turned cherry wood bowl

Hand Crafted Wooden Spoons

I got my start as an adult woodworker when I made a wooden spoon from a tree that I had cut down in my yard. It was a maple and the wood was so lovely and white that I could not bear to spit it all up for firewood.

I put a piece or two aside and got back to it a year or two later and began to make spoons. My first attempt was clumsy and took a long time to make but I was very proud. I soon discovered that a wooden spoon feels ever so much better in the hand than one made of metal or plastic. It also was more attractive to my eye.

Soon I was making them for family and friends. By now I must have made nearly a thousand. Any scrap of wood in my shop that is suitable is retrieved from the waste bin and fashioned into a spoon or spatula.

Some spoon carvers go in for fanciful designs and very deep bowls. Mine are just functional and the only frills are the beautiful woods from which they are made. Sometimes I make one with a curved handle because that is how the grain runs in that piece. If I follow the grain then I know the spoon handle will be strong and not as likely to break as it would be if I had cut across the curving grain.

Sometimes a blank of wood is not large enough to make a full spoon so I do a half spoon. A half spoon has the advantage of one side being completely straight to scrape the wall of a pan. I make right handed and left handed models in both half and full spoons. It is dictated by the wood. However, the majority are ambidextrous.

I use a rather shallow bowl for my spoons. Wood had its greatest strength when you follow the grain. The deeper you make the bowl the more you cut across the grain. This makes for a spoon that will chip or break with constant use.

I make my spoons to be used. If you want to use them for decoration that is fine. If you want one that you can use for years and years then it should hold up to demanding conditions. A deep bowl in a spoon may be aesthetically pleasing but it is simply more fragile.

I use a bent gouge and a carver’s mallet to scoop out the bowl. I have tried other techniques but find that this old fashioned method works best for me.