2 years ago today I had just completed my first wooden spoon of the year. It was the start of a slightly bonkers challenge for 2015 where I decided to carve a spoon, using only hand tools, for each week of the year. I completed the challenge and ended up giving a handful away, keeping my favourites, and selling about 35 of them – donating half of the money towards the charities I supported whilst swimming the Thames. To see all the spoons take a look here.
So, if you bought one of the spoons, or gave it to someone as a present it is about time it needs an oil. What if I don’t have any special oil I hear you ask? Not a problem, just use regular sunflower oil. Apply it to some paper or a cloth and wipe onto the spoon. This will keep the wood nice and supple and stop it from drying out. Don’t use olive oil though, it will make it smelly.
And don’t oil if you bought:
Spoon 23 – The Paella Server (Just oil the unpatterned side) – Anna Hobbiss
Spoon 34 – The Egg and Spoon Race Spoon (Just oil the spoon bowl) – Antony Joury
Also, I would love to see some pictures of the spoons in use, or wherever they may live now Happy Spooning!
A few weeks ago I completed my New Year’s Resolution for 2015 – to make a spoon for each week of the year. This was by far the best new year’s resolution I had ever done. I can’t even remember any of the previous ones.
I had carved around 3-4 spoons before starting this project, so I knew the basics, but I was still a novice. I made all the spoons using hand tools only – an axe, a carving knife, a hook knife, some chisels, sand paper and oils. I did this because I wanted to improve my knife skills and wood working ability, it meant I could work on the project wherever I was and partly because I didn’t have access to any machinery or power tools.
This spoon is made from a section of an old dead spruce tree I was using for fire wood whilst on a recent skiing trip. The beauty about this tree, (and similar small pines and spruces) is that through years of slow growth the grain is extremely tight – the tree must have been around 80 years old or more, but was no more than 5m tall with a trunk diameter of 12cm or so. This is because of the environment the tree grew in: at 70° North of the equator it is subject to long, cold, dark winters, with no sun for months of this, and this tree, on the outskirts of a bog and surrounded by much larger trees would be fighting to get light and nutrients. Many trees will stay small till a neighbouring tree falls, giving them the opportunity to grow. This one however died before it got the chance.
This is birch heart wood, not aspen as I thought so in some previous spoons. Heart wood is the lower portion of the tree – the oldest and hardest part. Often looks quite different to other sections of the tree, and in Silver birch it has a lovely shimmer to it. Usually tough stuff to carve, but after working on the kuksa for several weeks this felt like butter (well, almost).
Tried the furrowed effect on the inside of the spoon again. Aaaand, wait for it, it’s the perfect size for holding a lemon! Pretty handy I know…
Ever needed a spoon to get the olive out of your martini? I didn’t think so, but here’s one for you anyway!
This spoon was a nightmare to make! I didn’t enjoy the process at all. Mainly because I was rushing to make it yesterday. It was a complete test of patience and I learnt that you should never rush a spoon – carving and rushing don’t go hand in hand.
I intended it to look nothing like this. It started as a strange double ended number, but after numerous cracks and snaps in the wood whilst carving, the design completely changed and the spoon gradually got smaller and smaller. I nearly gave up with it many times, but glad I persevered.
Although it resembles the original idea in no way whatsoever I kinda like this little guy.
This is last week’s spoon, finished it in the early hours last night. Just went with the wood on this one and a left handed spoon emerged. First attempt at leaving the bark on and quite like the result. The alder has a lovely orange tinge to it and is really light to hold.
Can’t believe it’s the 11th week of the year already!! They’re bloody flying by!
Spoon 10! Finished this last Sunday at approximately 11.46pm. During this week I was doing practical training as an assistant guide for mid to long distance skiing tours in eastern Finland.
So, this meant having to tactically whittle away just before bed, catching the shavings on my sleeping bag so I wouldn’t mess up the rooms. It was a busy week and I only just managed to make it. Nice bit of linseed oil brought her up a treat, but not sure how useful a scoop of this kind would actually be…
Can’t beat a three way when spices are involved. Salt, pepper and a spice of your choice…
This one was tricky to make at times because of all the changes in grain direction, nearly split it several times. Ended up looking a bit like the grand canyon or similar desert environment by complete accident. Could also be a three way egg cup, or golf ball holder. Whatever floats your boat…
My roommate was given a lovely bit of juniper from Turkka Aaltonen (the Finnish equivalent of Ray Mears) after a week learning bushcraft skills with him. He told us that if you want to make a woman fall in love with you, simply put a branch of juniper on the fire when she is with you. And the beautiful aromas released from the wood will make her fall for you. I used some of this magic wood for this little spoon.
So maybe, if you use this spoon for making a cup of tea, it might just have the same effect on the drinker. Just be careful who you make the tea for!