Sunday, May 30, 2010

Yet Another Lettered Lovespoon


Here is a Lettered Lovespoon that I just completed for a young couple who is getting married in late June.  Like most of my other Lovespoons, it is an original design carved from the traditional Lovespoon material, Basswood.

I try to follow a couple of personal “design rules” when I’m commissioned to carve a Lettered Lovespoon.  There’s no real good reason for these rules, you understand, they’re just my rules. 

Rule #1: The Lady’s initial goes on top, the Gentleman’s on the bottom.

Rule #2: The letters are *always* linked together.  Come on, this *is* a Lovespoon after all and a couple should be…well…linked together like the letters.

The letters always have a way of telling me how *they* want to displayed on the spoon.  Because the grain of the wood runs the length of the spoon, wide letters, like the “R” in this case, are often a problem in that they need a lot of extra support to keep their ends from just snapping off, either during the carving process or handling before the spoon is hung on the wall.  I took advantage of the width of the heart-shaped bowl to provide support for the “R”.
Having said that, however, because the tips of the “S” and the “R” stick out with very little “meat” to anchor them, the spoon will be best served hung well out of plate-throwing range.  :--)

When I attempted to hook the “S” into the “R” (per my rules), the arrangement just didn’t work for me visually because everything seemed to be squashed together at the bottom of the spoon leaving the top of the handle looking more than just a bit little naked. 

After some playing around on paper, I finally decided to include a set of interlocked wedding rings between the two initials.  Wedding rings are a common Lovespoon adornment but not one I had used before.  Using the rings -- locked into the “R” and into the “S” -- allowed me to slide the “S” up the handle for a more balanced look.  Everything is still interlocked so in my mind, at least, I haven’t violated my design rules.

I am pleased that I was able to make the handle disappear behind the two rings without jeopardizing the overall structural integrity of the spoon.

As soon as I began carving, I realized how much right-over-left-over-right-over-left there was going on around the rings.  This was a tough spoon to carve!  In retrospect, I think that I should have spread everything out just a bit more. 

A long time ago I started using Sanding Sealer rather than varnish or shellac on spoons, because IMHO, it seems to make a harder finish and, in the case of the basswood, adds some color.  I used 3 coats of sealer (sanding with 220 sandpaper between coats) followed by buffing with #0000 steel wool and a good coat of paste wax.  The finish came out wonderfully smooth.

My spoon and my best wishes go out to the soon to be “Mr. and Mrs.”!

'Til next time...Keep makin' Chips

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