How to make a Tvare, Quirl, or Whisk

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

This is somewhat of a “how to” instruction as to how to make a Tvare, Quirl, or Whisk – or whatever you may call it in your language – the old-fashioned, Northern European, way.

Whisk from Spruce_largeThis is a kind of simple whisk that is (hardly) known in Britain, or so it would appear, and is also only found, or was found, in certain parts of America. In almost all rural parts of Northern Europe, including Germany and Poland, for instance, aside from Scandinavia, this was the common way the “little” people made their whisks. Though they went out into the woods and cut the top of a spruce or similar kind of tree rather than – only – wait for the Christmas tree. In fact this whisk is, probably, much older even than the invention of the Christmas tree, per se.

I have made many of those kinds of whisks ever since childhood and there was a time that we were even able to sell those on markets, even in the UK. Despite the fact that they were rarely made here by the people or woodworkers.

What you need:

The top of the Christmas tree when you take it out after Christmas. Fir and spruce can be used. You will also, most certainly, need a knife and a pair of secateurs (pruners) could also come in handy for this. Alternatively find the top of such a tree in the woods after felling or thinning operations.

Depending on how long and thick the top is one or two decent branch whorls should be able to be obtained.

This is how to make it:

  1. Cut or snip off the part you will use.

  2. Remove the needles and bark.

  3. Whittle end roundish or whatever and cut small branches to an equal length

  4. If the small branches go a bit into all manner of directions leave them long and tie them up so that they dry at an even level, and only afterward cut them to the desired lengths

  5. When the whisks is dry you smooth it down with sharp knife and different grades of sandpaper.

I find this a great way to use up at least some of the parts of discarded Christmas trees after the holiday period when people tend to toss them out. Thus, during that time when those trees are put out by the kerbside for municipal collection, I can be found with a pair of secateurs on me so as to rescue the useful bits so as to have material for the making of such whisks.

© 2016