Wooden spoons: sometimes the simplest things take the longest

Author: Rob Brown
Published: October 15, 2021
cherry spoon
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You might remember I mentioned my son was making a wooden spoon last June as a thank you gift for his teacher . Well, it took some time, but we…I mean he…finally finished it.

A long-awaited “thank you” spoon

I might have helped a tiny bit, but I wasn’t going to do it all for him. I found he was great at the initial “roughing out” stage, but as the project went on, he was less sure of what wood to remove and what wood to keep. Summer was busy, as was September, so the last bit of carving, the two colour bands and the final coat of finish weren’t completed until early October. We were both pretty proud of the spoon and his teacher really loved it. I thought adding the two colours (his teacher’s favourites are pink and light blue) added a fantastic focal point and brought the spoon alive. Making a spoon as a thank you gift turned out great, although it did drag on a bit. Hopefully, his former teacher will enjoy using it for years to come. I doubt she gets too many handmade wooden spoons as thank you gifts.

Finally!
My son (I may have helped a bit) made this cherry spoon for his teacher. We started it in June, but because we had such a busy summer we didn’t manage to complete it until now.

cherry spoon

Ready for Colour
His teacher likes pink and light blue, so we added two narrow bands of colour. We taped off the area for one of the colours, sprayed it, then once it was dry, we taped off the other area. I thought the results were surprisingly good.

ready to colour

Protect It
My son applied OSMO oil to his teacher’s spoon. Two coats provided some protection from daily use, though the patina a spoon develops over time is nice to see.

applying oil

Aug/Sept 2020
This is our Aug/Sept 2020 cover, which featured a wide range of articles on spoon making.

CWHI Aug Sept 2020 Cover

Learn New Techniques
The Aug/Sept issue included articles about wooden spoon and utensil projects as well as beginner carving techniques and finishing approaches, and tips on how to hold and sharpen a carving knife.

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Want to carve your own wooden spoon?

If you want to learn a bit more about wooden spoons, check out our Aug/Sept 2020 issue, which covered just about everything you need to know about making wooden spoons. From “7 Great Knife Grips to Get You Started” and “Spoon and Utensil Making Basics” to “Kolrosing a Wooden Spoon with a Classic Basket Weave” and “Sharpening Spoon-Carving Tools with Wet/Dry Sandpaper” there’s lots of spoon-making basics to sink your sloyd knife into.

How do our readers like spoon making?

When our Aug/Sept 2020 issue was published I knew it was a bit of a risk. Spoon making is very much a niche, and some of our readers would likely prefer to have our standard mix of furniture, woodworking and home improvement articles to read about. I was fairly confident the themed issue would strike a chord with many of our readers, though.

My reasoning was that spoon making is very accessible to all woodworkers, from beginner to advanced. Making spoons doesn’t require lots of space. Spoon carvers also don’t need a lot of new tools or machinery to get into this aspect of woodworking. In fact, many tools, such as a bandsaw, draw knife and carving knives, are already in many of our shops. Even if a couple of specialty knives had to be purchased, the cost would be quite low.

At the time we were putting the issue together COVID was also keeping many people inside, and I was hoping making spoons would help alleviate boredom brought on by the pandemic.

I did receive a number of emails from subscribers after they received the spoon-carving issue. Some were disappointed. “Why an entire issue dedicated to spoons?” “I have no interest in making even one spoon.” “I was hoping for furniture projects.” “Spoons aren’t furniture.” I think you get the picture.

But I also got a lot of positive feedback from readers. Some had zero interest in spoon making before reading the issue, but once they got into it, they saw the benefits that making utensils could bring to their time in the shop. Newsstand sales were also very strong, which reassured me. When the cycle had come to an end, our spoon-themed issue was only 10 sales off a record for the Aug/Sept time slot.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that spoons can be a lot of fun to carve, they make great gifts, getting into the hobby can be quite easy, and not all of our readers like to carve spoons, but many do. Another moral of the story is that I can’t please all of our readers all of the time, but my hope is that I please all of our readers most of the time.


Rob Brown - [email protected]

Rob is a studio furniture maker and the editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.

4 Comments

  1. Hi Rob , keep up the great work you do. The magazine is fantastic, really good projects.
    I have been getting the magazine for many years…it keeps getting better and better…job well done.
    Take care….and cannot wait for the next issue…John

  2. Hi Rob,
    I had already been carving for a couple of years when I got the Aug/Sep 2020 issue. I spent the next 8 months carving various types of spoons and pyrographing designs on them. The best part was giving away some of the spoons as gifts. Thank you!

  3. I really appreciated the August/September 2020. I started spoon carving several years ago. Now I teach it to my grade 8 students. I love spoon carving! It’s so satisfying.

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