This weekend I had a lovely day in Lancashire teaching spoon carving to a group of friends. As I got set up, our hosts David & Melanie explained that they’d just had a cherry tree felled on their property. There were several clean lengths so I suggested we use that timber for the course to add a personal touch to the work.
Cherry is a great choice for carving wooden spoon and our pieces split beautifully with the froe, giving lots of billets ready for axing.
Some spoon carving courses start with a pre-prepared blank bandsawn from a plank but I think this misses out a lot of what it is about. Learning how to use an axe to carve is a really valuable skill and, under tuition, my students rapidly gain confidence and accuracy so they can quickly shape wood. It also means they have gone through the whole process from the raw material and can carry on their new hobby using green wood sourced from the garden, parks department or local woodland.
Then on to carving with the straight and hooked Swedish Mora knives. We practised four different carving techniques, using them at the same time to quickly refine the spoon. I have altered my process this year which I was pleased to see gave improved results in the finished spoons.
I know lots of brilliant female woodworkers but unfortunately it often still seems to be thought of as a male occupation so it was great to have so many women on the course. I loved the contrast of the painted nails, sharp tools and natural materials.
We had time for carving some decorative finials on the end of the handles and the only hard part was knowing when to stop!
A fun day with lots of chat, laughter and a delicious lunch. I was very impressed with their spoons, particularly for their elegant shapes and smooth, unsanded finish.
If you would like to learn to carve spoons straight from the tree, I will be teaching several other courses this year, have a look at my courses page for dates. If you have a group and would like me to come and teach a similar day for you, please send me an email for details: stevetomlin8[at]gmail.com