Stages of Carving a Spoon

The stages start with a split branch of green wood. I start off with a sharp hatchet, but here are some finished spoons to give an idea of where we’re headed:

three spoons
first, some finished spoons: (l to r) one of mine, a traditional (eastern European?) spoon, which might be boxwood, and a Bill Coperthwaite spoon.
spoon stages14
finished spoons, other side; click on the photo to see more about the geometry and design of the lovely center spoon.
spoon stages1
6 stages of roughing out a spoon (from R. to L! My brain was in another country). Hatching (in red/black) shows the wood to be removed. Simple, quick strokes of the hatchet, always working in facets at 90° to each other. Squareness allows you to see the proportions immediately.
spoon stages2
1st cut: bevel the back of the bowl
spoon stages3
rough out the bowl (in general, the bowl should be 1/3 of the total length of the spoon)
spoon stages4
shape the handle; keep the edges clean!
spoon stages5
when shaping the handle, you can usually get most of the waste wood off with one or two splitting blows from the end going down to the bowl
spoon stages6
taking out the small wedge between bowl and handle establishes the all-important angle that keeps the soup in the spoon on its way to your mouth!
spoon stages7
after you take out the small wedge, you shape the handle accordingly. The tricky bit is cutting the face of the bowl: it takes a cross-grain slice, with the spoon laying sideways on the block. Stay tuned for a video or time-lapse…
spoon stages8
you could eat with it!
spoon stages9
but it will be more beautiful if you finish shaping: this is the first time you’ll cut at less than a 90° angle, but keep the cuts roughly symmetrical
spoon stages10
shaping the roundness of the bowl is where you start needing more control than a hatchet provides; use a knife
spoon stages11
facets show the volumetric proportions. It’s important to keep the edge of the bowl a consistent thickness. If you don’t, you may have to adjust the shape of the bowl to accommodate thinner or thicker spots at the edges.
spoon stages12
Only now do you need a crooked knife or gouge to hollow out the bowl
spoon stages13
You can get to this stage in short order; finishing can be long and slow, or quick and dirty. I like a blade finish, and it’s a good challenge to see how well you can round things with just a blade; on some woods you can use a scraper, too.

 

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