Finishing my greenwood carvings, bowls or spoons

Finishing my greenwood carvings, bowls or spoons


Once I’ve completed the greenwood carving, either a bowl or spoon, I let it sit in a controlled environment for drying.  Around here that is a large lidded cardboard box in my basement.  The basement has a dehumidifier, so even in the summer the humidity level isn’t likely to fluctuate too much.  The same is true for the temperature, or at least it has the minimal temperature fluctuations available to me.  For spoons, I can tell if they are ready for final cuts by feel and sound.  To date, this has worked.  For large projects including larger cooking spoons, ladles, and bowls, I use a postage scale and check for weight after a reasonable amount of time.   For the larger projects I’ve found a week is the shortest amount of time before I weigh, and three weeks is usually the longest.  I’ll come back after 3 days and put it back on the scale.  If the weight is the same, I’ll start the finishing carving.  If the weight continues to lessen, back in the box.

My finish carving generally starts with removing the areas that my sweaty hands left sweaty marks.  After that I look for sharp edges or areas I just want to touch up.  I often find it difficult to recognize when to stop touching up.  I hope someday to recognize that my level of talent dictates the level of quality and finish I’m going to be able to achieve.  I’ve carved away a few projects while attempting to clean up the neck of a spoon.  After that I chamfer all the edges that require chamfering, and call the project ready for oil.

For the first coat of oil I use a 50 / 50 mixture of flax oil and a citrus solvent.  The citrus solvent I use is food safe, bio degradable, and significantly better smelling than mineral spirits.  Thinning the oil seems to allow it to penetrate deeper and the cut oil dries a bit quicker.   The second and third coats of oil I apply is 100% flax oil.  I try to let everything dry in a dust free, sunny spot.  I find that the sun has some positive effects on the wood and helps decrease the drying time.

There are a number of ways to finish a greenwood project, this one is mine.  I developed it from researching on the internet, and from my own limited experience.  Leave me a comment if you think there may be an improvement I should try.

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