I love the quiet and rhythmic process of extracting a beautiful flowing form from a small piece of wood that may otherwise be too small for a major project. It’s also a great way of converting branches and growths into functional objects ensuring little material goes to waste, and with so many images of spoons floating around currently, my mind wandered toward making some of my own.
However, as you may guess, the temptation of speeding the process up was too strong and instinct drew me back to the lathe where I could reduce production time, and possibly enable my take on spoons to be fast enough that they be viable for sale.
I always have left-overs from other projects, so for this one I chose Murray Pine which has fine grain, a wonderful fragrance and rich orange-brown colour. Two items, a round spoon and a scoop, were marked out and cut roughly to shape on the bandsaw (photo 1).
The spoon was mounted between centres (photo 2) with the bowl section turned to a roughly circular profile then the handle was shaped to a slender cylindrical form (photo 3), sanded through to 320 grit before a couple of decorative ‘v’ grooves were cut using the skew (photo 4).
I’m working on how to further shape the bowl section on the lathe, however for this spoon I reverted to the slower and quieter traditional method of carving the inner section (photo 5), leaving a textured tool finish before turning my attention to the outer portion. This process was sped up with a rotary shaping tool, commonly just referred to by its brand name, Dremmel, fitted with a cylindrical burr (photo 6), followed up with rasps, files and finally sandpaper (photo 7).
A similar series of processes was followed to form an open ended scoop, however this one was sanded smooth on the inside as well (photo 8).
To expand the collection of utensils I followed a similar process to form a spatula. The profile of the blade was turned and them thinned by sawing away a wedge of material in either face of the blade before refining the shape in a belt sander, then it was the usual process of hand sanding through to 320 grit (photo 9)
But as you can imagine, my mind was already wandering on to how I could create salad servers and more. There are so many opportunities, so many materials that just need the right trigger to convert them into something more than just a piece of waste material seen as firewood at best... It's a treasure waiting to be exposed and celebrated with just the right level of insight and understanding...
This project just got my interest in spoons started, so now I just need to make time to explore the possibilities further and speed the process up. There is so much potential in this simple craft, you only need to get on the internet to see how many methods and styles there are, not to forget the myriad of applied techniques there are to decorate surfaces of lovingly carved spoons. Maybe that’s why they are referred to as ‘love spoons’ in Wales.