Last year I experimented with charring the interior of a cherry bowl with a carefully applied propane torch. I liked the contrast between the cherry and the black charring enough that I decided to “cogitate on my veritabilities” ( in the words of my best friend while I was on the road). Having initiated the process, it promptly went nowhere until I started my annual fall spoon-carving frenzy.
Sometime in the fall, I’ll go into a craze and whack out forty or fifty spoons, spatulas, wooden forks, and a few cherry bowls. First, I do rough shapes, bowls, and final shaping and finishing. At any point, you might see buckets of treen ( an old word for wooden kitchenware) waiting for the next process. While finishing, I decided to scorch some spoon bowls and see how the finish would look.
Well, I spoiled the first three right away. Too much scorching and char and too much heat on the wood resulted in split spoon bowls. After that, I did the scorching in small increments to avoid over-burning or heating the wood. Afterward, the ash and profound char must be removed. Since the bowl was shaped and sanded beforehand, you do this by lightly sanding and buffing the bowl. You are left with a blackened bowl that stands out against the bright color of the cherry. You can now finish the bowl with mineral oil and beeswax.
I can assure you that I did not come up with this idea. I just decided to refine the technique for some of my treen. So, I’ve gifted some of these spoons to friends this fall, and the “Carreras Test Kitchen” will try out the new “old” product.
I am rather pleased with the look. Also, the process of charring, sanding and buffing leaves a super smooth bowl interior that feels pleasant to the touch. Not all the bowls wind up uniformly blackened. Variations depend on the char’s depth and the wood’s nature.
I’m not through with this technique, and I’ll continue playing with it.