In this article we will go through the main steps of carving a spoon, for each step you will find a link to a more detailed article.
There are many ways to carve a wooden spoon, the method this Blog is focused on is greenwood carving using only hand tools.
To carve a spoon we start with a branch or a section of a log that has been recently cut-off or sealed and properly stored so that it hasn’t lost its humidity.
Before cutting the pieces we need to figure out what is the directions of the grain (fibers) of the wood to forsee the shape it will allow us to make. This subject is better explained in the next article: Understanding the grain and wood movement
The natural curvature of the branches can be used for the organic design of the spoon. That way, if the spoon design we want has a crank or curvature, it is not forced on a straigt grain structure which causes weak points of short grain. This subject is explained in detail in the article: The design and the grain
Once we have prepared a piece of wood we can draw the design on the surface as a guide.
For inspiration on designing a spoon we can search some Google Images of “Wooden Spoon Design”
In this next article we can find diferent designs from the best carvers in the world according to Robin Wood:http://www.robin-wood.co.uk/wood-craft-blog/2013/12/26/20-best-wooden-spoons-world/
For more information on designing your own spoon read the article: Designing a wooden spoon
Before beginning to carve we must always remember the MOST IMPORTANT aspect in Spoon Carving: The direction of the grain. Only by understanding the direction of the grain we will learn to used the tools in a correct way. You can read more about this important subject in Following the grain: The direction of the cut
Once we have our design and the correct sized piece of wood, we can start by removing most of the wood using the Axe.
BUT… ¡I DON’T OWN AN AXE!What if we don’t own or don’t want to use an axe? If we have a branch or a section of a log, how can we cut if to a general shape before moving to the carving knives?
As an alternative to the axe we can use electric powertools like a Jigsaw or a small Band Saw If we don’t have access to power tools we can go to a local wood workshop and they can make the cuts for us.
BUT! don’t forget about the grain direction on that piece of wood. When we mechanize wood with power tools the cuts don’t necesarilly follow the grain, as opposed to using the axe that is guided by the fibers naturally, making sure we have a piece of wood with the grain in the right direction to start carving.
Depending on our skill with the axe we can come closer to the general outline of our spoon, this way the carving time is reduced because everything that we don’t remove with the Axe will have to be removed with the knives that are not as efficient.
Once we have removed as much wood as we can with the Axe we can start using the carving knives.
The basic carving knives are a Straight Knife and a Hook Knife for the bowl.
In the next video we can see one of the best carvers: Barnaby Alexander Carder, known as Barn The Spoon carve a spoon in less than an hour.
Barn has plenty of experience carving spoons and perfectly masters the techniques so for your own safety don’t try to imitate him.
We must realize that the tools we are using can be very dangerous and make sure to use restricted and controlled movements when carving and also never carve in the direction of our own limbs if we are cutting in free motion. We cannot rely on our own reflexes.
And now… Let’s carve a spoon!
I hope everyone enjoys all the content provided in this Blog and I’m able to continue sharing more information about Spoon Carving.