Spoon-Carving Tools

Photos by Rob Brown; 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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