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Ep5 - Spoon Carving

Always one to want a fair share of the beans, Dale sets out to improve a few finer woodworking hand skills by carving a wooden spoon.  Sure, you could go and buy a boring wooden spoon, but the satisfaction of creating far outweighs the convenience of buying and the skills picked up along the way can make for more adventures later.

Dale sets up a small carving kit, after visting the team at Carbatec:

  • Pfeil PF-7L-18 or similar long bent carving chisel
  • Stryi STR-WCK-80 or similar long blade whittling knife
  • Stryi STR-SCK-50DBL or similar spoon carving blade
  • Veritas 17U06-50 or;
    • Veritas 05P33-73 or;
    • Topman SR-3750 or other form of rasp
  • Carbatec BS-B200H 10" Benchtop Bandsaw
  • No!... a box cutter knife does not form part of this kit.  Their thin blades are designed for straight cuts through soft materials, and to snap off when bent. Carving chisels are specifically designed for.... you guessed it... carving!

CLICK HERE to see the products & tools used in this episode

Other materials and consumables that were used are:

  • Small piece of timber 300-400mm long, 50-80mm wide and about 20mm thick

      • There are many suitable species in Australia, but some suggestions are: Red Cedar; Silky Oak; Blackheart Sassafras; Huon Pine; Qld Maple and many more.

  • A few sheets of fine sandpaper

  • U-Beaut Food Safe Oil (or similar food grade oil) for sealing, enhancing and protecting the timber.

Dale used the vise on his new Carbatec WB-6030 Workbench to hold his work.  If you dont have a bench, any mounted or clamp-on vise can work just as well.  Carbatec carry a great range of vises to add to your workspace.  You could even clamp one to your outdoor table!  CLICK HERE to see the vise range

The size of you finished spoon is of course going to depend on your spoon blank. Don't take on too complex a design for your first time out. Keep it simple and practical expanding as you improve your skills and tool techniques.  Remember that carving tools are very sharp.  Carving in a direction away from your hand or body and keeping both hands in contact with the tool (especially longer tools) can help avoid a nasty cut.  Keep your tools sharp and keep your cuts small and controlled.

The Process:

  1. Prepare a piece of timber to the approximate dimensions above, or to suit your intended design

  2. Draw the outline of the spoon on the blank. You can create a cardboard template for this job if desired.

  3. Using a small bandsaw such as our BS-B200H or a Scroll Saw, cut the blank to the rough shape of the spoon, according to your line

  4. Now mark a "lip" a few millimeters inside the edge, around the bowl part of your spoon as a reference to start your carving.

  5. Turn the blank over and draw a rough centreline down the length of the blank for reference. Draw another perpendicular to this across the front third of the bowl as a reference for the back curve of your design. These are all of the guidelines you require.

  6. If you have a workbench with a vise, clamp the "handle" of the spoon in the vise so the "bowl" of the spoon is presented at a comfortable carving height and securely held.

  7. While spoon carving blades can be used from the start, the larger Pfeil Long Bent chisel makes for quicker work of removing the bulk waste. Carve small shavings away from your body, starting at the "lip line" and carving toward the centre of the bowl. Work from the edges all the way around your blank, always carving down and away from yourself, towards the centre.

  8. Ensure you do not go too deep, leaving enough material to smooth the inner face and round the back of the spoon.

  9. Turn the blank over in your vice and using a spokeshave, drawknife, whittling knife or rasp, start to shape the back of the bowl curve. Again, be careful not to remove too much material.

  10. Continue to refine both sides of your spoon’s “bowl”, making use of the spoon chisel for inner curve smoothing until you are happy with the shape.

  11. Now gently clamp the spoon head in the vise so you can work on the handle. The handle is best carved by using the whittling knife; spokeshave; drawknife or rasp. Work at rounding the handle by creating facets – removing the sharp corners. Continue creating more facets before finishing with a rasp and sandpaper to smooth out the curve you are comfortable to hold.

  12. Finish the spoon by using sandpaper from medium for removing chisel marks and irregularities, through fine sanding to remove scratch marks.

  13. Oil can now be applied to protect the spoon! Note that this procedure can “raise the grain” and make the timber feel a little rough to the touch again. Once the oil is dry, you can lightly sand with fine paper to remove the raised grain and apply another coat. Alternatively, prior to oiling you spoon, you can wipe it down with a damp rag to raise the grain first, let dry, then fine sand. This will assist in a smooth finish. Also ensure the oil you use is rated “food safe”! This is critical given the nature of what you have just carved! Carbatec have several options.

Congratulations on completing your project! Perhaps you are thrilled with your first attempt, or perhaps you need to refine your skills a touch… Hopefully you enjoyed the process and want to spend more time turning wood into functional items. Carbatec have all the tools and expertise to help you along the way. Contact our friendly sales team to discuss your needs!

CLICK HERE to watch this episode on 7plus Streaming Service