Ladder Ladle

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Project by Spoontaneous posted 01-16-2014 01:31 AM 3301 views 8 times favorited 32 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ladder Ladle is carved from a piece of figured Serviceberry…. one of my favorite spoon carving woods. A year or two back I had purchased a piece from an Ohio seller on Ebay… and made a few spoons from that.

After that first piece ran out I kept searching Ebay and Google every month or so, looking for more. Finally, last week I saw this piece (also from Ohio) that was 70” long and 3” thick… and it was ‘on sale’. The piece looked like a big hockey stick… and this spoon bowl came from where it made the bend.

What I like about Serviceberry (other than it being a tight grained wood similar to cherry) is the warm tones…. and especially the little brown ‘flecks’ that speckle the wood.

Anyway… I had the idea of a ‘Ladder Ladle’ in my sketch books for a couple of years… and this piece of wood seemed just right to try it. I left the bark on… although, I wasn’t sure if it would work because of all the borer holes just under the bark… some of which go all the way through the wood.

This one is about 12” long.

The next spoon I call Knuckle. A few weekends ago I took my wife to visit Mounts Botanical Gardens under the guise of ‘doing something together’.... but admittedly I had an ulterior motive….. and that was to see if I could salvage some of the wood when they pruned their collection of exotic trees.

I see a young gardener and ask him if the Head Gardener is around. He said “No… but is there something I can help you with.” So I told him that I was a wood spoon carver and was just wanting to ask about getting some of the wood they pruned off.

Turns out (pun intended) that this young guy was a member of the local woodturner’s club. So… he offered to keep an eye out for me and I gave him one of my cards.

A couple of weeks later he called and had pulled a couple of branches from the brush pile. The only thing was that he had no idea of the wood species.

My wife and I drove over in her little SUV since my Civic isn’t really built for hauling wood. When we got there he had 3 branches about 6 feet long leaning against the fence. They were covered in mud and my wife winced at the idea of putting those in her car. Me being atypically smart that morning I had thrown in a tarp… so I made off with the wood feeling like a bandit.

This is the first piece from that wood. Not sure of the species, but it is plenty dense enough for a functional spoon.(Reminds me a bit of Wax Myrtle.) As I was carving, there was this nodule looking piece that kept wanting to stay on the handle… so I just went with the flow.

Once the basic spoon was carved…. the nodule kept looking like a ‘knuckle’ to me so I cut a couple of lines to suggest a knuckle. 11” long.

The Briar spoon is next. When I had visited the Philippines back in May I brought home a few pieces of wood. This is from a Jackfruit tree on my wife’s family’s farm. After the spoon was carved, it sat for several months in a drawer at home because… well, it was just kind of boring.

One day I decided I was in the mood for another spoon with thorns and thought I would garnish this spoon a bit. After gluing on the dried rose thorns I painted the exterior of the spoon black (including the thorns). It just seemed to need a third ‘element’ so I added the red line. About 9 1/2”.

The Long Dipper is Lignum Vitae (Latin for ‘Tree of Life’ for those that don’t know) and measures about 13” long and the spoon bowl is probably 5/8”. You could starve to death trying to eat with this thing.

Hound came about after I received an unsolicited box of wood from Lumberjock’s ‘Jim the Carver’ (How great is that?!). One of the pieces was the walnut board this spoon came from. It had a knot and this spoon was cut from around that knot. The wood had another tiny knot running through, which became the dog’s eyes…. subtle, but there, nonetheless. 5” long. Thank you, Jim!!!

French Curve Macadamia was shaped by using one of those ‘french curve’ templates to design the handle. The spoon bowl has a sort of recess underneath that keeps the thing from rolling over. I went with a little bit heavier finish since the wood was spalting and a bit open grained.

Melly’s Spoon I carved from the wood I brought back from the Philippines. Narra, jackfruit and madre de cacao (mother of chocolate). Had to make the bowl in the shape of a heart beings she’s my wife and all.

Beach Coral is carved from the ‘Shaving brush’ tree…. a tropical tree that gets these pink blooms that are shaped like a shaving brush. I had carved a spoon when the wood was wet but it proved to be pretty soft. I waited for a year to try again…. and it is still pretty soft.

So… after carving a basic spoon I just started drilling holes at random into the thing… and then, I carved out between the holes…. which gave a look that reminded me of the coral pieces you find on the beach here. I put a little yellow dye in the holes and then dyed the whole thing black. Once dry I sanded most of the black off and was left with this….

A few weeks back I wasn’t sure what to carve next and so I grabbed up a long skinny piece of Bloodwood and just started removing wood randomly. It started looking a bit like another snake spoon at first…. but the spoon bowl was off in a different direction.

I got about two thirds of the way done with it and figured I had breathed in enough of the dust… so I set it aside and forgot about it for a spell.

One day a few weeks later I had an hour or two left before heading home and I picked the spoon back up and finished carving on it. It wasn’t a snake, it wasn’t a functional spoon…. and really, did not seem to have much going for it other than the beautiful red wood.

Well, actually… I had carved a sort of ‘groove’ on the bottom of the spoon bowl….. this being the first time that sort of accent appeared. But every time I would lay the spoon down on the work bench it would just sort of roll over onto its side.

I decided that in order to be able to sell the dang thing, it was going to need some sort of display stand to hold it aright. I had this nicely figured piece of maple left over from the Co-moon-ication spoon and so I cleaned it up a bit.

I had noticed that I could balance the spoon across my finger and wondered if it would balance on this maple base. Tried it out…. worked just fine….. until I put the finish on, which made the thing quite slippery. So a small indent on top of the base was added in order to keep the spoon from running off.

The spoon itself is about 12” long and the base is 8” and being about 1 1/2” tall.

After a lot of uncertainty about this one I came to like it quite a bit. That is one of the rewards from the creative process….. we get to be a part of it…. but most often as ‘observer’ to see what comes about. I called this one Balancing Act.

When I saw somewhere online that the fellow from Country Workshops was collecting ‘spreaders’ (butter knives), I didn’t wanna be ‘left out’. I decided to go about making one of the dang things for the first time and this is what I came up with.

This is from that Surinam Cherry… a very nice and tight grained wood. So I sent the first one off to him… and decided to make a few more. Some in bird’s eye maple (from Jim’s box) and some from walnut. All with the same design. The torso just seems to fit into the hand right nicely with the ‘curves’ serving as thumb rests.

Well… this got me to thinking that maybe this might work well as a spoon handle. Having just completed the Ladder Ladle… I had the piece of wood that backed up to it. So I carved a Lady Ladle from the serviceberry but had to give it a much smaller bowl.

A year ago a gentleman had shipped me some wood from MN, which had some Buckthorn in it. Pretty hard wood.. but takes a nice finish. I had carved the shaft for a hair stick but had to leave it on the bench for a couple of months to figure out what to top it with. Finally, I figured it out and put a hat on the thing… made from ebony and holly.

...and don’t call me long winded! <grin>

As always… thanks for having a look!

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

32 comments so far

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14182 posts in 4585 days

#1 posted 01-16-2014 01:46 AM

field goal ! touch down ! home run ! another great batch of work

All of them are very nice, but the “coral” spoon is my favorite. Holes look like they belong.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Druid's profile


2161 posts in 3398 days

#2 posted 01-16-2014 01:51 AM

All marvelous pieces, and I find it interesting to hear the story behind each one. Great work.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Woodbridge's profile


3710 posts in 3021 days

#3 posted 01-16-2014 01:55 AM

All your work is so cool. My personal favourites would be the ladder label and the balancing act.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View kiefer's profile


5713 posts in 3270 days

#4 posted 01-16-2014 02:19 AM

What a display of talent and art !
Beautiful work ,all of them and something to enjoy .

-- Kiefer

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 4388 days

#5 posted 01-16-2014 03:01 AM

They all look great…fun stuff!

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

View sras's profile


5288 posts in 3732 days

#6 posted 01-16-2014 03:10 AM

Again – a treat to see your work!!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 3040 days

#7 posted 01-16-2014 03:28 AM

Fantastic work! Hard to pick a favorite. I will say that the Briar spoon is the stuff of nighmares, very scary looking.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30505 posts in 2941 days

#8 posted 01-16-2014 03:53 AM

Your imagination is second to none. Absolutely love your work.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View deon's profile


2522 posts in 3628 days

#9 posted 01-16-2014 06:57 AM

Great work as allways

-- Dreaming patterns

View Hawaiilad's profile


3374 posts in 3623 days

#10 posted 01-16-2014 08:57 AM

A true Artist…great work

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View steve_in_ohio's profile


1195 posts in 2213 days

#11 posted 01-16-2014 11:20 AM

Wow, you have a serious talent, they all look amazing, great work

-- steve, simple and effective

View michelletwo's profile


2783 posts in 3618 days

#12 posted 01-16-2014 11:21 AM

the first spoon with the ladder gave me a big grin! thanks for sharing so many spoons..they are a treat.

View terryR's profile


7561 posts in 2911 days

#13 posted 01-16-2014 01:42 PM

Very nice work, Terry! You have great skills at finding the spoon shape inside the woods!!! And, such sweet woods, too.

Love them all, but the one for your wife is very special.

Thanks for sharing!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3639 days

#14 posted 01-16-2014 04:44 PM

Yet another set of seriously impressive work from the man who can.

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

View SPalm's profile


5334 posts in 4485 days

#15 posted 01-16-2014 05:54 PM

Your posts are always so much fun to read.
You have a sense of humor and an amazing talent for carving. Fantastic work.

Thanks for posting,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

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