Carving a Spoon


                         The Basics

Green woodworking uses wood that's just been cut and has lots of moisture in it. It's much easier to work than dried wood.

Since freshly cut wood is needed, it's harvested within a close range of the shop and used before it dries.

Spoons can be carved from either branch wood or the trunk of a tree. Where you get the wood from within the tree and how it's oriented dictates the grain pattern and its strength.

Spoons are rough carved when the wood is still wet, left to dry, and then finished. Taking these finish cuts when the wood is dry leaves a much smoother look and feel.

Spoons are painted and oiled. Penetrating, polymerizing oils like linseed or tung oil are used so they can soak into the wood and harden, which forms a very layer. Olive oil and mineral oil do not cure, and not do form this hardened layer.



                              The Tools

  • A froe is used to section out a log into pieces, or to halve a branch. The pith, or center of the branch or tree, is removed. Cracks will always radiate out from it if included.

  • A carving axe is used to carve out the general shape of the spoon blank

  • The crank, or angle at which the handle relates to the bowl of spoon, is created at this stage by taking a sharp cut inward with the axe. If a branch has a natural crook or bend it can be used to establish this line. Many carvers seek these branches out because the crank follows the grain of the wood, making it an inherently stronger form.

  • A straight knife, sometimes called a sloyd knife, is used to further refine the form. Sometimes this step can also be done with a drawknife.

  • A hook knife or gouge is used to carve most of the material out of the bowl of the spoon, leaving enough so that finish cuts can be taken after the blank has dried. Taking these finish cuts after the piece has dried produces a much finer finish straight off the knife.



         How Do I Take Care of a Wooden Spoon?

Wash it with warm water and soap. Leave it to dry or dry it with a towel.

Never wash it in the dishwasher.

Don't allow it to soak in water.

If it gets dry after lots of use, recondition it with food grade linseed, walnut or tung oil. Just wipe it on, let it soak for 20 minutes, and wipe off any excess. Set it aside to fully dry.