then formed to the curve, then heat treated by specialist heat treaters that give very precisely controlled results. To get the best from high alloy steels requires profesional heat treatment and Sheffield has the best. Then they are polished and I pick them back up again today ready to put the final edge on them all. They cut very nicely and I am expecting their edge holding to be better than anything else available. There are a couple of minor things I’ll change on the next batch so these will be sold as prototypes at spoonfest. Once I am happy they are perfect and I have test driven them for a while they will be available mail order.