Rustic Wooden Spoons




About: I have worked in industry for 25+ years and have learned a lot from a lot of good people. I hope to pass a few things along and continue to learn new things!

I recently made a Cutting Board for a wedding gift and I had a scrap of walnut wood left over. This scrap has some knots, nails and defects, but I thought there might be enough material to make something. Then I got the idea to make a wooden spoon to match the cutting board. This would make the gift a little more unique. I had whittled some spoons in the past, and this time I thought I would try some different techniques. This Instructable will show how I made these.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Tools Required

I used a few shop tools to make these spoons. Following is a list of tools and material:

Band saw

Circular Saw

Drill and some drywall screws (To assemble fixtures)

Wood Rasps

Tape measure

C Clamps

small wood chisel

Sandpaper(80, 150 and 220 grit)

Pencil and Sharpie

Wood Scraps

Wood for spoon (I used 1" thick Walnut)

Peanut or Mineral Oil

Step 2: Select the Material

I had a scrap left on the end of the board I had used to make my Cutting Board. I used a hand saw to cut off this remnant. It does not look like much with the knots and defects, but I though I could get a couple of spoons out of it.

Step 3: Layout and Cut Out the Spoons

I laid out two spoons on the board. I was able to lay them out avoiding the knots and defects. There was enough material to do two spoons and I had a request from my daughter to make an extra long handled spoon. She is in to canning and the short spoons are difficult to hang on to in a deep cooker full of tomato juice.

After laying out the spoons, I took a band saw to cut out the blanks. The pictures show the cutting process and the finished blank. I saved the scrap pieces because we will need to use those to make a fixture to cut out the bowl in the spoon in a later step.

Step 4: Draw the Spoon Profile

After the blank is cut, simply sketch a profile on the side of the blank to represent the spoon. I made some hashed lines to indicate the scrap.

Step 5: Make the Fixture to Cut the Bowl (Part 1)

Take a scrap of 3/4 plywood about 16 x 16 inches and draw a straight line down the center. Drill several 7/64 holes about three inched apart. Use a short drywall and screw the spoon handle to the board. Make sure the screws do not go deeper than the has marks you drew. You do not want the screw to penetrate into the finished section of the spoon. The purpose of this step is to mount the spoon SECURELY to the board. Note: If I were to do this again, I would not band saw the handle to finished with at this time. I would have left an inch or so of material on either side of the line and ran my screws in that.

Now screw some of the scrap pieces on either side of the spoon into the plywood.

Step 6: Make the Fixture to Cut the Bowl (Part 2)

You need to measure your circular saw and find the distance from the center of the blade to the back of the base. Mine was 6 3/16 inches. You need to install a back stop across the spoon at this distance from the center of the bowl. (See pictures and dimensions) Screw this backstop into the scrap pieces on either side of the spoon. We will be using the circular saw to cut the guide slots to carve the bowl of the spoon.

Step 7: Mark the Bowl

Mark a line about 3/16" inside the perimeter of the spoon. This is a reference line that your saw cuts should extend to, BUT DO NOT GO BEYOND THEM! I drew some lines in the spoon to reference the cuts, but ended up not really needing them.

Step 8: Cut the Slots

This step uses a circular saw in a bit of an unconventional manner. Do not attempt this unless you feel comfortable with the process. Make some practice cuts in some scrap before doing this on your project. Notice a few things.

1. Everything is securely clamped or screwed in place and to the work table!

2. Both hands are always on the saw at all times during the process!

3. The depth of cut is set at 1/2 inch

To make the reference cuts, set the saw depth to 1/2". Hold the back of the saw firmly against the backstop during this entire process. Start with the saw blade above the work, turn on the saw and gently lower it into the spoon. You will always keep the back of the saw against the backstop and on the work and "hinge" it down into the work. When the blade reaches the line you drew around the perimeter, hinge up the saw, turn it off and move over about 1/8 inch. Repeat the process until the entire bowl has reference cuts. The photos show both spoons after cutting.

Step 9: Remove Material From the Bowl

Use a chisel to break out the remaining material. Once most of the material is removed, use some 80 grit sandpaper to smooth the inside. The pictures show the progress of this procedure. I keep the spoon fastened to the plywood during this process and it goes rather quick.

Step 10: Cut the Profile

Once the bowl is formed, now we can cut the profile of the spoon. I used the band saw to do this. I had to put a scrap under the handle for the initial part of the cut to hold the spoon level to get an accurate cut. make sure to work slowly and keep a safe distance from the blade. I had to re position my block a couple of times during this process. Whenever I did that, I shut off the saw before making changes. Take it easy and do not rush the work.

Step 11: Form the Back

Start the shape of the spoon by drawing a line down the center of the back. I then clamped it to the saw horse and took a wood rasp to rough it into shape. I would round over the edge from the center line towards to bowl of the spoon giving it a spoon shape. The last pictures show one half of the back formed. I repeat the process on the other side. At this step it is still rough, but close to final "Spoon" shape.

Step 12: Shape the Handle

I use a rasp to form the handle. I start by rounding the corners and then draw it into a circular shape. The pictures show the progression of this process. I hold it by the spoon end and run the file down the length of the handle. If you are good at whittling, you could do this with a knife. I am better with a file! Continue until you are satisfied with the roundness of the handle.

Step 13: Final Sanding

Once all the file work is finished, it is time to do the final hand sanding. I start with 80 grit paper and go over the entire spoon to remove all the marks left from the rasp and knock off any high spots. Then I go to 150 grit and give it a once over and then I do the final finishing with 220 grit.

Step 14: Coating With Oil

There are a couple of different oils you can use to finish the Spoons. From what I read, you do not want to use vegetable or olive oils. They can become rancid over time. You do have to be make sure the end user does not have a peanut allergy! I understand there are food grade mineral oils and special butcher block oils that can be used.

I put 3 coats of oil on these spoons. It was a simple matter of applying the oil to a cloth and rubbing it into the wood.

Step 15: Complete

The spoons are finished and ready to use. They match the Cutting Board nicely. The long handled one will be especially handy for stirring those deep stock pots of tomatoes.

Good Luck with the project and thanks for checking this one out.



    • Indoor Lighting Contest

      Indoor Lighting Contest
    • Metal Contest

      Metal Contest
    • Make It Fly Challenge

      Make It Fly Challenge

    9 Discussions


    3 years ago

    A carving gouge is the easiest way to carve out the bowl of a spoon


    3 years ago

    These look great. I think I would use a dremmel as the whole saw thing looks really complex and iffy. Beautiful wood though.

    1 reply

    I think the dremmel would work fine. Again, this is a case where you want to do what you are comfortable with. Thanks for the feedback.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for this. You made sure to avoid knots and defects, whereas I make efforts to include as many as possible, with the exception of cracks which could cause a breakage. I find that irregularities give the spoon character, and ensure that no two are identical.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the tip. In this particular case, the knot went completely through the board and the other defect area was a broken off cast nail. Either one of them would have compromised the integrity of the spoon. The knots and abnormal patterns in the wood could make some interesting designs.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent tutorial. I actually turned a spoon on a lathe but I am having an awful time with hollowing out the bowl. Your method will work great!

    How would you go about hollowing out a deeper bowl? Thank you!

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the feedback. I used a 7 1/4 blade on my circular saw to cut the bowl. If you use a smaller diameter blade such as a cordless circular saw, (I think they are around 5") it will make a deeper bowl. Good luck!


    3 years ago

    great idea to use the circular saw. maybe the best thing to do would be to do the entire bowl, backside as well , first then cut out the handle. thanks for posting

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    I believe that is how I will do the next ones. This did work OK but I was afraid of breaking or splitting the handle. Leaving the additional material on while making the spoon end would make things more stable and less likely to break. Thanks!