The Magic of the Kuksa

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Brownie, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. Brownie

    Brownie Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Funny how much our sense of smell can evoke powerful memories of times and places from our past. The way an old baseball glove or fresh cut grass reminds me of the ball fields of my youth. The way decomposing wet leaves floods my mind of the Pacific Northwest. The way the scent of Labrador Tea sends the mind drifting through the boreal forests of the north. And the way the fragrant kit-kit-dizze will let you know you have immersed yourself in the Sierra Nevadas.

    Funny how your sense of smell intertwines with your mind to bring forth visions from your sense of sight. Here lies the magic of the kuksa.

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    Many ancient cultures had utensils which aided in cooking, eating, storage, and care of food and drink. The bamboo, bronze, jade, and china of ancient Asians. The clay cups and vessels of ancient Europe and Africa. Grass and reed basketry of the ancient Americans. The kuksa has been used in northern Scandinavia for thousands of years. Lapplanders from the northern reaches of Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia used the birch tree for many different utensils and structures.

    I'm sure we all here know of Mr. Adahy and his fine work in woodworking and photography skills that are second to none. I had the opportunity to purchase a kuksa from him back in April of last year. Since then, the cup has been used on the weekends at my home, and been with me on every excursion to the woods, so that I may have a lovely vessel in which to drink my coffee from. Black with sugar. It has been a pleasure to drink from a fine, handcrafted, wooden grail, which fits in so well with the outdoors.

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    A few months ago, for some unknown reason, I had stopped using it at home to drink coffee from. Reverting back to the ceramic objects of custom. And not drinking in the woods for a few months it sat there, neglected. Last weekend I broke it out again. Filled it up with some strong black elixer of life, brewed in my favorite fashion, boiled for one minute and not a second more in an aluminum pot, a'la Mors Kochanski bushcraft style. Stirred in some sugar. Brought it to my lips, inhaling the aromas as I took my first sip, and............ Magic!

    Instantly all the memories of when I had used this cup in the forests and lakesides came rushing to the forefront of my mind. I could feel the fresh mountain air and smell the woodsmoke of the cooking fire. I know it sounds like an old Folgers commercial, but hang with me. The magical mixture of good coffee and sugar, bee's wax and tung oil and birch wood combined to highten my senses to varying degrees of satisfaction. "Oh yeah, that's good" I found myself saying out loud.

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    The kuksa has easily become my favorite piece of my excursion kit. No other piece has the power it has. The feel and cut of the knife doesn't do it. The satisfaction of the chop from an axe doesn't do it. The fine texture and smell of waxed canvas doesn't do it. No other piece of kit has the magic of the kuksa. If you don't believe me, find out for yourself. Use one for a while, then set it aside for some time. Come back to it again, and the magic will hit you like a thunderbolt! I don't know if I can recommend a piece of gear as highly as one of Alex's kuksa. Yes, this is a review from someone who has experienced a little magic.

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    These feelings that came over me pleaded with the rest of my senses to do something "woodsy". I decided then was the time to look inside a giant sequoia stump and rootball that I pulled out of my front yard a few months ago to see if there was any burl worth carving. Kinda junky, but some bright prospects to delve into. Do a little delvin'. The 20 foot speciman in my front yard was clearly not suited to survive in this environment. Too hot and dry at this too low elevation, coupled with a lack of winter snow had proved too much for this tree. So out it came.

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    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  2. Brownie

    Brownie Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Also made some half rounds of a local hardwood, California Sycamore. I had read that this wood is too coarse grained to work, but maybe a kuksa of my own making is waiting inside. When inspiration hits, it's best to roll with the punch.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Mtnfolk Mike

    Mtnfolk Mike Supporter Supporter

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    awesome post and pics Brownie.. I too share the same feelings for my Kuksa.. it has easily become one of my favorite piece's of kit..:44: Alex sure does some amazing work( i own 2 and a spoon).. :)
     
  4. redmech

    redmech Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Great review, I am enjoying mine as well.
     
  5. Brownie

    Brownie Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Nice!
     
  6. Brownie

    Brownie Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Ha! Great idea! Showing up in a tux or nice suit with a cup on your belt.
     
  7. delkancott

    delkancott Supporter Supporter

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    Great post, thank you for sharing!
     
  8. crookedknife

    crookedknife Guide

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    All true - and BTW, nice writing Brownie.
     
  9. Bouncer871

    Bouncer871 Scout

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    Actually it didn't sound like a Folgers commercial. It sound more like an ad for Alex, and an awesome ad at that. Thanks you're making me want one even more than I already had. :)
     
  10. Brownie

    Brownie Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Wow! That is awesome. You in Sweden by the way?
     
  11. Brownie

    Brownie Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Ya, I was thinking that it may sound too much like an ad when I was typing it. But hey, that's what reviews are anyways. Thanks.
     
  12. NJWHN95

    NJWHN95 Scout

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    That was a truly poetic post and review. You sir, have the art of the pen (keyboard?) in your blood.
     
  13. pure_mahem

    pure_mahem Guide

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    Very Nice! Got some true kuksa magic brewing for sure!
     
  14. Schwert

    Schwert Guide

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    Nice.

    I see some grand grain in some of those chunks of wood...a cup just waiting to be found.

    Now, back to my coffee...should I decant it to my kuksa?
     
  15. Redwolf

    Redwolf Guide

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    Awesome write up!
     
  16. ripcurlksm

    ripcurlksm Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Whatever drugs you are on, I want some :30:
     
  17. Brownie

    Brownie Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Thanks for the kind words.

    No drugs......

    Just naturally warped I would say ;)
     
  18. yoger

    yoger Tracker

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    Great pictures. I'm just getting started with carving, but hope to make one. I've got some wood already :]
     
  19. Adahy

    Adahy Kuksaholic

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    How have I never seen this on the forum??? :11:

    I saw this on your blog friend, and I loved every word of it. Glad you're enjoying my carving and even better.. I'm glad it's helping invoke these visions...

    I still want to post this on my site, because I think it's just perfect. I couldn't have said it better.
     
  20. ripcurlksm

    ripcurlksm Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    LOL touche! :)
     
  21. pure_mahem

    pure_mahem Guide

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    Sorry for going a lil off the O.T. here, but I some what related genre question here:
    Adahy I was searching about kuksas (I swear if my kid said that the Mrs. would wash his mouth out with soap, LOL!) today and saw somewhere where the maker said they treated them by boiling them in saltwater for 12 hours. Have you ever heard of this?
     
  22. Adahy

    Adahy Kuksaholic

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    Ive heard the chatter about it but never found it necessary. Just seemed like a whole other step that never panned out whether or not it was beneficial or now. Some people said after they boiled and let it dry a bit, cracks would start.
    Just seems unnecessary to add more water back into the wood, then it would take even longer to dry. I think most of mine take 4-8 weeks to dry, and people get impatient as it is. Also I feel there would be a long break in period. Your drink would be salty for a long time.
    In ways it makes sense to me about the salt.. but then I think about it and I feel in some ways it doesn't.

    I should just try it sometime.
     
  23. Schwert

    Schwert Guide

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    I have never tried the salt method...but I do see a possible explanation for doing it...

    Salt absorbs water from the air, so if you had a good load of salt into the wood the humidity around the piece would remain higher while drying...making the drying slower and therefore less a tendency to crack.

    Grain of salt on this theory :)
     
  24. Cp4056

    Cp4056 Scout

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    Ok, now I have to try and make one. Is birch the "wood du jour" for this project?
     
  25. Brownie

    Brownie Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I think birch was historically used, but most hardwoods should do as long as it can be used to drink from. No resins or tannins etc.
     
  26. Orso_Bruno

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    I love the wooden cup!!!!
     

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