Though wooden spoons and utensils can be left very simply adorned, adding a little “je ne sais quoi” takes them from a simple kitchen item to a piece of art.
Photo by Carlos Eric
1. Chip Carving – Especially common on wide handles, chip carving is a classic way to add detail and intrigue to a spoon or utensil. Because chip carving is an art in itself, I’d recommend practicing your technique and pattern on a scrap before moving to a freshly carved spoon.
2. Pyrography – For adding the user’s initial, a geometric pattern or a shape from nature, a pyrography pen can really heat up your next utensil project.
3. Laminating Multiple Contrasting Species – Just as it does for furniture, bringing two or more species of wood together in one project can add a pleasing effect. The options are almost endless.
4. Texturing – Equipping a rotary tool with the right round bit can leave dimples in the wood. Parting tools will add grooves in the wood. Using a file to add a few small notches near the edge of two surfaces also works wonders. These are just a few of the many ways to add texture to your wooden utensil.
5. Leaving Tool Marks On – Some woodworkers would rather sand the carved surfaces of a spoon smooth, but if you’re using razor-sharp tools and leaving smooth facets or surfaces, leaving them alone offers a more natural, hand-carved look.
6. Wrap the Handle – Twine, copper wire and other materials can be wrapped around the handle, creating an obvious place to grasp the spoon or utensil. Although they’re usually added strictly for aesthetic reasons, they can turn an otherwise simple object into a piece of art.
7. Paint – A few layers of contrasting milk paint and sanding through one or more layers will add a powerful visual to your wooden utensil. Applying paint on top of a textured surface will add to the effect. Spray or other types of paints can also be used to add a bold colour to the wood.
8. Stain – Staining a portion of the handle is a simple way to add contrast to your spoon. Applying tape to mark a border could work with some stains. Carving a V-groove between stained and non-stained areas is another way to keep the stain from bleeding into an area where it shouldn’t be.
9. Pierced Carving – Commonly used to decorate the wide handles of Welsh and Celtic spoons, pierced carving offers a wide range of possibilities for adorning a wooden spoon.
10. Kolrosing – Never heard of this traditional Scandinavian decorative technique that involves scoring lines into wood, then using oil and darker pigments to highlight the small grooves? You’re in luck. Turn to page 55 to read about it.