Last weekend i was wandering around my local outdoors shop and , out of the corner of my eye, spotted a hooked carving knife. I've always wanted to try one of these and had a piece of ash at home that was just asking to be carved into something( this was an off cut from when i was trying to make a paddle). I decided to try and make a spoon without using any power tools, only things that i already have, or could easily incorporate into my wild camping kit.
Sandpaper (rough to fine)
Oil (vegetable or sunflower)
Rag (to apply oil)
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Step 1: Splitting
One of the most useful bits of kit i always carry when i'm wild camping is my axe (note this is always canoe based wild camping so weight is of little issue). With this in mind i started by splitting the piece of ash into a more usable size. Looking at the split wood you'll notice one end is thicker than the other. The thicker end became the bowl of the spoon and the thinner the handle.
The next step was to sand down the rough split so that an outline could be drawn on, as a guide to work from.
Step 2: Shaping
The other main piece of kit i carry is my knife ( used for everything from prepping food to lighting fires). Here i used it to carve down the outline into a very rough spoon shape on the sides. Then used it to shape the back of the bowl and do some finer work on the handle.
Step 3: Bowl
The next step is to form the bowl of the spoon using the hook knife. The most important thing to do is to make sure you keep your fingers well clear of the blade. To start off with this will be fairly hard work but will get easier after a short while. The trick is to start off going across the grain of the wood, this takes off more wood but leaves a rougher finish than going with the grain. This takes quite a while but i found it fairly therapeutic and enjoyable. Eventually, once your happy with the depth and shape, cutting with the grain of the wood will smooth out the bottom of the bowl.
Step 4: Sanding
Now sanding. I just used what ever i happened to have to hand (180, 100 and 60 i think). Sand paper is something id never have in my kit but seen as it doesn't take up much space i don't see why a sheet or two couldn't be stuck in somewhere. I took about 2 hours to do my sanding sat in front of the TV because i didn't have a forest on hand. Equally this could be done sat round the camp fire one evening with a glass of whiskey to hand (just make sure you don't get wood shavings in it).
Step 5: Oil and Finish
The final step is to coat the wood in oil. This will seal the wood and stop it from getting damp or becoming discolored by food. Seen as this food is going to be used for food i didn't use linseed oil as this will taint the food. I decided to use vegetable oil (because that's what was in the kitchen) although sun flower oil should work as well, as would walnut oil. However i'm allergic to nuts so this was out of the question. I applied a few coats of oil over the next day or so, till the wood was no longer absorbing it.
To finish off i tied a short bit of leather through a hole i'd made in the handle with the tip of my knife and gave it a quick polish with a rag to remove any excess oil.
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