Introduction: Carving a Wood Ladle

About: I'm a biologist interested in all things sciency. I love to figure out how things work and to make my own stuff, be it food, woodworking, electronics or sewing.

Woodcarving is always a pleasure and can be done almost anywhere with a minimum of tools. This summer I spent two weeks sailing an open boat. Freshwater was stored in a barrel on deck, and the ladle we used to scoop it up had a painfully short handle. I decided I would make a longer one, and this is the result.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

First of all you are going to need a piece of wood. For a ladle, a curved piece is best, as it is strong, and you waste little wood in the process when you already have the basic shape. I chose this curved piece of Birch.

The tools I used were:
Draw knife
Spoon knife
Sand paper

If you prefer, you can of course use a band saw, belt sander and drill to help you along, but this time I wanted a handtool project.

Step 2: Carve It Out.

I started by carving the long handle with the axe and the draw knife.
The bowl was carved with the spoon knife, and the outside shaped with a regular knife.
Make the surfaces as smooth as you can with the cutting tools. That will save you a lot of sanding. Especially the bowl of the ladle can be a bit cumbersome to sand, so cut it as smooth as you can manage with the spoon knife. Remember to keep your tools sharp. That makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable.
A small scraper can be very usefull for smoothing the inside of cups and bowls, but I didn't have one with me.

The small hole in the handle was sanded with small rolls of sand paper, and then polished with a piece of string. Pulling a natural fibre string over the wood under tension creates friction and heat, and thus polishes the wood nicely. Synthetic string has a tendency to melt and produce ugly stains.

Step 3: Treat and Use

Now it is time for some surface treatment.
You can of course leave it untreated. Most kitchen utensils made of wood are untreated.

I like to treat the things I make with wallnut oil. I like wallnut oil, as it is certainly food safe, and it cures in air to leave a nice surface over time.
You can use mineral oils made for cutting boards, or other plant oils. One of the other reasons I use wallnut oil is that it doesn't go rancid like some other oils can. A wood cup I treated with olive oil smelled pretty nasty after some time.

One thing to consider if you use wallnut oil is that it could affect people with nut allergies. You can buy wallnut oil that is protein free, and thus safe even for those with allergies.

Treated or not, your ladle is ready for use.

Outside Contest 2017

Participated in the
Outside Contest 2017