It’s been a while since I’ve shown a carving project here at the blog. Ok, ok, the only thing I’ve ever shown that could be called a carving project was the snowshoeing pole I made last winter. Anyway, I’ve been planning on doing more carving projects for a while, and as anybody who lives in the far north can tell you, a lazy weekend during the long, dark winter is the perfect time to bang something out, so that’s what I did. Allow me to introduce you to the 4-in-1 camp kitchen multitool (and the tools I used to make it):
It slices, it dices, it blends…eh…well, it doesn’t do any of that, but what it does do is to meet several needs I have while preparing food in the wilds. The most obvious function is that of a spatula. I wanted something softer than my metal spoon which I could use to stir food in my frying pan. (By the way, the brown spots you see are part of the natural coloring of the wood.)
I don’t usually eat things like pasta, rice and other such meals with a fork while camping, simply preferring my spoon instead (I don’t carry a metal fork at all), but when it comes to holding a piece of meat or sausage while I take bites from it, a fork like the one shown here really comes in handy. It can also be used as a grill fork to manipulate the meat while it’s cooking on a grill/grate.
Surely you also noticed the notch on the side of the spatula head. I call this the pot-lifter, because, well, that’s what I’m going to use it for! Instead of burning my fingers or using a stick of questionable strength, I’ll just hook the bail of my pot or kettle with the notch and lift away.
The last function might be a bit of a stretch, but I plan on using this tool as a kind of fire poker or “coal shuffler”. Being made of wood, it’ll obviously be best suited for quick reshuffling of coals and firewood with the spatula end, and not for prolonged use.
The piece of birch I used to make this tool was originally headed for the inferno of a wood stove full of glowing coals at a relative’s house, but I managed to “rescue” it just in the nick of time. My plan was to use only my Finnish puukko knife for the entire project, but the work of thinning out the spatula head became tedious after a while, so I used a rasp to speed up the process. After I was finished with the knife and rasp work, I gave the tool a quick, light sanding. The whole project took longer than it would have if I had used a hatchet or carving axe to rough out the general shape of it prior to taking the knife to it, but for some reason I felt compelled to do (almost) the whole job using only my knife, so that’s how I did it. All that’s left to do now is to raise the grain of the wood by wetting it and then sanding it after it’s dried. I’ll probably give it a light coating of oil after that as well.
As an aside, the knife I used for this project is a traditional forged puukko style knife made by Antti Mäkinen. I bought this knife from Antti at a knife show in 2009, and it has served me well since then. The carbon steel blade is 7 cm/2.8″ long and has a Scandi grind with a microbevel. The handle material is rowan/European mountain ash.
I thoroughly enjoyed this simple carving project and look forward to the next one. Let me know what you think!