The Maple Kuksa


My father hikes his woods everyday, with his two dogs.  I,  being in need of some burls, to give a go, at some bowls, or a kuksa or two asked him to keep his eyes peeled.  That is exactly what he did, and delivered to my front door a bin of burls of all sizes.  What are fathers for right?  If it’s not to fix a burl deficit? 🙂

In trade, I wanted to give him back one of his burls that he found, in his woods, with his hands, but return it in a slightly different form.    I picked out one of the smaller maple burls.   I also used a couple different tools other than my regular knife and hatchet.    These are the links to them if you are interested,   a small curved adze and a pfeil bent gouge.


Using a gouge I painstakingly cleaned out the middle.     Burls with their erratic swirling grain patterns are very hard to carve but in turn make a cup or bowl much less likely to crack.


Shaping the sides with the draw knife.   You can see the swirling grain pattern of the burl.    When I finished carving it, I still felt like it needed something a little more.     He is now known as “Pa” and I inlaid his name with some ground coal in  the handle.  My father has also maintained a small coal stove in his kitchen so I was looking for something black and that seemed to fit.


I then kolrosed a maple tree on the side, as a way of bringing the kuksa back to its origins.   I love the symbol and meaning of the “tree of life” representing the “circle of life” and that was in my thoughts when sketching out this tree.


I was pretty pleased with the way it turned out.    I had some minor cracking around the edge and handle area.    I think I should have gotten the wood butter to it sooner, maybe that would have made a difference … its hard to say.   The bowl area almost looked like it had a burl within it and it created some rough areas on the inside.   But it all gives it character in the end.    My father was very pleased with his kuksa when he opened  it on Christmas day.   A much finer present then retrieved at any retail store.     Purely shopped for by his own hands, from his own  woods, behind his own house, with his two dogs at his side.



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