Instructables
Picture of How to make Cooking Spoons
700_0836.jpg
700_0917.jpg
This post shows how to make multipurpose wooden cooking spoons on a lathe.

I wanted to make my mom something for Christmas, and I also wanted an excuse to learn how to use a wood lathe, so I made some cooking spoons out of walnut.

*I decided to make three spoons, two 10", and one heavy duty 14". 

*Once you have the wood and all the tools you need, one spoon should only take a couple hours to make.

Materials:
-Wood of your choice (2"x2" stock works well for small-medium spoons. After the fact, I realized I should have used 3"x3" stock for the larger 14" spoon)
-Assorted Sand paper (the lowest grit I used was 80, the highest I used was 600)
-"Salad bowl finish" (this is a great finish to put on cooking spoons, its durable, non-toxic, and also brings out the grain of the wood really nicely). Cutting board oil also works


Tools:
-Wood lathe
-Band saw
-Belt sander or other electric sander (its possible to get away with just hand-sanding, but your hands may fall off in the process)
-Dremel, with several drum-sanding bits (for carving out the 'bowl' of the spoon).


 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Designing the spoons

The first step is designing your spoons. I decided to make two 10" spoons and one 14" spoon. (see photos for the sketches I did) The 10" ones are pretty good multipurpose spoons for cooking most dishes, but I thought I'd make one huge spoon for when the time comes to stir that huge pot of soup or stock. 

After I sketched up my designs, I ordered the wood online at woodworkerssource.com (they have a great selection). I prefer picking out my own wood, but Im in college so ordering online was just more convenient. This site not only has very witty confirmation emails (see attached photo), but also has 2x2 turning stock for a fairly good price, I got a 30" piece of walnut for $15, and I managed to get all three spoons out of it.

Yes, 10+10+14 is more then 30. I made both 10" spoons from the same 10" length of wood, you will see how in the next step.


cbrooks025 months ago

Hey Sam. I'm totally with you. I did my first spoons with the drum sanding attachments and found it really difficult to work with the drum shape. The screw attachment that protrudes from the middle of the sanding disks doesn't help much either. Try this -- Proxxon 02829 sanding discs and flap wheel. The pads adhere to the wheel, so you can drop straight into the bowl shape. Haven't tried it yet, but ordered it on Amazon for my next attempt. Thanks so much!

Sam DeRose (author)  cbrooks025 months ago

Thanks for the suggestion! Will definitely try on my next spoons :)

I didn't see the attached photo you mentioned of the "witty emails". Most spoon carvers cut a limb for their first spoons and usually ALL their spoons, not spend a fortune online. And I'm continually amazed at how many people don't know the difference between "then" and "than".
Sam DeRose (author)  solarbipolar1 year ago
I totally forgot about adding the photo! (I just put it up, thanks)

I'd love to 'harvest' my own wood sometime for a project, it would definitely make the whole process seem more 'from scratch' and overall more meaningful, but I really dont know how to go about it. Do I just cut off a limb and wait for it to dry out? Also where do you find hardwood trees that aren't protected by parks or private property?
Klem67 Sam DeRose10 months ago
I regularly get wood for my projects from the dump. My city (I think like most) has a spot at the dump where people bring logs from felled trees. The idea is that other people can come pick it up and use it for firewood. It is the same place you dump off your yard waste, etc. I have found cherry, apple, walnut, some beautifully figured maple, boxelder etc. And it's FREE.
I also understand (though I have not tried this myself) that most landscape companies are happy to give you cuttings from trees if you just ask nicely (and perhaps a gift of a hand made spoon or something wouldn't hurt!).

Also there was a great video I saw on the PBS show "The Woodwrights Shop"
The guest was Peter Follansnbee. Here is a link.
http://www.pbs.org/woodwrightsshop/featured-guests/peter-follansnbee/
He advocates using green (wet) wood and only certain softer species like apple, birch, etc. I learned a lot. Thanks for the instructable!
There are two ways you can go about this; cut a limb and carve the wet piece (must keep it wet the whole time). This will not work well with power tools and during-process sanding because of the moisture. Or you can harvest it and let it dry out.

The best way to dry it out is to cut it into the board size you want to use and allow it to sit (on top of small holders so air can circulate around the surface) in a dry area for several months. If you keep the entire length of the board at the same height it is less likely to crack and warp due to uneven drying or temperature changes. It will still warp a little, so just straighten it out on a jointer or planer before working with it.

I would guess your best bet for wood is a friend's backyard or wood from a felled tree. If you are just looking to save money though, shop at a hardwood dealer and just cut their stock down to size.

Beautiful spoons by the way! Envious of your skill with the dremel, I never imagined that a spoon bowl could be made with a sanding drum.
spikolli1 year ago
The traditional method for hollowing out the bowl of a spoon was to use a hook knife or crooked knife. This would speed up the process leaving the sanding for finishing. Thanks for the Instructable. This is a project I've often thought about.
The hook knife is the traditional way of carving a spoon but it sure wouldn't speed anything up! It would do the opposite.
I think it might speed things up....sanding is a very inefficient way to remove material. I think a chisel or hook knife would let you take away bigger pieces of material than using a sanding drum.
Curved chisels work exceptionally well! When I first started i used a regular 1/4 chisel followed by a whole lot of sanding. After i got a few curved chisels the time needed was about 1/3 of the original amount.
The Woodwright shop TV show had an episode this year about making traditional Swedish wooden spoons. The guest on the show used a scorp to hollow out the bowl of the spoon. I've been looking at buying this one and trying to make one myself.
What's a scorp?
Look at the link...
yes! i have seeen thos before! im very interested as well
Servelan1 year ago
Two things: always check to see if the wood you use is appropriate for food-related stuff, and also check for the toxicity of the shavings/dust resulting from the turning process. Wear protective gear if in doubt!
The safety patrol always shows up.
I found this website a while back that has great information about every type of wood including it's toxicity. The website is http://www.wood-database.com/. It looks like Walnut is ok, but can cause allergic reactions in some people.
There are people that are allergic to everything known to man. Actually, walnut oil is one of the best finishes for spoons and cutting boards.
oldmicah1 year ago
I've had luck on a similar project using the edge of a grinder wheel and a carefully placed tool rest. Not perfect, but faster than a dremmel if you have one.
tstens1 year ago
You could probably use a router to rough out the majority of the bowl, then use the Dremel sander to neaten it up. As commented below, chisels would work well too.