Hi, my name is Hester and I’m an armature whittler.
Okay. After one time of whittling, I can safely say that I have whittle something, rather than labeling myself as a whittler. But rather than focusing on the label, I want to focus on the process.
To start, I have never carved up anything in my life, besides some fruit like watermelon. But in all seriousness, I figured that I had to do something that would last more than an hour.
The thing about whittling is that I’ve always imagined a certain stereotype: a old hillbilly sitting on his porch, cutting up a block of wood into a little figurine. Of course, I’m not exactly a hillbilly or “old”, but it was something that I thought would be…interesting to do. The idea of physically making something with my own two hands has always been something I liked doing, but with a knife? Something that can cut me up? I wasn’t super keen on.
In this project, I’ve been presented this opportunity to do something that wasn’t necessarily completely out of my comfort zone, but a foot out. I’ve always played safe with things that could induce some sort of harm onto me, but with the DIY project, it became clear to me that it was high time to woman up and do something I would have never done otherwise.
The whole project started with the idea of a spoon. Something really simple and essential, the spoon was the perfect starting point. At least, that’s what I thought. There were a lot fo factors that came up when I started this project: like the time constraints and budgeting that I delegated to this project. Unfortunately or fortunately, I decided to go relatively old school and do what I though was “traditional” whittling (or how I would like to call whittling on a budget), meaning that I would go outside my dorm and forage for a piece of wood that I thought would be good enough, (which broke in half when I accidentally dropped it on the floor), and use whatever knife I had with me (a gift from my brother before I left for college).
Other than that mishap, I proceeded to start whittling the more “put together” half of the stick.
I have to say, whittling is very time-consuming. I spent a lot of time on my balcony, carving away at the stick in order to get it remotely close to the shape of spoon. But eventually, I got to the point where the piece of wood started looking like a spoon.
There were a couple hiccups I hit along the way: my fingers would be raw from the overly-cautiously holding the stick still, or I scrapped a bit of my fingers. But I think the most challenging part about the whole thing was the fact that I had a vision of what the spoon would look like. I wanted to carve up a regular, western soup spoon. Simple, right? But it was a lot harder than it seemed, especially when cutting into the wood I found out some of it was a little rotten, if not eaten by bugs or weathered. I had to work around that, and eventually made the spoon into a regular, eastern soup spoon.
The end product was not super satisfactory, but mainly due to the fact that I lost patience with how dull my knife had become. I would try hollowing out the base of the spoon to no avail, but in the end, I felt like I learned a lot about what I could and could not do with what I had.
In a way, overall, I did succeed with the project. I went out of my comfort zone and “sharply” whittled a spoon. I learned the do’s and don’t’s (or the lack there of), how to not slice off a bit of my finger, and more. But most importantly, I felt that I’ve gained a lot of experience and depth about my abilities in making something with my own two hands: you just got to push yourself into doing it, or it’ll never happen.
Until the next project that pushes me to do things,
keep calm and (maybe) whittle on.
“How To Make A Wooden Spoon.” <http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2014/07/how-to-make-a-wooden-spoon/> Mitch Roberson. July 29, 2014.
“Wood Whittling 101.” <http://www.instructables.com/id/Wood-Whittling-101/> kylestetz.
youtube: “How to whittle a spoon” uploaded by Cut Marks. March 28, 2013.
youtube: “How To Wood Carve and Whittle lesson 1 beginner” uploaded by schpoingle. August 27, 2014.
“A Beginners Guide To Whittling. ” <http://www.artofmanliness.com/2011/12/12/a-beginners-guide-to-whittling/> Brett & Kate McKay. December 12, 2011.