Introduction: How to Make a Wooden Spoon, the Viking Way

Picture of How to Make a Wooden Spoon, the Viking Way

I will show you how to make a wooden spoon out of green applewood. Using only my handmade viking tools.

Step 1: All My Tools

Picture of All My Tools

This is an overview of all my tools.

Step 2: The Tools I Use.

Picture of The Tools I Use.

This is the tools you need to make a spoon. My tools are hand forged reconstructions of viking tools.

You need:
Axe: any small hand axe will do fine. It just needs to be sharp. A good hand axe weighs around 500-600g
hammer: you need a heavy hammer. If it is to small it will not have enough force to split the wood.
wedge: A heavy iron wedge made for splitting firewood will work fine. Alternatively use a old axe and hammer it through the log. Don't use you good axe for that. You ruin the axe that way.
Knife: a small sharp knife will do.
Spoon knife: You need a spoonknife, in my book there are no alternatives. You will probably not find it in you local hardwarestore, but you can buy it online. The best are handforged made by S. Djärv but you can also go after the cheap ones made by Frost Sweden.

Step 3: The Wood

Picture of The Wood

You need a log of wood. It needs to be 10-15 cm longer than the spoon you want to make. It needs to be newly cut. The wood you don't use right away you can leave it some high grass. Then it will be wet and workable for 2-4 weeks.

All wood can be used, but fruit tree are best. For this spoon I'm using applewood. That's a very good wood for spoonmaking. It's hard and very durable in use. And it looks nice with the all white grains.

Step 4: Splitting the Log

Picture of Splitting the Log

Now you need the hammer and wedge. Split the log into 4 triangular pieces.

Step 5: Cut the Rougt Shape of the Spoon With the Axe.

Picture of Cut the Rougt Shape of the Spoon With the Axe.

I use a piece of charcoal to draw the shape of the spoon. I cut the rough shape of the spoon as close to the drawing as possible. That way I have less work to do with the knife. When I work in greenwood I have to work fast so the wood don't dry and crack. If I need to leave the wood or I want to finish it later, I can place it in a bucket of water or in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Step 6: Using Knifes to Finish the Shaping.

Picture of Using Knifes to Finish the Shaping.

With a knife I finish shaping the outside of the spoon. When it is smooth I make the bowl with a spoon knife. The last thing I make is the carving at the end of the handle.

Step 7: Sanding

Picture of Sanding
The spoon needs to be all dry before I start sanding it. It takes 3-5 days depending on the weather.
I start with sandpaper grain 100, then 180, 240 and 400. If I'm doing it the real viking way I'm only using the special kind of horsetail called "Skavgraes"
Sand outside or wear dust mask, or both.

Step 8: Oil and Wax

Picture of Oil and Wax

I use linseed oil. Put on a thick layer, let it sit for a few hours then remove the remaining with towel paper. Let it dry to the next day, and then you can ad wax. I only use wax when I'm making spoons for sale on vikings markets. The wax protects the spoon from dirty fingers but will be washed of when you wash it the first time.

Step 9: The Spoon Is Complete

Picture of The Spoon Is Complete

Now the spoon is completed. And ready for the kitchen. When the spoon have been washed a few times the wood fibers can rise and you need to sand it lightly with fine sandpaper (400)

Step 10: Other Sizes and Designs of Spoons

Picture of Other Sizes and Designs of Spoons

Here you can see some other spoons I have made lately.


WayneR16 (author)2017-05-18

I have had good luck in using lilac wood. It is prone to splitting so proper care must be taken in sealing the end grains before carving.

KellyN1 (author)2016-01-15

Incredible workmanship and I try a lot from this sight and my own ideas for diy but, in this case the closest I will venture is IKEA kinda vikingesque... Once again awesome job!!

elnino2783 (author)2016-01-05

Just be aware that what I'm about to say is not to take away from your workmanship. But, round spoons are less than ideal as cooking spoons. The best spoons have a flat edge that lets you scrape the bottom of a pot/pan/bowl with a large edge rather than the "point" contact of a round spoon. Round spoons are obviously fine if you're using them to ladle out liquid, but a flat edge is best otherwise.
Great work!

morfmir (author)elnino27832016-01-05

Your right in that. But the flat edge spoons is a rather new invention so here where I make a viking spoon I stay with the round design.

I make many flat edge spoons for use in normal cooking.


livichris (author)2014-07-30

how do you hollow out the bowl, do you need s special knife?

GreenTeaOGB (author)livichris2015-09-15

You can either use a gouge chisel or a crook knife/hook knife. The gouge chisel is a little easier in my opinion

McGrath Labs (author)2014-10-11


dean98110 (author)2009-12-10

Great project but you might want to make a clear distinction between linseed oil (which oil pressed from flax seed) and boiled linseed oil which is more common.  Boiled linseed oil contains toxic drying solvents whereas raw linseed oil is not toxic.  Mineral oil is another good food compatible finish that could be used on wood items that come in contact with food.  It is not clear if you meant the spoons to be used with food but it is good to be safe just in case.

Fervid_Fae (author)dean981102014-09-24

Another good finish after everything is beeswax. Nice smell. Food safe. Protects the wood.

kbales (author)dean981102012-02-17

When I get unfinished wooden kitchen tools I stain them with tea and treat them with olive oil.
But that's not very Viking.

Darcy777 (author)kbales2012-05-26

Thank you for that tip.

morfmir (author)dean981102009-12-10

Your right, it is important to that the oil is foodsafe. I use what you call flax oil, cool pressed linseed. Here it is sold by the name virgin linseed oil. Some times I wash the oil, that makes it even better. But it takes some extra work, so most times I'm to lazy to do it. I just buy the best quality linseed oil I can find and use it out of the box.


Kids of Forest (author)2014-04-29

I started doing this with my swiss knife, it's very good project>

theegghead (author)2014-04-21

will pine work or is it too soft?

anilbot (author)2013-10-29

No wonderyou are wasting so much (crying..) wood !
For the sake of simplicity, you are using too crude tools, I'm afraid if they are from prehistoric tool collection... Ha ha ha....
Use the right tool and save trees.. :)
Just imagine your son bringing you 18 spoons, and you find the precious appletree missing from your lawn... tears..

(Show me the spoons alone, and they look awesome)

darman12 (author)2013-08-22

That's a handsome spoon. Great craftsmanship!

mikecz (author)2013-04-07

These are some really nice (and distinctive) looking spoons!

paultkamp (author)2013-01-31

Are you a blacksmith as well? Did you make all those tools?

StickMaker (author)2008-08-21

Very nice work! Have you tried making it with Diamond Willow? The middle of each stick is red in color and the outside white; pictures on my website at

kfujishiro (author)StickMaker2012-11-16


laurenmendoza (author)StickMaker2008-08-21

i loled when i read this: If you cannot view this page, you probably are not using a computer. Get one soon!

morfmir (author)laurenmendoza2008-08-21

Diamond Willow are very beautiful. But I have never seen it here in Denmark.

StickMaker (author)morfmir2009-10-10

Well, morfmir; I do ship it worldwide; just Google "Diamond Willow sticks" and my name "Ken Laninga" and you'll find me for sure.

oakspoor (author)StickMaker2008-08-21

Box Elder looks like pink marble. Pretty hard for carving, but with a fine whetstone and patience...

red-king (author)oakspoor2009-10-10

 box elder looks really nice....

Ray from RI (author)2012-06-26

With out a doubt S. Djarv makes the best spoon carving knife anywhere on the earth!!!

slemsofa (author)2009-07-31

here`s some pictures of the spoons I made during summer! I havent oil them yet though. thanks for a great instructable. not the best picture quality but I had to take them with my cellphone.. the first one is beech , the second ash and the third birch..

Darcy777 (author)slemsofa2012-05-26

I realize it's been years since you posted this comment however if you ever sell these online, please do contact me.

rick.leasure (author)slemsofa2011-10-01

I like your twisted handle. Did you carve the handle like that, or was it already twisted? Also, did you split the wood out or get it already cut? One more question: how long are your spoons here?

whiteoakart (author)slemsofa2009-08-21

pretty cool and creative designs, slemsofa!

morfmir (author)slemsofa2009-07-31

I'm glad that you like my work. And my instructable. Interesting design you have made. /Thomas

vincent7520 (author)2011-01-11

only 6 spoons … what a waste !!!…
can't you find a way that is more environment friendly ?…

bowmaster (author)vincent75202011-04-10

Yeah, cause importing plastic spoons from china is better.

vincent7520 (author)bowmaster2011-09-26

Plastic is not the solution, for sure.
Wood is : I have nothing against that at all !…
But I'm concerned by how much wood is used. I got the feeling the this insntructble uses as much wood as the do in the funny cartoon where a guy chops dowh a tree to make a tooth pick !…

morfmir (author)vincent75202011-09-26

It is possible to make the spoon in a way that use a lot less wood.
Look at the picture of the first spoon in step 10. That design uses much less wood.

But the woodchips that I carve away isn't wasted, I collect it and us it for smoking fish and mead. So instead of buying factory made smokechips, packed in small plastic backs, I make my own.


rick.leasure (author)morfmir2011-09-27

You could also note that the apple wood was probably destined for fire wood, had you not rescued it to carve out a few beautiful spoons...

XxZombiexX (author)rick.leasure2011-10-01

Besides the fact the author saves the "scrap" pieces for other uses, this is labeled as a traditional Viking method, not a eco-friendly method. Just to think that every utensil they owned took this much time, energy, and skill is almost unfathomable to us now!

Great work! This inspires me to do more of the same :)

Also, my Father always had a spoon knife in his carving box, and it was always useful...never realize you need one till you do!

rick.leasure (author)XxZombiexX2011-10-01

Where did you get your spoon knife? Can one be made easily?

XxZombiexX (author)rick.leasure2012-03-11

I'm a little late here, but I'm pretty sure his just came with a carving knife set and you can find them most anywhere that sells carving tools.
As far as making one, I would think it would be a little harder than making a regular knife because of its curve and such; however the author refers to his as "hand forged" so it must be doable with some skill and patience. Besides, they did it way back then, right?

vincent7520 (author)morfmir2011-10-04

great : no waste, all resources are used…
Keep on the good works tnen … 

the wood is never can always save it for later and carve from the seasoned wood, or use it as firewood, smoking chips, etc. apple also makes for an excellent mallet-head.

snowgoat (author)vincent75202011-09-14

Wood grows back, you know.

rick.leasure (author)snowgoat2011-09-26

renewable resource...

vincent7520 (author)snowgoat2011-09-21

I know … still, I'm not convinced : we are far more numerous on this planet than ever before : we don't let trees grow (worse the trees we plant in place of the one we cut are fast growing species thus narrowing natural diversity…).
Anyway, your spoons are nice ! …

Gregbot (author)2012-01-28

Do you have a web page or You Tube channel? Facebook?

The Metal One (author)2011-12-17

ah, a man after my own heart. crafting beautiful wood pieces with tools forged yourself. keep up the good work

aomastu (author)2011-11-13

Add a few steps and you get a windsor chair

thomasthetankengine (author)2011-11-10

I'm Thomas too! Lol. Cool instructable, nice name.

mboats (author)2011-10-21

Hi ,
great spoons (and fantastic tools). Do you know whether eucalyptus would be good for spoon making? I've just picked up a few nice logs of the stuff freshly chopped and it looks like a lovely dense grain. Cheers

morfmir (author)mboats2011-10-21

I have no idea if eucalyptus can be used for spoonmaking. We have no eucalyptus here in Denmark.


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