Here is part two of the drinking bowls, this part covers the roughing out with an axe.

First something about the tool I’m going to be using.
The axe I’m using as a Gransfors Bruks woodcarving axe. The two differences between a regular bushcraft type axe (picture top right) and a the carving axe,  is that the shape of the head and the curve of the handle differ.

The woodcarving axe has a much broader head, with a curved cutting edge that goes on above the head’s eye. This enables you to carve with the axe. Essentially, you can use the axe more as a knife than as an axe. The handle is much more curved, making it go parallel to the cutting edge on the parts where you hold it. When carving, you often grab the axe right under its head. To do this, there is space between the beard and the handle to put your fingers. When you grab the axe under its head you have finer control, when you grab the axe from the throat of the handle you will have more force.

If you want to know more about axes there is a free axebook available on the Gransfors Bruks website.

Lets make a cup.

After making the holes in the wood, I separate the three bowls from each other using a saw.

The next step is to make the rough shape of the ear. Picture two shows the wood with my pencil scketches of the future ear. The bottom two lines are cut with a saw. That makes it easier for me to come in with the axe, and hit the two top vertical lines and the piece of wood comes right off. I leave the ear quite thick to avoid splitting when shaping it later.

Shaping with an axe.

Now I shape the bowl carving with the axe. Chopping is only needed where the ear connects to the cup. Although a faster method of removing wood, chopping leaves many marks on the bowl that can be difficult to erase with the knife. So I prefer to axe-carve as much as possible.  Slowly I shape the bowl until the walls have a thickness of 4-5 mm. As you can see it looks pretty rough at this stage.

Making the ear and shaping with the knife

Next step is making the ear. I dig it out with a small curved gouge. Make the hole bigger with a knife, and shape it with the axe and then the knife. In the end it should look a bit like the last picture.
It is still not quite ready. In the next step, I will smooth out the inside of the bowl using a spoon or crook knife. The outside I smooth out with a regular knife.
The drying will take a while because it has to be done slowly. Afterwards I finish it of with linseed oil. But that will be on the next post…