Kuksa Wood

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Wander

Nomad
Jan 6, 2017
452
468
Here There & Everywhere
I'd appreciate some thoughts and suggestions.
Since I've got next week off one of the things I intend on doing is making myself a kuksa.
I made one a few years ago but it was quite small.
So I'm going to make one of a more usable size.

But I'm wondering what wood to make it out of.

The first one I made was birch. But it's a very pale wood.
I want something with a bit more colour.

This is going to be a user, not just a decorative piece. So it has to be made from a wood that isn't poisonous.

I was thinking of pine. We have lots of that available nearby.

Any other suggestions? Again, I want a wood with a bit of colour and grain to it.

Cheers.
 

Wander

Nomad
Jan 6, 2017
452
468
Here There & Everywhere
Hmm...walnut!
I can easily lay my hands on some walnut. Not so sure I can get a bit with the right diameter though.
There's some apple trees being felled in a nearby orchard. I'm sure I could find a piece the right size. Anyone know what sort of colour and grain it is?
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,451
1,497
McBride, BC
I don't think pine or conifer of any sort. Besides the wood resins, they are all prone to long, run-out splitting during the carving process.
The conifers are what I like to carve and have done quite a lot in the last 20 years. I can manage the splitting potential.

Woods? Just me now. If I ever got the chance, #1 has to be apple wood for a kuksa.
Getting into the highly colored heart wood so you have to grab wood before it gets split and trim your pieces.

Your searching has got to be for the colored heart wood, arborists and country home wood piles need a look.

Other fruit woods (pear, cherry, peach, etc), I have to see the heart wood coloring.
Our common birch does have a rich brown heart wood but it's rarely available.
What can you find for maples?
Even the oaks would be OK when sealed. After all, whiskey, sherry and wine barrels are white oak.

Look bigger than a 250ml (1 x 8 oz cup) measuring cup. No shot glass, please!

Crosslandkelly has a great idea = small pieces and work from a glue up.
Not quite so "organic" but a dramatic combination will look good.
 

Keith_Beef

Native
Sep 9, 2003
1,331
237
51
Yvelines, north-west of Paris, France.
Hmm...walnut!
I can easily lay my hands on some walnut. Not so sure I can get a bit with the right diameter though.
There's some apple trees being felled in a nearby orchard. I'm sure I could find a piece the right size. Anyone know what sort of colour and grain it is?
The last time I picked up a chunk of apple wood, it ad been knocked off the tree by a lightening strike. Away from the scorched bits, it was rather pale, without a great deal of visible grain.

There are loads of pictures of different varieties of wood on the Intarwebs, just look at any site selling the stuff. Apple and pear wood are widely sold.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,260
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Fruit tree wood, or anything with leaves.


If you can not find a burl, then the next best option is to use a branch with a heavy bend in it.
You want the fibers to run alongside the cup as much as possible.

Remember, you can stain pale woods. Birch is excellent to stain with coffee. Which also water proofs and impregnates it.
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,451
1,497
McBride, BC
Fruit trees do not usually have a very big core of dark heart wood. Branches will be mostly a loss.
You're lookin for the very oldest part of the main stem, possible the bottom 6' of the entire tree.

By the time you see it, some idiot has probably split it all to burn.
You have to split off all the pale sap wood and keep that core piece.

I have some 6" apple with heart wood and all split quite badly.
I might be able to resaw a lot of it for a glue up (and keep the rest of it for meat smoke wood!)
I like that glue-up idea the more I think about it.
 

bobnewboy

Settler
Jul 2, 2014
907
311
North West Somerset
Glue up is all very well, but it would only work well once the wood is properly dried / seasoned. That would lead to it being pretty hard to carve. So if the wish is to enjoy the carving rather than the result, a piece of green wood would be better. If the end result is all, then glueing up very different woods would produce a nice result.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,451
1,497
McBride, BC
There's not a single chance in Hello that the grain runs in one direction in a birch burl.

Resawing pieces with the obvious grain of fruitwoods should be simple.

In any case, power carve the piece. At least hog out the bulk of the waste wood.
Electic drill, 1/2" Forstner bit, drill a net of holes, bash out the webbing.
Then settle down to the fun fine carving part.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,435
2,623
Mid Wales
There's not a single chance in Hello that the grain runs in one direction in a birch burl.

Resawing pieces with the obvious grain of fruitwoods should be simple.

In any case, power carve the piece. At least hog out the bulk of the waste wood.
Electic drill, 1/2" Forstner bit, drill a net of holes, bash out the webbing.
Then settle down to the fun fine carving part.
Oooh, sacrilege! ... No, I agree - use what you've got

And, you can do so much with paler wood - birch can take on great character when lightly scorched and polished; apple, and other fruits woods, can be only-slightly darkened with all sorts of natural colours such as coffee (as suggested) or elder etc. that bring out much more complexity to the grain. I'd go fruit wood (apple, cherry, plum) every time for a vessel :)
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,260
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Even a piece with a slight bend is better than as straight as Nature can create.
I personally like the part between the main bole and where a branch attaches.
On my amateurish creations, some of the nicest grains is from this area.

Also roots are nice, or the area between the root and bole.

My family hates it when I stop the car when I see an interesting piece. Building sites are good here in Paradise.
 
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quietone

Full Member
May 29, 2011
763
23
Wales
DSC_0633.JPG I too have some spalted birch left, which has a really good spalting. Also some spalted monkey puzzle if you're interested. The puzzle is not as dramatic as the birch, and will also be harder to carve. Just settle the postage as suggested above like above. See attached images for an example of spalting. These have has a little oil rubbed in. Edit, thinking more on it, I may even have a birch burl going spare too, with a really good birds eye grain. I've carved a couple of these, and they are a real joy to carve and an experience to savour. Can't promise the burl though as I'm not sure where it is. Edit again, sorry, forgot to mention the blocks I have are very well seasoned, so will require a firm hand to carve. Sorry the images are in an odd order.
monkey puzzle.jpg
spalted birch.jpg
 
Last edited:

cascare

Full Member
Dec 10, 2012
69
10
Cleasby
I too have some spalted birch left, which has a really good spalting. Also some spalted monkey puzzle if you're interested. The puzzle is not as dramatic as the birch, and will also be harder to carve. Just settle the postage as suggested above like above. See attached images for an example of spalting. These have has a little oil rubbed in. Edit, thinking more on it, I may even have a birch burl going spare too, with a really good birds eye grain. I've carved a couple of these, and they are a real joy to carve and an experience to savour. Can't promise the burl though as I'm not sure where it is. Edit again, sorry, forgot to mention the blocks I have are very well seasoned, so will require a firm hand to carve.
View attachment 51494
View attachment 51495
Those look stunning, especially the bootom 2
 

Rorschach

Full Member
May 22, 2018
34
11
50
Finland
Perhaps alder? Although spalted birch of course is the traditional one. I do not think spruce or pine would work at all.

When the Kuksa is ready you need to offer it a drink first :) That is, quality cognaq or single malt whiskey sitting in it over a night or a bit longer. It will sink in nicely.
 

Rorschach

Full Member
May 22, 2018
34
11
50
Finland
Not Kosken?
It seems you know your Nordic neighbours and their habits :biggrin:

A vodka type alcohol probably does not work because they are not that flavour rich.

I would use Jura Prophecy, it is my personal favourite among good single malts :)

By the way Janne, Koskenkorva is actually made in the community/town where I am from!
 
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