Instructables

DIY: Hand-carved wooden spoons

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Picture of DIY: Hand-carved wooden spoons
Easy tutorial on how to make your own gorgeous hand-carved wooden spoon.
 
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Step 1:

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WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
  • A piece of wood. Walnut is used for this tutorial, but any hard wood will do since they carve very nicely and can withstand pressure on the handle, which means they won't snap.
  • Carving tools: carving knife and spoon gouges (which can be purchased at Lee Valley).
  • Sandpaper of various grit size (320, 180, and 120 grit).
  • Pencil
  • Wood rasp (nice to have, but not necessary).
  • Small rag and food-safe oil.

Step 2:

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With your pencil, draw a spoon shape on your piece of wood then cut the shape out with a band saw. (If you don’t have access to a saw, you can also purchase spoon blanks.)

Step 3:

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With the spoon gouge, begin to carve away in the center of the spoon.

I suggest not carving too deep right away — a spoon doesn’t need to be very deep if you plan on just using it as a stirring spoon. If it’s easier, you can clamp down the spoon to a table and carve away with the gouge. Or just hold the spoon with one hand then slowly carve away with the other.

Note: the blades on the gouges are extremely sharp, so be careful (and prepared for a few nicks and cuts).

Step 4:

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Once you have the inside roughly carved out, use a pencil to draw the shape you want on the side of the spoon to the outer edge and back.

Carve away with your carving knife on the side and back. Save working on the handle until the very end.

A lot of pressure is put on the handle while you carve the center and outer edges of the spoon, so you need to keep the handle as sturdy and strong as possible.
guitarpicker79 months ago
Good project! Took me back to my high school woodshop days- I made dozens of spoon and fork sets, with the occasional salad bowel. %-)

Then I got a router...

Templates, a router guide, and some cove bits reduced my working time to about 15 minutes. Hit it with some sandpaper, start with 90 grit and go up to 400 grit. Lastly, wipe on a few coats of mineral oil = done under an hour!

I sometimes incorporated a flat area on the handle and put the family's initial there- looked rather nice!

Keep the ideas cooking!!
I have a router too!
Clearly I am going to have to
A: learn to use it, and
2: Figure out how it relates to this project!
Once you start using a router you'll be hooked, it can do so many things.
Let's see it! Make an instructable for the power tool version of the spoons. I'd love to see it and learn how.
Vidar_768 months ago
Nice spoons!

I usually use a spoonknife like this: http://www.djarv.se/skedknivar.asp they make the job quite easy.
nocode549 months ago
Scrapers, made from thick pieces of tempered sheet metal, are excellent for shaping the inside of the bowl. The economy ones work just fine for me and can be purchased very inexpensively online.
nocode549 months ago
Excellent article!
I use maple as it grows in abundance in this part of the country. When dry, hardwoods are extremely difficult to carve with hand tools. I did some research and found that some bowl turners use green (fresh,wet) wood for their projects then speed dry it in a microwave. Green wood is MUCH easier to carve. Tip: if you are going to dry your wood in the microwave, do so cautiously and slowly. Use short microwaving times and check your piece often.
guaps9 months ago
What does letting the oil cure do? What is the approximate cure time? You said it depends on the oil you choose, but are we talking a few hours or a few days?

Great instructable. Thanks for sharing!
cdelichte guaps9 months ago
Oiling the wood basically protects it. Some oils only need a couple days to cure, like citrus oil. Others can be longer, it all depends on the oil that you choose to use. I am going to look into using beeswax also. From the 'how to's' I've seen before, they make it from a mix of beeswax and olive oil. I am going to see if I can use another vegetable oil instead. I've read that olive oil goes rancid quickly, not sure if it is more stable when mixed with beeswax. If I find any info I will post it on this thread. Good luck!!
Just found this if you're interested...
mix of beeswax, coconut oil and rosemary. I think it would smell amazing! (and protect the spoons of course!)
http://lainbloom.blogspot.ca/2013/03/how-to-carve-wooden-spoon.html
guaps cdelichte9 months ago
Thank you!
Edgar9 months ago
Great!
Would you believe here in the 4th Reich, the Brussels Bureaucrats outlawed the use of Wooden Spoons in Europe, in Restaurants?

Went a description of this, with a Link to here, to my blog:
http://faz-voce-mesmo.blogspot.pt/2013/10/duas-boas-ideias-um-motor-de-foguetao.html
mdeblasi19 months ago
I just rescued some walnut from the fire-pit today!
aristide2029 months ago
Thumbs up. Nice inspiring instructable and nice spoons too. Anyway I would give a look at draw knives, scrapers, spokeshaves and spoon carving dedicated knives in wood working catalogs. Scandinavian spoon knives are quite hard to find, or make, but curved scrapers are easy to find , or make , and keeping sharp and amazingly fast and a leave a silky smooth finish on hard and soft woods
King of Clubs9 months ago
I'm trying to gouge the spoon with a chisel, but it is taking forever. Any tips on what tools to use to make the process go faster. I'm using black walnut.
Start in the center and work your way out. Try not to take too much at once. Small cuts and thin shavings are best. Learn to sharpen. Dull tools won't cut and encourage forcing. If you are forcing your tool you aren't doing it right.
I would try to use a spoon gouge. There are a few different sizes they come in - different widths and depths. Initially it may seem a bit hard to do, but once you get started the layers carve away quickly. Make sure that the tools are sharp also, this makes a big difference. good luck!
The fastest thing I could think of would be to freehand the bowl with a cove bit in a plunge router. You probably want to carve the bowl first while the blank is still a board, then make the handle all thin and stuff.
pfred2 pfred29 months ago
Maybe I'm thinking of a core box bit. It is a round nosed bit.
worse case use a dremal ,. best case go to yr local wood working tool supply house an buy the tool u need.
Jeanette569 months ago
I am so thrilled to see your Instructable! This is probably the best set of instructions I've seen on making your own spoons and I can't wait to try it. Thank you So Much for sharing! P.S. I live in TX so mine will be made of Mesquite :-)
KaydeeKrunk9 months ago
This is so cool, I've always wanted to make my own spoons, I've always wanted to try the burning coal method, where you put a burning coal in it to hollow out the bowl of the spoon.
I hadn't heard about this before, and just looked it up. Looks pretty neat - maybe you can do a combination of methods, thanks!
astral_mage9 months ago
please post a link 4 the chart of curing tymes if u can find it..
Sorry, I don't have a chart to post. The best thing is to google a specific oil you wish to choose, the curing times all vary :)
Just follow your nose, it always knows. If the spoon still smells funky from the finish it isn't cured yet. You have to just about touch your nose to work in order to really tell though. One food safe finish that I do not think was mentioned in this article is salad bowl finish, which is basically mineral oil. You can get mineral oil in a drug store.
cortexmille9 months ago
Merci merci merci
pfred29 months ago
A spoon gouge? I don't have one of those. I'm thinking a mace shaped rotary rasp in a die grinder might hollow the spoon bowl out pretty good though.
Charlemagne79 months ago
Fantastic...I'll have to do this. :)
bob30309 months ago
Nice project. I've always admired people that have carving talent. Thanks for posting.