Cross-Crafting Seminar, Carving a Wooden Spoon

Cross-Crafting Seminar, Carving a Wooden Spoon

wood caving the wooden spoonThe classic wooden spoon may be the easier beginner’s wood carving project there is.  During this session of our free, summer cross-crafting seminar we will work through the wood carving steps to shape the handle and bowl of a wooden fork.

Cross-Crafting Seminar Introduction
Cross-Crafting Seminar Supply List
Cross-Crafting Seminar Free Patterns
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Scroll Saw Basics
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Setting Up Your Scroll Saw
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Scroll Sawing the Wood Spirit Face
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Wood Burning the Wood Spirit Face
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Colored Pencils for the Wood Spirit Face
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Cutting a Wooden Spoon

Cross-Crafting Seminar, Carving a Wooden Spoon

Supplies:

1 – scroll saw cut wooden spoon, slotted spoon, or fork blank
wide sweep round gouge
narrow, half-circle, bent round gouge
bench knife or chip carving knife
carving gloves, thumb guard, or heavy terry cloth towel
150-, 220-grit sandpaper
6″ or large square of brown paper bag

wood carving a wooden spoon

Note: Working with the wood grain

 

wood caving the wooden spoon
As you work through the carving steps for this wooden fork you will need to pay close attention to the wood grain direction in each area of your work.  Both the handle and bowl of your wooden spoon are curve-shaped.  This means that at the widest point in the curve the direction of your cutting strokes must be reversed to work the knife or gouge blade with the grain. The grain direction of your wooden spoon blank determines the directions of your bench knife and gouge strokes.  You want to move the knife so that it runs with the open fiber ends of the wood grain, not into those open fibers.

Step 1: Rough-cut the edges of the handle along the back of the spoon.

wood carving a wooden spoon

Begin with your bench knife and using a paring stroke, pulling the knife blade towards you, round over the back edge of the lower section of the spoon bowl.  I am using carving gloves in these photos.  Gloves are cut resistant not cut proof!  So, please, watch carefully how you are holding your knife and where the knife blade will go if the knife slips out of the cut.  Often, I carve using thumb guards instead of gloves as they give me more movement in my hands.  If you have neither, use a thick terry-cloth towel in your holding hand as protection.

Step 2:  Rolling small cut strokes along the edge of the handle.

wood carving a wooden spoon
The sides are round by making many, small paring strokes, worked from the inside area of the handle, moving each new cut slowly towards the edge of the handle.  This first series of rounding paring cuts is worked from the center point of the handle towards the top edge of the handle.

wood carving a wooden spoonYou can see the progression of small cuts in this photo. Using a series of small cuts, worked from the center back towards the spoon’s edge creates a true curved edge instead of a lightly rounded sharp corner.

Step 3: Round over the second lower edge of the back of the handle.

wood carving a wooden spoon

Continue working the lower edge of the back of the handle by moving your cutting strokes to the second side of the spoon.  The smaller your cutting strokes the smoother the finished edge will be.

Step 4: Work the back handle edge towards the fork’s bowl area with your bench knife.

wood carving a wooden spoon

This rounding process is moved to the front portion of the back of the handle.  To work with the grain line of the wood, these cuts are made using a push stroke – pushing the knife blade away from you.

Step 5: Change the direction of your bench knife cuts to match the change in grain direction at the narrow joint between the handle and bowl.

wood carving a wooden spoon

Use a series of short, small bench knife cuts, worked from the center area of the handle towards its outer edge to round over the handle.  Stop your cuts where the handle narrows into the fork’s bowl area, as your wood grain direction will change at this point in the blank.

Step 6: Free the cutting strokes at the narrow joint.

wood carving a wooden spoon
Flip your spoon blank in your hand so that you are working the knife from the fork’s bowl area into the narrow joint with the handle.  This will bring the cuts from step 6 to meet the cuts you are making now, and free those cuts from the narrow area.

Step 7: Finish rounding over the edge of the back by working the fork’s bowl area.

wood carving a wooden spoon
Continue rounding over the back edge of the fork by working the bowl area with your bench knife.

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Cross-Crafting Seminar, Cutting a Wooden Spoon

Cross-Crafting Seminar, Cutting a Wooden Spoon

wood carving a wooden spoonFor this section of our summer, free, online cross-crafting seminar we will be cutting out a wooden spoon blank on the scroll saw.  Please refer to Cross-Crafting Seminar Free Patterns for a copy of the spoon patterns that we will be using.

Cross-Crafting Seminar Introduction
Cross-Crafting Seminar Supply List
Cross-Crafting Seminar Free Patterns
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Scroll Saw Basics
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Setting Up Your Scroll Saw
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Scroll Sawing the Wood Spirit Face
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Wood Burning the Wood Spirit Face
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Colored Pencils for the Wood Spirit Face
Cross-Crafting Seminar, Cutting a Wooden Spoon

Supplies:

Scroll Saw with a 15 tooth, regular cutting blade
1 – 3″ x 12″ x 3/8″ piece of basswood for each spoon
220-grit sandpaper, tack cloth
graphite tracing paper
safety glasses

Step 1: Choosing how to rough-cut your spoon blank

There are many ways to remove the waste wood from any wood carving blank.  For our seminar I am using my Ryobi Scroll Saw and a 15 tooth per inch, regular cutting blade.

wood carving a wooden spoon

The most simple option is to use your bench knife in either a push or paring stroke to slowly cut away long slivers of wood from the blank.  A coping saw or hand-held, u-shaped framed saw and a vise or clamps can also be used.  If you plan to make a series of wooden spoons you might want to purchase a small 5″ curved-blade draw knife  or 3″ straight-blade draw knife will make the rough-put work quick and easy, especially on thicker blanks.

Step 2: Preparations

wood carving a wooden spoon
Lightly sand your basswood board, both front and back side, using 220-grit sandpaper, remove any sanding dust with a dry, clean cloth.  A smooth surface on the wood allows your blank to move easily through the scroll saw cuts. Trace your pattern to the basswood using graphite paper.

Note: If you will be making more than one spoon, trace the pattern to the inside surface of an empty cereal box.  Cut the spoon pattern out with scissor and use the cardboard cut-out as a template, tracing along the edges of the cardboard.  Save the cardboard template, it can be used over and over again.

Release the Drop Foot and slide your basswood blank under the foot.  Reset the Drop Foot knob.

Step 3: Cutting the basic outline

wood carving a wooden spoon
Begin by cutting along the basic outline of your spoon pattern.

Wood Carving a Wooden Spoon
Work one side of the spoon at a time, fully releasing and freeing that side of waste wood.

Step 4: Cut the second side of your spoon

Wood Carving a Wooden Spoon

Continue your scroll saw cutting to completely remove the waste wood on the second side of your spoon blank.

Step 5: Cutting the fork tines

Wood Carving a Wooden Spoon

The fork tines are cut in two strokes, each worked from the end of the fork into the opening between the tines.  Stop the first cut when you reach the center point of the opening.

Wood Carving a Wooden Spoon
Back the saw blade out of the wood and cut the second side of the opening.  This two-cut step will free the waste wood between the tines.

Step 6: The completed scroll saw cut spoon blank

Wood Carving a Wooden Spoon

This wooden fork blank took about 15 minutes to cut out on the scroll saw – quick, easy, and super fast!

Step 7: Drilling the holes for a slotted spoon

Wood Carving a Wooden Spoon
Using a 1/4″ or 3/8″ drill bit drill the holes into your slotted spoon before you do the scroll saw steps.  I prefer to drill from the back of the spoon towards the spoon’s front face.  Because I will be carving the front face of the spoon into a bowl shape, if I chip-out any of the holes during the drilling process, those chip-outs will be carved away later in the work.

Basswood chips easily because it is a soft wood.  To avoid excessive chip-outs use a new, sharp drill bit and an even medium speed with your drill.  Clamp your spoon blank to a piece of scrap wood.  This clamps and secures the back grain fibers and reduces chipping.  You can also use masking tape on the bottom of your spoon to help hold the grain fibers in place.

Step 8: Sand the drilled holes before you do the scroll saw cutting

Wood Carving a Wooden Spoon

Remove any loose or chipped-out wood from your drilled holes, on both sides of the wood blank, before you move onto the scroll saw with sand paper.  Those chip-outs can cause your blank to drag, or hang-up on the scroll saw cutting table.

Step 9: Cutting a slotted spoon blank

Wood Carving a Wooden Spoon

The slotted spoon is now ready for scroll sawing.

Step 10:  Finished wooden spoon blanks

Wood Carving a Wooden Spoon

Now that the three wooden spoon blanks have cut out we are ready to move into the wood carving steps of our project.  See ya’ there!