Last winter I made a quaich for a friend’s birthday. Pronounced ‘quake’; a traditional Scottish drinking vessel with handles. In Ireland they are called cuachs. I have made them from spalted birch, beech, holly and apple but the above were turned from cherry. They’re turned with handles which is a bit more tricky than turning un-handled bowls. When spinning back and forth on the lathe, the two handles appear as if they are one complete rim. I use this illusion to give me something to work from, as well as going by feel; the tool cutting but not jamming between the handles. Once turned, the handles are then finished with a carving knife and any remaining wood along the un-turned band between the handles is also knife carved. This results in an attractive dimpled/textured band between the handles, contrasting nicely with the fine lines left by turning with the hook tools.
These were turned on a bright winter day, (along with the carved rim bowl inspired by my Irish friend Terence). The wood for the bowl is Alder, a whitish wood which oxidises a nice warm orange/brown colour soon after being cut. The quaichs were finished with beeswax. The birthday gift was much appreciated and has since been ‘tested’ on several occasions with good single malt whisky.