Introduction: Make a Bunch of Kitchen Utensils From a Block of Wood

Somehow every project I start ends up being more complicated than it needs to be.  We needed a pair of salad tongs and I had a nice block of wood so this should be quick and easy...  As it turns out, the piece of wood I wanted to use was nicer than I thought so rather than put yet another weird shaped scrap of wood back on a shelf, I made as many things as I could from this single block of wood.

I ended up making a pair of salad tongs, two wooden spatulas, a rice paddle, a pair of chopsticks with a chopstick rest, two wooden spoons, a butter knife, and a jam spoon (spoon on the front, knife on the back... scoop and spread).  Not wanting to fill my house with sawdust, I made it at TechShop.

For this project you'll need:

a 3"x3"x12" piece of wood (I used what I think is quilted maple)
a band saw
a belt/disc sander
a dremel with a carving burr
some sandpaper
and a food-safe finish (I used Good Stuff, though walnut oil or salad bowl finish or something would be fine)

Let's get started!

Step 1: Slice Up the Wood

Draw the profile for the spatula/salad fork - straightish line for the handle, a curve at the end. Use a band saw to cut along the line. When you cut the first slice you end up with a stumpy wedge that turns out to be the perfect size for a rice paddle.  Cut four slices with a similar curve.  I freehanded it but would have probably gotten better results if I had drawn lines to follow.

Take the remaining chunk of wood, draw a straight line down the side, then slice it in half following the line.  Take the flat piece and draw the profile of a pair of spoons (I cheated and traced a wooden spoon I like).  Cut the shapes out on the band saw.

I used the remaining weirdly shaped piece of wood to make a pair of chopsticks, a butter knife (who needs a wooden butter knife?), and a jam spoon (the bastard child of a tiny wooden spoon and an offset spatula).

Step 2: Cut the Spatulas, Rice Paddle, and Salad Forks

Draw (or trace) the shape of each utensil on a slice of wood and cut it using a band saw.

Step 3: Sanding... So Much Sanding...

Sand everything roughly into shape.  Use a disc sander, use a belt sander, use sandpaper, stick the thing in a vise, hold it in your hand.  Do any combination of those things, then repeat.  Who thought it was a good idea to do something that required this much sanding?

Step 4: Hollow Out the Spoons

Use a carving burr in a rotary tool to roughly shape the inside of each spoon.  Do a pile more sanding to smooth out the spoon, this time entirely by hand.  I alternate between holding the spoon in my hand and in a vise.

Step 5: Finish Everything

Go over everything one last time with some fine sandpaper (I used 320 grit).  Clean the utensils with compressed air.  Apply a coat of food-safe finish.  Wait for the finish to dry, then add another coat.

Once the finish is fully cured, wash everything and start using it.