This year I have gone stir crazy about spoons and my new year’s resolution is to make one a week for the whole year. The pic above shows the collection so far. So I thought I would share with you how to make your very own spoon. Stop it, I can tell your excited. The key with making anything like this out of wood is to have patience. Sometimes you can get so bogged down or obsessed with the tiniest details that really don’t matter at all.
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!
Usually I am obsessed with drawing out the spoon and making it as symmetrical as possible. I tried a different approach on this one.
Whilst splitting some fire wood the other night I noticed a split with a lovely curve and bulbous knot, looked like perfect spoon material.
So for this one I didn’t draw anything. I just got my knife and went with the flow of the grain and knots in the wood – not letting myself to get obsessed with the symmetry or the small details.
The head nearly cracked off because there’s and knot running right through it. Instead, there’s a little hole in the bottom, good for draining tea bags maybe.
Think I’ll stick to my usual approach for most of my future spoons but pretty happy with the result.
Just realised I didn’t post my spoon from last week. I did make it last week, honest.
I wasn’t intending on this being the 6th spoon. I started it about 5 months ago, not finishing it and leaving it on my windowsill. I thought I would finish it this week and keep it as a ‘backup spoon’ in case I was too busy. Turns out I wont have time to make another one this week, so this one slyly crept in there.
It looked nothing like this at the start of the week because I snapped most of the head off by accident. The spoon head was originally made using an ember from the fire. To do this you simply put the ember where you want the depression to be and blow on it till the concave spoon shape forms. You can still see some discoloration in the base of the spoon head from this. Not sure how I feel about this spoon, but here it is.