This spoon was carved in ‘reverse’ – meaning that instead of using the outer edge as the natural curve of the outside of the spoon’s bowl it was done the other way round – this created a totally different ‘ringed’ or bullseye grain decoration which is little more difficult to achieve. This spoon was made with grooves down each side of the handle for grip and three notches front and back. The outer bowl of the spoon has a ‘knifed’ finish like a hammered metal. This spoon, made of sweet chestnut represents: Honesty & Truth.
Spoons are used to convey love or bounty – they are symbolic, decorative and practical. They also use many of the grips and cuts you could use on other carving or whittling projects and are therefore useful things to practice making.
Chestnut is of the same family as oak, and likewise its wood contains many tannins. It has therefore been used in the leather tanning industry. This tannin renders the wood very durable, especially in contact with the ground. It is commonly used as fencing posts as a result too. The texture and grain of Chestnut is very similar to Oak and it can be confused. The bark is pretty unmistakeable with its long sinewy, twisty fissures. It coppices well. Although it is strong and durable it is easily split and also looses quite a bit of its durability (unlike oak) when it is older than 50 years. It can be quite a ‘spitty’ wood on the campfire too.
The sweet chestnut was introduced into Europe from Sardis, in Asia Minor; the fruit was then called the ‘Sardian nut’. It has been a staple food in southern Europe for thousands of years and largely replacing grain where these would not grow well in mountainous Mediterranean areas. Evidence of its cultivation by man is found since around 2000 B.C. Until the introduction of the potato, whole forest-dwelling communities which had scarce access to wheat flour relied on chestnuts as their main source of carbohydrate.
As a carving wood it is ‘nicer’ to carve than oak with a slightly finer grain, less prominent xylem, and warmer colour. It is also food safe and non-toxic.