Spoon carvers diary #6: Traditional Wooden Spoon Making: How do you start this craft?

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Blog entry by jjw5858 posted 05-16-2013 10:05 PM 3095 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Something in the spirit of better days Part 6 of Spoon carvers diary series Part 7: The journey of spoon craft unfolds new roads. »

Spoon making is something that the more I research it the more I become astounded that this craft grows at the rate that it does. Friends, there are large groups of folks all over the globe that share classes, festivals, everything and anything related to making green wood into spoons and bowls.

I think perhaps it may be that spoon making is very portable as well as affordable. The wood is free, you can do it while camping with friends, the bench is a chopping log, and the tools can be brought in a tote.

I am learning that more people all the time are taking up this hobby and becoming consumed in it’s natural therapeutic
rewards of bringing nature, craft and self together resulting in an inner peace of mind.

Spoon making with traditional hand tools is a primal, instinctive and challenging process. Each time we engage the green wood and prepare to convert it to a spoon there are so many elements that require our care and growing skill.



So….you see some wood spoons, you think to yourself….... Wow I like this, I have some extra tree limbs that need cutting. How do I start?

I can only provide what I have learned so far in my journey, please understand each step another spoon shows me more as well as the wonderful masters from past and present.

Form follows fibers. Jogge Sundqvist suggest that when in the woods we put on the proper glasses to see each trees form allowing us to know what we can make from it using it’s natural form and shape. By proper glasses Jogge charms us meaning to use your eyes and mindset to know what to look for as we hunt our timber.

I will have more in depth information on this situation in my next blog. Right now, allow me to cover the basics for you getting in your backyard on a sunny day and just feeling your way around starting a spoon!

1. Saw a branch off of a live tree or collect branches at least (2-4 inches in diameter) that have been cut down and left to a curb, etc. Avoid knots at all costs!

2. Split the sawn segment down the middle, this way 2 spoons from one piece if your lucky. Keep in mind the tree already has it’s natural grain path, and we have no authority over it’s instruction so let it split how it splits. Frustrating but true! Wood is a teacher, sounds funny but keep learning this craft and you shall see.

3. Hew the wood down with a quality hatchet. What’s a good hatchet? Tool makers such as Hans Karlsson, Svante Djarv, Gransfors, all can be found here: Seriously friends, accept nothing else, if it’s made in Sweden trust me you will not be disappointed. These tool makers are total craftsmen and Drew Langsner will never steer you wrong in green woodworking, he is the american guru of these crafts and a real woodworking icon.

HK 1

HK 2


4. Carve the wood green, green wood cuts easy from the trees water content. You may carve seasoned wood but please keep in mind it will require more effort. Remember no power tools in this style of spoon making, we will only be doing this in the traditional way. This applies to sanding as well…..yes I can here everyone moaning….oh joy…lmao!

5. Study shapes online. Look at spoons you like, try to watch videos. Check (shameless plug…lol) You will find tons of pictures from all over the world of people making wooden spoons….this craft is much larger than you might believe. It honestly was a surprise to me months back learning this by seeing it all myself.



6. Carving out the bowl you will need to get a hook knife. Please do yourself a favor and check out Del Stubbs or you may go back to Keep in mind these gentlemen do this for their living, they are some of the top names in this game and their tools are the best. Your not even going to find this on Lie Nielson. If you purchase cheaper tools in the beginning you will learn how I did, and it will only be a disappointment. I used to use a Mora hook knife and honestly it’s childs play next to my Svante Djarv purchased from Country Workshops.

7. Check out some videos on my website for further ideas and instruction:

8. Have fun and take slow steps. Please enjoy an honored craft that passes many generations. Wonderful!!!!

I hope some of this may be of help and continue to grow the wood spoon making craze!

More next time and if there is something on this you want to see I will try and add it to the next blog!

Be well friends and keep making shavings,


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

8 comments so far

View sgmdwk's profile


308 posts in 2761 days

#1 posted 05-16-2013 10:41 PM

Interesting. Thanks for posting. I will say, however, that those fancy hatchets and knives are a bit too hard on the wallets for some of us. I am trying to get started with a Flexcut hook knife, an old Plumb hatchet and a folding knife I found in a ditch a few years ago. I’ll keep them as sharp as I can. I might upgrade, if I get the chance, but one reason I love woodworking is that it doesn’t require a big outlay to produce results. Maybe I will be unable to succeed with my cheapo tools, but I’ll give it a try.

-- Dave K.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25355 posts in 3993 days

#2 posted 05-16-2013 11:53 PM

Thanks for all the info, Joe. you are a fine craftsman of spoons and it is good to hear that it is enjoyed by lots of other people. Everyone need a spoon or 2!!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3296 days

#3 posted 05-17-2013 12:01 AM

Good blog and some great leads on getting started. As you have come to know, spooning is addicting!

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

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30568 posts in 3226 days

#4 posted 05-17-2013 07:25 AM

Excellent as always. Your tutorials always read as well as any novel. Keep up the good work sir.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3744 days

#5 posted 05-17-2013 09:51 AM

Nice one Joe


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4222 days

#6 posted 05-17-2013 06:26 PM

Good you are spreading the word Joe. Woodworking doesn’t have to be a shop full of machines!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 3728 days

#7 posted 05-19-2013 02:31 PM

Joe my next adventure is forging an axe. You have inspired me.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Mauricio's profile


7165 posts in 4039 days

#8 posted 07-13-2014 02:26 PM

Hey Joe, do you have any references on what wood types can be used on spoons? What is toxic whats not?

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

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