I wanted to use a different title, however the now all too familiar terms like self Isolation, social distancing, personal distancing plus Corona equal COVID19. It spans the globe. “It” is all encompassing right now. And touches every part of life.
Thanks to social media, we don’t have to practice online social distancing to stay safe. “We” are happy you are staying home and I am glad you’re here and reading this. That is a good thing.
And because you are reading this, I presume that you’re into spoon carving and green wood work. The shock of suddenly having a bit of time on your hands as any spoon carver knows, means time to carve more spoons. Sure, do your regular chores and things that keep your daily life moving along but spoons don’t make themselves.
Where do you get your raw materials? Wood. Spoon wood. Green wood. I’ve always considered this an interesting question.
I’ve been carving spoons for (only) five years and honestly I do get a bit edgy when my stash starts to run low. So far I’ve never run out (knock on wood). You see, I used to work for a local landscaper and had my fingers (and saw) on the pulse of spoons wood. Those were good days in terms of a steady supply.
A fairly steady supply also taught me not to get too greedy. The garage where I have to store my wood supply and where I do all of my axe work turns into a brutal toaster oven/kiln in the mid to late summer months, drying out most of the uncarved wood. That is when my neighbor gets free firewood from me.
There are various means to get your hands on spoons wood. You can find it on walks in your area forests if the right kind of trees grow there. For example I can easily find beech and wild cherry in the local forests but fallen beech is by far the most accessible if I’m carrying my folding saw.
You can get wood from your local fruit farm when they prune or replace trees. I’ve had some good successes with local orchards.
Other great sources are your local arborists, those guys doing the daring rope and saw work high up in trees along city streets and parks, or in your neighbors tree. It’s worth it to talk to them and let them know that you’re on the lookout for good wood.
Another source are the landscape companies in your area. They often do tree work and sometimes remove trees from properties they are working on. Asking a crew about wood they’re loading onto their trucks is worth it as the wood is often just dumped at the local
compositing/recycling facility. Do be aware that often the customer wants the wood for themselves, as in firewood. This is another option.
So, if you know about someone in your neighborhood, on you street, in your cul de sac who’s had a tree taken down, ask if you can trade some wood for a spoon, or wood for money. The latter is something I’ve only had to do once, for a piece of rare pear wood. Good thing I didn’t pay more than a fiver because that particular piece proved difficult to work due to inclusions that weren’t visible.
My last tip is your local yard waste recycling depot. Some accept wood up to 25cm in diameter. That means there are lots of choice bits to select once you’ve talked to the right employees. There you’ll find everything for spoons in a rainbow of different woods, from willow, beech, nut and fruit woods, birch to box wood on occasion. Every visit offers different treasures.
Another resource are the markets where you might sell your handmade wares through conversations with enthusiastic customers. When they find out what kinds of wood you like to use, they often supply you with a contact name/number of someone they know or their own for future wood sources. That is always a welcome resource and brings us closer socially. That’s when I’ll trade spoons for wood to show appreciation. It feels nice to know your spoons are working in someone’s kitchen.
Or you could always order spoon blanks here. Well, as soon as it’s cool to visit the post office without suspecting everyone there as virus super spreaders.
Now is the time to protect others and show more consideration, care and compassion as our normal assumes surreal proportions.
Carve another spoon. Be well.