Sunday, September 30, 2012



Saturday, September 29, 2012

Eating spoons-finish photo

Hi Everyone,
Here is the finish photo for the eating spoon:

See ya later,

Making a Spoon for Eating-Discussion, plans, and photos

Hi Everyone,

Next Tuesday is my oldest son't birthday and as he's a historical re-enactor who plays the part of a young soldier in battle, I was trying to think of something that I could make for him. It occurred to me that he might like a spoon to eat with. I think lots of soldiers loose their kit in battle and probably wind up with no eating utensils and have to make something like a spoon to eat with until they can get a replacement. So here we go, we're off to make an eating spoon.

Eating spoons are a little different from cooking spoons in that they are smaller, shorter in length, and the handle is contoured to make it easy to get the bowl of the spoon around the face and into the mouth.  This does present a few difficulties-the spoon has to be small in size and this can lead to breakage and the contouring has to be done on a bandsaw. But by working carefully and slowly, we can get around those problems. And if we make it out of some hardwood, it shouldn't break.

I've got some maple scrap from previous spoon projects so we'll make our spoon out of that.

Here we go:

I decided to use an ordinary spoon out of my cutlery drawer as a pattern for this spoon:

As the handle for this is very curvy, I sketched out the handle on the side of the board and proceeded to cut it out on the bandsaw:

In these next two photos you can see the face of the spoon blank and a side view of the blank:

Here is the blank with a patten of the spoon drawn on to it:

Here is the entire thing in a vice. I'm going to cut out the bowl first:

Here is one half of the bowl carved out:

And I've turned the blank around and carved out the other half:

This is the finished bowl. It's shallow on the narrow end and deeper on the wide end, just like a regular spoon is. Now to cut it out on the bandsaw:

Here is a side view:

 This is the face view with the entire spoon cut out from the blank. You can see how very rough it is:

 I spent the next 40 minutes or so filing, sanding, and carefully carving on the spoon. Here it is at this point:

I kept on sanding and filing, being careful not to bend the handle or the bowl of the spoon so as not to break it and I must say it's coming out rather well:

Here we are about 20 minutes later. It's much smoother after more sanding and it is usable as an eating spoon.  I normally sand spoons very smooth and I'm debating whether or not to sand this one. It needs to look like something made in the field. I am going to put a brief birthday message on the underside of the bowl with a burning pen. It won't be seen and it will have my son's name on it so if he loses it, it will make it's way back to him....hopefully.

The inside of the bowl could stand a little more sanding so I'm going to go back out to the shop and do that and then I'll oil with flaxseed oil so stay tuned for another photo or two.

More late,

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Spoons-making and finishing, Part 2


Let's keep on working:

I've taken the spoon and cut out a very straight handle for it. At this point you can cut it out anyway that you want. If you intend on using it in the kitchen, a straight handle is the easiest to use and to clean up at the end of your meal. If you want something to hang on the wall to look at , well go crazy and make something visually interesting.

We will cut the plank along the flat top of the spoon:

...and along the edge. Here I've turned the spoon over on it's side and marked off with a black marker the cutting lines. Beginning with the bowl of the spoon-I line to cut the bottom of the spoon to match up with the inside edge of the spoon. This will give you a narrow edge that will fit into a pot or pan for stirring. I've also narrowed the middle of the handle and left a sizable handle at the end so it will fit in my hand comfortably. And I've rounded off the top end of the handle. This spoon will fit comfortably in the hand and if I want to stir something it won't hurt my hand to do so:

Here is a photo of the spoon after it's been cut out. It's rough but that will disappear with filing and sanding:

Here is the spoon about an hour later. I've filed it very smooth and then gone over the whole thing with sandpaper, up to 150 grit. You will need a coarse wood file to file this as it's hard wood. It also helps to have a coarse file for shaping the underside of the bowl:

This is a photo of the side of the spoon. Notice that area between the handle and the bowl is a little thicker that the middle of the handle. You want this area to be very strong so the bowl won't break off:

Here is the back of the spoon. Notice the end of the handle. Be sure and smooth off all the edges:

I like to add a little carving to my spoons to add to the visual interest of the piece:

Here is the spoon after it's been sanded down:

And this is the final photograph after the spoon has been oiled with flaxseed oil:

Now this isn't going to win any design awards but we've produced a very usable and lovely spoon that will work well in your kitchen. And if you have a lot of scrap lumber around and you're wondering what to give everyone for the holidays, this is a good way to deal with both those problems!

I've got a couple of platters to make and so those will be my last two projects for the year. So get some coffee, pull up a chair, and drop by the wood shop. We've got more adventures ahead.

Best Always,

Spoons-making and finishing-Part 1

Hi Everyone,

This project has a lot of photographs so I'm going to do this in two postings.

Here we go:

I've selected a very clear, straight-grained piece of scrap maple for our project. It is a closed-cell wood meaning that the surface will be very smooth and food won't get caught on the surface. It is also a very strong piece of wood so our spoon will last a long time. In this photograph I've drawn an outline of a spoon:

This photograph shows only the bowl portion of it cut out. I leave the rest of the block intact until I'm finished carving and shaping the bowl. It's much easier to clamp it down or place it in a vise:

Many websites show people using a hook knife to hollow out the bowl and if you have the hand strength to do that, all the power to you. I have a hook knife that I just can't use so I've compensated for this by using several different carving gouges. The one on top I use for roughing out the interior of the bowl and the other two I use to smooth the interior of the bowl. I also use narrow gouges to make it easier to push the tool through the wood and the cutting edge of the gouge also fits better inside of the bowl while carving:

Here is the bowl. I've penciled in a line around the inside edge. I'm going to use that as a boundary line for the bowl:

...and I begin to cut out the inside. I take small bites of wood out with each cut of the gouge:

You can see in the photo that I'm cutting across the grain. It makes hollowing out the bowl easier and you'll find that you can cut the wood more cleanly this way:

Here we are about 15 minutes later. I've done the preliminary hollowing and I'm deepening the the rear of the bowl. I like the spoons to be deeper than the store bought spoons you see. This enables the spoon to be used for serving:

...and here is a photo of the gouge I'm using for this step:

In this photo the arrows show the direction of the cuts. This helps to deepen the bowl and to smooth out the edges:

Here I am deepening the front portion of the bowl. The wood in this area was particularly hard so I took a 1/2 wood chisel and gently removed this area with a mallet:

Here is the bowl several minutes later. The bowl is just about finished:

The bowl is done:

I've taken it out of the vise and now I'm going to take it over to the bandsaw and cut it out:

End of part 1. Go to the next posting to see the work on the handle and the finish photos.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Making a Kitchen Spoon

Hi Everyone,

Handmade spoons are a lovely part of any kitchen and if they are well made, they can be the beginning of many happy meals for it's lucky owner. They are not that difficult to make and I've made a number of them this past summer and I'm going to show you how to make one.

If you look on the Internet and Google "wooden spoons" or something similar, you'll see a variety of shapes and sizes of spoons that are used either for preparing food or for eating, in the case of small spoons. I make kitchen ware and I want my spoons to be used for either preparing or serving food so this means a larger spoon with a deep, oval-shaped bowl so food will stay in the spoon while it's being moved from a pot to a plate.

The type of wood is also important. Softwoods don't hold up well in a kitchen environment as they get soft and soggy from being washed, so a good domestic hardwood, such as birch, maple, cherry (makes a very pretty spoon), or walnut work well.

On the Internet you'll also see a number of people making spoons out of unseasoned tree branches and this will work as long as you remember to remove the pith of the branch as this will cause cracking if you don't. I prefer kiln dried lumber. This has been seasoned and is very unlikely to crack. The downside of kiln dried lumber is that it's much harder than unseasoned wood so you'll have a bit of a job hollowing out the spoon. But you'll wind up with a spoon that will last for years. And if you have a shop with lots of scraps, this is a good way to use up some of them (and who doesn't have scrap lumber around?).

Another thing you'll see are various types of curved knives to hollow out the bowl of the spoon. I have one but I don't really have the hand strength to use it so I use several gouges to carve out the bowl of the spoon and I'll show you some photos of those in my next posting. I also use a bandsaw to cut out the basic spoon blank-if you don't have a bandsaw, a coping saw will work as well.

So here's what we're going to do: I've got a piece of nice, clear, rock maple that I'm going to mark out and cut out on my bandsaw and then carve and cut into a spoon for my friend Nancy. I'll then sand it smooth and finish it with flaxseed oil for durability.

I have a class later this afternoon so I'll begin working on the spoon tomorrow. See you then.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Annual Blue House Christmas Boutique and Bowl Raffle

Hi Everyone,

The annual bowl raffle for the Blue House Christmas Boutique is coming up. Tickets will be available for $2 each or 3 for $5. As soon as I have paper tickets to sell (the tickets will be available on October 1) I'll let you know. 

If you are out of state and would like to purchase a ticket, send $2 to:

Selkie Wood Works 
PO Box 21157 
Eagan, MN, 55121. 

In the envelope be sure to include your name, mailing address, phone number, and your email address. I'll fill out a ticket for you and email you a scanned image of it. 

The bowl is the rosewood bowl that I profiled on my blog earlier this year and I'm placing a 

photo below. It's made out of solid rosewood and it's a real beauty and a steal at only $2.

 Good Luck!!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Spoons-stay tuned

Hello Again,

I've been working on making spoons in my shop for about the past 6 weeks and I must say that I've really enjoyed it. It's very satisfying to make something yourself and making a spoon seems to bring a certain contentment with it.

Here is a photo of a spoon I just finished. This one is out of American cherry:

And here are several others out of (l to r): maple, black walnut, and cherry:

I've been making these out of scrap lumber and while this wood is harder than unseasoned wood, it produces a fine, strong spoon that works well in a kitchen environment.

I'll be working on another spoon later this week and I'll take you through this step by step so if you like, you can make your own.

More later,

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Annual Blue House Sale

Hi Everyone,
Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that I support the Blue House, an orphanage in Uganda for young girls who have been orphaned by AIDS. This year's sale is on the first weekend in December and here are some of the things I've made and are donating to the sale:

Cheeseboards out of red birch, hickory, and laminated hickory/rosewood along with handmade cheese spreaders:

Serving dishes out of solid hickory:

...and cutting boards out of hickory and red birch.

If you live in the Twin Cities, this is a great sale to do your holiday shopping. More info on the sale as it develops.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Craft Work-Bespoke Tailoring

Hi Everyone,

There is a marvelous article and slide show today on the New York Times about a young, British-trained tailor in New York City.

Go to:

Yes, I know the suit is expensive. But it is tailor made and can be altered over time.

Also, look for my remarks under "Comments"