Exercises in Artisanship #25: Practices in Spoonology: Part four

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Blog entry by jjw5858 posted 09-10-2012 10:32 PM 1833 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 24: Practices in Spoonology: Part one Part 25 of Exercises in Artisanship series Part 26: Practices in Spoonology: Part Five THE FINALE! »

So my business of country spoon sloyd craft carries on. Forgive me if my tales on this exploration have become boring, I realize there is not a lot of joinery going on. I am closing in as I enter the words here for session 4 of 5 of this spoon blog and have really made some nice strides.

My greatest findings have been using the soil I live on to adventure more deeply into the woods and come out with new species I have never worked with before such as Hickory, Black Walnut, and Black Locust!

I am amazed at the Black Locust and the ease it will split, hew and carve. If you told me it was Basswood I think I would believe it. From what I have learned it is an exceptionally strong wood best for country fences, pegs, country archery bows and parts of machinery. I can say it carves wonderfully and it is a very strong and long lasting wood.

With all of that I have yet to learn if its fragrance may interrupt the tongues pallet when using a spoon or fork for eating…but I went along and needed the practice, so a spooning we will go…lol.

I have spent a proper diagnosed coursework of approximately 2 full weeks of 2-3 hour sessions in my shop exclusively learning about this craft. In this disciplined approach I have been awarded with more knowledge about green woodwork, and additional skills in seeing shapes and hewing wood. Not to mention some blistered toughened up paws and some great use of the many carving grips. If you are enticed by this blog or any information on this craft please feel more than inspired to get outside if your environment provides and study any fresh fallen branches or maybe perhaps the felling of something large enough for spoons but small enough so you do not kill it off only to waste it.

When I use this wood I have a high reverence for the tree just as any good hunter does for their deer. I do not like to saw or axe anything down unless its in pretty high abundance or if it is possibly in danger of being knocked over during a storm causing only harm to me or my property. Otherwise fresh storm fallen maple, oak, cherry…etc. is a wonderful chance to make something to share with others and extend the trees life. I feel good about trying to let the tree live on with it’s strong elements that can continue to nurture us in the world of gifting friends and family with our woodcraft.

Here are a few pics to show you some of my adventures!

Pic 1-3: From this blank in pic 1 I estimated it takes me just over 15 minutes to fashion these out to get the result in pic 3. It is coming much more easy now. This is the Black Locust wood I mentioned above.

Pic 4: Getting some other fun ones in the swedish pattern for further work. My greatest gains here have been reduction in size. These were all coming out way too large…lol. Now after some work and study I see them shaping up more confidently and making for a smaller more contured spoon with more flow to the lines.

Pic 5: Here are a finished pair in Maple and Cherry. This is what I have been after….this has more flow, more smooth lines versus bulky and over sized.

Pic 6: A practice pile of fun spoons (although for my goals)....oversized efforts…lol. It takes some real exercising to finally get a nicely proportioned spoon in this sort of style. With that said much more work to do.

Pic 7: A nice haul of handsawn pieces of locust right out from my woods to the shop floor. This stuff carves wonderfully! Not sure it’s terrific for wooden ware (Spoons, Bowls), more to learn!

Well I sure hope this brings some fun and inspiration to all or any of you out there. I think it is amazing how we can create pieces from trees….sounds simple, even downright elementary in a galoot caveman sort of way…lol. I think I take it too much for granted actually…..I am very thankful for it and thankful to share a little of it with you!

Keep making shaves!


It’s an old piece of wooden creativity, that needs its patina dusted
there it sits and tempts my thoughts, of days when tools were trusted
its old but solid, strong and brave, inside its grain the mystery remains
was it a craftsmen young and learning?
was it a journeymen old and hurting?
rounding its profiles for hours and miles?
shaping its confidence, shavings in piles?
how many hours to make its style?
how many tests and drawings to trial?

the rain it falls with the calls of this piece
as it sits there and captures my thoughts in a sweep

of miles of piles of hickory bark
that rest in the rain outside my old shop

thunder follows as my mind wanders
seeking the curves of the old wooden taunter

I rest but in jest I’d rather get wet and set my wet steps to the questions I fret
for my hollows and rounds, shavings and planes
working my vision from the piece I’ve attained
the old wooden piece has tested my skills
the rain batters windows with a howl threw the sills

All of my love and fears as I work
calming my nerves the grain is a nurse
threw the growl of the storm the old wooden piece
has commanded my presence and my hard working deeds

To think what I saw from my old worn couch, this old wooden piece that has tempted me out
to the wind and the hail as the leaves all set sail
every step muddy to the shop I prevail

It’s an old piece of wooden creativity, that shines with pride again
I smile at the trials and the lessons its given
that piece is an old best friend…..

-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

7 comments so far

View A Slice of Wood Workshop's profile

A Slice of Wood Workshop

1107 posts in 3775 days

#1 posted 09-10-2012 10:36 PM

Do you use a gouge for the spoon or an actual spoon knife?

-- Follow me on YouTube-

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3010 days

#2 posted 09-10-2012 10:37 PM

You are the man. Great blogging and you are getting very proficient. And that’s what it takes….practice and time in the shop. Hands on!! Keep on keepin’ on.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30505 posts in 2940 days

#3 posted 09-11-2012 12:50 AM

I am learning from you as well. Good work.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 3204 days

#4 posted 09-11-2012 02:21 AM

Thanks so much guys I appreciate your time.

jaykaypur Thank you for your inspiring work, please keep on keeping on as well my friend!

Monte Pittman Thanks so much for tuning in and taking some time, your projects and hard work are a real inspiration!

The Head Charles I have learned to use both styles actually, my methods currently are to start with a gouge with a very careful learned grip and then follow up with a hook/spoon knife! The important key is please make sure you have a controlled choked up grip with maybe a 1/4 or more of an inch of gouge for cutting. Please always make sure you have a stop to block the cutting edge wether it is your spoon bowl, palm of hand hitting your leg…..whatever it may be thats a safe block. I rehearse the grip first to see…my thoughts are if I slip while scooping where will the gouge end up. Great question and I look forward to your creative ideas!

Thanks again everyone,


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View Brit's profile


7888 posts in 3445 days

#5 posted 09-11-2012 08:04 AM

Been busy working lately, so not much time for LJs. However, I can always find time for your inspiring posts Joe. I really enjoy your poetic style. I could have done with one of those spoons last night when I was eating my banoffee pie.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3406 days

#6 posted 09-11-2012 10:19 AM

Oh one o them spoons would surely hold a big ole scoop o that gr8 lookin desert that Andy has above me… yum yum

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 3204 days

#7 posted 09-11-2012 11:46 PM

Ha….hey Andy good to hear from you, glad all is well. You and Roger are not helping my new fiitness goals with pics and comments of such desserts….lmao!

Thanks guys, look forward to seeing and sharing more projects, take care!

-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

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