Teaching Spoon and bowl carving courses I am always looking for quality carving tools. I prefer to support small businesses and craftsmen keeping traditional skills alive. If we do not support artisan crafts people then we cannot complain when their skills are but a memory. That said a tool must perform the task it was designed for efficiently. If the tool is elegant as well then you know you have a keeper.
Belzeboo Ctrafts is owned by Miguel Laranjeira. A fellow Greenwood tool maker and Bladesmith based in Portugal. I have been watching his progress via social media for some time and have liked the look of his work. Although a picture on a computer screen doesn’t really tell the whole story. A lot of tools look the part but do not work. Either they are made of chocolate or are too hard to sharpen. Others have appalling edge geometry.
I am rather fond of loop knives or scorps. I currently own several from different crafts people. However you can never have enough tools when you’re teaching. Therefore I needed to purchase a few more sharps. Fortunately i had reached the top of the 2 year waiting list for Nic Westermann so I placed an order for some of his tools. Unfortunately Nic doesnt retail a loop knife. Lee Stoffer had none in stock. Then by the power of facebook I saw that Belzeboo was starting to make scorps. I quickly fired off a message asking for one of the first production runs. Seemed like a good excuse to finally get my hands on a Belzeboo tool. Miguel responded promptly telling me he wasn’t quite happy with the quality of the scorps and would need more time to practice before he was comfortable retailing them.
A month later I got a message he was about to start the first production run. Did I still want to purchase one? mmm. let me see? I checked my PayPal account and fired over the 84 Euro for a bare blade including postage from Portugal.
Miguel was excellent to deal with posting the loop knife promptly and keeping me informed.
I have never been good at waiting for the postie but 2 days later the package arrived. The blade was well packaged with no risk of it escaping the packing and biting the delivery drivers, Although it nearly bit me removing all the wrapping.
I bought the scorp with the intention of writing this review so I was always going to be ultra critical and focus on any flaws. Also Belzeboo Crafts had a very high standard to live up too as my go to spoon tool is my Lee Stoffer/Nic Westermann collaboration. I am very pleased to report that I couldn’t find any major flaws. the shape is what I was looking for. it is not a simple copy of Nics design.
The edge wasnt a mirror finish as you receive with Nics tools I think Miguel could have spent a little more time removing the finer grind marks towards the edge. The edge cut wood out of the pack but wasn’t scary sharp. Very few tools in my experience arrive scary sharp. Some arrive blunt and others come close but Im mildly obsessed with sharpening so wanted to see what sort of edge this blade would take.
I spent some extra time sharpening this beauty to remove the visible grind lines and to refine the edge. It was not a big deal. The blade comes sharp enough to carve green wood.
to ensure a fair review I review I have been using the loop knife pretty much exclusively on a range of woods from seasoned Laburnum or fresh cut Hazel. The tool holds its edge very well and the edge geometry is good for spoon carving. After 20-30 minutes of heavy work I take the blade back to the leather strop. After carving 6 butter knives with just the blade I only needed to use my ultra fine ceramic stone to bring the edge back
Fit for Purpose – 5/5 – Does exactly what it says on the tin!
Versatility – 5/5 – I have used the tool enough now to know I can carve with confidence using this tool. the blade shape enables me to carve a range of spoon shapes and sizes.
Durability – 4/5 – Good.
Value for Money – 4/5 84 Euro delivered seemed to be a fair price for the tool. I have paid more for tools recently and not been as happy with them.
Overall – 4/5
To achieve a 5/5 is nearly impossible when you’re looking at a tool for review. Any minor blemishes get magnified and you focus on anything less than perfect, However this Scorp – Loop Knife came pretty close. I am uncertain what the waiting list is going to be for Belzeboo Crafts as Miguel gets greater brand awareness. For now if you are looking for a well made tool and a reasonable price without waiting months for the tool you could do a lot worse than dropping Belzeboo a few credits. The blade holds a fine edge even when used by a novice carver. Miguel was a pleasure to order from so to conclude:
Would I purchase another?