So you're just about finished with your woodworking project, maybe you've made some spoons, a nice box, a beautiful cutting board, or some otherreally coolthing. But before you're done it needs a little something, something to really make it unique. You could add some nice paint detail, or burn a pattern into it, or you could try your hand at my favorite - Kolrosing! Kolrosing is a very old Scandinavian decorative craft whereby wood is basically tattooed. Unlike carving or engraving no material is removed from the piece, rather, a fine cut is made straight into the wood and some darker material is rubbed into the cut, leaving the cuts nicely darkened. Originally coal dust or pine bark sawdust were used. It's a simple method, requiring tools you may already have lying around, and depending on the design you use it could be very easy or quite a challenge. Another reason I like this method is the level of fine detail one is able to produce. I'm by no means an expert, but I know enough to get you started, so here we go!
You will need:
Wood - yep!
sandpaper - 400 grit or more
knife - I recommend an Xacto if you're starting, but you could use a pocket knife or a specialty Kolrosing knife. Kolrosing knives have grips like a fine pen, and short, stout blades optimized for making shallow incisions. I'll be upgrading to one of these as soon as I can afford it.
very very fine coffee grounds - or similar dark powder, I've used ground cinnamon with good results.
wood finish of your preference - Danish oil, linseed or mineral or walnut oil, varnish, etc.
White glue - for 'fixing' mistakes
Step 1: Wood Selection
For this instructable I'll be demonstrating on a spoon I've made from maple (it's one of my favorite woods, and I have an abundance) and recycling some photos from older projects, also in maple. Maybe later I'll try with maple burl!
Step 2: Wood Preperation
Really, this isn't totally required, but it does keep you from having to sand too much later on.
Step 3: Laying Out Your Pattern
Step 4: Cut
There are two ways of holding and using your knife- pushing and pulling. I almost always hold the knife like a pencil and draw toward myself. Occasionally (this is easier for tight turns) I'll face the blade away from myself, hold and position the knife while applying light downward pressure with my right hand, and push with the tip of my left thumb. With this method my left thumb is planted on the piece and i sort of roll it forward to push the blade along. With practice you'll find which methods work best for you under different circumstances, but I recommend you start with the pencil grip pulling toward yourself.
Step 5: Oops!
I've included a picture of one that I really messed up on a lot to make you feel better, and to show that, in the end, you won't even be able to tell!
Step 6: Apply Filler Medium (coffee Grounds)
Step 7: Sand and Finish
Now you can finish the piece for good! Applying a little oil or varnish won't wash away the coffee, and will in fact seal it in the wood and make the kolrosing 'pop' a bit more! Use whatever finish you like, and be sure to post pics in the comments!!
Thanks for reading, please let me know in the comment section if you have any suggestions for improvement!