Canadian Woodworking

Spoon-Carving Tools

Illustration by Len Churchill

Draw Knife
Handles are grasped with both hands, on either side of the blade. Used for quick and rough stock removal. Usually used when roughing out a spoon blank or other workpiece. Works similarly to a spokeshave, but can take off more material with each pass.

Sloyd Knife
Inspired by a Swedish word referring to a system of hand-crafted edu­cation, a sloyd knife has a flat blade that is relatively long. The cutting edge is gener­ally straight or very slightly curved, and the blade has a slight taper to it. It also has a simple handle. A sloyd knife is used single-handed to further fine tune the overall shape of a spoon as the user removes small shavings. Generally, very simple knives.

Hook Knife
Used to hollow out the bowl area of a spoon or create any small recess in a piece of wood. Its blade is curved, and is used single-handed to remove wood shavings. Available in different radiuses. Some hook knives’ blades have a varying radius. Hook knives are available with single- or double-sided blades.

Draw Knife
Common Blade Widths:
Between 3″ and 9”

Price: $30 – $100

Sloyd Knife
Common Blade Length: 2″ – 3”

Price: $20 – $70

Hook Knife
Common Radius: 1/2″ – 1-1/4”
Price: $20 – $90

Get the Most Out of Your Spoon-Carving Tools

Keep It Sharp

A sharp blade is a safe blade. It’s also a joy to use. Many come very sharp, but learning how to re-sharpen a blade is important for long-term success.

Thin Shavings

Generally speaking, these tools work better, and the process is more enjoyable, if you take more small shav­ings, rather than fewer heavy shavings.

Don’t Pry

Continue the cut right through the workpiece, rather than stopping early and prying the shaving off. Prying will damage your razor-sharp blade.

Protect Yourself

Whether it means learning how to properly use a knife or wear­ing protective gloves and an apron, you don’t want to cut yourself. Everyone has a different comfort level.

Start Simple

Make a few simple pur­chases, get the hang of the process and your tools, then add to your collection as the need grows. This can be a wonderfully simple hobby.


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