Introduction: Live Edge Boxwood Tea Spoon
So I got a teapot for my birthday and thought it'd be nice to have something else than my dirty fingers to transfer the fancy tea from the fancy box into the fancy teacup.
Googling "chinese tea spoon" or "japanese tea spoon" can give you a lot of design ideas, I kind of just went for a regular spoon shape, and tried to follow the organic feel of the piece of wood I had.
This is a very easy small project that's great for beginners with a lot of room for variability and customization, and took me less than 2 hours from start to finish, so let's get started !
Step 1: Tools and Materials
A thin slice of hardwood. I used a live edge of boxwood I had left over from a knife handle I made. Never throw anything away! The choice of wood is particularly important, as the grain patterns are going to show a lot especially in the bowl where you go through multiple layers of grain. (I'm not sure about the english name. Growth rings maybe?) I would have used a burl if I had one but didn't, so I used what I had.
Parenthesis : boxwood awereness week
In my region of France, more than 90% of the boxwood plants this year were destroyed by the invasive box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis). One could blame the insect, the gods or bad luck, but the truth is that humans introduced it in my country in 2005 and that mondialisation has severe drawbacks for biodiversity. Please be mindful of the wood you use as you might not be able to use it in 5 years and you children might not ever encounter it. We are so lucky of living in a time of such diversity.
Sandpaper (60, 150, 220, 400)
Optional : a rotary tool
A foodsafe finish (I used paraffin oil mixed with hexane 1:1)
Nothing fancy, nothing complicated!
Step 2: Shape
I carved the rough shape of the spoon with a pocket knife (carbon opinel for the win!) and removed the bark in most places but not on the back of the bowl, where there were some nice knots that I wanted to preserve.
Step 3: Dig
This is surely the longest and most annoying step !
You have a couple options here. You can either use the knife to chop a bowl little by little, it is pretty lengthy but will yield a nice "tesselated" finish ; or (and I ended up switching for this option because I was lazy) use a rotary tool with sandpaper to carve in. Don't worry yet about the bowl being very homogeneous, you'll finish it by hand later. This is just rough and quick removal of a lot of material.
Step 4: Finish
I then used 150 sand paper to refine the shape by hand, as well as smooth the inside of the bowl and remove some of the bark and make the whole spoon thinner and more delicate. Then, I switched to 220 then 400 grit, at 400 grit I did a first pass then wet the wood slightly with a damp towel, let it dry and did a second pass to clean the pores and catch any rebel splinters that might have come up with drying. This ensures an extra smooth finish and that nothing unpredictable will happen when you apply your finish!
I finished it with a mix of paraffin oil:hexane 1:1 that I know use for about everything as it really enchances contrast without changing the natural color of the wood.
All questions/remarks are welcome, and share if you make it !
Until next time,