I’am busy making some wooden cups. They are inspired by Sami Guksi’s or kuksa’s but also by turned wooden bowls, called masers made by Robin Wood. Traditionally a kuksa has a handle with a hole to put your finger trough, the once I’ve made before don’t. I don’t know yet how these are going to turn out. In the picture below you can see some cups that I’m finishing.
The difficulty of making cups is in two things first the thickness of the wall, I’m aiming for 4-7 mm. It is hard to make the wall nice and equal, I sometimes leave the walls and especially the bottom to thick. The second difficulty is the drying process. Unlike a spoon, a cup has a bigger diameter and crosses more growth rings of the wood. Drying results in much more tension in the wood and therefore there is a good chance of cracks. Drying these cups has to be done extremely slowly.
First I have to find a log with at least a 250mm diameter, I split it in half and remove the bark. While removing the bark I check for irregularities like knots and cracks, depending on the location I use it as a feature in the cup handle, but sometimes I have to discard a log. Then I take out all the core wood, this would cause the cup to split when drying. The process of debarking, splitting and taking out the core wood is done with an axe. Then I even things up with a plane.
I draw the rough shape of the cup essentially, a circle on, the log and start taking out the surplus wood from the sides, again using an axe. In this case the wood is very nice oak and it has no irregularities. So I can make 3 cups from the same log at once. I drill a large hole in the middle with a d 30mm auger. This will speed up the hollowing significantly.
I hollow out the cup using a large curved gouge, then a smaller one and eventually a spoon knife. I try to make the hole already round and nice, because it is easy to hold the cup in a vice now, but later in the process I have to hold it in my hands and it will make it harder to use strength.
For now I have to stop carving not because of the process I could continue but I have a family, the trick is to not let the wood dry out too fast. Which is not a very big problem because it is freezing, but I still have to put it in a plastic bag so it remains wet.
Later I will continue with the carving of the wood, during that time I keep the cup in a plastic bag, slowly opening it to let more moist out, thus drying the wood. This drying takes around a month. When the wood is all dried you can start smoothing the surface. Wet wood will not give you a smooth surface.
Part two will be about the carving with a knife.