Picture of Kuksa- wooden cup
A Kuksa is a wooden cup of finish origin, they are usually carved from a burl of a birch tree. This is where the tree has grown in response to damage or stress and is rounded in shape.

Unfortunately i don't live in an area where birch are all that common and couldn't find any burls on other pieces of wood. This resulted in a slightly square looking cup as i had to use a straight grained piece of beech. 

The end result looked nice but i had a few issues with splits along the way, and a few cracks in the finished product. 
As with most things i tried to used the very simplest of tools, things that you could use in the bush to create what you need, though with this project i did cheat a little bit and used an electric sander to do some of the rough sanding. 

Materials and tools:

Wood- preferably a birch burl (burls can also be found on most species of tree, olive and walnut give great results.)
Saw- to trim up the log.
Axe- for rough shaping, much quicker and easier than using a saw in my opinion.
Hook knife- for carving out the bowl of the cup.
Knife- to clean up some of the rougher shaping.
Sandpaper (electric sander)- i used grades 60, 80, 100 and 150 for sanding.
Sanding sponges- grades 180 and 240 for fine sanding.
Pan, salt and water- to boil kuksa to remove tannins from the wood.
Oil, cloth- i used olive oil as it doesn't contaminate whatever you have in the cup, unlike linseed.
svataja2 years ago
You might have avoided the cracking if you dried it slowly in a plastic bag. Loosely fold the open end of the bag so it will dry over several weeks.
the binks (author)  svataja2 years ago
The cracks appeared during the boiling, not during the drying. They actually closed up whilst it dried.
the binks (author)  svataja2 years ago
The cracks appeared during the boiling, not during the drying. They actually closed up whilst it dried.
the binks (author) 2 years ago
Thanks, its just a shame i couldn't find any burls. Still im really happy with the results. The pictures don't really do justice to the pattern of the grain.
loony12 years ago
Christened with whiskey...nice touch man. Great project and very nicely detailed for those that have never carved. I just may have to try a couple of these.
gcanders2 years ago
Beautiful. Thanks for posting this.
seolfor2 years ago
Very nice work. Yes, the boiling will "soften" the wood as it opens the grain. To seal the cups and bowls I have made, I use a mix of food grade mineral oil and beeswax (about a 1 to 1 mix melted together in a double boiler). You can speed the drying process by leaving the cup in an gas oven, with the oven door cracked, with just the pilot light. I don't recommend turning the oven on, as drying it to fast can cause uneven drying and cracking. I look forward to seeing further instructables by you.
the binks (author)  seolfor2 years ago
Even drying on the windowsill some cracks opened up but luckily they closed again with the slow drying process.
Cheers, I do have a few other things in the works. Including a knife similar to the one that can be seen in the pictures above.