The latest course from our Woodland Artisan project was cup carving. Wooden Tom was back to hold another great course, this time using axes, chisels Gouges and knives to carve a Highland cup based on one found in Ardgour on the West Coast created nearly 2000 years ago.

Some of the tools used on the day alongside Tom’s Highland Cup ©V Campen/ Scottish Wildlife Trust

We started with a Silver Birch log that requires cutting and splitting to ‘cup size’ and then carving into a finished product. One cup on the day was made from Pine, creating a beautifully stripy cup.

Splitting the wood ready to make cups © V Campen/ Scottish Wildlife Trust

Each course attendee got a quarter or half of the original log and, using a guide, the cup shape was marked onto the wood and excess was removed with an axe. Once a rough outline was created the bowl could start being carved – outside first and then the inside using gauges. The lip and handle of the cups were carved last with gauges and knives. Participants each took their cup home which then can be carved with a knife once the green wood has dried. Unfortunately, the winter evenings drew in too quick for us to use knives for long on the day.

Stages of cup carving: Roughly shaping the wood to cup shape, Marking out the areas needed to be cut off (© mark Gough), Gouging the outside and scooping out the middle © V Campen/ Scottish Wildlife Trust 
Carving away at our cups © D Haines

The final cups are shown below. Although we were all following the same instructions, the shape, size and grain of the wood meant that each one became a wonderfully individual creation.

The beautiful cups by the end of the session, a little work is still needed on them © V Campen/ Scottish Wildlife Trust

Thank you again to Wooden Tom for providing another great course for us. The next Woodland Artisan Courses will be announced soon, keep your eyes peeled!

Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape

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