Saturday, 23 February 2013

SPOON # 8 - 23rd February

I haven't got an awful lot of wood at the moment, and what I do have is fast seasoning and drying out in the back garden, making it increasingly difficult to carve and will soon be good for nothing but the woodburner. So, I thought I'd have a go at making the most of it by carving my biggest spoon so far this year.

For big stirers

I rather like carved items that have the tool marks left on, rather than sanded off -
 though I do sand sometimes, especially if it's an eating spoon and potentially going in someone's mouth.

I used a section of ash that I split a couple of weeks ago and decided to make a spoon that was pretty much as long as the log had been, leaving just a little to cut off either end, to allow for any checking (the end section of wood that had been most exposed to the elements since being originally cut and which was therefore the most dried and cracked - if you allow any of this wood to make up part of your spoon, it WILL crack and split - a lesson I have learned the hard way). I haven't actually measured the spoon, but I have taken a photo with it beside a regular dessert spoon for comparision.

With it being so big, naturally it is a cooking spoon, for stiring sauces, pasta, cous cous, etc. The bowl has that point that means it will reach well into the corners of square-bottomed saucepans. And again I have chosen not to crank the bowl and handle, as it will be used more for stiring than serving. For this reason also I intended to make the bowl fairly shallow, but got carried away smoothing and ended up quite deep anyway. I would really like to get myself a new hooked knife at some point. This is the knife I use for carving out the bowl - if you haven't seen one before, they look like this:

Frosts hooked spoon knife - ole faithful

a very simple idea, but really very ingenious. Anyway, because of the tight radius of the blade on my knife, it means it will take fairly deep, but narrow cuts. What I would like is a blade that is more 'open', sometimes called a finishing knife, or even a twca cam (Welsh spoon knife) that would mean I can cut the length of the bowl in one, smoother cut.

Twca cam - see how long the handle is and how broad the sweep of the blade compared to the bowl of the spoon. This is the one recommended by Barn 'the spoon' Carder - price around £65, if I remember rightly.
A selection of hooked knives - second from right is the Frosts and you can see how much tighter the curve of the blade is compared to the finishing knives on the left.
Again, it's a fairly simple non-decorative finish, but I have carved the end of the handle in what I call a 'biscuit finish' - I call it this because I think the regular notches look a little like a Nice biscuit.

Everybody likes to dunk a Nice - it's so nice!!
Came across this rather 'Nice' chopping board online - available at squarepear.
It still has a couple of weeks drying out and I will oil it with walnut oil (my non-toxic oil of choice) and I imagine, once it has been used and washed a few times, it will develop quite an attractive petina.


  1. Hi Richard, Tom here again, great to see your spoons coming along, I have carved about 3 so far but am having a bit of trouble getting the designs right. I will make a post on my blog soon about my experinces so far. Anyway was going to say you can cut some green wood from my wood if you want, cant remember how far away you are but there is laurel, sweet chestnut, birch, cherry, holly and sycamore for the taking. cheers Tom

  2. Wow, that's quite a selection. I'd love to take you up on the offer. How about I arrange to come over with my brother for the day and we can share some ideas for carving. Julian and I are not experts but I've got my technique pretty much down pat now and would be happy to share or help out with your 'difficulties'. Let me know what you think. I'm in Leicester but if I pick Julian up from Birmingham it's not so far away.

    Thanks again for the generous offer - I look forward to seeing your spoons.