Carve a Wood Cooking Knife





Introduction: Carve a Wood Cooking Knife

I made this knife to chop up ground meat in the pan while cooking.

It's made from a sycamore branch. Sycamore has a nice, closed grain that is suitable for food utensils. I have also made spoons and other things from various logs that I've collected over the years.

Step 1: The Tools

The main tools I used for this project are as follows:

  • Pencil
  • Coping Saw
  • Dovetail Saw (Optional)
  • Chisel
  • Mallet
  • Carving Knife
  • Spokeshave
  • Card Scraper
  • Sandpaper

Step 2: Cutting and Marking the Timber

I cut the bark away and squared everything up to make the blank. Then I marked the general shape with a pencil.

Keep in mind that you may have to alter the design throughout the carving due to grain direction and the feel in your hand. Comfort usually wins out on things like this. You'll notice that I had more of a blunt end on the knife, but as I started to hold it, it didn't make sense with how I planned to use it, so I rounded it down more.

Step 3: Cut to the Marks

I was able to follow the line closely with the coping saw. I left a little bit of the line so I could shave to the line later.

At some parts, I used the dovetail saw to create reliefs for the saw and chisel. You really need to watch grain direction here. This sycamore had an interesting grain structure that left a few digs.

Step 4: Final Shaping

From here, the spokeshave is your best friend. I was able to get the main shaping from it and clean all my knife marks with a card scraper. A finely tuned card scraper can take off quite a bit of material and will help make your piece feel complete.

In some parts, I used sandpaper, but the card scraper can leave a good enough edge to go ahead and finish. I'd recommend butcher block oil for something like this. I'd stay away from vegetable oils as they can go rancid over time. I'd also wash by hand and oil whenever needed.

This is a quick project and there is a ton of information out there.



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    I tell people the little ones are for spanking 6 -8 year olds, the middle size is for middle schoolers and this size (big spoon, holds a tablespoon of salt), are for teens......for politicians one needs a 2X4...only kidding, chuckle...although as a kid I did fear the "spoon of death" and when I was 5 chewd one in half....then mom found it....she backed off a tad!


    Ha. Your elephant spoon looks great. The long spoon was my moms weapon of choice. I usually stayed away from the kitchen when she was busy.

    Being of Sicilian mom had heat seeking Sicilian Spoons . They found my butt no matter where I was causing trouble. I told the scout troop the walking sticks are to beat my kids with...they kinda kept their distance after that...

    Beware the power of the spoons!

    Again nice knife, I will be making one or two. I love the thought of free "tree wood" as a fellow carver commented on my work commented! Oh I fergit, Oak trees shed as well at times and while they hold little detail they hold enough and is very tough, and allow a thinner blade (birch as well, maybe). The wide pores allow you to really soak it in oil and then use the wax/oil mix or just wax to seal them . Heating the thing with steaming hot towels (or wrapped in oil rags in regular/micro oven), then waxing them is helpful, then buff them out. If you make them thinner, they are nice in pie plates. No scratching/gouging.

    I must say Jess I have not carved in a while I am getting all exciterated so I may need to break out the stones and knives very soon!

    Nice. Thanks for sharing

    I have my 6th graders make these at the Honolulu Waldorf School if they finish their toy tops As a second project. We use Shinto rasps to form the handle and blade once I cut out the blanks with a band saw. I have them finish them with a beeswax mineral oil blend and advise hand wash and dry...when the knife becomes dried out, you CAN use mineral oil as it won't go rancid and is an inexpensive alternative to butcher block oil. We have lots of exotic and beautiful hard wood here in Hawaii but I always check ti see that the wood is food safe...some woods can be toxic and should not be used for cooking/serving.

    That's cool. Rasps are a good tool to use for shaping, for sure. Paul Sellers uses them often in his spoon making.

    Mineral oil is also a great product to use. Exotics are definitely something I've been researching lately. I have a small stack of exotics that I'm wanting to work with, but want to find the right project for them. It's crazy how some of the exotics sawdust can act like poison ivy, or if inhaled, could cause flu like symptoms and also be toxic to foods, like you mentioned. So much detail out there.

    Is it possible to actually put a sharp edge on it or this more of a thin spatula?

    I'm sure you could put a sharper edge on it. It really depends on the wood. Too soft of a wood and it will just become brittle and the sharp edge could roll over and fray off.