Just thought I'd share, now, about 1 week later, how the "scraped" gourds are doing, and how well they turned out compared to the heavily-molded gourds I tried to scrape/clean at the same sitting...
The first image shows four frames, with the first ones illustrating how I do it (using backedge of kitchen "butter knife"); you can easily see the "skin" as it scrapes off in peels and hunks. Then, I took a pic of the finished gourd, just after scraping. Finally, a new pic of the same gourd, but days later -- a happy, golden, well-dried and ready for crafting piece!
Not every "scraped" gourd will react and dry/cure this speedily, however. I'm sure it all depends on the stage it's at (just before mold "takes over" is when I like to do it), the size, where the gourd is residing during the curing phase (mine are all inside now, in cooler, darker areas of the house), etc.
I can say, however, that I have only lost ONE gourd (well, besides one I soaked too long) after "scraping", and THAT specimen was ALREADY an "iffy", with some oozing going on near a softer neck... and with that one, I was HOPING my scraping would help to SAVE it. Four days later, the oozing was worse, the stink was incredible (ever get so busy you forget a lidded pan of mac n cheese on the stovetop, and lift the lid a day or two later? yep, that's it...), and that gourd is back out on the porch again, to live with whatever fate has in store for it...
Now, I'm including this set of pics because it shows a PERFECT candidate for "scraping": this gourd had little to no mold, was WELL-DRIED and you could hear the seeds thumping/rattling inside when shaken, but the "skin" did have a slight greenish tint to it, and some mold HAD started to make an appearance (see some spotting on the gourd). THOSE small spots VANISHED almost entirely during "scraping" , and this one was super easy to scrape, taking half the time most of the others did. It was a bit like peeling the skin off a sunburned shoulder or back...zzzzssstt!
One more, this of my "surprise" favorite this year, one of two "volunteer" gooseneck gourds that turned amongst my Apple gourd area. I lost the younger of the two when I went to pull it off the vine (note to self, and others: DO NOT hold a gooseneck by the NECK when pulling or carrying until it's DRIED and HARD-SHELLED!!!), but the one saved is a luscious dreamgirl now.
Scraped this one about two weeks ago. One of the pics shows the gourd about 4 days after scraping: note the lighter area above the base of the neck, where the drying process is moving "downward". Had me worried for a few days, but the bulb of the gourd dried almost completely in less than a week!
I CAN'T WAIT to do something artistic with this baby...
Okay, just one more, really...
My gooseneck honey, beside one of my typically-sized (6 - 8" diameter) bottles. It actually can STAND alone, although you have to find that "sweet spot" first, so it'll be easy, later during sanding, to make that spot a little flatter and safer for standing.
Like the Apple Gourds, it came off the vine with its shell/skin still dark green and speckled. Even up until I scraped it, several weeks ago, it was still "green". I did not even think about scraping it until, one afternoon, I noticed a small spot where my fingernail had accidentally (during moving or rearranging) nicked away some of that green skin: underneath was a warm honey-gold patch of SHELL. I tried the same thing to the round bulb, scraping a tiny shred away with my fingernail, and waited. About three or four days later, I checked, and...voila! -- same unmistakeable dry golden "shell" exposed!
Only then did I go to the scraping process with this gooseneck AND my Apple gourds (they were similarily green-skinned anomalies, in contrast to the progress of the bottle gourds), and it was with trepidation...
I am so happy with the results, and will confidently try this again with the next goosenecks or apples in my future!
I really like that you use a knife for the scraping (does it leave any scratches?) ... also, was wondering if you put them into a bucket with bleach water to whiten them afterwards? Although, those designs the mold leaves look pretty cool too. Usually I soak them and then use the rubber/metal scrubbers to take off the mold, and the metal ones leave lines if you scrub too hard.
I love your detailed photos.. keep them coming, they are very inspiring and may get me going..lol.
Yes, it CAN leave scratches if it's done too "vigorously" or with too much pressure: the skin should simply peel off easily, once you have the 'feel' for it (takes some practice). AND, there are differences in gourds that make some more 'scratch-prone' than others, I think... Only ONE gourd I've scraped, thus far, looks 'scratched', but I'm wondering if this wasn't an anomaly in the first place, as that particular gourd was 'different' even in the garden, with an odder skin pattern and color than the others. It's actually one of my FAVORITES, now that it has dried completely and had a coat or two of maple stain (see the pic I've attached).
But 99.9% of my scraped gourds show not a scratch! It was like spreading soft butter on a warm piece of toast... :-)
No, I don't 'soak' or immerse them afterwards, bleach or otherwise; I DO, however, give them a wipe with a damp 'bleachy' towel or rag just after, and about once a week or two for awhile (it speeds the last-stage drying process and helps impede potential mold). I must say, I haven't really thought about trying to get the gourds to go 'whiter'... hmmm.
I agree on liking BOTH the 'creamy, unblemished' scraped gourds AND the natural, molded then cleaned/dried ones... some of the patterns are so cool I'd not want to paint them, but rather stain and work WITH those natural designs. But boy, do I love discovering new ways to INTERACT with my gourds, having different ways to effect changes to their appearance, even before I get to the final 'artistic' phase!
For a first year, I feel blessed, and am SO HOOKED... :-)