How to Carve a Wooden Spoon

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The title of this post might be misleading as I’m not actualy able to teach anyone how to make a wooden spoon. However, I’m kind of dying to share all the cool knowledge I acquired while taking a wooden spoon workshop at Knowhow Shop in Highland Park this past Sunday. The promise was simple and enticing: spend a day at a woodshop and walk away with two handmade wooden spoons. No experience required.

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The first step was picking a piece of wood (walnut or cherry) and selecting what type of utensil you want to make (spoon, fork, spatula). I picked simple, old fashioned spoons in two different sizes. I took my design to the CNC router (above left) and watched this crazy machine carve out the bowls of my spoons. Next, I approached the band saw (above right) to make my first cuts and start outlining the basic shapes. I had never used a machine like this and had to get over some fear before approaching it. “It’s just like driving a car,” said my teacher Kagan. It turned out to be true and, as per usual, tacking my fear was empowering.

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After cutting out the basic shapes, it was sanding time, folks! We hit three different types of sanders and here I am carefully shaping my spoon on the belt sander. The risk is that you get carried away and go to far with the machine sanders, which I totally did. It was my first time!

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Once the spoons got to this point, I settled in for an afternoon of good old-fashioned hand sanding with sand paper. Three different grades and several hours later, my spoons were smooth to the touch and rounded. Ready for treatment.

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I loved this part of it because it felt like cooking. The recipe included beeswax, coconut oil and rosemary and it smelled divine (everyone got sent home with a jar of this stuff).

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Once the mixture was melted and combined, we submerged our spoons in the warm liquid and watched the wood turn into a warm and rich dark walnut. Below you can see my treated spoons on the left and Alex’s untreated spoon on the right. How awesome is his shapely design?

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If you are interested in honing your spoon making skills, I highly suggest signing up for a class in your area. The experience was empowering, exciting, a bit scary and ultimately satisfying. Do it – make a spoon! xxHBT