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Kuksa Wood

Discussion in 'DIY and Traditional crafts' started by Wander, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. Wander

    Wander Nomad

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    I'd appreciate some thoughts and suggestions.
    Since I've got next week off one of the things I intend on doing is making myself a kuksa.
    I made one a few years ago but it was quite small.
    So I'm going to make one of a more usable size.

    But I'm wondering what wood to make it out of.

    The first one I made was birch. But it's a very pale wood.
    I want something with a bit more colour.

    This is going to be a user, not just a decorative piece. So it has to be made from a wood that isn't poisonous.

    I was thinking of pine. We have lots of that available nearby.

    Any other suggestions? Again, I want a wood with a bit of colour and grain to it.

    Cheers.
     
  2. Wander

    Wander Nomad

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    Hmm...walnut!
    I can easily lay my hands on some walnut. Not so sure I can get a bit with the right diameter though.
    There's some apple trees being felled in a nearby orchard. I'm sure I could find a piece the right size. Anyone know what sort of colour and grain it is?
     
  3. crosslandkelly

    crosslandkelly A somewhat settled

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    How about glueing a few diffrerent pieces together to form a block, and carve from that.
     
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  4. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    I don't think pine or conifer of any sort. Besides the wood resins, they are all prone to long, run-out splitting during the carving process.
    The conifers are what I like to carve and have done quite a lot in the last 20 years. I can manage the splitting potential.

    Woods? Just me now. If I ever got the chance, #1 has to be apple wood for a kuksa.
    Getting into the highly colored heart wood so you have to grab wood before it gets split and trim your pieces.

    Your searching has got to be for the colored heart wood, arborists and country home wood piles need a look.

    Other fruit woods (pear, cherry, peach, etc), I have to see the heart wood coloring.
    Our common birch does have a rich brown heart wood but it's rarely available.
    What can you find for maples?
    Even the oaks would be OK when sealed. After all, whiskey, sherry and wine barrels are white oak.

    Look bigger than a 250ml (1 x 8 oz cup) measuring cup. No shot glass, please!

    Crosslandkelly has a great idea = small pieces and work from a glue up.
    Not quite so "organic" but a dramatic combination will look good.
     
  5. Keith_Beef

    Keith_Beef Native

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    The last time I picked up a chunk of apple wood, it ad been knocked off the tree by a lightening strike. Away from the scorched bits, it was rather pale, without a great deal of visible grain.

    There are loads of pictures of different varieties of wood on the Intarwebs, just look at any site selling the stuff. Apple and pear wood are widely sold.
     
  6. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Fruit tree wood, or anything with leaves.


    If you can not find a burl, then the next best option is to use a branch with a heavy bend in it.
    You want the fibers to run alongside the cup as much as possible.

    Remember, you can stain pale woods. Birch is excellent to stain with coffee. Which also water proofs and impregnates it.
     
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  7. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    Fruit trees do not usually have a very big core of dark heart wood. Branches will be mostly a loss.
    You're lookin for the very oldest part of the main stem, possible the bottom 6' of the entire tree.

    By the time you see it, some idiot has probably split it all to burn.
    You have to split off all the pale sap wood and keep that core piece.

    I have some 6" apple with heart wood and all split quite badly.
    I might be able to resaw a lot of it for a glue up (and keep the rest of it for meat smoke wood!)
    I like that glue-up idea the more I think about it.
     
  8. bobnewboy

    bobnewboy Settler

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    Glue up is all very well, but it would only work well once the wood is properly dried / seasoned. That would lead to it being pretty hard to carve. So if the wish is to enjoy the carving rather than the result, a piece of green wood would be better. If the end result is all, then glueing up very different woods would produce a nice result.
     
  9. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    I am not so sure about the glueing up bits myself.... Fibers going in various directions, different hardness....

    Fining the correct piece of timber is half the fun.
     
  10. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    There's not a single chance in Hello that the grain runs in one direction in a birch burl.

    Resawing pieces with the obvious grain of fruitwoods should be simple.

    In any case, power carve the piece. At least hog out the bulk of the waste wood.
    Electic drill, 1/2" Forstner bit, drill a net of holes, bash out the webbing.
    Then settle down to the fun fine carving part.
     
  11. Broch

    Broch Full Member

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    Oooh, sacrilege! ... No, I agree - use what you've got

    And, you can do so much with paler wood - birch can take on great character when lightly scorched and polished; apple, and other fruits woods, can be only-slightly darkened with all sorts of natural colours such as coffee (as suggested) or elder etc. that bring out much more complexity to the grain. I'd go fruit wood (apple, cherry, plum) every time for a vessel :)
     
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  12. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Even a piece with a slight bend is better than as straight as Nature can create.
    I personally like the part between the main bole and where a branch attaches.
    On my amateurish creations, some of the nicest grains is from this area.

    Also roots are nice, or the area between the root and bole.

    My family hates it when I stop the car when I see an interesting piece. Building sites are good here in Paradise.
     
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  13. Stew

    Stew Bushcrafter through and through

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    How big of a piece do you want? I may have some cherry big enough that you could have for the price of postage.
     
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  14. quietone

    quietone Full Member

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    DSC_0633.JPG I too have some spalted birch left, which has a really good spalting. Also some spalted monkey puzzle if you're interested. The puzzle is not as dramatic as the birch, and will also be harder to carve. Just settle the postage as suggested above like above. See attached images for an example of spalting. These have has a little oil rubbed in. Edit, thinking more on it, I may even have a birch burl going spare too, with a really good birds eye grain. I've carved a couple of these, and they are a real joy to carve and an experience to savour. Can't promise the burl though as I'm not sure where it is. Edit again, sorry, forgot to mention the blocks I have are very well seasoned, so will require a firm hand to carve. Sorry the images are in an odd order.
    monkey puzzle.jpg
    spalted birch.jpg
     
    #14 quietone, Nov 16, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
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  15. cascare

    cascare Full Member

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    Those look stunning, especially the bootom 2
     
  16. Rorschach

    Rorschach Full Member

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    Perhaps alder? Although spalted birch of course is the traditional one. I do not think spruce or pine would work at all.

    When the Kuksa is ready you need to offer it a drink first :) That is, quality cognaq or single malt whiskey sitting in it over a night or a bit longer. It will sink in nicely.
     
  17. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Not Kosken?
     
  18. Rorschach

    Rorschach Full Member

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    It seems you know your Nordic neighbours and their habits :biggrin:

    A vodka type alcohol probably does not work because they are not that flavour rich.

    I would use Jura Prophecy, it is my personal favourite among good single malts :)

    By the way Janne, Koskenkorva is actually made in the community/town where I am from!
     
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