Author Topic: Kuksa Kwestions  (Read 1888 times)

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Offline Plumber

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Kuksa Kwestions
« on: May 26, 2020, 08:49:12 PM »
I'm thinking of carving a Kuksa, and would like to know what kind of wood to use, that won't crack. I have watched a few youtube videos, and most of them use green wood, because it's easier to carve, but more prone to crack. I'm not much of a carver, but I tried making a spoon today, and it's functional, but ugly. I need a lot more practice. And I need advice from the experts.

Sharper is better
Terry

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Kuksa Kwestions
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2020, 09:20:11 AM »
Birch is what they traditionally use for making a Kuksa.

Other woods that I have seen is cherry burls and tight grained oak.  These are usually carved green from what I read and then cured over time.

Dabberty, who is a member of this forum, posted a good video of making one a short time ago.

http://bladesandbushlore.com/index.php?topic=15264.msg270377#msg270377
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Kuksa Kwestions
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2020, 10:10:15 AM »

I've never carved one,  but I have read that green wood is the way to go for easier carving and less chance of a knife mistake or slipping and cutting yourself,  as far as cracking (checking),  it's what most green woods do as they age and dry out, one way most carvers do it is to pack their carving project in a box or paper bag full of saw dust and or wood shavings when they aren't carving on them,  it's said that it prevents the carving from drying out too fast and checking.
If you can get through to the finish without your piece checking and get it sealed with mineral oil or other food safe wood oil or preservative you're pretty much assured that it'll be pretty stable (unless it gets wet before it's sealed and cured).

Birch, Cherry, and Maple seem to be the most popular Kuksa wood,  good luck with your project. 
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.

Offline Dabberty

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Re: Kuksa Kwestions
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2020, 02:46:57 AM »
It's similar like the eternal question of who was first, the egg or the chicken :-)

Dry wood results in almost.. no risk in cracking, but harder to carve.
Fresh wood results in easier carving but also pretty good risk of cracks.

If you use dried wood, choose something relatively soft, like birch indeed. Cherry or apple wood give also nice lines in the wood sometimes.
But a dried burl is rock hard, not possible to do it without powertools.

A way to prevent fresh wood cracking is to store the project over night (if you didn't finish it in a day) in a paper bag with all the wood shavings added, and slightly opened, so no fungus will appear.
When you're finished do this for about 2 weeks, and then a good chance on it being ok :-)

Also boiling in salt water should also reduce the cracking a lot when finished carving...  but again, dry it for a week or 2 after that, with the wood shavings from the project.
With this i have personal expierence. I did it with the kuksa below from a fresh burl. I also added 2 tea bags of black tea to darkening the wood a bit.

Another way of preventing cracking is to boil it in milk when done. apparently the milk contains something that does something with the wood blabla.
I have not tried this myself, but a good friend of mine who is very much into the old school ways of woodworking and preserving, uses that technique, and it seems to work.

I would suggest to start with a simple piece of wood, nothing fancy, since it takes some practice to make it good, using different kind of carving styles etc.
And as last, what you wrote yourself is 100% correct. It needs to be functional. Looks can come after that, but functional is more important.
You see sometimes these great artworks of spoons and kuksa's, but I'm not into that. Not enough skills nor patience for it :-)

Some of my humble creations so far are below pictured.
Missing is 2 spoons that broke in the mean time, 1 beautiful spoon i finished recently but my kid played with it and now it is lost, and a burl kuksa (my first one) which cracked.
My favorite spoons are the 2 with the spatula endings, which are perfect to clean a pot or pan after cooking.

My outdoor & DIY blog:  www.dabberty.com

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Kuksa Kwestions
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2020, 01:49:17 PM »
Nice stuff Dabberty.  Kuksa on the right is neat and the spatula spoons too.

 
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Offline Plumber

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Re: Kuksa Kwestions
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2020, 04:24:51 PM »
I have been watching people carve kuksas for a few years now, but didn't decide to try my hand at it until I watched this. 
http://bladesandbushlore.com/index.php?topic=15264.0 

Now I have to decide if I want to sacrifice a whole tree, just for a little piece, to carve a Kuksa.
Sharper is better
Terry

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Kuksa Kwestions
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2020, 04:28:40 PM »
That is Dabberty's thread noted above.
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
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Offline Plumber

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Re: Kuksa Kwestions
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2020, 05:06:07 PM »
Dabberty, I like the Kuksas, and the spoons with a spatula on the ends.
Sharper is better
Terry

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Kuksa Kwestions
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2020, 06:37:37 AM »
I have been watching people carve kuksas for a few years now, but didn't decide to try my hand at it until I watched this. 
http://bladesandbushlore.com/index.php?topic=15264.0 

Now I have to decide if I want to sacrifice a whole tree, just for a little piece, to carve a Kuksa.

 If you have a tree service, forester, or saw mill in your local area you may want to reach out to them, explain what you want to do, what kind of wood you want, and that you don't want to cut a live tree needlessly just for one small piece,  they may be able to furnish you with a piece for little or no charge, or point you in the direction of someone who can. 
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.

Offline Dabberty

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Re: Kuksa Kwestions
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2020, 07:41:53 AM »
In a live tree you won't find the spalting (those lines).
That only happens in dead birch.
It's a fungus that starts spreading through the wood once the birch is dead.
If you wait too long, the wood becomes to brittle.
So search for dead branches from a recent storm for example, or go to the tips mentioned above
My outdoor & DIY blog:  www.dabberty.com

Offline Plumber

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Re: Kuksa Kwestions
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2020, 08:01:05 PM »
I have a friend who turns bowls, and uses spalted maple. I'm not a big fan of spalted wood.
Sharper is better
Terry