According to Wikipedia a Quaich, quaigh, or quoich, is a special kind of shallow two-handled drinking cup or bowl in Scotland. It derives from the Scottish gaelic cuach meaning a cup.

If you continue to follow this blog, you will learn over time that I will take liberties based on the wood I have, the skills I want to develop, and any random thought that might move through my mind at the time.  I think some call this creative license.  I’m comfortable with that.  Additionally my ancestors are from Ireland, a land known for its generosity.  The Scottish on the other hand, may be known for other things.  See how I avoided an international incident. This helps me move from a shallow cup, to a larger bowl.  The Scottish are also known for their excellent spirits, while I believe the Irish are famous for their beer and stout.  This is the limit of my intensive supporting research that allowed me to casually move from a shallow two-handled drinking cup to a two handled beer bowl and still call it a Quaich.  Gaelic is Gaelic after all and at one time spoken in both Countries.

I started off with the smaller half of a cherry log I had used for another bowl.  There is a satisfaction I feel when I can make multiple objects out of a single log.  I laid out an ellipse and added some handles.  The size of the ellipse was dictated by the need for tall walls, room enough for someone to drink out of, and the goal of the Quaich holding at least a pint.  The handles dimensions were based off a comfortable knife handle.

Layout is basic, and ellipse and some comfortable handles.

I used a small adze to remove as much of the waste from the bowl as possible.  An adze is great for this purpose, but on smaller bowls the handle will get in the way and you may need to move to a gouge.  I have a heavy duty gouge I use when the adze won’t work and for cleaning up after adze work.  It is great fun hitting a gouge with a wooden mallet and watching the chips fly.

Some quick adze work to remove the bulk. Follow up with a hearty gouge to get down to depth.

Once the bowl is hollowed to depth, I guess at the center point and draw a base on the bottom of the bowl.  Generally I like to make a base that is roughly one third the size of the rim of the bowl.  This is not a hard and fast rule, just a starting point that may be tweaked as the carving continues.  Then I hit the log with an axe repeatedly.  This is just as much fun as using the adze and heavy gouge.  As more wood is removed I switch back to the adze and work cross grain under the handles.  This makes removing end grain from the bottom of the bowl much easier and allows you to get closer to the desired thickness.  For me, desired thickness at this stage is a half inch or less for the walls of the bowl, a full inch for the handles.

Hit it with an axe in the right places and it begins to take shape. I went back to the adze to get under the handles.

This is an ongoing struggle for me.  It gets a bit better on each bowl, but every once in a while I find myself being too timid with the axe or adze.  The downside is it takes longer to finish the work, and thicker bowls are more likely to crack while drying.

I was able to use the bowl horse to clean up the exterior of the Quaich including the walls and handles.  It was fun learning how to work with the drawknife.  Unfortunately one of those lessons included a visit to the local urgent care and resulted in really cool scar on my right pinky.  If you don’t respect sharp steel, it will cut.  Bonus Forged in Fire reference. 

I would suggest keeping the draw knife away from your finger. Most significant cut to date. It just takes one lapse of concentration. Good scar.

After the bleeding stopped I was able to get back to work.  I was able to use the draw knife to rough in some facets on the handles.  I think facets are fascinating and I’m attempting to incorporate more facets in my work.   I like the way light hits the facet and makes it just a bit more interesting.

Used the bowl horse to hold the quaich in place and the draw knife to start removing waste from the handles.

I finished up the roughing out with a twca cam in the bowl and tested a few times with a pint of water to ensure it would hold more than a pint.  I was expecting the bowl to shrink while drying.

Using the twca cam to clean up the bowl and ensure it would hold a pint.

After a few weeks in a box with a lid in my dry basement, I used my swanneck gouge, spoon knife, and sloyd knife to remove a small layer of wood that looks a bit grungy after the moisture has escaped.  I also removed a few inadvertent gouge or knife marks along the way.  I used my spokeshave on the rim and handles to finish off the facets I had roughed in with the drawknife.  I then used by sloyd knife to add some small facets around the rim to make it comfortable in the mouth, and made sure there were no sharp edges on the handle.

Every time I oil anything made from cherry, the results make me smile.

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I would like to thank all those that follow this blog and welcome new followers.  It’s very encouraging to seeing the list of followers growing.  I hope you find it useful and encouraging.  I really have no idea what I’m doing.  I just know that I enjoy learning more, and have an ego large enough to share my mistakes and a few successes along the way.

If you enjoyed this little view into my greenwood journey, feel free to like, comment, and or follow.  I would enjoy getting some feedback.

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