How I Carve A Spoon Part 1

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.

Step 2) Draw a spoon. This one is going to be around 17″long…

Step 2) Draw a spoon. This one is going to be around 17″long…

…after first cuts on the band saw.

Step 3) Cut out top profile on the band saw.

I do a lot of the initial carving freehanded on the band saw. This is a practice that cannot be endorsed by the American Council of Wood Shop Safety, but it is fast and relatively safe

Step 4) To open the bowl of the spoon I use a foot clamp by sitting on a short stool made just for spoon carving. It’s about a foot high and I’m about 6′ tall, so this gives me plenty of foot power and puts the work at about chest height

And let me define foot clamp as a clamp to hold down work by stepping on it with one’s foot. It’s surprisingly effective. Note the spoon is on top of a shop mat, but I also use a piece of leather when I opt for carving outside.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: