Woodcarving

by Wendy

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The boys have been enjoying a new found passion these past few weeks.  Woodcarving.  Woodcarving is a folk art, steeped in tradition.  Almost every culture has their own form of woodcarving, and it is fascinating to explore the ancient world of carving.   Besides, as you know, anything that is sharp and dangerous, has a wonderful daring appeal to boys. 😉  Just kidding!  In all seriousness though, my boys have taken to woodcarving like fish to water.  They are thoroughly enjoying the process, it is very cathartic for hands-on kiddos.

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The process of going into the woods with waiting knives on belts, hunting for just the right branch for a given project, elicits excitement and sparkle in their eyes.  Carefully considering, finding and selecting the wood that speaks to them, as I watch them run hands and eyes over branches, makes me wonder if they are really the ones selecting the piece, or if the wood calls to them, their hearts, their hands.  Either way, it makes me smile, and feel honored and blessed to bear quiet witness in the process.

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They are starting with simple projects, a wooden boat, spear, knife, and as they grow in confidence and wisdom of the craft, have dreams of little wooden bowls and spoons, and a even animal figurines.  They are excited about the prospects and talk nonstop about all the exciting things that they can make with sparkling eyes.

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A good knife is essential to the process.  After some research we chose the Mora of Sweden Craft Knife, the model called, “Woodcarving Knife for Children”.  It features a removable guard, with a carbon steel blade, and a wooden handle.  In the catalog it is described as ‘just the right size’ for smaller hands, and it is.   This knife would work well for me, too!  I now have one of my own on my wish list!  At first I was concerned that the knife might be too small for my bigger boys, but that is not the case, I think that it is actually just the right size for beginners, you would not want it any bigger, in my humble observers of beginners opinion.  We have no previous woodcarving experience, so I am by far an expert, but just from watching them all manipulate the knife with ease, the size, the length of blade and heft feel just right in their hands.  It has been a joyful learning experience for us all, and we look forward to how this craft will grow along with the hands and knowledge of the apprentice carvers.

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After much searching, this is where we ordered our woodcarving knives through. Our experience with Ragweed Forge was nothing but superb.  It is an ‘old-fashioned’ for lack of better words, website where you complete your order form yourself.  Similar to just simply ordering from a paper catalog.  When your order is shipped you will receive a personal email from Ragnar to let you know your knives are on the way.  Our order was shipped the day we placed it, and it arrived within two days.  I was extremely impressed.  It was quick, and personal, and it felt nice to have been treated with a little old fashioned kindness and courtesy.  You forget, until you experience it again, how nice that really does feel.  Oh, and I forgot to mention, that Ragnar only charges a $6.00 flat-rate shipping fee, so no matter how big your order, it is still only $6.00.  With that courtesy, along with the best price I could find on this particular brand of knives, you could not fail.  We will be ordering through Ragweed Forge again.

It should be mentioned that the knives come razor-sharp right out of the box, so you will want to be supervising when they are first opened.  There are also some basic knowledge that is needed, which is mostly common sense, but still a must, when learning about the craft knife, and how to handle it.  Emphasizing respect for the sharp blade of the knife is essential, as is always carving away from yourself, and learning to think:  where will this blade go, or better yet, where will it end up when it stops???  If you have a child that cannot, or does not, respect the knife, then they are not yet ready for the responsibility of the craft.

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For my boys the relationship with their knife is an almost sacred one.  Because they all have the exact same knife, I had them woodburn them, with their own choosen embellishment.  This quest surprised me, as it was undertaken with careful, thoughtful, consideration, and time to fully meditate on what they would choose to brand their own personal knife with, a crest of sorts, that belonged only to themselves.  The knife bearing crested insignia serves as insight to their souls. With pride and honor they strap onto belts a sense of themselves and their own personal truths.