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.
I found this bit of spalted wood in an abandoned sauna in Finland. I thought it was a dense bit of spruce or pine, but now don’t have a clue what it is. It worked more like Silver Birch and the colouration in the wood looks similar to some birch I have used before.
I wanted to try something different on this one, and used some spoon inspiration from instagram and followed a more traditional design. I haven’t sanded or oiled this spoon for a change. Although after taking the pictures I oiled it to protect the wood, and I might sand it in the future, but we will see.
Stilllll a few weeks behind. I found this bit of wood in an abandoned sauna’s log store in Finland. It was as hard as hell and nice and dry. So I picked it up and it has been on my shelf since then. It was a pain to carve as there were a lot of knots in the top. It also took way longer than I thought it would – I think because it was quite a chunky design.
I’m still a few weeks behind but finished this curvy one last week. A Frenchman named Thierry chose this bit of wood for me… He picked it up from a log pile and said ‘this will make a good spoon’ – at the time I wasn’t that interested but took the wood anyway out of politeness.
The curve in the wood was barely changed, that’s what it was like after being split. Glad I kept it as it turned out much better than I could have imagined. Beautiful bit of wood and makes a nice change going with the ebb and flow of the wood. There was a nervy moment where the wood split, but I managed to work around this.
I’m 3 weeks behind on my spoons but managed to get this one finished yesterday. It’s made from silver birch heart wood and is bloody hard. Lovely to carve. Oiled it in tong oil for a change, but didn’t like it as it’s sticky! Continue reading →
I have slipped into old ways and I am a week behind with my spooning. I actually got this bit of wood from the Tiido family, who I stayed with in Parno in Estonia. They kindly put me up whilst I was hitchhiking back from Finland to London two weeks ago, I’m not sure I would trust a hairy smelly hitchhiker like myself.
This little one was a real challenge to make. What is it used for? Maybe a tea ceremony? Who knows. It was hard to visualise and know where to start. I first roughly carved a block of wood into an oblong shape, and from here, I smoothed one edge, drew on the design and carved the shape in one plane. I then rotated the wood 90 degrees and did the other plane. This gave a kind of square spoon with a point. I then rounded it to the final shape and took out of much of the inside of the cap, to form the spoon head. The handle was becoming so delicate towards the end I thought I was going to snap it!
This is last week’s spoon, I am falling behind schedule! Again in silver birch heart wood – seem to have quite a lot of that hanging around and it’s lovely to work with. A sharp, spikey spoon that doesn’t really fit in your mouth, is an urgonomical disaster and culinary-wise not much use for anything. On the upside, you can use it to de-ice your car window and as self-protection against vampires.
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…