Friday, 22 January 2016

Kuksas and shrink pots – Branched handles and practical use

Most of my spare time when not carving items for the shop or nipping out to the woods, has lately been spent on refining kuksa shapes, working out the problems with using straight grained wood, and trying out a few new things I’ve not seen done before.

I’m seriously thinking of writing an e-book on the subject as lots of people ask me the same questions all the time regarding splitting on drying or when adding hot fluids.
Another problem with kuksas is that as much as I love them, even large ones tend to be on the small side when it comes to a big cup of tea or a pint of ale. Fine if you have a tea pot, but still a faff adding milk and sugar again like being in a tea party.

So I started to think about shrink pots and making them water tight, then adding a handle for better function and to add some interest. But how to do this? Well, luckily I got the chance to slip on the rope and harness and do some tree climbing and dismantling operations just before Christmas with some Birch - Betula pendula Trees near a chap’s house.

They were full of interesting sections for making things from so I started to cut them out with the saw and put them to one side for projects.

 
I started with a large 2 pint shrink pot, complete with a side handle for starters and it was a success. I thought the knots and branch unions would be too difficult to work through but it wasn’t too bad, perhaps because it was so green. It was on the large side though so next up, came a one pint shrink pot this time with the outer bark on and a side branch again. This worked a treat too and is now my standard drinking vessel for ales. Its holding up really well after plenty of use.

 






















But I couldn’t leave the kuksas behind now could I, so I tried the side branch idea again, mainly so that I could achieve an upswept handle without requiring a large diameter log that then needed a lot wasting away. I made two in quick succession. Both successfully hold hot drinks, so one flew the nest and now lives in Spain, and the other, well I’m keeping it as its one of the nicest things I think I’ve made during all the crafting I’ve done over the years.

 

 I hope this gives you some inspiration to think a little out of the box, and not to always do things by the book. The knots all held and as long as you are used to gouge work, not too much bother to work with, and so far all is well with the items apart from a recent fixable split in the 2 pinter due to a hot room and too tight a base. I’m still learning all the time though and it keeps you humble and searching for answers, which is the way it should be.

If you fancy learning about bowls and kuksa carving, there are courses in the events section of the Website
Be good to see you there. Tea and coffee provided, just make your cup ;)