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 A Finnish Kuksa

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Blackhorse
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PostSubject: A Finnish Kuksa   Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:22 pm

Below I copied some of the text I entered on another thread that explains the project. Opening up the Paperbark Birch and finding it was really, really spalted was a major treat.

Here's the set-up:


Quote :
beetlejazz - you got me going with your comment about the kuksa. I went out to the shed and found a good piece of Paperbark Birch and cut it into sections. While not burl (which doesn't grow locally) this piece has been curing for two years and when I sawed the sections off I saw that it was well spalted inside. So I started making my own kuksa...or what will turn out to be a ladel I think. I cut from one end that was full of checking and went down to what I thought was solid wood...but there was still some checking in it. So I'm considering it a practice piece.

I left a circle of the white bark around the outside (maybe I'll take it off later). The pieces are a bit over 4" in diameter and I have two left that are totally solid. I reviewed several tutorials dealing with how to make a kuksa and will follow most of what they said. The first one, however, since it's not burl, is oriented with the depth of the bowl along the line of the branch so that the rings form circles both inside and outside the tapered walls. I used a side branch (I almost always leave an inch of any major branch in place as they can usually be incorporated into a design of some kind...on my walking sticks they most often form the nose of a character I carve as the top.) In this item the branch piece forms the base of a handle, which will be inserted into a copper tube that's like a collar, about 2 1/2" long. Then if it continues to be a ladel a Cherry or Walnut dowel will go into the other end to form the long handle.

At this point, the inside of the bowl is nearly complete, except for some final stock removal and smoothing, and the bottom is nicely rounded. I'd like to make the bowl thinner that it is, but don't dare as even the slight checking would likely cause one section to break apart. I'm unsure as the whether I'll use Tung Oil to impregnate the wood and harden the slight checks or use some other material like a glue of some sort. Once I'm done I'll post some photos.

And to think I had another project about 90% done...and now it sits. lol


And some photos of the piece at the current stage. It has about 5 heavy coats of 100% Pure Tung Oil (food grade oil) that the wood took up like a sponge. More stock reduction was done following the Tung Oil. I just wanted to get some on there ASAP to help prevent checking, etc.

When done the small knob of a branch stump will have a copper sleeve (as seen in one photo) and from the top end I've yet to decide what exactly to do. I've cut pieces of Plateaux Briar, Black Palm and a long piece of staaned Maple Birl to fit...might use one of those, might use a piece of Reindeer Antler. This is the first of 3 pieces of the Spalted Birch that are roughly the same size...so there are two more to work with that have all solid wood...no cracks at all. I might do another bowl or two or turn the wood into knife handle blocks.

As you can see, the level of spalting is dramatic!

Information on Spalting:

http://www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/_spalted.htm





The pics:











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Puff Daddy
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PostSubject: Re: A Finnish Kuksa   Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:44 pm

You made me go and google Kuksa. Damn, one more cool thing to start obsessing over Laughing

Hmmm. Do they ghost? Can I use it for water, tea and Laphroaig?

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Blackhorse
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PostSubject: Re: A Finnish Kuksa   Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:37 am

Ask beetlejazz, she's the expert, not me!


In Finland, however, I think it's as much a form of folkart as a drinking vessel...harkening back to a culture closer to herding. If you goodgled the term, do it again and click on the 'images' section. It's like googling 'Nordic Knives' or 'pukka' or whatever...sure it's a tool, but the items being produced by really talented craftsmen as astonishing.

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PostSubject: Re: A Finnish Kuksa   Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:55 am

Yeah, I already watched some youtube videos. I like the concept, one single cup to to use for everything. Make some room in the kitchen cabinets Smile

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Jers

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PostSubject: Re: A Finnish Kuksa   Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:26 am

Great project! cheers

Thanks for posting - very interesting. I knew nothing about wood spalting or kuksa prior to this.

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Blackhorse
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PostSubject: Re: A Finnish Kuksa   Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:29 pm

Maybe we could qualify as an educational website and apply for grants!

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Jers

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PostSubject: Re: A Finnish Kuksa   Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:32 pm

Blackhorse wrote:
Maybe we could qualify as an educational website and apply for grants!

Hmmmmmmm....... scratch

Definitely worthy of consideration Headmaster! lol!

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beetlejazz

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PostSubject: Re: A Finnish Kuksa   Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:25 pm

Oh woohoo that is so cool! Great job! cheers

I am not an expert on the subject, but I've understood that when it comes to ghosting etc it really depends on the wood. The "real thing" is carved out of birch burl, and I don't know how they perform, except that the habit of "baptizing" a kuksa by, before using it otherwise, filling it up with a strong liquor like whisky or rum and then proceeding ot drink, comes from the easily available factory-made kuksas that are made ordinary beech etc; as those tend to have a bitter taste the birch burl kuksa doesn't have.

Here it's pretty customary for people who enjoy the outdoors, fishing or hunting to take a cheap factory made kuksa with them and drink water, coffee and booze from it. It's not very heavy, doesn't break, and keeps the heat of the coffee off one's hands. I guess ghosting is part of the experience. Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: A Finnish Kuksa   Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:55 am

Oh...I'm ecstatic! I now have it on 'local authority' that I have to initiate the thing with strong spirits.

After looking at info on the kuksa I've come to think of it as the equivalent of what modern hikers would carry tethered to their pack...the classic tin cup with wire handle. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if making one wasn't a sort of 'rite of passage' thing. I can just see all the menfolk sitting around an evening fire trading stories...each sipping the local brew from his personal kuksa. So up comes one of the braver youths...wanting to try a sip as well. Lord, I can see this so clearly. This part would be done by my two uncles, Aksel and Ehrling. They would pause to get the quiet attention of the whole group and then do one of their, '' Ya, sure, you can try some Hans.'' All the other guys would be smirking down at the ground, waiting for the punchline. Aksel would reach back and fetch the jug and hand it to Ehrling...who would make a big show of working on the cork, prying it out with a great show. He'd then stand up in front of his eager nephew who was beside himself by this time with joy and manly anticipation...hold forth the jug as if he was going to pour out a big portion...but then stop dead...stock still with a shocked expression. Then he'd ask, all innocent, ''But Hans, where's your kuksa?'' So Hans would show both of his hands, empty, with a crestfallen look, to which one uncle or the other would say too loudly, but with great sympathy...''Ohhhh, too bad. But you know the rules...you can't sip and story with the men without a kuksa.'' You know, like it was the most logical and obvious thing in the world. Yup, I bet a scene pretty much like that spurred many a lad to carve his own...and maybe it's even the source of baptizing the thing with strong spirits.

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Steveaux

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PostSubject: Re: A Finnish Kuksa   Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:34 am

That's really cool.

A camp cup that doesn't clang and rattle.

Can't wait to see the finished Finnish.
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kaiser83

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PostSubject: Re: A Finnish Kuksa   Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:13 am

I dig it. What's the weight on it like? I have some cherry at home that I might have to try making one with.
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Blackhorse
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PostSubject: Re: A Finnish Kuksa   Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:44 am

The weight depends on the maker's skill as it is a function of the thickness of the bowl's wall.

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PostSubject: Re: A Finnish Kuksa   Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:03 pm

Happy New Year! A time for photo taking and posting. These have been 'almost' done for some time, just awaiting my taking and uploading and posting the photos.

There are still aspects to both 'water dippers' that can and should have improvement. but so as to give resolution in a somewhat timely manner...here's the photo.




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Greyson

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PostSubject: Re: A Finnish Kuksa   Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:10 pm

Looking very good there chief!
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