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How to Carve a Wooden Spoon: A Detailed Guide on How to Whittle a Spoon

by Roman Law 08 Aug 2023 2 Comments

Small wooden spoons

Making a spoon using the woodcarving method may seem like a long task, but there is still room for creativity in it. Freshly minted carvers carve a wooden spoon in all schools and wood carving studios. It is an entry-level sculpting work, an excellent trainer for developing skills in carving symmetrical shapes and developing a sense of form.

Spoon craft is not forgotten, and many talented wood carvers are making wonderful wooden spoons. Some of these masters create incredible masterpieces of carving art.

What Tools and Materials Do You Need for Spoon Carving?

Tools for spoon carving

You will need a few essential tools and materials to carve a wooden spoon. Having the right tools will make your carving process easier and safer.

So, here's a list of tools you'll need for spoon carving:

  • A wood carving knife. A sharp knife with a thin blade and a comfortable handle will help you make precise cuts and handle different angles and curves.
  • A spoon carving knife or gouge is ideal for carving the spoon's bowl.
  • Safety glasses will protect your eyes from wood chips and dust.
  • Safety gloves will protect your hands from cuts and blisters.
  • Sandpaper of different grits will help you smooth the surface of your spoon.
  • A pencil will help you trace the outline of your spoon.
  • Spoon template (optional) – to ensure accuracy and consistency in your spoon's shape.

Materials you'll need to carve a spoon:

  • Wood. You can use various types of wood for spoon carving, but some are better than others (for example, basswood and pine are especially good for beginners).
  • Spoon carving blank (a pre-cut wood piece with the basic shape and size of a spoon).
  • Food-safe finish. To ensure your wooden spoon is safe to use with food, you'll need to apply a food-safe finish.

Best Wood for Spoon Carving

Basswood for carving

Before you start carving, choosing the right type of wood is important. You can use various types of wood for spoon carving, including:

Light-colored wood with a fine, even grain
Soft and lightweight wood with a pale color and subtle grain pattern
Medium-hardwood with a warm, reddish-brown color and distinctive grain pattern
Hardwood with a creamy-white color and fine grain
Soft and lightweight wood that's very easy to carve, making it a perfect choice for beginners
Softwood with a light color and straight grain
Softwood with a reddish-brown color and distinctive aroma
Hardwood with a rich, reddish-brown color and fine, even grain

When selecting your wood, consider whether you want to use dry or green (wet, freshly cut) wood. Green wood is easier to carve because it's softer but can be prone to cracking as it dries. Dry wood is more difficult to carve but less likely to crack. Whichever type of wood you choose, ensure it has no knots or other defects that could weaken the spoon's structure or create obstacles during carving.

Spoon Carving: Step-by-Step Guide

Wooden spoons have long been integral to different national cultures and traditions for centuries, charming everyone with their originality and beauty. They are not only versatile and practical tools in the kitchen but can also be used for creating beautiful rustic carved wood wall decor.

If you're interested in using wooden spoons for their intended purpose or creating your own unique spoon, you're in luck! This article will take you step-by-step through carving a wooden spoon, from choosing essential tools, materials, and spoon patterns to applying a food-safe finish. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced carver, learning how to whittle a spoon with BeaverCraft will be a fun and joyous adventure.

Follow these steps to get ready and have everything you need for making a wooden spoon:

Step 1: Draw spoon patterns

The patterns of wooden love spoons can be different. You can experiment with the shape of the spoon and its design, creating unique whittling projects. But do not forget. The more complex the pattern, the more difficult it is to recreate it if you do not have much experience in woodcarving.

Once you have selected the wooden spoon carving blanks and the pattern, redraw the design you want to cut out on it.

DIY kit for carving

Step 2: Cut Out Excessive Wood

Once you've traced the outline of your spoon, it's time to remove any excessive wood outside the traced outline. Use your wood carving knife or whittling knife to remove the wood carefully. This step will help you to carve the spoon's shape more easily.

Step 3: Carve the Spoon's Bowl Out

After removing excessive wood, start carving the spoon's bowl out using a spoon carving knife or a gouge. Use the tool of the right size and shape to fit the design of your spoon project. Take your time, and be careful not to remove too much wood.

carving spoon’s bowl

Step 4: Carve the Handle

Once your spoon's bowl is carved, move on to carving the handle. Use your wood carving knife to create the shape and size you desire. You can experiment with different shapes and sizes to create a unique and functional spoon.

carving spoon handle

Step 5: Sand the Wooden Spoon

When the spoon's shape is ready, it's time to sand it. Sanding is important in achieving a smooth and polished finish on your spoon. Start with coarse sandpaper and gradually move to finer grits, making sure to sand the entire surface of your spoon, including the handle and bowl. Sanding will help to remove any rough spots or tool marks left from the carving process.

Step 6: Apply a Food-Safe Finish

To ensure your wooden spoon is safe to use with food, you'll need to apply a food-safe finish. Various options, such as mineral oil, beeswax, or a combination of both, are available.

finished wooden spoon

Apply a generous finish coat, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe off any excess. Repeat this process until you've achieved the desired level of protection and shine.

Conclusions and Tips about Wooden Spoon Carving

Carving a wooden spoon can be a relaxing and meditative activity, and anyone can do it with the right tools and materials. Remember to take your time and work carefully, especially if you're a beginner. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • If you're new to spoon carving, start with a simple design to get the hang of the process. Once you're comfortable, you can experiment with more complex shapes and designs.
  • Using the right tools is essential for achieving a polished finish and preventing injuries. Invest in a good quality wood carving knife and spoon gouges, and wear safety glasses and gloves to protect yourself.
  • Choose the right wood, as different types of wood can affect the carving process. Basswood is excellent for beginners because it's soft and easy to carve, while hardwoods like cherry and mahogany are better for more experienced carvers.

If you're new to spoon carving and don't want to buy all the tools and materials separately, consider purchasing a spoon carving kit like the DIY04 Celtic Spoon Carving Kit from BeaverCraft. It’s perfect for carvers of all skill levels and contains everything you need to carve a wooden spoon, including a pre-cut spoon blank, wood carving knife, spoon carving knife, sharpening supplies, and more.

So, why not try it and see where your creativity takes you?



Roman Law

Wood carving guru

From a childhood enchanted by nature, my passion for wood carving guided me on a path of creativity. With a pocket knife, I uncovered the transformative power of my hands, breathing life into driftwood and forging a lifelong connection with the medium.
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15 Feb 2023 John Stewart
Traditional spoon carving is a green wood craft I.e. the wood is carved when freshly cut, not once it has dried. I can’t imagine what a pain it must be trying to carve a spoon from a seasoned blank of mahogany, no wonder your knives break! Try whittling with green wood sometime, I promise it’ll be easier.
08 Aug 2022 Sebastian

Is there a tutorial showing how to carvea spoon? Also would appreciate some information on the use of the strop to sharpen the tools

Thanks and regards

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