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Mishaps: True carving stories we can all learn from. Print  |  Back

From: Woodcraft Magazine Issue 21

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In mid-May 2006 I acquired a replica of a 300-year old hand tool that can be best described as a bent-knife with a 24" handle. It is what young Welsh men used to carve the bowl of their love spoons since the 17th century, resting the long handle on their shoulder as they pulled the curved blade through the wood towards them. As a modern-day love spoon carver who demonstrates the folk art at festivals and shows, I was very excited at the prospect of showing people how my ancestors performed their work using this most unusual tool.
At a Celtic Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio, after driving the 3½ hours early that morning in order to set up my booth, I began carving, using my new bent-knife to gouge the bowl of a spoon from butternut. By now the festival was in full swing with loud, raucous Celtic music filling the air. In a nanosecond of inattention from watching the sights (and not the carving) I drove the bent-knife into my bare hand, resulting in a 3½" slice that traveled up and down my thumb. Within 20 minutes—a roll of gauze wrapped around the wound—my wife was driving me to the local emergency room.
applied to hand tools, particularly razor sharp ones.” Another mistake he admits making is using a new tool in public without becoming familiar with its quirks. ...
One final note: it wasn’t until Chris had his accident that he purchased a woodcarver’s safety glove and leather thumb guard, items that could have saved him a lot of grief.
Thirty-two-year old Chris Watkins, whose Welsh love spoon we feature on page 68, took up professional carving four years ago, starting up his business Llwyau Sgwd (Waterfall Love Spoons). Today, working his chisels, gouges, and knives, Chris (and his father) sell decorative spoons through festivals, stores, and waterfall-lovespoons.com.
Chris admits he was too
tired to safely demonstrate
carving after getting up
early and then driving and
setting up his booth at
the festival. Nor did the
musical entertainment on
stage near his booth help his concentration. Says Chris, “We are frequently warned of the dangers of operating power tools when tired, but my experience
suggests that this
caution should also be