Carving a Welsh Love Spoon #5: The Twisted Stems and Padlock

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Blog entry by Brit posted 09-25-2015 01:05 AM 4804 reads 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Carving the Chain Section Part 5 of Carving a Welsh Love Spoon series no next part

I decided to tackle the twisted stem section in parallel with the padlock and I kind of jumped between the two as I progressed.

First off, I drilled a hole all the way through the padlock.

Then I pared down the thickness of the padlock to make it less of a cube and more of a rectangle when viewed from the side elevation. I probably removed about 3/16” from the front and back faces.

After defining the keyhole slot on the front and back faces of the padlock, I started to excavate the slot and also the three middle holes in the twisted stem.

I used various straight and bent gouges to work on the stem. Here you can see me using a ¼” No.3 fishtail gouge.

Along with my Peter Benson chisels I also used a set of diamond needle files in places.

A 1/16th No 18 Curved Gouge (No.9 Sweep) was a good fit for the keyhole slot.

Once I was all the way through the stem and the keyhole, I turned my attention to the outside of the stems. First I made four saw cuts into the two sides as shown.

Then I sliced away the waste either side leaving me with the rough shape of the stems. The two red dots that you see in the following photo are the only points where wood won’t be removed from the top surface.

I must be honest here and say that I sat there for ages staring at this before I plucked up the courage to start turning it into a spiral. In the last episode, Todd jokingly commented “Now – don’t mess it up.” and that phrase kept replaying in my head. BUT after two cups of coffee, an episode of NCIS and half a packet of Oreo cookies, I was ready for the challenge. I sketched the shape of the helix on the side elevations and started to remove the wood that had no place being there.

Check from all sides…

Once I felt I had gone deep enough everywhere, I started to knock off the corners around the spiral. I thought it would be easy to lose the shape at this point, so I drew some center lines around the stems to keep me on track.

I found out that remembering to pay attention to grain direction on a complex shape like this is a lesson quickly learned. Since it was difficult to see which direction I should be carving, I had to just feel my way as I went along and keep turning the work end to end with each twist of the stems. The last thing I needed now was to hear that terrifying splitting sound that every carver instantly recognizes when they’ve carved against the grain.

Finally I was happy with the shape of the twisted stems.

Just a bit of clean up needed to blend the transition between the spoon bowl and the stems.

Now back to the padlock. The more astute among you will remember that I drew three rivets on the front face of the padlock. Don’t ask me why I drew 3 and not 4 because I don’t have a clue. It just seemed like a good idea at the time I guess. Anyhow it’s irrelevant because I decided the rivets didn’t really add anything to the overall design, so I didn’t bother with them. All I needed to do to the padlock was create the illusion that there was a top and bottom cover plate by recessing all the faces. This was relatively easy to do with my knife. I just had to be careful to arrest my knife before it sliced off something it shouldn’t.

The spoon still needs to be finish sanded all over and I might add a bit more detail in one or two places before applying a finish and posting it as a project, but the carving is done now. Since this blog was all about how I went about the carving, I’m calling it a ‘wrap’ with this episode.

I’ve really enjoyed this one. There have been lots of firsts for me and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey too. Thanks for tagging along.

EDIT: Here’s a link to the finished project:

Click for details

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

19 comments so far

View Slyy's profile


2840 posts in 2428 days

#1 posted 09-25-2015 01:18 AM

This post got me checking in on this series Brit. Let me just say: superb work good sir. What little work shaping I’ve done (just a couple plane totes and saw handles) I really appreciate how difficult getting that 3D shape must be.

-- Jake -- "Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us." - Neil Degrasse Tyson

View ToddJB's profile


8671 posts in 2903 days

#2 posted 09-25-2015 05:54 AM

But how’s it do at serving mushy peas?

I’m glad I got in your head, cause the wait paid off. Excellent work , Andy – truely top notch.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Don W's profile

Don W

19618 posts in 3340 days

#3 posted 09-25-2015 10:33 AM

Superb workmanship and patience beyond my comprehension. I would have had a redesign in blog 2.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Brit's profile


8078 posts in 3616 days

#4 posted 09-25-2015 01:16 PM

Slyy – Thanks. It was good to push myself to do this. There were many challenges but as with anything that seems insurmountable, if you break each task into manageable sub-tasks, it suddenly becomes doable.

Todd – Thanks for focusing my mind. I hate mushy peas though, so I won’t be putting it to the test.

Don – That’s funny. I felt like that myself when I started it, but since I’d already started the blog series I had to persevere with it and I’m glad I did now.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View terryR's profile


7612 posts in 3081 days

#5 posted 09-25-2015 01:47 PM

Very impressive, Andy! I was worried over the twisted stem portion…it looks the most difficult to me.

Hard to believe this is your first attempt at such a project, still. Not only did you pull it off with flying colours, but you also taught us how to acheive the same results! :)

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View theoldfart's profile


11630 posts in 3224 days

#6 posted 09-25-2015 02:52 PM

Andy, two cups of coffee and Oreos would have turned me into a human scroll saw! It is an outstanding bit of work too say the least. Thanks for the blow-by-blow posting.

And Terry, “colours” ? Sucking up to the Englishman are we? :-)

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Brit's profile


8078 posts in 3616 days

#7 posted 09-25-2015 02:58 PM

Thanks gents. I missed that Kevin. I sometimes make the effort to type in American, so I appreciate the gesture Terry made. :o)

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View summerfi's profile


4379 posts in 2460 days

#8 posted 09-25-2015 03:09 PM

Andy, this project displays your great patience, yes. But I would also like to point out your great bravery. To start blogging about this while the outcome was still in question took some guts. One fatal slip could have led to an embarrassing result. I would have waited until the project was over and the result was certain. But you, sir, have pulled it off with unfailing excellence. Very impressive indeed.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works -- ~Non multa sed multum~

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3639 days

#9 posted 09-25-2015 04:05 PM

This is looking great. You are doing a fine job on it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View terryR's profile


7612 posts in 3081 days

#10 posted 09-25-2015 04:32 PM

You caught that, Old Fart?
Good on ya!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View dbray45's profile


3388 posts in 3549 days

#11 posted 09-25-2015 06:42 PM

Andy – I went through all of these and it is incredible. Something I want to make and your instructions are great.

Thank you

-- David in Palm Bay, FL

View Brit's profile


8078 posts in 3616 days

#12 posted 09-25-2015 07:57 PM

Bob – Thank you. Yep, it’s woodworking on the edge my friend. Will Andy succeed or end up sucking seed? Seriously though, I wouldn’t say I was brave. I just don’t care if people know I failed.

Charles – Glad you like it.

David – I hope you do have a go David. I’d love to see what you come up with.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View duckmilk's profile


4180 posts in 2097 days

#13 posted 09-27-2015 05:14 PM

Andy, great job sir. I was thinking about you and the spoon the other day and wondering when you would post again.

I just don t care if people know I failed.

- Brit

I love that line ;-)

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View Brit's profile


8078 posts in 3616 days

#14 posted 09-27-2015 07:11 PM

Thanks Duck. I’d rather people know I’m honest than think I’m perfect.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4107 days

#15 posted 09-28-2015 09:48 AM

I just can’t see how this carving could have been done better by anyone Andy. Your attention to detail and clean cutting make this complicated spoon design really shine.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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