Canadian Woodworking

Kitchen scoop

Author: Paul Ross
Published: August September 2004
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Scoops were used many years ago for all sorts of condiments such as salt, sugar, coffee, and even loose tea. Although they have been replaced in today’s modern kitchen, they can be used to accent your décor.

They are a great project for practicing your skew work.

Make sure you pick a suitable wood. It is especially important when doing skew that you choose even grained wood, particularly not a soft wood. This gives a false sense of the skew when cutting. Also if you use soft wood the detail would not be crisp enough. You don’t have to choose an extremely hard wood, just something that has a bit of body to it. I chose cherry, in that it is fairly even in the grain, as well as attractive.

Keep flute in the upward position

Turn the gouge on its side

Square each end

Make a planning cut

Lift the toe into the wood

Pull gouge from centre to outside

Clean up with scraper

Check the depth

With rest above centre, move skew downhill

Shape the handle

Slice piece off, one cut at a time

Clean pip with toe of skew

Cut scoop on your bandsaw



Start with a blank of about 2″x2″x4″. This allows enough at the end to be used later for a jam chuck when turning the pip on the end. Mark the centre on each end to obtain maximum diameter when it is roughed into a cylinder. When using a roughing out gouge there are a couple of ways that it can be presented to the wood. However, when roughing down a square it is important to note that there is a lot of resistance from the wood. For this purpose you should present very little metal from the gouge. Keep the flute in an upward position.

Once the corners are off you can turn the gouge on its side to present more metal to the wood. This produces a smoother cut.

Now, with a parting tool, square each end. With the piece in a chuck and using the tailstock to line up the centre, true the wood with a skew. Make a planing cut with the heel leading (the short end). Note that the tool rest is well above the spindle, and the skew is not held flat on the rest. Its one edge is held slightly off the rest. It is held “askew” to the wood.

The exposed end must also be cut clean, and this is done with the skew. Using the toe (the long point), simply lift it into the wood.

It can be a little challenging to remove or hollow out the scoop. Ensure that all the grain is going end to end. This is what is commonly known as end grain and if not properly handled it can be a nightmare. On the other hand, when the end grain is handled properly it’s a dream. Remember the key to cutting all grain, especially end grain, is to go with the grain. Pulling the gouge from the centre to the outside does this. Use a small 3/8″ spindle gouge for this, starting in the centre and pivot the gouge out to the edge.

Once the shaping of the “bowl” is done with the gouge, we then clean it up using a modified round nose scraper. Check the depth of the “bowl” to ensure where you are on the outside and start cutting the handle of the scoop.

Rough out the curve of the goblet with a spindle gouge and then take a couple of light cuts using a 1/2″ skew. Be sure to have the rest above centre, and always go downhill.

Now shape the handle using the skew, always cutting with the grain and cutting downhill.

When shaping is complete, sand. The better your skew work is, the finer grit you can start with, when sanding.

All that is needed to do now is part the piece off. Use the toe of the skew and carefully, one cut at a time, slice the piece off. Make a jam chuck, to finish the little pip on the end of the handle.

This is done by cutting the remaining piece held in the chuck to the inside diameter of the scoop. Once you are at the proper diameter, a slight push onto the jam chuck ensures a snug hold. Now clean the pip with the toe of the skew as seen in picture.

Finish the project by cutting the scoop on the band saw. Make a bunch of these scoops and you’ll have lots of fun while fine-tuning your skew skill.


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