I finally got round to re-designing one of my favourite ale hen designs to make it a little more practical for those all important camping trips to the woods or wherever takes your fancy.
As far as I’ve been told, an ale hen was an important part of any big party back in the day.
Imagine a large vat of mead with many decorated wooden kuksa/noggin floating about, all in the shape of, or spirit of, a bird, a female bird.
This design came to me a couple of years ago.
A simple design that catches the eye with its planking effect, mimicking the look of an old Viking longboat.
Very nice for parties with friends, but impractical for those camping moments.
My great friend Alan Robinson (a fine spoon carver indeed) dropped some large diameter birch off to me in the early spring.
I have kept a weather eye on it and decided to open it up last week.
Nicely spalted and settled, ripe for a bit of carving.
I used the same technique you can find detailed elsewhere in the blog to shape her up with an axe.
Finishing the detail with my knife.
The knife bevels need to be good and flat to achieve a smooth plank effect.
Hollow out with a hook knife.
Technique is everything when undercutting the bowl.
It’s worth while spending time experimenting with ways of offering your hook knife up to the work.
Invert the knife, spin the knife.
As long as your hook has a longish reach you’ll find a way.
My left hand thumb gets a lot of use.
I guess it took me the best part of the afternoon to get her somewhere comfortable.
I added a couple of coats of Tung Oil made by Liberon
Altogether a pleasing shape.
I’ll be taking her into the woods for a drink very soon.
As always, thank you for visiting my site, you’re always welcome.