A new kåsa/guksi

I have just completed a new kåsa.   Guksi (pronounced gooksee) is the Sámi name for a wooden coffee cup.

I made it out of a 15 year old Birch bur given to me by my neighbour and it was bloody hard work to carve (especially the inside)!!

The dark lines are caused by a fungus that would have been growing in the tree

I have soaked the cup in rapeseed oil to bring out the patterning in the wood

In the next issue of “The Bushcraft Magazine” (coming out very soon) I write about how to make a kåsa

Another knife and kåsa

Unfortunately I did not make it to my parents for Christmas and now fly there on 29th.

My neighbour has given me a beautiful oil painting he has done for me, of a Common Crane or Trana på svenska.

In return I have made this kåsa/kuksa for him

I have also just completed a knife using Reindeer horn, water buffalo horn and Birch bur.

James…. I have been selling my knives on my website but I only have these two left now.  If you are interested in either drop me an email and we can agree a price.

Large Alder Bur Kasa/Kuksa – Part 2

Unfortunately as I carved into the wood I found a flaw inside

It’s rather more obvious from the outside

Based on previous experience, I was certain that the kasa would crack here as it dried so I decided not to carve any thinner but instead worked on the shape.

Even if it did crack it was worth continuing to increase my knowledge and skills in working with bur wood and carving.  And after another hours work the shape was looking good.

A couple more hours of sanding and polishing with cotton cloth and it was just about completed

I completed it by cutting in some minimal patterning with a knife and then oiled it to lift out the patterns in the wood.  The kasa holds 3/4 litre of liquad.

I had a small piece of bur left over so I also made four year old Emma her first kasa

and engraved an “E” on the handle to personalise it for her

Large Alder Bur Kasa/Kuksa – Part 1

I’ve wanted to try and make a large kasa for some time and after an area of trees had been cleared on one of our reserves I found a large bur on an Alder (Alnus glutinosa) stump, which I removed with a chainsaw.

I removed the outer bark and using my Fiskars hatchet cut cut away faults and flaws until I reached good wood.  Then I marked the size and shape of the kasa I wanted to carve from the bur.

Using my gouge

I began to shape the inside of the bowl and after a couple of  hours work it looked like this

and after another hour it looked like this

I continued using my hatchet to shape the underside

The patterning in the bur is beautiful

and after another couple of hours work the kasa was really starting to take shape

Common Darter Dragonfly

The Common Darter Dragonfly (Sympetrum striolatum) is one of the smaller British species of dragonflies.  The male is a rich bright red in colour

and the female varies from shades of green to orange and even red when mature.  This individual has just emerged from life as a larvae living below water.

The Common Darter is on the wing from the middle of June here in the East of England and when I first became interested in wildlife and nature conservation, books stated “June – October” and it is the last dragonfly species you will see in the year.  In the early 90’s I can remember recording this species into the first few days of November and this year 16 -17 years later my last date was 26th November and I expect within the next 5 years they will be recorded into the first few days of December.

In late autumn they are always looking for somewhere bright and warm to sit and absorb the suns heat

Flexcut interchangeable Tools

My third recent purchase was a set of interchangeable carving tools made by Flexcut.  I bought their quick connect palm handle and then from their range of tools selected four that I thought would be most useful.

Three are from their #6 sweeps and one from their spoon gouges range.

The handle is comfortable to hold and the blades fit securely into it.  I used them to carve this spoon out of a piece of Almond wood

and I tried to carve a cup out of a piece of Apple wood

The spoon gouge is the ideal shape for carving a cup but the cutting blade is only 7/16 inch wide and so it would take hours to carve a cup.  The #6 sweeps have wider cutting blades but the shape of the gouge is flat rather than curved and so they are not ideally shaped for carving a curved cup.  In the picture below the spoon gouge is at the front and the #6 sweep at the back

I contacted Flexcut to ask if they have a larger spoon gouge set or would consider making them for those of us who make cups but unfortunately like so many companies who have a potentially good product they did not respond to my query……UPDATE! Flexcut have emailed today (25/11/09) and it this time they do not have a gouge suited to making cups.

A friend who is an agricultural engineer agreed to try and re-profile the 1 inch #6 sweep

Firstly he heated it

and then re-shaped it

I need to sharpen and hone the cutting edge and I will then test it and let you know how I get on.

Lapland autumn 2009 – 24th September part 1

The morning started with me sanding cups and Teres sewing leather bags

making cups and leather bags (Large)

The temperature was -2 degrees and it had been -7 in the night but at least it was sunny

sunny morning (Small)

After cleaning the cabin (as it would be our last day there) we decided to go walking in the forest, to the peak behind the cabin.

out walking (Small)

The forest is so quiet for birds at this time of year but is very peaceful listening to the wind in the trees.

walking into sun (Small)

and from time to time we could see back across the lake

a view to the lake (Small)

As we walked further we noticed that the berries and leaves had been stripped from the ground flora which is apparently typical of bear feeding.  A little further on I looked to my left and saw a fallen spruce with the root plate raised vertically

bears den in forest (Small)

at the base of the root plate was a large hole in the ground which was a bears den (bjorn ide in Swedish).

Bears ben (888 x 668) (Small)

I got to about 30 metres  from it but could not get a clear photograph and unsure if the occupant was at home I was unwilling to get any closer!!  You can see part of the hole slightly right of centre in the picture below.

Bear den closeup (592 x 445)

You can learn more about the Scandinavian Brown Bear here

Lapland autumn 2009 – 23rd September

We spent the morning collecting fallen trees from the forest for next years fire wood.  Its so much easier to drag them back when there are two people!!!

collecting wood (Small)

I also carried back the tipi poles and stored in the cabin roof.

I spent the rest of the morning sawing the trees into logs

Sawing logs (Small)

We drove to a small village about 10 miles from the cabin to buy some supplies.  As we returned I took a couple of pictures of the landscape around my cabin

view-1 (Medium)

view-2 (Small)

Later on I completed a Birch plate and kåsa

kasa and plate-1 (Medium)

kasa and plate-2 (Large)

I also had a half finished kåsa/kuksa which I took back to England and completed

kuksa-1 (Large)

kuksa-2  (Large) Kevin Warrington


Lapland autumn 2009 – 22nd September

I spent some time teaching Teres how to use a firesteel and while we were out collecting water from the spring, I challenged her to make fire and a pot of coffee.   So as not to pressure her I went walking in the forest.  I was walking along the edge of this marsh

across marsh (Small)

when I heard hurrru…..hurrru…..hurrru……hurrru repeatedly and something running in the forest in my direction.  I froze trying to see movement and decide what animal could be making the noise when suddenly 15 Reindeer came running out in front of me and across the marsh as though being chased by something.

There are some beautiful colours on the forest floor as the Blueberry leaves change colour ready to fall from the plant.

forest flora (Small)

When I returned to Teres the fire was burning and the coffee cooked

Teres making fire (Small)

We sat and drank coffee, enjoying the quiet of the forest

Coffee break in forest (Small)

Later in the day I was sitting outside the cabin sanding a kåsa when I heard a noise the other side of the car.  As I looked up a male Reindeer was standing there.  I grabbed the video camera and filmed him as he ran into the trees but did not have time to get a photograph.

there was a reindeer (Small)

I can only assume that he was attracted in to investigate the noise of me sanding.