spoon carving first steps.... The best bits.

Jon Mac.Photographer.I live on Dartmoor in the south west of the British Isles.I am a folk artist who carves green wood with three edge tools. Axe, knife and hook knife. I carve spoons and drinking vessels. In the past I served with our local S.A.R. Team up on the Moor.I have a spoon carving blog at www.spooncarvingfirststeps.com ......................

MaChris bushcraft/carver.

Sandvic 14C28N.

Stabilised Polypore handle material.

Design-Jon Mac

Creator-Chris Grant

Dartmoor sunset.

Dartmoor sunset.




St Brevins les pins, playing and our ship for the night, some excellent tan lines that i’ve been working on, the woes of multiple punctures, a Jon Mac inspired spoon making session, crossing on a transporter bridge.. and we stumble upon a nudist beach where Marcus immediately settles in..

My mates on a bicycling/spooncarving adventure.

This year at the Wilderness Gathering I was honoured to be crowned
The Wasp King!

Last year at the show we had quite a few visiting wasps and hornets, some folk don’t rub along with these creatures too well, my super mate Kaya, being one of them.
She is a dancer and even resorted to a wasp dance to charm the stripy, buzzing creatures away.
I’m lucky to be able, on the whole, to simply ask that they leave. This usually works - much to the amazement of others.
So it came to pass that Kaya decided I would be crowned the Wasp King…

My good friend Terry Longhurst, Scout leader and fine carver was sharing a beer with me at the days end. I noticed Kaya approach and Sarah with the camera….

There was something afoot….
After an explanation I was soon crowned.

The Wasp king !!!

Kaya even wrote a poem for the occasion.

The Wasp King.
He’s Lord of the woods.
The spider in the web.
The shepherd of the wasps.
The keeper of keys.
The fire in the hornets nest.
The sailor of the sky.
Protector of the realm.
Saviour of the lost and confused.
He is King, the Wasp King, with the golden crown.
© Kaya Strachan

I can’t tell you how much we laughed that evening and during the following days of the show.
Thank you so much Kaya.
And thank you to all the friends I caught up with.
Terry, if you read this, I’ll chip carve your spoon when you come down to visit next.


Last days of summer.
Nr East Prawle.
Devon. England.

Last days of summer.

Nr East Prawle.

Devon. England.

MaChris Sandvik 14C28N bushcraft/carver (special edition)

Chris Grant and I have been in cahoots again.
We’ve been pondering whether or not a stainless steel knife can be hard used for camping and camp work.
Chris and I decided to look into the matter.
Imagine, a knife that can be used in damp/wet conditions without staining or corrosion.
A knife that will keep a good edge and is easy to sharpen.
A great idea, one that I was keen to explore.
Chris sourced some good quality stainless from Sweden, apparently the popular 12C27 steel is no longer made. I have some French Laguiole eating knives with this steel, treasured possessions. 
He used some new 14C28N, doesn’t roll off the tongue, but there you go.
This 14C28N steel is very similar to 12C27, fine grained, with a keen edge, it also contains Nitrogen molecules, which significantly increase the stain resistance, with no loss of that desirable keen edge; it’s VERY stainless, stainless steel.
So, what handle would compliment this ultra modern blade?…
Previously, Chris has made several ‘Special Edition’ MaChris knives utilising Stabilized wood. This is a process whereby softer woods, like birch or walnut, or weaker woods, such as spalted woods, can be impregnated with a thermo-setting acrylic resin.
Also, this plasticising process makes the handle waterproof!
Ideal for a multi purpose outdoors knife!
As this was the first proper custom knife he had made for me, Chris wanted to do something different and appropriate, personal.
So, for the handle, he opted to use Birch polypore mushroom!
This fungus, often referred to as ‘the razor strop fungus’ has a rich history and many many uses.
It was a very appropriate choice of material considering I have used it many times in the past for honing blades.
The Polypore and I are intimately connected to the Birch tree.
It’s part of our lives….
After some telephone conversations about slight design changes, Chris got to work.
One sunny morning, the postie arrived with a package…
Here it is !!!
Sandvik 14C28N. A variant on the very popular 12C27 steel, used for razor blades, French Laguoile, Mora, Brusletto and Karesuando knives.
This variant allows for much greater stain resistance having 0.11% Nitrogen added to the alloy. 
The fine grain structure allows a very fine edge, finer than the vast majority of stainless blade steels.
Hardened to 58/59 HRC
Stabalised Birch Polypore (Pitoporus betulinus) a common Birch fungus renowned for its many uses.
(I think the use of Pitoporus betulinus for knife scales may be a world first)
It was cut, dried and impregnated with methylacrylate resin. 
Most wood when stabilized takes on 20-40% mass, this fungus took on 737%!! 
Stabilised/plasticized by Cliff Schooling of Crandart Knives.
Sarah and I took it for an outing up the Dart gorge.
 The first job I gave it was dressing up some Chanterelle.
I took it to the Wilderness Gathering and demonstrated spoon carving with it.
Carving some easy Birch.
Now I’m home again, unpacked and settled, I thought I should give the knife a good test against my current MaChris made in 52100 bearing steel.
First off I gave them a good sharpen on Japanese water stones supplied by Matthew Platt 
I selected some year seasoned Laburnum.
Of all the types of wood I have carved in my time, I find that if a blade is going to get damaged, it’ll get damaged in Laburnum.
I carved a small spoon using each knife and gave the blade a light strop, a couple of passes, once, at the half way point.
Both spoons turned out well.
I inspected the blades under a magnifying glass. I remember testing the 52100 steel some time ago through Laburnum, the results were the same then as now, there was a slight blunting of the cutting edge, the knife was still useable and became sharp after another light strop.

The surprise of the match was the Stainless steel.
There was a little damage noticeable under close inspection with the magnifier, tiny micro pressure chips, pretty well invisible to the naked eye. Even with this light damage, the knife was still sharp.
An aggressive edge that would still, without any further work, see you right for your remaining camp work until you had time to attend to it.
I used it in this state to cut some leather for a strop, it cut without a problem.
The stainless MaChris deals with softer woods without any issues.
The handle material is something else to look at, beautiful.

I worked some of the carving in direct sunlight, the handle remained quite neutral with regards to grip. Not at all slippery.  

I gave both knives a quick go on the waters stones, both became sharp with minimal work.

I am super impressed with this Stainless steel.
Chris Grant and I will add this to the family of MaChris now available as a special order item.
A great knife for those of us that may wish to paddle their way into the great outdoors.
Or for those who live and work in some of the wetter parts of the world.

Chris and I have also been busy with the design pencil, we have only the one and we share it between us.
If you are interested in this MaChris Stainless steel type, please feel free to contact Chris Grant at…

In a few months time I should be able to show you something new and quite special from the MaChris design shop.


Thanks all.


Jon Mac.
Exeter street art.


Jon Mac.

Exeter street art.


The gull knows.
Jon Mac.

The gull knows.



Jon Mac.

The watcher.
Jon Mac.

The watcher.



Jon Mac.

The sun is shining, down here in the West country.
I’m presently busy preparing my camping and carving equipment for the up-coming 
A big bushcraft event held up in Wiltshire on 
Bush Farm Bison Centre.
West Knoyle.
I’ll be taking my carving gear and demonstrating some simple spoon carving techniques to all the visitors to the show.
I have received a few bits and pieces in the post recently.
My good friend and supporter Matthew Platt of 
 purveyor of top quality wood working tools, has sent a parcel containing a new set of Bear Waterstones along with a Nagura stone, some Chromium oxide paste and g/p workshop leather.
Everything a person needs to put a good edge on your preferred edge tool.
I will be demonstrating good use of these stones and strop at the Gathering.
My friend and associate Chris Grant has been busy on a new MaChris bushcraft knife type which I will show at the Gathering before writing it up here on SCFS.
I will be giving it a test over the next few days.
But I found time to take it into the Dart Gorge for a pick nick with Sarah a few days ago.
I think you’re going to like this new type.
We’ll add it to the line up of MaChris knives already available once I have given it a full apraisal.
What with all this talk of sharpening and carving gear, I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention Kevin Endicott.
He’ll be at the show with a huge tent crammed with everything you need to spend time in the countryside.
has been a great support to me for many, many years.
Kevin’s father used to supply bits of useful kit when I was with the Mountain Rescue.
Here’s a tit-bit from Kevin’s Wilderness Gathering up-date……
WE’RE very pleased to announce that ENDICOTTS Army Surplus will again be showing their wares at this year’s  WILDERNESS GATHERING
When? Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th August 2014
Where? Bush Farm Bison Centre. West Knoyle. Wilts. BA12 6AE
We’ve just started prepping our goodies with boxes and boxes of yummy stuff!
Really looking forward to catching up with friends and customers!  JON MAC  will be showing us his Carving skills and I’m sure a certain MR BUDD  and our good friend C-T-C will be around too!
We’ll have all the usual ENDY-madness (games/comps/give-a-ways etc.) with tons and tons of kit for you to peruse and purchase.   
Customers are welcome (and encouraged) to pre-book any specific requirements, particularly Clothing items requiring specific sizes or Grades etc.
All pre-booked stock will receive a free ENDY goody-bag!
Plus, if you need any Fixtures/Fittings/Zips etc. do drop  MISTER E  a line with your needs, quoting WG12.

Here are a few appetisers to whet your ENDY-appetite;
WOOL BLANKETS  from £4  
SWEDISH SMOCKS  from just a Tenner
SLEEP MATS  from £3
RUCKSACKS  Brit Infantry/’90 Patt. from £25 with free  SIDE POUCHES  (by pre-booking only)
RUCKSACKS  Dutch C-Sting from £25 with free  SIDE POUCHES  (by pre-booking only)
OTHER ARMS RUCKS   from just a Tenner with  SIDE POUCHES  @ only £1.00 each!!  (by pre-booking only)
PARA IPK CORD  WG12 Special………just £0.50 per 16m hank!! 100 units only, so first come, first served!!
CUPS!  We’ll only have room for 100 units! Just £0.10 each! Plus, WG12 Special B.O.G.O.F!
COMBO DEAL  20 available, so pre book to guarantee, plus claim your free ‘pre-booking’ gift!
If that doesn’t get your collective juices flowing….
I’m not sure what will.
Whilst writing this I recieved another parcel from Matthew at 
Some business cards and a handsome looking Japanese folding
Rip, cross & slant fast cut pull saw.
I’m looking forward to next week.
Lots of new things to try and lots of friends old and new to catch up with.
See you soon….
I’ll be demonstrating spoon carving at the http://www.wildernessgathering.co.uk/ 14/17 August. 
I’ll be bringing along the newest MaChris type that may be of interest to all you artist paddlers. Come by and say hello.Jon Mac.

I’ll be demonstrating spoon carving at the http://www.wildernessgathering.co.uk/ 
14/17 August.

I’ll be bringing along the newest MaChris type that may be of interest to all you artist paddlers. Come by and say hello.
Jon Mac.

New ! 
The ACME of navigational aids !
To find out how to add a similar device to your navigational tools why not visit… www.spooncarvingfirststeps.com