After making the spatulas from Paul Sellers book I decided to try my hand at making a wooden spoons. I broke the last wooden spoon I had and figured I could give this a shot and make some new ones with larger handles. I stopped into Paxton Lumber in Denver and founds some maple cutoffs in the 50c per board foot box. Score!
I had a set of two plastic spoons that I do like that I used for a template. I would go with bigger handles to make them easier to hold and harder to break.
- Band Saw (trimming down blanks)
- Record 151 Flat Bottom Spokeshave
- Record 151 Round Bottom Spokeshave (optional)
- Two Cherries Carving Gouge 7/20
- 180 Sandpaper
- Record Vise
First step, trace out the spoons. You can see I fit 5 on this board. 2 small ones and 3 large.
Using a Two Cherries 7/20 gouge I started to carve out the spoons.
I got lots of practice as I had 6 to work on. Much easier to get it all out of the way while the board clamps solidly in the vise. I used the smaller spoon as the inside template for the large spoon. For the two small spoons I just moved the small spoon I was using as a template and retraced it a few times until I had a good 1/4″ boarder. The gouge laughed at the maple and cut through it without much trouble. I have not learned how to sharpen the gouge yet, it made it through the spoons without dulling.
The first 5 spoons carved out ready for the bandsaw to trim them out. 2 blanks that are ready for the spokeshave.
The other board was extra thick so I made a deeper spoon.
Roughed out and ready to go. I did take this one back to the bandsaw to trim the top as maple is hard wood and that is mainly end grain. The large spoon I trimmed the handle as well since this one would be a flat handle unlike the others which are round.
Let the trimming begin. Sharpened the Record 151 flat bottomed spokeshave and got to work. First starting with a thick cut and then fine tuning for the finish work. Maple is not the softest of woods but this sharp spokeshave made quick work of it. Grain direction was elusive sometimes, I was changing directions regularly until I figured things out to minimize the tear-out.
I started with the spoon part first, doing one side then the other. I would occasionally use the round bottom Record 151 spokeshave for the tight curves where the spoon met the handle. The round bottom was much harder to use but I am starting to get used to it.
Once all the trimming was done I would finish each spoon off with a scraper to remove any tear-out and spokeshave lines. Made for a pretty good looking spoon.
The final set of 6 ready for finish, most likely mineral oil.
Are they perfect, no. I could have sanded the ends of the handles on the belt sander for a nice slick round end. I chose to round them instead with the super sharp spokeshave and leave them uneven. The Record 151 did quite well on the end grain. I have seen places recommend a low angle version for end grain. Maybe down the road I’ll try a low angle spokeshave or get a kit like this one from Tools for Working Wood. In the mean time, a very sharp 151 works just fine.
The spoons got better with each one I did. I did a rough pass and then a fine finish pass to clean things up. Multiple rounds with the scrapers and putting them in the sun to see marks. Maple is quite hard and did not make things easy but the results are well worth the work.
I did sharpen 3 times I think throughout the process. Maybe overkill but I am just getting used to both the tools and the sharpening process. Each honing took about 3 minutes, just enough to bring em back on the water stones, 1000/4000/8000. Possibly a strop is in order next time I get to Tandy to bring back the edge a bit without honing.