Step 2 – Finding the Grain of Your Spoon Blank
Please click on the image below for a full-sized drawing. Spoons have rounded handles, rounded bowls, and both convex and concave curves within the bowl. As you carve you will need to adjust your carving strokes often to keep your knife blade working with the grain of the wood.
Pulling the blade down the grain ends slices those ends into thin slivers. Pulling or pushing a knife blade into the grain of the wood will cause the cutting edge to follow the grain lines, slicing deeply into your blank. This can cause a deeply cut dent in your blank or can cause a long sliver of wood to split out of the spoon.
As soon as you note that you are cutting into the grain, back the knife blade out of the cut. Turn the spoon 180 degrees, and re-cut the are working with the grain direction.
Step 3 – Rough Out
The shaping for your spoon begins with a bench knife or large chip carving knife. Spoon carving is a perfect project for working in your lap. You will want carving gloves both for protection and to give a more secure hold to the wood as you work your knife. A large, folded terry cloth towel, laid in your lap, will catch the chips and can be used to hold the spoon bowl during the bowl cutting for added protection.
Step 4 – Push Cut
The push cut is made by pushing the cutting edge away from you. You holding hand is below or behind the knife stroke. Work the push cut with the grain of the wood.
Step 4 – Pull Cut
The pull cut moves the knife-edge towards your body, again working with the grain of the wood. Your holding hand is behind the knife-edge for protection.
As you rough cut and shape the handle of your spoon you will use both the push and pull cuts. Cut the handle area into the rounded shape.
Step 5 – Cutting the Bowl and Handle Joint
The joint area where the bowl transitions into the handle is a great place to add a little extra something to your spoon. For our example I am carving ears into the back side of the joint. Those ears keep the spoon from rolling or rocking when it rests of the kitchen counter.
With a marking pen, draw a line across the joint area of the bowl and handle. The ears will fall on this line. Using a wide sweep round gouge roll the wood from the back edge of the spoon into the rounded shape of the handle, working the cuts from the ear line. Taper the sides of the handle area as well.
Step 6 – Tapered Bowl and Handle Joint
For most spoons, as common stirring spoons, the top side of the handle and the top side of the bowl are on the same plane. The back side of the handle is tapered down from the bottom of the bowl. When you spoon is complete the bowl area will be thicker in measurement than the handle area. This centers the leading edge of the bowl directly under your hand.