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How To Carve A Wooden Spoon

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Published on Jun 30, 2012

Jack and I try our hands at a little wood carving. Using the Mora Knives we purchased in Sweden we will try to carve a couple of spoons. Step 1: Selecting the Wood

There are many, many wonderful woods in the world. Some are soft (like pine) and others are hard as nails (like oak). You want to make spoons from woods hard enough to stand up to the job they do, yet not so hard you get frustrated on your first carving project. I recommend starting with something like cherry wood. It's hard enough for any kitchen spoon and fairly easy to carve. The color of cherry wood can vary from a deep pink to almost stark white. That has to do with what kind of cherry tree it was and whether it's heart or sap wood. Many of the cherry woods darken some with age and use but I rather like that look. Whatever wood you choose, it will need to be about 11 inches long, 3 inches wide and about an inch thick. Next decide which side of your piece of wood is the top of the spoon. Trees grow in rings. The top of your piece of wood should have the rings on the end sweeping up towards you. Important note: Do not use aromatic woods (like cedar for instance) for eating or kitchen utensils.
However, my first carving was made from a madrone log because that's what happened to be in my wood pile out back. I didn't know enough to pay attention to the ring pattern and it worked just fine. So grab a piece of wood and let's go to the next step.

Step 2: Choosing a Pattern

There are so many different types of wooden spoons. Some have long handles and deep bowls that are good for stirring big pots of chili or stew; some have shorter handles and make excellent batter spoons; and there are as many more styles as there are imaginations. Handles can be flat or round or a combination of the two. I suggest for your first spoon you make a standard, simple wooden spoon excellent for a number of kitchen tasks. This would be about 10 inches long including the 2 1/2 inch long bowl of the spoon and it would have a round handle. Rather than draw a spoon pattern, load it into my scanner and put it up on this page, I suggest you use one of your own kitchen spoons for a pattern (if you don't have one check a local thrift store...they'll have an old one you can use for a pattern). Lay the old spoon face down on your piece of wood and with a pencil, outline it. I've made a number of patterns over the years, from hard plastic. If you really get into this hobby, you can get more creative in your patterns later.
Step 3: Cut out the Pattern

Now it's time to cut away all that excess wood from around the pattern you drew on the slab of wood. You can do this quickly with an electric band or scroll saw, or you can use a hand held "people powered" saw. If you do it by hand, put it in a vise and keep your hands away from the cutting area (this is the voice of experience here). Make sure you leave the pencil line of your pattern -- or in other words -- cut outside the lines. If you don't have the tools or the space for cutting a chunk of wood (talking to condo dwellers here mostly), I'll soon be selling "spoon blanks" in a number of different woods and styles starting at $5 and up (SeeSpoonlady Blanks).
Step 4: Gather Your Carving Tools

The tools I use for the rest of the project are: 1) a palm carver or hand held #5 spoon scoop with about a 6mm sweep; 2) a small carving knife; 3) handled rasp; 4: goose neck scraper; 5) a small file; 6) a piece of thick leather to lay across your thigh; A chunk of leather glove with a thumb hole cut in it; 7) lots and lots of sand paper (more on the type later).

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