Cherry Kuksa chasing the cracks

Discussion in 'Self-made Gear' started by Carabnr, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. Carabnr

    Carabnr Guide

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    I have been really enjoying the process of working with my first piece of green cherry wood, but it seems that the heartwood is much denser than the outer wood and it's causing radial cracking on the end grain. I'm starting to feel like I'm fighting a loosing battle chasing the cracks on my Cherry Kuksa. I've been working on it since last weekend and I am trying to keep the bottom with the bark on (it's so cool looking), and have preserved some of the heartwood on the rim.

    I've thinned out the heartwood as thin as I dare and cut out the core. I've gotten very thin on the ends as well. Perhaps too thin, can see light glowing through in several spots. I've kept it cold and moist in a paper bag with shavings, and chased the cracks daily, sometimes twice a day. I coated the piece periodically with walnut oil, which had an interesting effect. It kept some of the moist red cherry color on the surface in stead of the usual fade to pale. I cut through the handle because the heartwood was causing cracks that made me think the relief cut was necessary. It definitely helped, and today as I was whittling away the cracks the gap between the top and bottom pieces of handle shrunk from 1/8" to closed. so I opened it up another 1/16th or so.

    I'll post some pics from my phone. I just want to try to salvage the piece from further cracking. So do you think I need to take the bark off the bottom for more even drying?

    Keeping my fingers crossed.
     
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  2. Carabnr

    Carabnr Guide

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  3. forginhill

    forginhill Scout

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    really liking that! bummer about the cracking. i struggle with cracks too, so just work the wood dry. are you using a vise to hold it while you work with the gouges?
     
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  4. Carabnr

    Carabnr Guide

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    @forginhill Thanks
    No I'm generally holding it and feeling the other side as I carve
     
  5. forginhill

    forginhill Scout

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    got it, thanks. fingers crossed...keep us posted.
     
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  6. Carabnr

    Carabnr Guide

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    image.jpg image.jpg Put the kuksa to bed for the night out in the cold after thinning it out more evenly. Trimmed the base a little too.
     
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  7. Carabnr

    Carabnr Guide

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    image.jpg image.jpg Thought I'd post some earlier process pics too. Look at the thread Can You Saw ? Show me your sawing skills.
     
  8. hdlv

    hdlv Treen Machine

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    That's very cool, looks a little like a mushroom.

    Have you tried leaving it in a plastic bag full of wood chips when you're not working on it? Let's it dry out a little more slowly.
     
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  9. Backyard

    Backyard Guide

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    That is a beautiful piece. I've found that sometimes, more times on larger pieces, wood cracks. In my experience, once it starts, it rarely stops. I hope this is not the case for you. Really is a beautiful piece.
     
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  10. forginhill

    forginhill Scout

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    Carabnr, you got us all on the edge of our seats... You have some nice looking tools...

    hdlv, nice tips with the wood chips....
     
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  11. Carabnr

    Carabnr Guide

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    Thank you @forginhill @Backyard @hdlv I have been keeping it in a paper bag with chips outside or in the refrigerator. I really love working this wood. My first piece with fresh cherry, much easier than hickory black gum dogwood or sycamore. It's between poplar and white pine in density when wet.
     
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  12. hdlv

    hdlv Treen Machine

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    Agreed. Cherry is my favorite local wood that I can get my hands on. I was working a spoon this afternoon, I was laughing out loud at how well it was carving. Like a hot knife through butter. I wish I had easier access to birch knowing it's even better...
     
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  13. Carabnr

    Carabnr Guide

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    I'd love to see a pic.
     
  14. Carabnr

    Carabnr Guide

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    I got most of my chisels, sharpening stones and broad axes from Ed's tool shop above Roy Underhill's Woodright School. Ed's Tool Store

    I think he does online sales kind of too. He gets the best stuff and offers them at a good price.
     
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  15. Backyard

    Backyard Guide

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    I'm looking forward to carving Cherry. I started on a piece of dry oak. Then actually read something, and understood why green wood is easier to carve. I was lucky enough to pick up some birch and maple from some trees that were taken down in the area. Birch is wonderful to learn with. Maple is my new favorite. Carves well, and is a really strong wood with beautiful grain.
     
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  16. hdlv

    hdlv Treen Machine

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    Sure. I'll Refine the shape some more and do the finishing cuts in a few days once it's dried out.
    IMG_6975.JPG
    IMG_6976.JPG
    IMG_6977.JPG
     
  17. Carabnr

    Carabnr Guide

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    @hdlv
    That's an awesome spoon! Did you chop it down mostly with your axe? Looks that way. What type and size axe do you use? I like where you put the hook too. Do you do the spoon of the month club. I think we're short a person, they worked it out but if you want to join we could switch the plan to give your spoon to the person below you.
     
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  18. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead LB#42 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I hope the piece doesn't crack on you anymore.
    It would be a shame for all your hard work on that beautiful piece go to waste!
     
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  19. hdlv

    hdlv Treen Machine

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    Thanks you are right, I'm using a GB Swedish carving axe. I like it a lot but I was actually thinking about getting a broad axe for making kuksa. I just made my second one not to long ago and could see the advantage of a flat bevel when trying to go around the curbs of a bowl.

    If your cup cracks much more I think there are some tricks for filling in the cracks with 2 part epoxy and saw dust, some folks will even add stuff like turquoise sand to turn the crack into one of the features of the piece.
     
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  20. Backyard

    Backyard Guide

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  21. Carabnr

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    The Kuksa survived another day with a little whittling and staying chilled and then oiled a bit on the ends. After I carved it some at the base this morning the wood pinked up as it got more moisture on the surface. I put some oil on it in hopes of retaining it at least for a while. The last pic has a very thin area I could feel the wood flex underneath the cut as I was cutting it image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
     
  22. Carabnr

    Carabnr Guide

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    The second 2 pics are with light shining through.
     
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  23. Carabnr

    Carabnr Guide

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    It survived another day, it seems to be stabilizing. Only a few minor cracks near the base this morning that were easily removed. Scraped and burnished it's almost ready for a final coats of walnut oil and Carnauba
     
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  24. Carabnr

    Carabnr Guide

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  25. Zaveral

    Zaveral Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    That is a beautiful Kuksa! I hope it makes it.
     
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  26. Carabnr

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    Thanks @Zaveral I left it in the house in its paper bag of chips last night, and it didn't crack. Happy happy joy joy. I guess I don't need to carry it with me to work today to chase cracks, as I have been for the last week or so. Now, I'm debating oil and wax timing. I have time this morning, but I'm not sure. Maybe a full coat of oil this morning.
     
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  27. hdlv

    hdlv Treen Machine

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    Man, that kuksa looks great! I'm glad it stopped cracking on you.
     
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  28. Keyser Söze

    Keyser Söze Usual Suspecto Lifetime Supporter

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    I have excellent long term results with Howard butcher block conditioner , on all wood types from knife handles to thin wood carvings , maple , oak butcher block
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016
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  29. Carabnr

    Carabnr Guide

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    Thanks @hdlv I'm so relieved too. I'm guessing it's still more moist under the Bark base but I think it'll be OK. The interesting thing is the handle with the split opens and closes depending on the humidity. It also looks like you could put it on a strap or a belt easily.

    @Keyser Söze I like using Walnut oil, it hardens like Tung and Linseed oil. A few coats of oil and then a mix of carnauba wax and walnut oil. The carnauba wax melts at a higher temp. than most. I can get the stuff all over my hands and not worry about it going through my skin. It's more expensive but I like the smell and it doesn't go ransid like some others. The only issue is that someone who is alergic to nuts may have a reaction to it.
    As I understand it, the food grade mineral oil in the butcher block conditioners is made from petroleum, some may contain Carnauba wax and Beeswax mix.

    Just my 2 cents from my limited research.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  30. Fixedblade

    Fixedblade 3%

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  31. Carabnr

    Carabnr Guide

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    @Fixedblade It's great, no more cracks. Finished the piece and I'm happy with it. I'm done and on to another project with my new carving Axe. I'll post some images soon. God I love this new axe by Hoffman Blacksmithing.
     
  32. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Any pics of the new axe???.... Please. :4:
     
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  33. Fixedblade

    Fixedblade 3%

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    Good to hear the kuksa is well! Lets see the carving axe.
     
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  34. Carabnr

    Carabnr Guide

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    OK @Fixedblade Let me get my phone up. Been busy sharpening.
     
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  35. Carabnr

    Carabnr Guide

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    image.jpg image.jpg Just a quick pair of pics here and then I'll post another thread Hoffman carving axe via Chinberry Bowl. Not sure what the category to post in. This axe rocks.
     
  36. Backyard

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    Oooooh. Pretty sharp steel! Love the look. I'm anxiously awaiting a carving axe from Wolf Creek.
     
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