Spoon Carving

by: Elliot Siegrest Jones

You will need:

  • A carving knife
  • a sharpie or pen
  • a hook knife or gouge for the bowl (google those- a decent but cheap gouge runs about ~$20 on amazon)
  • sandpaper: ~80 grit and ~120 grit

How to do it:

  1. Start with a piece of wood to use for the spoon’s “blank.” Wood from a straight, dry tree branch, split in two, is great. Planed lumber also works if that’s what you’ve got. It should be about the size of the spoon you want to make.
  2. Draw the shape of your spoon onto the blank.
  3. Working carefully (and with good knife safety!), carve away the excess from your blank until you end up with the shape of a spoon. Avoid carving too much in spots that can create a weak point, and don’t be discouraged if it takes longer than you expect. I often find this step takes me several tries.
  4. Once the shape is about right (check it against a spoon from your drawer! Put it in your mouth!), use a hook knife or gouge to carve out the “bowl” of the spoon. Be careful not to cut through to the back. Remember- you can always remove more material, but you can never put it back.
  5. Sand your creation! Start with the low grit and work high. Make sure you give every part of the spoon a thorough workover with each grit before you move on. 80 grit will take the longest, and the spoon should be completely free of knife marks before you move to 120, which is really just for finishing. If you want a really nice finish, you can go up to sandpaper of 400 grit and even higher.
  6. Oil your spoon. I didn’t put oil on the materials list because you probably won’t need to buy extra. If you happen to have walnut, sesame, flax, tung, or boiled linseed oil (also technically flax but you buy it at the hardware store) kicking around, use one of those. However, I find olive, coconut oil, or beeswax to do just fine. When applying oil, rub on more than you think can be absorbed into the wood, let it sit for an hour or two, and then rub it dry with a cloth or paper towel. Polishing with a cloth at this point does a lot to make it look nice too.
  7. Have fun, and remember, it’s not about how perfectly your spoon turned out, it’s about how much you get to enjoy using it!


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