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.


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