Handcarved Wooden Spoons
Spoons come in many shapes and sizes, eating spoons, cooking spoons and serving spoons.
I make all three in a variety of styles depending on what wood is being used and the shape of the branch from which it is being made.
To be strong enough to stand daily use, the spoon should follow the grain of the wood, so a few bends and natural curves are what I look for in raw materials.
Also, the type of wood is important. Birch, sycamore and closely grained fruitwoods are my local favourites but any resilient hardwood could be used.
The branch or trunk is split to find a good blank for the spoon and then I work it down to what I am looking for using axes, curved hook knives and a sharp carving knife.
At this point I leave it to dry for a few days before carrying out the finishing once again with sharp knives.
Once I am pleased with the finish, I might add some decoration by chip carving a design into the handle, kohlrosing a pattern which is a bit like tattooing the wood using coffee grounds for pigment, or paint the handle for a bright and cheerful splash of colour.
As I do with all finished pieces, I treat the wood with a good soaking of hot flaxseed oil for protection and set it aside to dry.
Spoons made like this should last for years of daily use if not slip across to another generation as long as they are cared for properly. Not hard really.
Spoon care: a wooden spoon for life!
Firstly: don't leave them soaking in a washing up bowl. All they need is a rinse and a wipe. Throwing them into a dish washing machine will destroy them so avoid that!
Every now and them (every few weeks probably if you use it daily), it's a good idea to give it a rub with fresh oil when it's dry and leave it to soak into the wood grain overnight. Culinary grade flaxseed (linseed) is what I use as this is a drying oil which oxidizes when left in a warm, well aired place.That is, it sets and hardens in the wood. A good alternative which may be easier to source is Walnut oil, but only if the person who will be using it does not suffer from any nut intolerance or allergy.
These oils are good for wooden chopping boards and food bowls as well.
Other oils such as olive oil and vegetable oils don't set like flaxseed or walnut do and tend to give the spoon or bowl a sticky feel.
The final trimming of a cooking spoon made from Tulipwood.
A piece of selected sycamore branchwood is cleft to make a start. The natural sweep at a branch fork in the tree will make an excellent ladle.
Axework takes it down to the basic rough shape
After drying, sharp knives are used to complete the carving process. A splash of colour and a bit of chip carving finishes it nicely.