A new hobby green wood spoon carving

Since last December I started a new hobby in green wood carving with the emphasis on spoon carving and it is growing into a real passion and looking to expand into some of the other green wood crafts such as bowl carving, shrink pots and rustic chair and stool making.  I am so keen on this that I am looking to run it along side my self employed work and try to see if it can bring in a few pounds to make it worth the time to dedicate to the craft. Also as it only requires very little tools or space I am thinking during the winter months and no beekeeping duties I could set off on the boat investigating parts of the network carving spoons on the way.

As I have been a woodworker all my life and my earliest memories are of me cutting myself with tools I was way too small to hold and given pocket knives by great uncles at an early age and often carried one at primary school with nothing more innocent than to whittling a piece of wood or carve my name into a tree I feel I have almost come full circle as its with knives you carve or whittling the spoons and it takes me right back to when I was eight years old.

It’s called green woodwork as you work with the wood when its fresh cut and full of moisture and sap. To round it up very  simply take a branch or log cut approx to the length you require and then using an axe produce a rough blank of the spoon you wish to carve. Some woods are better than others with some ideal but basically most woods can be carved. Then using a carving knife, not the one out of the kitchen drawer but basically something that looks very similar to a pen knife but with very good steel so it can be sharpened razor sharp and a hook knife a similar tool but instead of a straight blade its curved so as to produce the bowl of a spoon.  Once you have your spoon blank you then start carving with the knives until you reach a spoon you are happy with, you then put it to one side to dry and once dry you give it a final carve and then oil it with food grade raw linseed oil, leave to dry for a few weeks and its then ready to use.  It obviously gets more technical and involved than that but in its simplest form that’s about it.

Below is a selection of what I have come up with and the best of the bunch so far. I will also start a page specifically for the spoons and the green woodwork projects.

 

The carving knives next to a ladle I am working on, the straight forward straight carving knife and two hook knives both with different curves to them.

The carving knives next to a ladle I am working on, the straight forward straight carving knife and two hook knives both with different curves to them.

Sometimes when you split the log the natural grain makes life a bit easier  as was in the case with this piece of Birch.

Sometimes when you split the log the natural grain makes life a bit easier as was in the case with this piece of Birch.

And the finished serving spoon with an attempt of a swans head as a hook to stop the spoon slipping into the pan or bowl.

And the finished serving spoon with an attempt of a swans head as a hook to stop the spoon slipping into the pan or bowl.

Once you have carved a few spoons you start to look at the branch in a new light to see what is lurking under. But more importantly you try to work with the shape and grain to get the strongest spoon as possible.

Once you have carved a few spoons you start to look at the branch in a new light to see what is lurking under. But more importantly you try to work with the shape and grain to get the strongest spoon as possible.

Not the best photo but the branch produced this lovely small ladle and my first attempt of keeping some of the bark on the handle as it does connect you with the tree and branch the spoon came from.

Not the best photo but the branch from a plumb tree above produced this lovely small ladle and my first attempt of keeping some of the bark on the handle as it does connect you with the tree and branch the spoon came from.

A small exercise to see if I could produce four spoons of the same design.

A small exercise to see if I could produce four spoons of the same design. The one on the right is cherry and the others are birch.

20150128_195855            20150128_195929            20150128_195943

Only one way to check if you are carving them right and that’s to use them and surprising the adjustments you need to do.

Only one way to check if you are carving them right and that’s to use them and surprising the adjustments you need to do.

Going a bit arty with this spoon out of willow and it has its own stand. Think I was influenced from Chinese restraints with the spoons they do with their soup.

Going a bit arty with this spoon out of willow and it has its own stand. Think I was influenced from Chinese restraints with the spoons they seve with their soup.

Made this spoon rack and similar to a number on the internet and all perhaps taken from a very old Welsh traditional similar spoon rack.

Made this spoon rack and similar to a number on the internet and all perhaps taken from a very old Welsh traditional similar spoon rack.

Rollcall perhaps the best of the bunch and I need to sort out my photography as it’s not up to scratch.  A mixed bag of timbers Cherry, Sycamore, willow, Birch, Apple and Plumb.

Rollcall perhaps the best of the bunch and I need to sort out my photography as it’s not up to scratch. A mixed bag of spoons and timbers Cherry, Sycamore, Willow, Birch, Apple and Plumb.

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14 Responses to A new hobby green wood spoon carving

  1. hencorner says:

    Thomas, these are fantastic!

    They will look lovely on a craft stall with your honey – make sure you get a good price for them…
    I was pleased to see your honey available on the Edible Ealing order list this week – I hope you get a good response.

    Sara

    • Thanks Sara it’s part of my plan to have a craft stall with honey a few candles and the spoons. Just got to keep carving and practising. Very happy to supply Edible Ealing and with luck may be able to supply them honey from Ealing later this year, fingers crossed.

  2. The Apiarist says:

    Wonderful … very envious of your woodworking skills Thomas. I’ve not progressed beyond the finger-gouging stage for my beekeeping woodwork. Did you also make the wooden table the Chinese-inspired willow spoon is standing on?

    I look forward to reading more about this.

    • Yes I made the table from a slab of sycamore I had in my workshop for several years and never used as it was to nice to use and looked lovely just standing in the workshop but finally decided that it would make a nice table for the boat. It has some lovely grain and figure and I have always liked the natural edge left after the bark is removed.

  3. Emily Scott says:

    Looks like you’re a master already Tom, liking the bark handle idea and the Chinese style spoon. If you wanted to reach a bigger market selling online with a website like Etsy might be an idea. Amazing what can emerge out of a humble log.

    • Thanks Emily I think there is still a lot to learn, techniques styles and shapes to experiment with but very happy with the results so far. Starting to sell in time is definitely on the cards, haven’t thought a great deal about website only thinking of craft fair type of thing at the moment. I don’t know if it’s possible to expand this blog so as to sell the spoons? either way something to think about.

  4. Emily Scott says:

    Yep, Etsy is very popular and a good way to reach people who wouldn’t think to come to your blog but might be searching Etsy for homemade spoons. Will try to remember about Ken’s hive.

  5. Heather says:

    Loving all you spoon carvings Tom! You havent lost your talent! Interesting blog as well. Heather x

  6. lizard100 says:

    This has given me lots of good ideas. Thank you

  7. Ivana Juliet says:

    These are absolutely fantastic. I am not expert like you and a stupid beginner. love to see your work and thanks to you for sharing with us.

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