One of my favourite things to carve and a great project for learning carving techniques is a butter spreader. Popular in Scandinavia, they are much less well known in the UK than they ought to be.
The key to making them easily is to split the wood only just bigger than the finished article so you’re not having to carve away too much and you make the most of the timber. A special splitting tool called a froe is useful to have but you can split timber successfully just with an axe and mallet.
This sycamore, on a recent spoon carving course in Wales, just wanted to be spreaders and split beautifully into a dozen perfect blanks.