Ancient Crafts: Adding Design with Kohlrosing

~ Kohlrosing ~

/coal – rose – ing/

…ancient technique for carving ornamentation in spoons…

…uses stab cuts that displace rather than remove wood fibers. Incised designs…are filled with pigment to accentuate the design.

The Artful Wooden Spoon
pine cone chip-carving, kohlrosed

Simple tools, simple techniques, surprising results!

Kohlrosing is a Scandinavian technique that gives extra contrast to simple chip carvings. These carvings are typically found on spoon handles and bowl edges. The use of different powders with different woods can create a wide variety of looks, and even simple designs really benefit from this simple method of creating contrasting colors.

The process begins with a sharp knife and an idea.

On this particular mild winter day in the forest, Joe laid out a line-drawing of one of our local balsam-fir pine cones, and traced the design completely with a series of slicing cuts.

Just a sprinkling of coffee grounds completes the look! Our grounds were a bit coarse, so after rubbing them in, Joe gave them a little extra crush with the flat of his blade.

Kohlrosing at
…a little coffee….
…a little gentle pressure…
a close-up of a kohlrosed carving of a pine cone
…hello, pine cone!

When the surface is scraped clean, you have a nice dark line standing out against a pale background.

The old ways still stand the test of time. A sharp knife, a little coffee, a natural design that will last a lifetime!

by Sydney Michalski

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