Spoon Carving from Green Wood


| 12/10/2014 8:35:00 AM


wooden spoon

If you can make kindling, you can carve a spoon. And mastering spoon carving will not only help you make bowls, ladles, and shovels (and musical instruments -- big ladles covered with skins and strings), it will also develop all the cutting and shaping skills you'll need to make that timber frame you've been dreaming about. And, it's a great joy to take a bit of branch and with little more than a knife, turn it into a beautiful tool to fill your empty belly and please your eyes and hands.

Long before industrial factories started cranking out millions of metal and plastic utensils, spoons were common (and disposable) as seashells on the beach, or chips of wood at the chopping block. Consider that in the Romance languages the word "spoon" comes from a root meaning "shell," while in English it comes from an Indo-European root meaning "chip of wood."

So for all you shell-less dry-landers, almost any fresh bit of branch wood can make you a rough and ready (or polished and elegant) spoon.

First, sharpen your hatchet and knife (good books have been written about sharpening, so I won't go into it here except to say that the sharper your tools, the easier the work and the better the results).



Just about any wood will do. It all depends on what grows in your neighborhood. Alder is common, fine-grained, easy to carve, and holds up well to repeated wetting and drying. Apple is nice, but seems more prone to cracking over the long haul. Softwoods like cedar and fir are carveable, but tend to be stringy and tough to work, unless they have very tight growth rings. The only wood I've ever tried that I absolutely couldn't carve was Asian pear -- I could barely get the knife into it!





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