SPOON CARVING #5: Back in the saddle again...

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Spoontaneous posted 07-23-2011 04:36 PM 8476 reads 3 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: TOOL much time on my hands. Part 5 of SPOON CARVING series Part 6: The Finish Line »

After a good 5-6 weeks, I finally made it back to the shop for a couple of hours yesterday, the shop being the alleyway behind my friend’s garage. Pretty dang hot and humid.. and the mosquitoes and gnats didn’t seem to mind.

I didn’t take along my sketchpad but I remembered this inch long drawing (circled) that I thought would be easy and fun to make.

Looking through my wood box I found a piece of serviceberry wood that I thought might look alright. I don’t have to worry about the grain direction so much since it is going to be a nonfunctional spoon. I drew a design directly onto the wood blank after squaring it up, but I didn’t really remember exactly what the drawing had looked like. I missed it by quite a bit but I really just wanted to get back to carving so no big deal.

After cutting out the top of the design I used a drop or two of the gel superglue to temporary reattach the off cuts. A tap with a hammer knocks those pieces right off.

After cutting the side profile the blank ended up looking like this…

I started with a coarse round bit to clear out the bowl. The outside of the bowl was shaped with a different coarse bit that has straight sides and a rounded top. If my band saw blade had been sharp, I could have tilted the table and cut off some of the excess on the spoon bottom… saving myself a half hour or so.

Carving the bowl is when I ‘remembered’ that Serviceberry is a hard wood to carve. I should have picked a design with a smaller bowl…. or found a softer wood.

After a spell I got the bowl roughed out and changed bits to another rounded style. It has finer teeth and gives a smoother finish. As I was shaping both the inside and back of the bowl, the design seemed to look like a leaf shape so I am going with that… unless something else presents itself. This is mostly the way I work, letting the piece sort of dictate, or at least suggest, the direction of the spoon design.

After a couple hours, this is what the thing looks like. There is one crack showing up in the bottom of the bowl, so I am watching to see if I have to scrap it.

Just to give you an idea of my carving set-up, I am attaching a couple of pics. First off, I have my band saw on a furniture dolly so I can roll it in and out of the garage. I don’t have a dust collection system so when I am done sawing and carving I just take the leaf blower and blast everything with it.

I keep my rotary tool (Foredom) attached to a folding ladder and just unfold the ladder in the alleyway when I get to carving. The nice thing is that the garage doors are the flip up kind, and as you can see from the photo, I position myself in the shade. Notice the foot pedal for speed control…. works great!!

As there are others that use the garage, I keep my bits in a small box and drag it out with the ladder and chair. You can see I don’t have a lot of bits and burs… but most times it is enough to do the job. I also have an Xacto knife which comes in handy from time to time.

I am really interested in seeing the spoons you guys carve… and if you have the notion (and the time), I would love to see some of the process.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

23 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5405 days

#1 posted 07-23-2011 04:48 PM

the photos are great!!!
I’m still at the design phase – as I said I am high in creativity and a little lacking on the hands-on genes :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Roman - THE BOOTMAN's profile


1077 posts in 3931 days

#2 posted 07-23-2011 05:05 PM

Thanks for the gel superglue tip. I’m going to use it. Nice job. Good instructions.
The sketches are very current! RH

-- Author of POWER CARVING BOOTS & SHOES - Schiffer Publishing. Available online or your favourite bookstore.

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4281 days

#3 posted 07-23-2011 05:32 PM

Just goes to show. Its not what you’ve got its what you do with it that counts. Spoon’s looking good too.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Spoontaneous's profile


1340 posts in 4575 days

#4 posted 07-24-2011 04:25 PM

Well, I was thinking I might try and do something fancy around the edges (a sort of perforation)... but the Son of a Branch has this little tiny ‘crack’ in the grain and I decided just to sand it out and move on. I think what I am calling a crack, is really what I’ve heard called ‘shake’ in cherry wood. That minute separation between the grain (growth rings).

In any case, from the last photo of the spoon, all I have done is sand (most of) the scratches out. I am out of my Waterlox finish so I just wiped on, wiped off a poly.

Can’t say I’m content with the spoon, but I can say that, although hard, Serviceberry wood is becoming one of my favorite woods to make spoons from. It has this reddish brown color that I find irresistible. ‘Amerlanchier canadensis’ is a small tree and if you come across it, send me some. ha!

Okay, I’m off to try again…. How are you guys coming???

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 5030 days

#5 posted 07-24-2011 04:50 PM

Spoons your designs are very cool.
This is what I have come up with…I found it to be a bit over whelming, challenging I believe was not the correct word for this spoon. But I have a different method of pattern transfer to the wood. I usually draw my design and after it looks acceptable I put a piece of transfer paper in the copier or printer and print the pattern on to the thin paper. Then I use a very thin layer of white glue to adhear the pattern to my selected piece of material. After completely dry I then simply cut it out on the desired saw and waaaa-laaa easy breezy.
Not sure why this is upside down but….. rotate your monitor to see it….lol
This is 3/4” Jacaranda wood.
Here you can see I have cut out the dream catcher and have drilled a depth hole in the middle so I wont go any farther than needed for this step.
In this pic you can see I am very far along in the brutle carving process. Notice the dream catcher still has the paper glued to the wood face.
Here you can see I am making the leather straps to hold the center leather pallet. I am seperating the upper and lower leather straps.
In this pic I have pierced the center where the straps pass through the center piece.
And it is beginning to look like I hoped it would.
The Tee-Pee seemed to be a bit to chunky so I decided to hollow it out and carve a fire in the center for 3d effects I suppose.
Ok so its a bit crazy I understand but hey a guy has to try RITE?
I look forward to seeing everyones spoons.

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View Spoontaneous's profile


1340 posts in 4575 days

#6 posted 07-24-2011 05:11 PM

Here’s the difference between you and me, Jim. I had this idea to carve an ‘arrow’ spoon with the shaft being the handle….. but you go and throw in the whole dang village, teepee and all !!! First off, AWESOME design… supporting the dream catcher with the teepee poles is brilliant. Can’t wait to see those feathers carved in. And how you managed to carve the ‘leather straps’ without them breaking is beyond me. It really does look like the ‘straps’ are taut. Is the bear claw burned in?

Jim, this is way beyond cool. Can’t wait to see it progress. Is that a ‘peace pipe’ lying next to the fire? I mean, you’ve gotta be smoking something! <grin> Outstanding !

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5405 days

#7 posted 07-24-2011 05:26 PM

oh my goodness …..... Spoon- love your leaf spoon
and Jim—the tipi spoon is extraordinary, so well thought out, so meaningful, so intricate… NICE!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 5030 days

#8 posted 07-24-2011 10:17 PM

Spoons I thought you may think Im in need of mental help after taking such an intricate design on. As you I have had no training in carving or even art. I can see it in a finished form as I draw the design…but as usual the carving takes a turn somewhere and really challenges me.
The bear claw at this piont is just marked with a sharpie as well as the design on the teepee.
The straps are power carved after most of the waste is removed.
A pipe is a good idea….hmmmm getting the grey matter moving again….lol

Ms. Debbie- thank you your very sweet :)

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View Spoontaneous's profile


1340 posts in 4575 days

#9 posted 07-29-2011 04:02 PM

Hoooo-Doggy! I just came off of 4 days of bone wearying, mind numbing work… but now I’m done ‘til Sunday evening. That’s why you ain’t heard from me. I did finish another spoon last weekend… and I have a couple of others started.

The one I completed is out of that servicebery wood, and the design is similar to the ‘Vertebrate’ spoon I did some time back. I’m just calling it Zig Zag’ since I can’t figure a good name for it.

I am hoping to get over to the shop later today and some tomorrow and play around a bit.

Sometime this weekend …. I am going to post a bit about finishing. I’m not one to talk since I go for the easy, ‘fool proof’ products (which I usually manage to prove aren’t really fool proof). But not knowing what I am talking about has never stopped me before. ha!

So where is everyone? I mean…. with their spoon projects???

Let’s do a roll call:

Jim the Carver ~ Well, we know he is staked out over an ant hill. Really looking forward to seeing his spoon evolve.

MsDebbie ~ Keeps trying to make those subtle hints ….. but I am ‘certain’ that she will be getting to the shop right soon.

Recut ~ Have you started on the Crepe Myrtle yet? I think that is going to make an awesome spoon. If you have any left overs….... (hint, hint)

Bertha ~ Let’s see. You re-sawed (resawn?) your wood… and did you get your blank cut out? What kind of wood were you going with?

BluePine ~ You were working on 2 spoons… pine and maple. Are you knee deep in one or both?

Rrdesigns ~ You’ve gotta be making a place on the bench for a spoon, amongst all your other projects. How are you coming?

WayneC ~ Have you started cutting on that Basswood yet? If so, what knives did you decide to go with??

Murch ~ Last I heard you were sharpening your Flexcuts. Have you attacked any wood with them?

Helluvawreck ~ Are you still off your “procrastinating butt” and still carving that spoon… or, are you done already?

Nafianna ~ Have you been working on something “vaguely spoon shaped”? That’s the cool thing about making something… no matter how it comes out looking, you can claim it was designed that way.

Roman, Wiggy and Hairy…. you guys have chimed in but not sure if you are all making new spoons. If’n you ain’t, you orta.

I apologize if I missed anyone. Like I said, my mind is numbed today. I really, really am looking forward to seeing everyone’s (including MsDebbie) spoons. I hope you will post them here as well as the projects page because I don’t always get a chance to catch up looking at the projects.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5405 days

#10 posted 07-29-2011 04:09 PM

haha yah, um… well.. ah….. I have LOTS of ideas!! and even “my design” picked out… and then, ah, well. uh…
gee it has been really, really hot out for the past couple weeks. Yah, that’s it. It’s been way too hot to go into the shop

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4111 days

#11 posted 07-29-2011 04:33 PM

Spoons, it is another good post. Maybe I’ll have time to try another one this weekend.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Spoontaneous's profile


1340 posts in 4575 days

#12 posted 07-30-2011 03:50 PM

Yeah Debbie ~ Approximately 5 months from now you are going to be dreaming of ‘hot’ days…. so you better go on and get your self out there to the shop… before you have to shovel a path. I wonder why ‘Nike’ comes to mind?

Helluvawreck ~ I know you stay busy with projects… hope you get around to another spoon.

I didn’t make it to the shop yesterday after all, but am determined to get there today.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View NaFianna's profile


537 posts in 4271 days

#13 posted 08-05-2011 12:35 AM

Well not a lot of progress here. I had decided pick a piece of firewood from the pile. It is a piece of pohutukawa, a native here, which had been drying for about 3 years, and it had a bit of a bend in it which suitied my plan. The plan in my head – no proper plans or sketches – thats not me. Well bad choice, this wood is so hard that I do not think I have the skills or tools to see it through to spoonend. I am embarrassed posting this

Will have another go at this when I have time

-- Cad a dheanfaimid feasta gan adhmad.......?

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5342 days

#14 posted 08-06-2011 06:50 AM

I’m going slow…. been a busy couple of weeks….

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Spoontaneous's profile


1340 posts in 4575 days

#15 posted 08-06-2011 05:23 PM

NaFianna ~ I had to look up your wood choice and Wiki says one of the common names for your wood is ‘Ironwood’ so that gives an idea to the difficulty in carving. But I’ve gotta tell you… don’t be embarrassed about it. I have a few of those ‘blanks’ over in the corner of the garage. I keep thinking one of these days…... Looks like it would have been a pretty wood though, I wish it grew down this way. The tree looks similar to what the call the bottle brush tree here. I plan to try that fairly soon, as my buddy has a tree in his yard with some dead wood. I like the proportions you have between the handle and the bowl. Don’t toss the blank, it still has potential to make a great spoon.

Wayne ~ I hear you about being “busy”. It was my intent to post on ‘finishing’ last weekend, but the weekend got caught short as I had to travel out of town for work… which was just the other side of brutal… but now I am settled back in and should have some time to post again. I plan to get back to the shop later today or tomorrow.

Jim the Carver ~ Are you in a straight jacket yet?

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

showing 1 through 15 of 23 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics