How to Carve a Spoon

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How to Carve a Spoon

Saturday June 09, 2018 Written by Henry Neville Wood

How to carve a spoon

There’s nothing like carving your own spoon to make you feel like a regular Ron Swanson. And with these instructions from our pals at Left Foot Right Foot, it’s easier than ever.

You’ll need:

  • a piece of wood (a tree branch, if you’re feeling particularly Ron Swansonish)
  • a spoon carving or hook knife
  • a carving knife, hatchet or axe,
  • sandpaper
  • something to protect your creation with, such as coconut, flaxseed or orange oil, or beeswax.

Instructions

How to carve a spoon

There’s a bit of an art in seeing a spoon in a branch. Try to find a straight length with no knots or branches poking out – the straighter the grain the better.

How to carve a spoon

Using your hatchet, split the length of wood in two down the middle. Try for a good clean cut. Sometimes placing the axe on top of the piece and striking it with another piece of wood helps control the split. (For more details on how to chop wood, see our guide.)

DIY Spoon 4

Take the piece of wood with the straightest grain and draw a spoon design on it. I like this part. I have a small sketchbook full of spoon drawings; some functional, some beautiful and some useless.

How to carve a spoon

With the hatchet, carefully rough out your plank, using considered blows up the sides to remove material from the handle and back of the bowl until you are satisfied with the shape.

Store the hatchet and pick up the hook knife and ‘scoop’ out the bowl. There are a few very effective techniques for doing this; the ‘potato peeler’ is a great one. You use an ordinary grip, but draw your blade towards you and work with the grain to get nice clean cuts.

How to carve a spoon

Once the bowl has been carved out, you can now shape up the spoon with your regular knife .This is my favourite part. Get yourself comfortable. I usually prop myself up against the window, sit in my chair or perch on the end of my bench. I also like to have a cup of tea nearby. Again there are different techniques to use. I like to tuck the spoon into my chest and carve towards me, using a reverse grip when shaping the handle. Then, using a regular grip on the knife, I place my opposing thumbs on the back of my blade and push off to create a very controlled cut for the bowl.

How to carve a spoon

Once you are happy, leave it to dry before sanding (if the wood is green, i.e. fresh and wet). If it’s seasoned, grab some sandpaper and with a little elbow grease, work up the grades from rough to smooth. Once you are happy with the texture you can seal it with oil – this protects the spoon.

How to carve a spoon

This post originally appeared in a slightly different form over on Left Foot Right Foot, a repository of ultra-casual walking guides for Australia and the world. 

Images: Max Blackmore