There are a lot of different ways to carve a spoon. The methods I use are determined by the desired forms I’m looking for, my knowledge of woodworking, and what tools I have available to me. I try to use as many human powered tools as I can, but sometimes resort to using power tools, because of the age-old dilemma−lack of time, tools, or knowledge.
I prefer hand tools, because they are quiet. The dog will come into my shop and lay under my feet, if I’m using hand tools, but runs away anytime I turn on a sander. Also, hand tools leave a better surface. Using a spoke shave or drawknife cuts the wood to a smooth polish, which is better at revealing grain qualities.
I have an admitted bias against power sanders that stems from my feeling better about what I make when I use traditional woodworking methods. Carving with hand tools is a more skilled process and one worth knowing, if your goal is to gain a more complete understanding of the woodworking process. Carving a spoon handle with a drawknife on a shave horse takes practice; carving on a belt sander takes little more than a tolerance to dust. But we live in the modern age and our modern time-savers have their place. Sometimes, after I have been carving spoons for 6 hours, I just want to get finished, so I can go have a drink with some friends or take a much needed nap.
Getting to my point, what I try to do is strike a balance between tradition and time. Norm Abram and Roy Underhill are heroes of mine without conflict. My shop has enough room in it for both hand tools and power tools, which I will demonstrate with this pictorial narrative.