Spoon, Fork, and Ladle Styles for Wood Carving

Wood Carving a Basic Wooden Spoon

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.

carving with the wood grain

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.

Rough Cutting a Wooden Spoon

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.

Rough Cutting a Wooden Spoon

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.

Rough Cutting a Wooden Spoon

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.

Wood Carving Spoons

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.

Wood Carving Spoons

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