Saturday my son and I decided to carve a couple of spoons. Why spoons? That’s a great question.
I recently got the book and DVD set by Paul Sellers called “Working Wood”. It’s not an inexpensive kit, about $150 depending on where you get it. On the other hand, it includes a book and 7 DVDs, so (I reasoned) if the content was good it might be worthwhile.
I’ve watched my share of “how-to” videos over the years, and I’m not going to review this set until I’ve watched all of the DVDs and read all of the book, but I can say that it is certainly the slickest production job I’ve ever seen in the genere. Take a gander at this bit on making a stool and you’ll see what I mean. I want to live in a castle.
But back to the point of the post. Why a spoon?
1. It was the day before Mother’s Day, and we wanted to make a gift
2. The first DVD starts with a wooden spatula and spoon as the beginning projects.
I ruined the first two attempts, just going to fast. It’s been a while since I’ve had shop time and it takes me a while to get my focus. Nothing major. On one I carved the bowl of the spoon to deep, and on the other… Well I carved that one too deep too. But there were extenuating circumstances, the real problem was that I accidentally split off a piece when chiseling out the profile.
I used a scrap of wood that I believe is Mahogany, I picked it up from a scrap bin at the lumberyard. I traced around my template in red pen and was ready to make a 3rd piece of kindling. This is about 3/4″+ thick, I’d rather have something a little thicker next time so I can make a deeper bowl and curved handle.
One of the great lessons in this exercise is using stop cuts and a chisel. The entire profile was done with a handfull of stop cuts and a 1″ chisel. The saw cuts stop maybe 1/8″ above the layout line. Then I used a chisel to split off the majority of the waste, and then pare down to the line. On outside curves – like around the front of the spoon bowl – I used the chisel bevel-up. Paul had some good tips for doing this in the video. On the concave area along the handle I used the chisel bevel-down. Split off the bulk of the material, then pare to the line.
This process of profiling the shape took no time at all. It was faster than sawing it with a coping saw, and instead of a rough, sawn edge you have a slick planed surface.
I sketched in the bowl shape and used a gouge to rough it out. I need a bigger gouge next time. I scraped and then sanded the inside of the bowl smooth. I tried my spokeshave for shaping the handle, but it wouldn’t cut well. I’m not sure what the problem was — it worked great on pine and cherry. So I used the chisel to shape the bottom of the bowl, and the handle.
The handle was sanded with 120 and 220, then I gave it a coat of pure linseed oil and wax (no driers). I’ll let it dry until I’m sure it well cured and then wash it, and then put it to work in the kitchen. I carved a small design in the handle to balance things out.
Overall, it’s ok. Reasonably graceful, it feels nice in my hand. It was a great learning experience. I’m going to make a few more for fun. The next project in Seller’s book is a 3-legged milking stool with a carved (windsor-ish) seat.