Celtic mash paddle

Saturday, May 3, 2014

This was a project I did a while back and am just now getting around to posting pictures of it. This project was a lot of fun, for one I have never dabbled in wood carving before and it gave me a reason to try my hand at making mosaic pins. So a Mash paddle is a tool used in brewing beer (is basically a big stir stick) I wanted to play around with a carving project and this gave me that opportunity. Typically a mash paddle is pretty basic, but whats the fun in being basic when you got skills right!

Because this was my first attempt at carving I used a softer wood (poplar) which I would have rather used oak or maple, but finding maple in Florida is damn near impossible. This paddle is more decoration than functional. Like I said I was looking more at the carving aspect that the practicality of the piece, but the next one I do will be oak.

I started out by laying down a pattern on a 3/4 board, then used a jigsaw to cut out the body of the paddle.

 Once the body was cut out, I drilled holes in each negative space on the knot section of the paddle. Then using a copping saw I cut out each negative space. This part takes a while so don't get frustrated.

After a rough sanding to clean up the edges and crevices, next is time to break out the chisels. Now I would not recommend using carpenters chisels but if that's all you got I'm sure you can pull it off with some fineness and patient. What I would recommend are carving chisels, you will have more versatility than you will with a straight edge chisel.

To get the affect that the wood is knotted, I dug down a 1/4 inch or so on the parts that would give it a uniformed weaved affect. It sounds more difficult than it is, the hardest part of doing a Celtic knot is making sure its consistent.

After I was satisfied with the knot work I carved a Scottish thistle in the handle, and because this is not a functional piece I used a not food grade stain. If this was a functional paddle I would have used a butcher block stain that is food grade or I would have just used mineral oil.  

I was really happy with the final product and would defiantly make another. As always I hope you enjoyed the post, if you have any feedback feel free to leave a comment and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!

Remember, all that makes a person an expert in a craft is practice!


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