Learn how to carve a Smoky Mountain Kuksa.

Master Woodsman James Gibson takes you step by step from rough log to carved kuksa cup. By the end of this course you'll know how to design, carve, and care for your own Smoky Mountain Kuksa.


What is a Kuksa?

A kuksa is a hand-carved wooden cup with origins in the Nordic regions of the world. However, adaptations of the traditional Nordic kuksa are found all over the world. Legend has it that a rite of passage for every woodsman or woman requires the carving of their own wooden kuksa. Kuksas are perfect for a enjoying a cup of hot coffee or tea by the campfire before turning in at night. While many kuksas are carved from the burl of a tree, James Gibson will teach you how to carve yours from a section of log - in Smoky Mountain tradition.
What is a Kuksa?

Course Objectives

What can you expect to learn?

  • Learn about Kuksa Styles

  • Get Design Layout ideas

  • Learn about Burnishing Tools

  • Learn about the Carving Tools and Axes needed a

  • Learn to make a kuksa from log to field ready utensil

  • Learn carving techniques and processes

  • Learn how to oil and care for your kuksa



Included in this course is an instant PDF download for James’ Kuksa carving guide that he gives only to personal students at his onsite classes.

Meet Your Instructor

  • James Gibson

    Outdoor Skills Instructor

    James Gibson

    James Gibson is an ABS journeyman knife maker and designers of several knives for the ESEE brand. Born and raised in the Smoky Mountains, James has a passion for the outdoors that led him learning survival skills in 1976, then knife making in the early 1980’s, and later, flintknapping. He’s trained with legendary outdoorsmen such as Tom Brown, Steve Watts, and Mors Kochanski and even holds a 6th degree black belt in Ninpo Tai-Jutsu under famed Ninja Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi. James Gibson is an instructor at Randall’s Adventure & Training (ESEE Knives) and owner of Knob Creek Forge in Seymour, Tennessee.

Course Curriculum

  • 1
    • Terms & Conditions, Disclaimers, and Waiver of Liability
  • 2
    • PDF Student Download: "Carving a KUKSA" by James Gibson
  • 3
    How to Carve a Smoky Mountain Kuksa
    • 1. Kuksa Hand Bowls
    • 2. Kuksa Carving Tools
    • 3. Preparing the Kuksa Billet
    • 4. Kuksa Layout
    • 5. Carving the Bowl
    • 6. Roughing Out the Kuksa
    • 7. Tightening up the Rough with a Saw
    • 8. Chopping and Splitting
    • 9. Carving the Handle
    • 10. Knife Carving
    • 11. Finishing Carving the Bottom
    • 12. Finish Carving
    • 13. Burnishing
    • 14. Crack Repair
    • 15. Oiling for Use

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