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How To Make A Wooden Spoon

Wooden spoons have been around for thousands of years.

Since humans started to prepare food we’ve used spoons.

They are tried and tested, from Finnish licking spoons to Welsh cawl spoons and since they were first carved from a tree all those thousands of years ago, little has changed in their design. 

There are not a lot of everyday functional objects that have been around for so long that has stood the test of time.   

So, why should you learn?

It’s pure analogue bliss!

How satisfying to make something with your own hands that could last you a lifetime.  Whittling away on your back porch, just you and your thoughts.

Here is how you do it:

What you will need: 

Tree branch – freshly cut and with as few knots as possible
Small axe or hatchet
Wood carving knife for shaping
Spoon carving hook knife
Pencil

Method:

  1. Use a small, sharp axe or hatchet on your log or branch to split it down to a more workable size
  2. Use the axe to remove the pith, which is the thin line running down the middle of a half split branch, or down the inner edge of a quarter split log
  3. With a pencil, draw the spoon outline on the flattest surface. Make it your spoon!
  4. Chop away the superfluous wood with the axe. Hold the spoon blank on the chopping block at about a 45° angle, fingers out of the way and holding the axe near its head. Chop with your forearm and wrist.
  5. Now it’s time to whittle! Use the knife to refine the shape of your spoon.
  6. Using the hook knife, scoop out the ‘bowl’ of the spoon. Start in the middle of the bowl and make thin cuts across the grain that expand to the outside of the bowl.
  7. Keep whittling away until you’re happy with your spoon. Know when to stop!
  8. Dry the spoon in an airy space away from the elements for a week or two.
  9. Sand it smooth if you want, but it tells a better story if you can see the tool marks.

Things to remember:

  • Lots of varieties of wood can be used so long as they’re not poisonous. Try she oak, native cherry, wattles like blackwood, fruit wood, or gums like silver top ash.
  • Always carve from a high point on the spoon to a low point.
  • Wear a tough apron.
  • Take your time.

Other references:

Jeff the Spoonsmith can be contacted for spoon advice, spoon tools and sales via his website: www.spoonsmith.com.au or via Instagram: @thespoonsmith.

 
 

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