DIY: Hand-carved Wooden Spoons

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Introduction: DIY: Hand-carved Wooden Spoons

Easy tutorial on how to make your own gorgeous hand-carved wooden spoon.

Step 1:

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:

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:

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:

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.

Step 5:

Now you can begin to carve the handle to make your desired shape. Work from the spoon bowl side to the end of the handle. Take away little strips and avoid trying to dig too deep. This will give you more control over the look of the handle.

If you have a rasp, you can also start to shape the handle with it. A rasp can help to get a rounded edge, but you can also just use your carving knife.

Step 6:

Continue to work more on creating a smooth inner bowl with your spoon gouges. Again, try to carve small amounts at a time. The fewer deep ridges in the inner spoon surface the better — it will mean less sanding!

Step 7:

Now you can begin smoothing the edges and bowl with your sandpaper. You’ll want to use the roughest paper first, then move to the smoother grit papers.

Step 8:

Add some food-safe oil to a small rag and begin to oil your spoon. There are many different oils that can be used.

You may choose to steer clear of petroleum-based oils and use vegetable oils. (Although olive oil isn't a good choice because it can go rancid quickly.) Some use sesame oil or walnut oil. Tung oil was used for this tutorial.

Note: The source of tung oil is a nut, so people with severe nut allergies should choose a different oil for finishing their spoons.

Once the spoon is oiled, you need to let it cure. The time allowed really depends on which type of oil you have chosen.

Step 9:

Take a moment and sit back to admire your lovely, hand-crafted work. Then, start on another one!  

Once you're done, share photos on our Facebook and Pinterest, we'd love to see how yours turned out!

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44 Comments

If you have a lathe, you can turn a blank for two spoons. Then you cut with a bandsaw and hollow it.

Not basic tools

Great job reminds me of my dad and his talents! I think I might try this thanks to you.

Good job!

did you only use hand tools as a standard or are you just getting started in in woodworking. I am old & have collected a few large tools over the years, you can use a band saw & a drill press with a forstner bits to speed things up.

Of course, if you like the slow hand process, then that fine too.

Check out the spoon carving knives at deepwoodsventures.com. They are the best I've ever tried.

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

Ridiculous! Studies have shown that wooden cutting boards are better than plastic ones. Bacteria cannot survive long on wood.
(http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/docliver/Research/cuttingboard.htm)

They also said people would die of splinters from the wood. Beaureocrats.

Very nice! There is nothing like the satisfaction of creating something beautiful, with your bare hands, out of a piece wood.

I'ld add a "curved scraper" to the tool set. One could be made out of an old saw blade, that way you could get the right diameter. Great instructable!

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!!