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.
Half a century of spoons! Never thought I would be saying that. Made this one yesterday from a bit of cherry my granddad gave me earlier in the year. Beautiful wood. After sanding and oiling the colour in the wood really started to show. I made a little finger / thumb holder in the side for no real reason other than I liked the way it looked.
This spoon is made from a bit of oak I found in my living room a few months ago. How it got there I do not know, but it did and now it is a spoon. I used my foldable saw to help with the roughing out of the spoon rather than doing it all with the axe for a change. Mainly because I didn’t have a chopping block to use.
It is ridiculously thin, the handle is bendy and it should probably be called the one use spoon as it will probably snap the first time someone uses it. It wasn’t too bad to carve even though there were some small tricky sections. I should have hollowed out the scoops at the start of the whittling process as it was bloody tricky with such a thin handle. 3 to go and only 2 days to make them!
Before being a spoon and after it was a tree, this bit of wood was part of a timber shower floor in a ladies changing rooms. A builder offered it to the site manager where I work, and as he knew I made spoons he gave it to me.
So this spoon has probably seen a fair few things its life time, who knows whether it was looking at the tiled floor below or at the ceiling. The builder reckons it is mahogany or walnut, but I am clueless to what it is as I haven’t spent much time working with this type of wood. It was amazing to carve, it had a tight grain but worked easily, and once polished, the grain really popped. Again, another highly practical spoon to add to the collection.
I still have the rest of the the shower floor, so I think there’s a fair few more spoons to be made from this!
I helped to clear some oak branches a few weeks ago and noticed a crooked one which had a ladle written all over it. I used the natural bend in the branch to create the ladle shape. But, I am slightly frustrated as I have lost many of the photos I took of the carving process. But from the ones below you can see the progress from about half way. It started as a fresh branch, no bigger than the thickness of my wrist. Pretty risky as when this spoon dries it may well crack. But it worked well, and as the wood was still green it was soft compared to seasoned oak.
I went quite freestyle on this one, I still drew out a rough spoon shape, but wan’t too fussed in keeping it symmetrical and just went with the wood. The strength of the wood even at the thinnest part is ridiculous – oak is a wonderful material to work with.
This is made from the same bit of oak that I made the Clove Spoon from. I knew this spoon was going to be challenging from the onset. You may have also noticed that it is not really a spoon. I ended up carving through the head, but rather than chucking it I thought it might work quite well as a pickled onion drainer – an essential kitchen appliance for every home, one that is so essential it has yet to hit the mass market. The wood was so hard and because of the design, quite tricky to complete.
I ended up changing the design in several ways, not including a little fancy bit on the end and making it shorter as I had cracked it. I am impressed with the strength of the wood, even with such thin sections.
I found a this branch of oak whilst on a walk with some friends. It looked fairly dry and had an interesting pattern in it. I’m pretty sure it is laden with rot, both white rot and black rot but I kept it as the rot looked so good. Who knows if the fungus will continue to ravage to wood…
I found this bit of oak in my living room, it was in the house when we moved in. I’m not sure which section of the tree it is from, or how old the tree was. But it is from the outer part of the trunk, so the youngest and softest part of that particular section of tree. Despite this, the wood is very strong, and even this thin little spoon is sturdy.
Oak is renound for its strength, and its latin name means exactly that: Quercus Robur – Quercus means Oak and robur Stength.